Midterm elections aren’t really President Obama’s thing.
Four years removed from a self-described “shellacking” that cost Democrats control of the House, Obama watched his party lose its majority in the Senate on Tuesday. Since he won the White House in 2008, congressional Democrats have given up 69 House seats (and could lose more as they trail in several uncalled contests) and at least 13 Senate seats, with Alaska and Louisiana potentially bumping that total up to 15.
Yet, despite those heavy losses — and public infighting between his White House and Senate Democrats over his alleged lack of concern for his party’s down-ballot fortunes — Obama seemed entirely unbothered by the election results during a news conference Wednesday.
“There’s no doubt that the Republicans had a good night,” he conceded, before pivoting to note that the message voters were sending had nothing to do with him but, rather, was about wanting politicians to get things done.
Except that Obama had said repeatedly during the runup to the vote that his policies were very much part of the election. “Make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot,” he said at Northwestern University in early October. “Every single one of them.”
You don’t get to have it both ways — taking the credit if your side wins and shirking the blame if it loses. Obama said Wednesday that he wouldn’t “read the tea leaves” of the 2014 elections. Of course, he was more than willing to read those same leaves after his 2012 reelection.
Losing elections is one thing. It happens to almost all politicians if they stay in the game long enough. Refusing to shoulder any of the blame for that loss is something else entirely.
President Obama, for forgetting that you are the head of your party, in good times and bad, you had the worst week in Washington.
Congrats, or something.
Each week, Chris Cillizza awards the worst week in Washington to an inhabitant of Planet Beltway who stands out for all the wrong reasons. You can check out previous winners or e-mail Cillizza with candidates. You can also read more from Outlook and follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter.