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Strangely enough for a Democrat in 2010, Obama's in a pretty good political position right now

October 11, 2010 |  6:12 am

House Republican Leader John Boehner and Democrat president Barack Obama

The "Saturday Night Live" news crew reported the other night that President Barack Obama's staged series of transcontinental backyard chats with American voters was originally planned for the front yard. But then all the foreclosure signs would get in the picture.

There's no doubt 2010 is an uphill political battle for Obama, who's not on any ballot, and his Democratic Party, whose many members are. Coming off big wins in 2006 and 2008, the huge Democrat majorities in Congress have the most to lose.

Not to mention 37 governorships up for grabs and upwards of 7,000 state legislative seats, whose holders will use the 2010 census data to redraw legislative districts next year into new boundaries that will endure a decade, to the partisan benefit of whichever party has the majority to design them.

The stubbornly sluggish economy and high unemployment rates of the non-recovery recovery summer have....

...forced Democrats into an untenable position. They must try to argue that while things are awful -- and, trust them, they too are unhappy about the awfulness -- the country's stagnant economy is less awful than it would have been had Democrats not done all the spending things that they did do but didn't work, and that so many now wish they hadn't done.

Another last-minute strategy involves suggesting that the small Republican congressional minority is somehow responsible for shipping these missing jobs overseas.

With early voting now approved in 36 states, the last month of the U.S. political campaigns is becoming more show biz and less substance with each election cycle; fully 1-in-3 votes in 2008 were cast before Election Day, making October less relevant each time.

Democrats are still trying to push the scenario of a late comeback, a wishful suggestion belied by virtually all historical patterns and serious polls measuring ferment, discontent and intent.

But here's the surprising news: No matter what happens when the vote totals emerge late on Nov. 2, Obama can emerge a winner.

If his party loses one or possibly both houses of Congress, the prominent campaigning by Obama is proof that at least he tried to help. And, oh look, Republican control of either or both congressional bodies also hands the White House a convenient 2012 whipping boy and an excuse for whatever the president chooses to profess he really wanted to do his last two years but, gosh darn it, that stubborn opposition party of no said, well, no.

Then, with Americans having elected overwhelmingly Democratic majorities in 2008, and then changing their collective mind and trimming or erasing them in 2010, who will those same American voters end up blaming for the resulting D.C. gridlock that reflects the country's political divides? Chances are, if the economy still stinks, it will be Obama.

And if somehow, despite all the accumulated wisdom of professional prognosticators, Democrats manage to retain congressional control or lose by less than some undefined worst-case scenario, then Obama looks like a political Superman who weathered all the kryptonite the feckless GOP could throw at him.

All this, of course, is occurring in the final three months of pondering by the array of Republican presidential wannabes who are considering a challenge of the former state senator, who four years ago seemed as unlikely a White House resident as many of these Republicans do today.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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This item was originally posted on the AOL Opinion page.

Photo: Associated Press

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