The Expectations Game

There's certainly no getting around the "referendum on Obama" idea. It's the only thing holding these disparate races together. "What ...
by | November 3, 2009

There's certainly no getting around the "referendum on Obama" idea. It's the only thing holding these disparate races together. "What this means for the president" is a common framing device used by journalists covering everything from wars and natural disasters to the price of rice in China.

It will hardly matter that, as Josh points out, exit polls suggest Obama was not much of a factor in today's races for governor. Maybe some cable talkers will say, "Unexpectedly, a race that was expected to be a popularity contest for the White House wasn't."

But that won't stop them next time.

Any more than it will stop the out-party. Certainly Democrats framed everything in 2006 and 2008 as a referendum on the "failed policies" of President Bush. Many of the same Republicans now touting the referendum on Obama line were saying things like, "President Bush's name isn't on the ballot" a couple of years ago.

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