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May 10, 2006
REPUBLICANS ARE IN TROUBLE, but Democrats aren't in a very good position to capitalize on it, according to Thomas Bray:
Democrats hope that George Bush's miserable poll numbers will help them reclaim control of Congress this fall. But polls also show that the Democratic Party's overall approval ratings are almost as deep in the tank as the Republican rating. Voters may be expressing dismay at the alternatives.
That would be understandable. The relentlessly partisan House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, as Speaker? Sen. Robert Byrd, the ancient king of pork from West Virginia, as head of Senate appropriations? Gasbags like Patrick Leahy and Teddy Kennedy back in charge of judicial nominations?
Or how about John Conyers, the Detroit-congressman-for-life who would automatically become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee? Nancy Pelosi has promised that one of her first acts as House Speaker would be to unleash a series of investigations into the Bush administration. As it happens, Conyers has given us a taste of what life would be like under the Pelosi reign of terror.
And Rep. Jack Kingston's office forwards an article from Roll Call by David Winston:
Behind the Democrats' hubris is the growing buzz around Washington, D.C., that "it's 1994 all over again," only this time, it will be Republicans thrown out on their collective ears. It isn't.
That's not to say this isn't going to be a tough, competitive year. Republicans are facing a strong challenge that shouldn't be underestimated, but the political dynamics of this election are not the mirror image of 1994, as Democrats would like us to believe.
The antics of Reps. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) coupled with the ethical cloud now hanging over Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) and William Jefferson (D-La.) and even Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) make it difficult, if not impossible, to take seriously the "corruption" diatribes we hear regularly from top Capitol Hill Democrats.
But despite what are admittedly grim poll numbers for Republicans, Democrats know that there is another dynamic that could well be a more decisive factor in the fall election: the disconnect between the center-left ideology of the Democratic Party and the center-right ideology of the electorate.
The GOP's only hope lies in the Democrats' managing to look even worse. Sadly, that might just pan out.