Poll numbers horrid but Dems stay the course
By Ken Marrero
The widely trumpeted mandate for change the Left claims American voters overwhelmingly handed them in November 2006 was rooted, in part, in Democrat charges the then GOP-controlled Congress was out of touch with the American people. Evidence of the GOP's disconnectedness was found in polling numbers that showed Congress with 35-45 per cent approval numbers leading up to the elections. As the election approached, those numbers began dropping as the the perception Republicans were poorly serving the interests of the nation gained traction. At election time, 2006, approval for the GOP Congress was at 25-35 per cent.
The nation "threw the bums out" and polls immediately evidenced the optimism Democrats like to point back to with approval numbers rising to the 35-45 per cent levels earlier enjoyed by the GOP. However, as Democrats failed to keep their promises on the War; wallowing in meaningless non-binding resolutions and neglecting their duties to debate, craft and pass a budget, the worm turned. Gone were the glories of 40 per cent+ approval. By May of 2007, Democrats watched the 30s evaporate and hit bottom, sluggishly floundering in the 20-25 per cent range with occasional dips into the high teens! The worst was July, 2007 where Reid, Pelosi and company hit record setting lows at 14 per cent and then 11 per cent barely escaping a nightmare plunge into single digits!
You would think such messages would be taken seriously by Democrats. They certainly took notice when they perceived GOP numbers were down and made sure we all noticed, too. But you'd be wrong. After 8 months of what is arguably the worst ever performance for a Congress, Democrats continue to bluster and posture in the same ways that first earned them the disrespect of voters.
Two stories illustrate the inexplicable behavior of the Party that claims to be leading our nation. CQ Today reports Harry Reid is talking tough to get his party's agenda addressed.
Even before the Senate took up its first bill of 2008, Majority Leader Harry Reid was on the floor making a familiar threat.
If lawmakers fail to reach consensus on electronic surveillance legislation (S 2248), warned Reid, D-Nev., "We may have to finish that work this weekend."
Reid must think the specter of working on Saturday is a useful form of senatorial discipline, because he issued similar warnings at least 15 times last year.
The Senate actually met just once on a Saturday in 2007 — February 17, to be exact — to address the troop "surge" in Iraq (S 574).
Generally, the rank and file stayed in for late nights instead of giving up their weekend plans, and, given his druthers, Reid said he'd like to continue that pattern.
"We're going to have to spend some long hours here in the Senate," Reid said. "Hopefully we won't have to work weekends."
If all it takes is the threat of a Saturday morning spent legislating instead of being entertained by lobbyists to get the Senate off the dime, there are much bigger problems in Washington than partisanship and gridlock. If this is the best Reid can find to illustrate his leadership it's no mystery how Congress is held in such contempt by the nation. What's next, putting Senators in time-out in the Senate well?
From the House comes this gem, also reported in CQ Today. Speaking of renewed attempts by Democrats to expand SCHIP, Alex Wayne notes
Democrats aren't about to drop the issue, which they consider a political winner, especially in an election year. And with the economy in trouble, Democrats are trying to depict an expansion of SCHIP as part of an economic stimulus plan aimed at middle- and lower-income families.
"Times have changed since last October, when the president vetoed the compromise SCHIP bill for the second time," Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said in a January 18 conference call.
"Now it looks like our economy is heading into a recession. Not only will the 4 million families who would be eligible for health care coverage [under the bill] be without health care coverage...... but also the economy will be without that stimulus that spending for health care would give us," DeGette added.
Not only is "times have changed" a bit too dramatic an introduction to an event from just 90 days ago, DeGette further demonstrates her lack of understanding of language with her comment, "Now it looks like our economy is heading into a recession." A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP. Evidently the Colorado Democrat is unaware that the US Economy has not had even one quarter of decline in the last 25 or so quarters! I'm not sure we've even had a single month of decline within that time frame. Maybe mail delivery is a little slow in the hinterland that is Colorado. How else to explain the misinformed Congressman's erroneous statement?
There's more … lots more, unfortunately. But it seems clear the Democrat's strategy for governing is rudderless. It remains to be seen if the GOP will be able to steer the country into realizing that by November, 2008.
Wondering what one does with a horse, or a donkey, for that matter, you lead to water who doesn't even know he's dying of thirst...
Ken Marrero is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!