Quest for Incumbency Beat the Quest for Integrity

Post-game analysis of last week’s elections will continue to pour in, especially as Leadership elections take place this week for the Republicans; however one consensus seems to be that the quest for incumbency beat the quest for integrity. As a party the Republicans failed to notice the cumulative effect the constant barrage of negatives was causing to Congress as a whole – and especially those perceived to be in charge. While the Jack Abramoff and Mark Foley scandals were not seen as directly affecting many Members it did help give Congress record low approval ratings (to find an industry less approved of then Congress one would have had to look to the media – the fine people at The Hill aside of course.)

If you think the scandals were simply partisan then look at the recent poll numbers of incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-0% FRCAction Scorecard rating) – a Newsweek poll from November 10th has her with only a 34% approval rating. And if American voters were tired of Republican corruption they will be quickly reminded the Democrats invented the term political scandal. Already Mrs. Pelosi is going to have to deal with putting a former judge who was actually impeached for taking bribes (Alcee Hastings (D-FL-0%)) in charge of the Intelligence Committee. She has also endorsed John Murtha (D-PA-28%) for Majority Leader – despite continuing revelations of ethical misconduct. If William Jefferson (D-LA-14%) wins his runoff, Speaker Pelosi can claim a trifecta of corruption before she even picks up the Speaker’s gavel in January.

Added to Speaker Pelosi’s headaches is the number of groups on the left who the Democrats now are beholden to after they poured in millions of dollars to contribute to the Democratic victory. After the elections, congratulations poured in for the Democrats from al Qaeda, Iran and Hollywood – but it is the radical group MoveOn.org who expects immediate payment with their demand of immediate withdrawal from Iraq and the War on Terror, and the Democrats are responding quickly in the affirmative (forgetting it was the Presidential election of 2004 that decided who our Commander in Chief is, not the midterms of 2006.) Other liberal interests are also expecting to collect on their debts. Labor unions will most likely be getting an increase in the minimum wage but are also asking for universal health care (which the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union has said would have an annual price tag of $1.6 trillion.) Senator Hillary Clinton has already promised to bring the issue up, as she did as First Lady in 1993. Abortion groups like Planned Parenthood are gearing up to feed even more from the public trough now that their “friends