Spending bills authored by majority Democrats. Obama's own approval ratings have trended towards the tank, but the public still finds him a likable fellow (even if they're suffering a little buyer's remorse). So when a reasonably likable fellow starts calling out Congress for wastefulness, he's rubbing salt in wounds opened by near monolithic GOP criticism over the Congress' "work."
“Congress is working to try and rein in spending — how about pointing that out?” groused Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland. Mr. Van Hollen said the political fault lines that count divided Democrats from Republicans, not the White House from Congress, and “the president has not done enough to draw those distinctions.”
Mr. Van Hollen’s sensitivity is no mystery; he is leading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as the party braces for November losses. But he reflects a broader unease among incumbents who fear that the president’s gibes at Washington, even as they align the administration with disaffected Americans, fuel Republican efforts to get Democrats fired.
Obama Jabs, and Democrats Flinch - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com
The anti-incumbent fever of the electorate is palpable and real. Over the weekend, Utah Republicans ousted three-term Senator Bob Bennett from the ballot and he will not be allowed to run for reelection. Florida Republicans, disgusted over Governor Charlie Crist's pandering and support for the stimulus plan, flocked in such large numbers to Marco Rubio that Crist took his marbles and left the party. What does this mean for Congressional Democrats? It means that absolutely no one is safe in this cycle. Having the most visible public embodiment of the party tsk tsk them for "wasteful spending" has them scared and chafing.
Extra Point: What's the likelihood that centrist and conservative Democrats throw up their hands, abandon Obama and start running against him?