- Last Updated: 11:49 PM, July 7, 2012
- Posted: July 08, 2012
President Obama has another Israel problem.
Not Israel the country, but Israel the congressman — Rep. Steve Israel of Long Island, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Last month, the man tasked with restoring a Democratic House majority essentially decreed, “I shall not let my people go . . . to the Democratic National Convention.” Israel pointedly told candidates not to attend the celebration of Obama’s renomination in North Carolina in September.
“If they want to win an election,” Israel said, “they need to be in their districts.”
Even before Israel’s comments, several prominent Dems announced plans to skip the event.
That includes Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of Obama’s most visible supporters during the 2008 campaign and the first two years of his presidency. Others sending “regrets”: West Virginia Democrats Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Nick Rahall and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, plus four-term Georgia Rep. John Barrow.
What’s it all mean? Maybe that the rats are starting to desert a sinking ship.
After all, politicians don’t keep their distance from popular presidents. Quite the contrary — they want to bask in reflected glory and benefit from the prez’s prodigious fund-raising abilities.
That key Dems would avoid their own national convention speaks volumes about how they perceive Obama: as a drag on their own electoral prospects.
Israel’s advice is even more portentous. After all, he’s not a rank-and-file party member but a top strategist. For him to discourage fellow Dems from joining the September Obama-fest may reflect a cold assessment of how the whole country views the president’s performance.
Given that performance, frankly, it’s understandable.Follow @NYPostOpinion