Regardless of the Wisconsin results tonight, Barack Obama was wise to keep his distance from the race. If the governor wins, there will be a brief spate of stories about how goes Wisconsin goes the election, but it will settle down quickly. By not putting any visible political capital into the state — one Tweet, if I count right — Obama avoids fueling the story that will exist anyway if Walker wins: that the race was as much a referendum on the president as it was the governor. The story just won't include the visual of the president at Wisconsin rallies and a bunch of commentary that he was personally rebuked. The White House doesn't need that right now.
Of course, if Walker loses, Obama can still strut his stuff, and with some reason. While Wisconsin has been a fairly reliable Democratic state, the massive Republican spending and the mistaken— in my view— elevation of expectations of Walker as a November foreshadow will make for quite the opposite narrative. Maybe Obama is stronger than we all thought, the story will go, and maybe the Republican playbook isn't as brilliant as the Party thought. Victory has a thousand fathers; and defeat is an orphan, so the saying goes, but in deciding to stay away from Wisconsin, Obama will minimize his time in the orphanage.