Emmett Tyrrell

WASHINGTON -- The approval ratings of the Democratic Congress continue their swoon. When Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi led their enlightened hordes onto Capitol Hill early this year, they promised liberation and progress. They would raise the minimum wage. Homeland security was to be made foolproof. Medicare's drug prices would be lowered by congressional writ. Moreover, they had a scheme to lower interest rates on college loans. Finally something vast and ingenious was going to be done about the war in Iraq. Possibly the congressional Democrats were going to yank our military from that inhospitable country and replace it with the Peace Corps or perhaps the Good Humor Man.

Of course, the fulminating Democrats have accomplished none of the above. They continue to shriek about Republican mendacity and corruption -- though such misdemeanors were winked at during the Clinton years. They continue their ongoing investigations, and in the case of Attorney Alberto Gonzales they may undertake the capital's first exorcism. But as to their aforementioned early promises, they remain inert. The term "Do Nothing Congress" is being heard among good government types and concerned lobbyists.

According to the Gallup Poll, the Democratic Congress's approval rating has declined from 37 percent to 33 percent in mid-April, thence to 29 percent in mid-May. That rating places the Democrats below the approval rating of the hellish President George W. Bush, and at least he has invested some of his political capital in large things, for instance Social Security reform and two wars. The Democratic leaders have achieved nothing other than raising a cloud of gloom over Capitol Hill.

Frankly I would like to know more about the lingering 29 percent of the electorate that approves of the Democratic Congress. Are these the remnants of the Angry Left we heard so much from last fall? Or are these actually Republicans who want the Democrats to continue on a load that might well lead to oblivion? In recent weeks, Reid and Pelosi appear to have been seized by an impulse to suicide. Perhaps al Qaeda will sign them up as drivers.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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