Rejoice! The Democratic Congress is self-destructing.
What but their demise could be expected after a year-long session of pushing unpopular programs through Congress in a manner seemingly designed to demonstrate their strong allegiance to special interests and backroom deal-making?
Just a year ago, Democrats won the White House and whopping, filibuster-proof majorities in the Congress. But today, darkest blue Massachusetts has a Republican State Senator (one of only several in the state) running ahead of the incumbent Democrat Attorney General in the polls measuring this suddenly-ferocious campaign for the late Ted Kennedys five-decade perch in the U.S Senate.
Funny, Democrats are now scrambling in Massachusetts and elsewhere, but like their GOP congressional brethren of years past, it wont involve actually changing their discordant tune. For both parties in Washington, a bad outcome from a certain course of action is only cause for higher spending on public relations, not for any reconsideration of the course taken.
The game-plan on the Obama/Reid/Pelosi health care bill is to ram it through before their and its unpopularity costs them their 60-seat majority in the Senate, which could come as early as Tuesdays special election in the Bay State. The fact that their legislative victories are killing them elicits the question Who on earth are the Democrats working for?
Then, just this past week, we were treated to the spectacle of Obamas deal with a number of union bosses, an agreement to protect union workers from taxes on their so-called Cadillac health insurance plans that other workers will indeed be forced to pay. (Apparently, its critical to have just the exact right level of medical insurance. And, of course, government knows best, as it now sets out to punish us for purchasing both too little and too much.)
Also last week, at their congressional caucus retreat, Democrats agonized about the publics unwillingness to surrender . . . and plotted political strategy. President Obama visited the Democrats hideaway and thanked them for supporting legislation their constituents oppose, saying Believe me, I know how big a lift this has been, and I see the polls, and I know that some of you have gotten beaten up at home.
While many Democrats recognize the stark climate for the coming elections, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) thinks there may be a silver lining. The House Democrats 2010 campaign leader assured his fellow incumbents that this is not 1994 déjà vu. Why not? Simple: Hollen could point to dozens of polls showing the public doesnt much trust or care for the Republicans, either.
At their retreat, congressional Republicans floated the idea of another Contract With America, combining a number of policy proposals actually popular with the American people, as they did to sweep to the majority in the 1994 elections.
This likely wont work. At least, it seems dead on arrival . . . if proposed by the same old Republican congressional leaders, anyway. American voters may not have long memories, but they dont have amnesia.
Republicans still havent accounted for their bad behavior when they had control of Congress. The same leadership heads the GOP in both chambers. Worse still, that same leadership exhibits the same disconnect with the people.
But as much as sacking seems always and everywhere warranted, its too much like an old Monty Python skit.
If Republicans learn nothing from the current repudiation, they will serve as nothing other than the Democrats most valuable asset, another chance — or excuse — for the ancient partys quick revival. Indeed, the Republicans, today, are to the Democrats what the Democrats are to the Republicans: The best thing they have going for them.