Down, Down, Down

According to the Washington Post, ratings for congressional Democrats are going down, down, down. Apparently, their base is unhappy with them because they haven’t done what they said they would do on Iraq: End the war.

But the poll numbers also show that less than 20 percent of the American people think we should pull out right now. So the Democrats lose either way. If they pass legislation to pull out now, they risk losing the people. And when they don’t, they lose their base. Not a good position to be in.

Democrats have a host of other problems. The indictment of Bill Jefferson and the new majority’s inability to make real progress on ethics reform (this is hardly the most ethical Congress in history, as promised by Speaker Pelosi) means they are beginning to lose the independents.  

The Democrats are also planning a big increase in domestic spending, undoubtedly enhanced by some good pork. The president and OMB Director Rob Portman are salivating over a good veto fight, which should help Republicans with independents and their own political base. Putting Democrats on the spot as big spenders should be an easy way for this White House to get back on offense.

To pay for this new spending, look for heavy pressure to be put on House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to pass a big tax bill. While Rangel understands the political implications of higher taxes, his own liberal tendencies and the grief he will get from his own base for not taxing the so-called rich will make it quite likely that he will send a big fat tax increase to the president. Fighting the Democrats on spending and taxes should be the sweet spot for any Republican administration, even this one.

The likely standard-bearer for the Democrats next year, Hillary Clinton, is getting all kinds of unfavorable publicity with a couple of books that every opposition researcher should have fun with. She is also having trouble with her base on Iraq, which will make her become even more strident in the coming months, making it even harder for her to make it back to the middle for the general election. That is a good thing for Republicans.

Things aren’t rosy for the Republicans, either. The president’s poll numbers are still pathetic, the war isn’t going well, and most people think that the country is going in the wrong direction. But at least Democrats are sharing some of the blame.
You have to wonder if a third party will get formed because of the troubles of the two major parties. I haven’t heard anything, but conditions sure seem ripe for one to grow.

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