This week Obama is once again firing up his Canadian–built Magical Mystery Bus and driving through North Carolina and Virginia as his re–election campaign begins on the taxpayer dime. Somehow the symbolism of Obama back in the bus is supposed to inspire Congress to pass his contemptible “jobs bill” and at the same time convince the rubes that Obama has the common touch.
Here in Northern Virginia the impact of the tour will mostly be felt by motorists who are likely to see, and be inconvenienced by, impromptu road barriers blocking portions of the highway. Strangely enough, these barriers will not have been erected by the Secret Service to bar potential assassins.
On the contrary, the burning tires and hijacked Jersey barriers are the product of panicked House and Senate Democrat candidates, desperate to avoid being associated with the Obamatross a little over two weeks before the November election.
And no wonder, currently Obama’s disapproval rating in Virginia is 52 percent, which puts him somewhere between Dan Snyder and E. coli. Yet, like the professor who doesn’t realize it’s his halitosis and not his intellect that intimidates students, Obama originally intended to have his 2011 Vanishing Jobs Tour stop in Danville, Newport News, Charlottesville and Fredericksburg.
Evidently his vaunted White House political operation was unaware that while North Carolina and Virginia are crucial to his personal re–election; VA Dems are clinging to a slim 22 to 18 majority in the Senate that they would like to retain. So far VA Dems have done everything but rub soy blood on door lintels in the hope Obama will pass over without killing their chances in November.
Even Senate candidate Tim Kaine — a man personally selected by Obama to be chairman of the Democrat National Committee and who’s election is not until next year — can’t seem to find time to work the President into his schedule, although there are rumors Kaine plans to text The One while he’s in the state.
But at least Kaine is doing his shunning in silence. The same can’t be said for other Democrats who are desperately trying to wash the scarlet ‘O’ from their foreheads. Sen. Phillip Puckett, according to the WaPost, is the first Dem to publicly declare he won’t vote for Obama in 2012. The Democrat leader of the House of Delegates, Ward Armstrong, raised the ante and is broadcasting a TV commercial that denies he has any ties to Obama, political or otherwise. And Senators William Reynolds, Edward Houck, George Baker and Toddy Puller all take the 5th Amendment (just like the Solyndra executives!) when asked if they will be voting for Obama.
Rather than be trampled by Democrats heading for the exits, the crack White House political team revised the itinerary for the I Can’t Get No Respect Tour. Now in an effort to do something that will have a positive impact on Virginian’s lives, Obama will re–open a closed rest stop on I–81 and install a child safety seat during a visit to Chesterfield County firehouse.
What’s striking in all this scheduling and re–scheduling that one of the few elected officials who will agree to be seen in public with him is Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, who doesn’t appear to believe short term proximity to the President will damage his Vice Presidential prospects as much as employment under Obama had torpedoed Jon Huntsman’s.
I can’t help but think this whole visit is particularly ill–timed for the Senate Democrat Caucus. Just last week it was announced the caucus raised a total of $2.1 million in the third quarter from occupy protesters in Wall Street, Richmond and DC. Oops, my mistake. It seems there is not a lot of demand for zombie costumes and paper–mäché puppets. Instead large contributions actually came from those nasty one percenters who revel in their inequality.
The possession of this tidy bankroll now puts the Senate Dems in the awkward position of being just another wealthy group of insiders sitting on their cash, hoping Obama’s bad policies and elitist incompetents won’t do them too much damage.
Call me suspicious, but I’m wondering if Monday’s theft of the truck containing $200,000 worth of TOTUS (teleprompter of the United States), Obama’s podium with seal, audio equipment and assorted other Presidential show biz items from the parking lot of a Henrico County Marriott wasn’t a futile, last ditch attempt by local Dems to derail the visit.
If I were the FBI, I’d be asking where Armstrong, Barker and Puckett were on Sunday night.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at