They Just Can’t Help Themselves

GOP pollster and consultant David Hill writes on why he thinks that the Democrats will blow their opportunity for control of Congress in 2006:

While most Democrats won’t give voice to their anxieties, they innately sense that their party stands on the precipice of squandering a political opportunity of historical proportions. When historians one day scrutinize this failure, they’ll doubtless focus on a moment that will occur in the next few months.

In that moment, Democrats yearning for “a message” will seize control of the party, grab its megaphone and let out a primal stream of political obscenities that will drive voters into the waiting arms of Republicans. It will be the equivalent of turning rapper Eminem loose at the PTA meeting, Rotary Club and church social all in the same day. And then it will be over for this bunch of Democrats.

I think he’s right on that. By the numbers, the Democrats should be preening. People are ticked with the direction of the country and the GOP is taking the lion’s share of the blame. The President’s approval ratings are consistant dipping below 40% in every poll. The ports deal had Republicans turning against the President and put Republicans on the defensive on national security for the first time in a long while. Conservatives are annoyed with the GOP’s fiscal irresponsibility, and liberals hate the President with the fire of a thousand suns.

At the same time, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. I have a feeling that the Democrats will instinctively reach for the one thing they really want but can’t strongly support: a politically-motivated impeachment proceding against President Bush. The more radical members of the Democratic Party have already started talking about an impeachment vote, which will instantly alienate all those who don’t suffer from a full-blown case of BDS. They just can’t help themselves – even if they do come up with something that resembles an agenda, it will get blown aside by their Ahab-like fixation with the President.

That kind of partisanship tends to alienate people – the Clinton impeachment didn’t help the GOP at all – they lost seats in 1998 and the fallout ended up taking out both Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston. Impeachment doesn’t motivate support for a party, and if that becomes the centerpiece of the Democratic campaign for 2006, the Democrats might find the political winds less amenable to them than the numbers would show. The fact is that the Democratic base is ravenously partisan, and even if cooler heads try to prevail, the Dean/MoveOn/Kos wing of the Democratic Party is increasingly powerful in the Democratic Party structure.

This election is the Democrats’ to lose, and given their recent history, there’s a good chance that they’ll once again manage to pull defeat from the jaws of victory…

One thought on “They Just Can’t Help Themselves

  1. “I have a feeling that the Democrats will instinctively reach for the one thing they really want but can’t strongly support: a politically-motivated impeachment proceding against President Bush”

    Here is the single substantive remark you’ve made on this topic in the hundreds of times you have raised the subject in the last few months. A large number of Democrats can’t refrain their impulse to suggest that option should be on the table. The GOP could successfully exploit this in the fall, pointedly asking Democratic leaders if they plan to pursue impeachment hearings on Bush. Some shrill responses will ensue, if not necessarily by the lawmakers themselves and will leave swing voters doubting their alignment with a party that will add that burden on a country that is already troubled. Most Americans may disapprove of Bush, but few have the energy or resolve to impeach him even if the facts warrant pursuing that option. If the GOP baits the Dems on this issue (or if the Dems are dumb enough to hang themselves without even being offered the rope), it’s a huge problem.

    Another secret weapon of the GOP is DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel, whose profile will raise as election season nears. Emanuel is about as big of a jerk as there is in Washington, and has a history of bombastic, borderline psychotic behavior. “Is this who you plan to have in a power position in a time of war?” Next to Emanuel, even the current asshats in the Congressional leadership seem rational.

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