For a couple of years now, Democrats have licked their chops at the prospect of taking back the House and Senate in the 2006 midterm elections. For much of that time it seemed the Democrats were well positioned to pull off the feat. Democrats have made some huge mistakes, though, and according to polls released this week, it appears they are paying for them.
There are several issues that are playing prominently in the upcoming elections. Iraq, national security, immigration, and gas prices are a few of those ranking as top concerns of voters. On those and other issues, instead of coming up with a bold plan to address them, Democrats have relied on Republicans to fail.
Much of the good news that some new polls are showing for GOP congressional prospects are due to renewed attention to issues relating to national security. As the September 11 anniversary and the President’s series of speeches focused attention on the issue of fighting terrorism and defending America, the opposition of Bill Clinton and his former administration officials to the ABC drama, The Path to 9/11, reminded Americans of the failures that led to that day.
In the past, Americans have known more about what Bill Clinton pulled out of his pants, than what Sandy Berger stuffed into his. That might have changed somewhat this past week though, as Berger’s high profile opposition to the ABC movie focused attention on his actions both before and after 9/11.
Some Republicans are making sure the attention of the American people stays focused on national security. Majority leader John Boehner drew criticism from Democrats this week when he said, “I listen to my Democrats friends, and I wonder if they are more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people.” Speaker Dennis Hastert said Capitol Hill Democrats are confused about who the enemy is.
Although Democrats cried foul, some votes and positions taken by Democrats on issues such as the NSA surveillance program and the Patriot Act provide some support for the statements.
Democrats were sure the Iraq war would be their silver bullet in 2006. They believed a failed Bush policy would be enough. What they did not do was come up with a plan of their own. In the absence of any coherent, unified plan, on Iraq or national security, some of the more outrageous comments from Democrats filled the void.