Top Democrats bail on Obama’s convention

On Tuesday, Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill became the latest in a growing line of top Democrats who have announced they will skip Barack Obama’s presidential convention.

McCaskill’s aides hastened to assure Talking Points Memo that “in years when Claire is on the ballot, she has historically not gone to the convention, because she believes it’s important to stay in Missouri to talk to voters.”  She skipped the 2004 convention while running for the governorship of Missouri.

However, the aide followed up by saying McCaskill’s decision to skip the 2012 convention was just made on Tuesday afternoon… which rather dissipates the impact of claiming that she never goes to these shindigs when she’s busy running for office.  She only decided it was more important to talk to the voters of Missouri within the last twenty-four hours?

Even if McCaskill might have normally preferred to remain in her state – where the Rasmussen polling firm reports that all three of her potential Republican challengers are now beating her in the polls, by as much as 12 points – delaying a formal announcement of her decision suggests she knew it would increase President Obama’s embarrassment.

Talking Points Memo knows that, too, which is why they cheekily entitled their pictorial survey of Democrats bailing on the party convention “Running For the Hills.”  Joining McCaskill in those hills are Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who won’t even say if he’s willing to vote for Obama; Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia; Rep. Mark Critz of Pennsylvania; Rep. Kathy Hochul of New York; Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah; Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia (who was very candid about portraying his decision as a deliberate slight to Obama, although he says he’s not crazy about Mitt Romney either); and Rep. Bill Owens of New York.

Hillary Clinton also said she would not attend the convention, with a spokesman saying her position as Secretary of State means her decision is “consistent with her not engaging in any political activity whatsoever.”  Because we all know that nobody in the Obama cabinet would ever dream of doing anything for political reasons.

One other notable Democrat absentee is Senator Jon Tester of Montana, but his absence is perfectly understandable, since his Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, previously announced he would skip his party’s convention to campaign in Montana, and Rehberg is slightly ahead in the polls.

Taken individually, most of these no-shows have reasonable excuses for staying away from the looming disaster in Charlotte, although a remarkable number of them aren’t really trying to make excuses.  Collectively, the impression is one of sinking ships and furiously paddling furry stowaways.

Making matters worse, the Democrats aimed very high when they secured palatial accommodations for Obama’s re-coronation.  They set a goal of $36.6 million for financing this extravaganza, but according to Bloomberg News, they’re coming up a bit short… oh, say, about $27 million short.  This has already prompted the Democrats to shorten the convention, and begin canceling some events.

Oh, and our class-warfare President, the sworn enemy of big banks, will be accepting his re-nomination at the Bank of America Stadium…

… which is located in Charlotte, North Carolina: the state that just passed a constitutional amendment affirming the traditional definition of marriage, with heavy support from black voters, who are now a pack of hateful homophobes according to Party dogma…

… and the state Democrat Party lies in ruins, demolished by a gay sexual harassment and hush-money scandal that made them so toxic their recent state party convention was blown off by… the Obama campaign.

Hopefully everyone who bothers to show up enjoys the spectacle!  On the bright side, there should be plenty of parking spaces available, assuming the protesters don’t take up too much space.