Jay Reding.com

Why Can’t The Democrats Get Traction?

E.J. Dionne wonders why the Democrats can’t get any political traction despite an incredibly weakened GOP:

It’s been clear for months that large majorities of Americans have given up on the Republicans. They’ve turned decisively against President Bush and, in principle, want him replaced in 2008 by a Democrat.

But there’s a major gap between the desired outcome and the will to bring it about. The electorate is more pro-Democratic in theory than in practice. And Democratic congressional leaders will have a hellish time changing that, given their narrow margins of control and President Bush’s possession of a veto pen.

Do not envy House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid their supposed power. It would be easier to manage Bush’s former baseball team, the Texas Rangers (26 wins, 43 losses as of this morning). Expectations for the Rangers are a lot lower.

The Democrats’ problem is that they got elected because the Republicans, quite frankly, couldn’t get their shit together. The Republicans lost the independent vote, and that relatively small shift was enough to cause an electoral bloodbath. The problem is that the Democrats really aren’t doing any better.

Name one major Democratic policy proposal that’s actually passed. Other than the minimum wage (which had support from many Republicans), none of them have. The Democrats are doing no more than did their Republican predecessors, and that’s the approval numbers for Congress are just as bad as the President’s.

ABC News also notes that the lefward tilt of the Democrats is hurting them with independent voters. The Democrats have bought into the convenient fiction that their poor poll numbers are because they didn’t get their Iraq surrender plan passed. That’s like the GOP blaming their losses in 2006 on not doing enough to court evangelicals — it’s a way of dodging blame from policies that have utterly failed. Iraq isn’t the issue that’s keeping the Congress’ numbers down. It’s the fact that nothing is getting done. Even if the Democrats had gotten their surrender, their numbers wouldn’t be better because the problem isn’t Iraq, it’s a climate of poisonous political partisanship.

Both parties are in deep trouble. The President is an albatross around the neck of the Republicans, and the Democrats are being pushed further and further away from the political mainstream. Barring a meltdown, it still looks like Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate in 2008. While a meltdown is always a possibility, the Democrats are likely to pick one of the most divisive candidates in recent political history while the Republicans seem likely to reach out to a more centrist candidate. That’s why despite the Democrats winning the generic ballot, they still don’t have any candidates who can get close to that generic preference.

The reality is that neither party can get much traction because the system is broken. We need less pork, less influence trading, less partisanship and less government overall. The reason why there’s such a strong subculture behind candidates like Ron Paul is because they’re candidates who are pushing against the status quo — and even though they have no chances of winning, that sentiment is a lot broader than one might think.

American politics is in a shameful state, and unless this idiotic partisan divide ends, it will remain so for some time. The American people are rightly sick of the same cronyism and ineptitude coming from both sides, and unless one party can break the deadlock and appeal to the center, neither party is going to have much success in advancing any kind of agenda.

17 responses to “Why Can’t The Democrats Get Traction?”

  1. Seth says:

    Isn’t it cute when a Republican puts up one post asking whether Democrats have abandoned democracy and then talks about the need for more bipartisanship in the next?

  2. Jay Reding says:

    Isn’t it cute when a Republican puts up one post asking whether Democrats have abandoned democracy and then talks about the need for more bipartisanship in the next?

    Except if you were smart enough to have actually read the article, you’d have noted that it was a Democrat that was asking the question…

  3. Mark says:

    “The leftward tilt of the Democratic Party”

    You mean the “leftward tilt” of a party that just rubber-stamped additional funding for months more killing in Iraq despite the objections of 60+% of Americans who want a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq? Huh?

    “Iraq isn’t the issue that’s keeping the Congress’ numbers down. It’s the fact that nothing is getting done.”

    You’ve officially lost your mind. There are only two issues on Americans’ political radar screen right now. Immigration reform, which for better or for worse, is being obstructed by Republicans…..and the biggie, Iraq. Are you really suggesting that Americans don’t care one way or the other what the Democratic Congress does on Iraq…but that some stealth “other” issue that you don’t bother to define is driving down support for the Democratic Congress? Do you ever think anything through before you click “submit”?

