May 9, 2006
A petty bureaucrat always watches his superior�s countenance, just as a boatman trims his sails according to the force of the wind. --Chinese proverb.
A retired Congressman recently told me Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos has a recurring erotic dream that sees Hillary as President, Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and Phil Angelides as California Governor. That is a dream quest fantasy of a rich democrat who (like George Soros) would like to make fantasy reality by throwing a lot of money at it.
For sure, the Republicans are vulnerable. They are the personification of the �gang that couldn�t shoot straight�. However, notwithstanding GOP chronic dysfunction, their greatest asset remains the ubiquitous, overwhelming, myopic dysfunction of liberal democrats.
The Washington Post says, �Democratic leaders, increasingly confident they will seize control of the House in November, are laying plans for a legislative blitz during their first week in power that would raise the minimum wage, roll back parts of the Republican prescription drug law, implement homeland security measures and reinstate lapsed budget deficit controls.� Good luck!
Despite the stranglehold on densely populated urban centers, the Dems biggest problem remains denial. Wishing, and hoping, and grousing won�t make it so�.
Recently the Democrats have been jazzed by polling that suggests growing Bush unpopularity is finally rubbing off on Republicans. Associated Press claims Bush�s voter confidence level is down to 33% (which is still better than the 25% approval rating for Congress). Congressional approval is similar to their 1994 approval ratings that contributed to Republicans seizing power.
However, a key element the denial prone Dems ignore is that much of the voter dissatisfaction with Congress is linked to the obstructionism of the Democrats and the wimpiest conduct of the majority Republicans. Even the diehard GOP faithful has had it with this administration�s enabling of tax and spenders (not to mention the brain flatulence and diffidence over immigration).
Republicans won congress with a plan, �The Contract with America�. It was a flawed plan, but it was a clearly delineated plan, and the GOP worked the plan�and won.
Nancy Pelosi says, "We have to be ready to win�and we have to tell [voters] what we will do when we win." THAT is a problem.
One key empirical reality that both strident Democrats and strident Republicans seem loath to acknowledge is that most voters don�t subscribe to the gospel of the extremes. Even among the GOP base, there is growing discontent with the Bush administration. There is a picture flying through cyberspace of �Neoconservative All Stars� labeled �Neo-Jacobin Liberals & Their Betrayal of America" which includes Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rice, McCain, Wolferwitz, Rumsfeld, Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes. Ouch!
However, Congress is about congress critters and not any administration. Those same polls that have the Dems jacked up also reveal that although popular opinion of congress is lower than whale excrement, most voters still like �their� guy/gal. Incumbents still enjoy a big handicappers edge.
Democrats need to win 15 net seats to take over the House. Redistricting has altered the playing field significantly since 1994. Comparing �94 to �06 is really comparing apples and kumquats.
The recent saber rattling about seizing back control of the House is premature, myopic, and frankly dumb. Confidence is good�overconfidence is dangerous.
Trash talk notwithstanding, if or when Dems fail to alter the partisan balance in Congress, Nancy Pelosi won�t only look bad�she will legislatively be damaged goods.
It is one thing to poke a stick at a lion in a cage, and another thing entirely when the door pops open�.
Pelosi said the Democrats intend to launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration. However, there are risks to do that. As one of the victims of the House banking scandals Nancy ought to know there are consequences to what we do and don�t do in life�and payback IS a Hillary.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz notes, "The biggest reason why Republicans may keep the House is the failure of Democrats to articulate anything positive at all�" And he�s not the Lone Ranger.
During the last Democrat National Convention the Dems kept saying (over and over and over again) �Bush Bad�Democrats good!� The mantra hasn�t changed and the answer to �Why are Democrats better than republicans� remains elusive.
Franz Kafka once wrote, �All human errors are impatience, a premature breaking off of methodical procedure, an apparent fencing-in of what is apparently at issue.�
� 2006 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
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The recent saber rattling about seizing back control of the House is premature, myopic, and frankly dumb. Confidence is good� overconfidence is dangerous.