Ed Kilgore, at the Democratic Strategist, has penned a quick rundown of the issues involved in the GA-SEN run off election, and whether or not the President-Elect will get involved. Kilgore sums up the for and against camps:
The argument against direct intervention in GA by Obama is that the last thing he needs right now is to become embroiled in a highly partisan election that would be interpreted as the first personal defeat of his soon-to-be presidency. It’s also possible a high-profile Obama presence in the race would produce a large turnout for white conservatives eager to give him an early black eye.
The argument for it is that a Republican win will be interpreted as a rebuke to him no matter what he does, and that direct involvement is the only way to give Martin a fighting chance.
As Kilgore points out, and others have noted, both camps are framing the run-off in terms of either aiding or checking the Obama Administration. The question of his involvement though could be best understood coldly in a risk-reward scenario.
If Obama makes a full fledged campaign effort for Martin, it seems logical that turnout among Democrats will increase, especially among African American voters. As the article mentions, much of Obama’s GA ground game is still in place to support Martin, and there have been no shortage of surrogates coming to Martin’s aid.
However, involving himself directly with the campaign, seems to be to be too great a risk to take. It looks promising that Franken will win the recount in Minnesota, and the media is increasingly putting focus on when and who Obama will name to lead the economic recovery. Involving himself in what frankly will be seen as a parochial matter, will only damage a brand of pragmatic reconciliation, unity, and action. A Chambliss win will not be portrayed as a rejection of Obama on the national stage.
However, with threats this week from Senator Mitch McConnell to use what little tools he has left to obstruct judicial appointments and bills, a 60 seat majority would provide for an unprecedented period through which to enact reform. But this is a job for the DSCC.
Senator Schumer and the DSCC should make it a priority to support Martin with full financial support, including donations from other Democrats who have election money left over, and no races for 6 years. This is a test of how hard the Senate Democrats will back Obama, and failure for the DSCC to get involved with their full weight will suggest an unwillingness to go to the mattresses to provide the framework needed for ushering in reform.