    “While a meltdown is always a possibility, the Democrats are likely to pick one of the most divisive candidates in recent political history while the Republicans seem likely to reach out to a more centrist candidate. That’s why despite the Democrats winning the generic ballot, they still don’t have any candidates who can get close to that generic preference.”

    On this much we agree. The Republicans are fielding a much more independent-friendly slate of candidates than the Dems. If Hillary is the nominee, 2008 will be a Democratic bloodbath. And even Edwards and Obama would have less than even odds against the likes of Romney or McCain.

    “The reason why there’s such a strong subculture behind candidates like Ron Paul is because they’re candidates who are pushing against the status quo”

    Exactly….against the war in Iraq that you (and almost you alone at this point) so adore.

  4. “The reason why there’s such a strong subculture behind candidates like Ron Paul is because they’re candidates who are pushing against the status quo — and even though they have no chances of winning, that sentiment is a lot broader than one might think.”

    Come on Jay, join the Ron Paul Revolution!

    (Oh, and welcome me to WordPress; The Sleaze is finally up!)

    http://www.postmodernsleaze.com

  5. Jay Reding says:

    You mean the “leftward tilt” of a party that just rubber-stamped additional funding for months more killing in Iraq despite the objections of 60+% of Americans who want a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq? Huh?

    Yeah, that was sure some rubber stamp… apparently anything short of burning Bush in effigy on the House floor is a “rubber stamp” to some people.

    Thankfully, we don’t decide military policy by polling in this country.

    You’ve officially lost your mind. There are only two issues on Americans’ political radar screen right now. Immigration reform, which for better or for worse, is being obstructed by Republicans…..and the biggie, Iraq. Are you really suggesting that Americans don’t care one way or the other what the Democratic Congress does on Iraq…but that some stealth “other” issue that you don’t bother to define is driving down support for the Democratic Congress? Do you ever think anything through before you click “submit”?

    The number one issue in 2006 wasn’t Iraq, and it wasn’t immigration. (The latter being a largely manufactured crisis…) It was political corruption.

    The Democrats are no better on that key issue than the Republicans were before the 2006 election, and that’s why Congress’ approval ratings are lower than the President’s. Corruption is still a major issue, which is precisely why voters of both parties are looking for candidates who are perceived as political outsiders.

    Political corruption was the stealth issue that swung the 2006 elections and it’s looking likely that it will be the stealth issue that decides the 2008 elections as well — since neither party seems to have any clue that it actually matters to the voters.

  6. Mark says:

    You don’t really believe this shit. Until Steny Hoyer has a smily mug shot and Robert Wexler’s predatory e-mails to teenage male pages are revealed to the public after years of being known by party leadership, Democrats are not gonna be looked upon as tantamount to the 2006 GOP Congress in terms of corruption. You must be the only guy in America who believes that Harry Reid’s low approval rating is the product of not being forceful enough in removing William Jefferson rather than his financial appeasement for GOP-endorsed unlimited killing in Iraq.

  7. Seth says:

    Except if you were smart enough to have actually read the article, you’d have noted that it was a Democrat that was asking the question…

    Ummmm actually, smart kid, the author asks if the party of Wilson is abandoning Wilsonianism. The part about abandoning democracy was all you. Spare the haugty lessons.

    Go bipartisanship!

  8. Jay Reding says:

    Ummmm actually, smart kid, the author asks if the party of Wilson is abandoning Wilsonianism. The part about abandoning democracy was all you. Spare the haugty lessons.

    Here’s a clue. Go here – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/15/AR2007061502049.html and read the first sentence (or get someone who can read it to you).

    You don’t really believe this shit. Until Steny Hoyer has a smily mug shot and Robert Wexler’s predatory e-mails to teenage male pages are revealed to the public after years of being known by party leadership, Democrats are not gonna be looked upon as tantamount to the 2006 GOP Congress in terms of corruption.

