Obama is so toxic that he has to assure Democrats he will stay away from their districts if need be. At a meeting with nine Democratic congressman Obama all but acknowledged that he’s become the Typhoid Mary of politics:

“You may not even want me to come to your district,” Mr. Obama said, according to guests, nearly all of whom hold seats that Republicans are aggressively seeking. …

It is a vivid shift from the last two elections, when Mr. Obama was the hottest draw for Democratic candidates in red and blue states alike. And it highlights the tough choices Democrats face as they head toward Election Day with the president’s approval ratings depressed, Republicans energized, the economic slump still lingering and two veteran House Democrats now facing public hearings on ethics charges.

When fellow Democrats grumble that “the Obama political team was too insular” and wonder aloud “whether the president sees himself as the head of the party,” you know Obama has taken his party over the cliff (“precipice” was the word Obama preferred in the health-care debate).

You can bet that as much as the Democrats “hope to make the election about issues other than Mr. Obama,” the Republicans would be happy to focus on precisely that. Did Democrat X rubber-stamp the Obama agenda (say, 98.7 percent of the time)? Did Democrat X resist the mammoth run-up in debt? That’s what many GOP candidates will be asking. Unfortunately for the Democrats struggling to survive the initial two years of Obama, the answers will generally be yes and no, respectively. There is a price to be paid for blindly following party leaders and the White House while ignoring the concerns of one’s constituents. Now the only question is how high that price will be.

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