    Um, have you looked at the polls lately? They already are. William Jefferson has a couple of grand stuffed away in his freezer while Pelosi stuffs the Iraq bill with more pork than a Carolina BBQ.

    Sorry, but your shit stinks just as much as the Republicans did, and nobody’s dumb enough to think that the Democrats — the party of Reid, Pelosi, and unindicted Abscam co-conspirator Murtha — is any better than the Republicans on that issue.

  9. Seth says:

    Here’s a clue. Go here – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/15/AR2007061502049.html and read the first sentence (or get someone who can read it to you).

    And if you read more than the first seven words, you will understand that it is a difference of opinion in how to promote democracy, not a full-scale abandonment of democracy.

    Is plain and clear English really just that hard for you to understand? Because I did check, and the article wasn’t written in a foreign language, but pure, conversational American English that most 7th graders could understand.

  10. Some Dude says:

    William Jefferson has a couple of grand stuffed away in his freezer while Pelosi stuffs the Iraq bill with more pork than a Carolina BBQ.

    Yet, somehow, less pork than any of the three Iraq authorization bills delivered by any of the Republican congresses. (And delivered in about half the time, too.)

    But, I forget – IOKIYAR.

  11. Jay Reding says:

    Yet, somehow, less pork than any of the three Iraq authorization bills delivered by any of the Republican congresses.

    Do you really think you’re getting away with lying to everyone?

    The Democratic Congress added $21 billion in pork-barrel spending to the Iraq appropriations bill. The 2006 appropriations bill added a still-shocking, but lesser $17 billion in non-defense related discretionary spending. For those who can’t do math 21> 17.

    (And delivered in about half the time, too.)

    Another blatant lie. It took 109 days for the Democrats to deliver the last Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental. The argument that it took 218 days for the last few emergency supplemental bills is not only wrong, but quite easily wrong. If that were true, then none of the bills would have ever passed since Congress doesn’t have 218 days between the beginning of the Congressional session and the end of the fiscal yeaar.

    But, I forget – IOKIYAR.

    And another sign we’re dealing with yet another Democratic political hack…

  12. Mark says:

    “Um, have you looked at the polls lately? They already are. William Jefferson has a couple of grand stuffed away in his freezer while Pelosi stuffs the Iraq bill with more pork than a Carolina BBQ.”

    What percentage of the American people do you think can identify William Jefferson as the Democratic Congressman with a freezer full of cash? Maybe 10%? Here we are–a nation in the midst of a war that more than 60% of Americans wish to begin withdrawing from–and you’re suggesting that the Democratic Congress’ willingness to appease a continuation of this war has nothing to do with said Congress’ recent decline in popularity. The sudden mass exodus of support for Harry Reid, in your deranged world, is instead the product of one corrupt Congressmen who is not even in the same elected body as Reid and the fact that the bill that prolongs our involvement in a wildly unpopular war is laden with too many earmarks. This is the snake oil you are seriously trying to peddle???

    There are only two kinds of people who try to advance a premise so hysterically delusional. People who are stupid. Or people who believe everybody else is stupid. I’m still up in the air on which applies to Jay Reding…the guy warned us as late as the final week of October in 2006 that this stealth Republican GOTV operation in Minnesota would overwhelm Democrats in every elected office. Are you getting your information about the unpopularity of Harry Reid from Senator Mark Kennedy, Jay?

  13. Jay Reding says:

    Corruption was the #1 issue in the 2006 elections, and it’s the #1 issue today. I realize that partisan hacks like yourself would love to think that everyone toes the Democratic party line, but the reality remains that people are royally pissed off at the Democratic Congress for the same reason that they were royally pissed off at the Republican one before it.

    Even if the Democrats had gotten their surrender bill, it wouldn’t have made a difference in their approval ratings. The American people hate the current Congress because they can’t get a single damned thing done and continue to act like a bunch of posturing weasels.

    Your Democratic Party is no different than the Republicans before them — in fact, they’re acting even worse, and no matter how hard people like you try to shill for them, the American people aren’t buying it. A political outsider will win in 2008, and that’s more likely to be Fred Thompson or Rudy Giuliani than it is to be a Hillary Clinton or a John Edwards.

  14. Mark says:

    “but the reality remains that people are royally pissed off at the Democratic Congress for the same reason that they were royally pissed off at the Republican one before it.”

    Do you have specific data indicating that corruption is what is driving the recent plunge in unpopularity of the Democratic-controlled Congress……a plunge that corresponds, apparently out of sheer coincidence, with the Democrats voting with Bush and against the will of the American people on Iraq war funding?

    “Even if the Democrats had gotten their surrender bill, it wouldn’t have made a difference in their approval ratings.”

    So the 20% drop in support over two months overlapping with the Democrats’ continued funding of an unpopular war is just a coincidence in your mind? Nobody on this board, including you, is dumb enough to believe that spin. You always claim, often accurately, that Bush’s approval ratings plunging to new lows is a result of Republicans leaving him because he’s insufficiently conservative. Similarly, the Democratic Congress recent plunge is entirely the results of liberal Democrats retracting their support after Reid, Pelosi, and Bush held hands and approved more American killing in Iraq.

    By cooking up such a contrived canard in an attempt to ignore the obvious, you make a fool out of yourself and your blog’s credibility….just as you did seven months ago when predicting that a soaring Republican GOTV drive was gonna get Mark Kennedy elected to the United States Senate.

  15. Eracus says:

    Mark, any suggestion that your misinformed opinion represents the will of the American people, by definition, is a false premise. It’s just nonsense. You are merely projecting your delusions.

    If it were actually true, as you say, that “more than 60% of Americans wish to begin withdrawing from” Iraq, then Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the Democrat Party would have no hesitation whatsoever in surrendering American interests in Iraq. American
    “withdrawal” is exactly what Queen Nancy, violating American policy and donning a hijab, discussed with the mass murdering, political executioner Bashar Assad in Damascus. Meanwhile, Harry Reid has declined to defend American borders, has declared the war lost and denounced Generals Pace and Patreas as incompetent, all the while using his office to enrich himself with insider real estate scams.

    The American people are not as delusional as you are. They view this Democrat Congress with contempt and, given the current leadership, rightly so. You can put a dress and all the lipstick on that pig that you want, but the American people still know a pig when they see one, even if you don’t.

  16. Marcia Crowley says:

    Jay Reading:

    ” Thankfully, we don’t decide military policy by polling in this country.”

    Unfortunately the way that military policy has been decided by the Decider aka The War President, aka the Peace President who stays the course/never was stay the course, couldn’t be any worse. I don’t see anything to be thankful for in regard to Bush’s and Cheney’s military policy and I’m surprised anyone still can.

    By the way, the Demorats haven’t done antyhing? They aren’t serious about the war?

    If the Democrats hadn’t won, and stood up to Bush, we’d still have Rumsfeld, we’d have no surge, we’d have no serious efforts to get the government of Iraq to accomplish the benchmarks, no Petraeus, no Lute, and no acceptance by Bush (after he said he thought it
    was totally wrong) of the Iraq Study Group’s recommendation.

    Bush would still by “staying the course”, praising Rumsfeld, and waiting for the Iraqis some day in the far future, when, as Bush said, there are other administrations (yes plural) in Iraq and future presidents (yes plural), to “stand up” so we could stand down.

    None of those things would have happened if the Bush Love and Obedience Chorus was still running Congress.

  17. Seth says:

    Of course, if the GOP had done its governing duty and passed fiscal approps for last year this wouldn’t be an issue.

    It’s great to watch the GOP blast spending bills that should have been passed last year. Great job, ‘Do Nothings!’