Christmas and the holidays are a time of giving and presents. So what better time to check the list of our ever-generous, oh-so-good friends the Democrats?
In Santa’s workshop this year, the Democrats in Congress have, let’s see: (1) attempted to raise entitlement spending by $179 billion; (2) tried to add $300 billion to the deficit over the next decade through 11,351 pork-barrel projects (such as the millions Hillary Clinton sought for a proposed museum to the Woodstock Nation on property owned by a billionaire Clinton donor); and (3) sought to add $98 billion in news taxes over the next 10 years.
That’s just for starters. There’s more.
Overall, and among their several brethren on the presidential campaign trail, they have elevated global warming as a more immediate and dire threat to freedom and happiness on the planet than the threat of global terror. Because they evidently can summon less hostility to islamofascism than to George Bush, they have sought to complicate and frustrate the American enterprise in Iraq.
Mustering the moxie to approve just one of a dozen appropriations bills for the fiscal year begun Oct. 1 — the defense appropriation bill — they stripped it of $96 billion for the troops in Iraq, saying the measure can wait until oh, some time next year. Proclaiming their support for the troops but insisting U.S. and allied forces could not prevail in Iraq, now, amid mounting indicators of success, they are doing their best to ensure allied defeat.
And so, public approval of Democratic congressional performance has plummeted to the lowest level in the history of polling — and to about half the level of public approval for the Republican president.
Up on the rooftop — or, rather, out on the campaign trail — the principal Democratic gift has been for the loping reindeer to position themselves to become raw venison.
John Edwards, screaming the loudest, has secured the most whacked-out position for his very own. Barack Obama is leading the field in Iowa and New Hampshire, perhaps with celebrity help. And Hillary Clinton, who couldn’t handle husband Bill, seems at a loss as to how to handle the double O’s — Obama and Oprah.
Even with Bill’s star power, Hillary’s gift (with the Iowa caucuses just two weeks away) may be this: Having peaked too soon, her character and her heavy negatives having caught up with her, she may be in decline. What a gift in this holiday season to her country and the world.
Her campaign performance has been abysmal: a committed leftist trying to stake out the middle ground, but her insincerity and calculation fully on display — as well as her true ideological colors, in e.g. initially favoring driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.
Among Hillary Clinton’s principal problems:
(A) The difficulty of touting herself as a change agent while at the same time claiming consort “experience” during Bill’s presidential years. The consequence is to present at once as a representative of the status quo (the past, the ’90s, for heaven’s sake) and as someone with experience to lead the nation matching the backyard-tossing experience of Brett Favre’s wife to lead the Packers.
(B) Mounting public worry about the prospect of a dual Clinton presidency. Maybe with Bill campaigning for Hillary — making the case for her, warming up audiences, disparaging the Democratic male contenders for piling on a lady — the public is beginning to confront the distinctly disturbing prospect of eight more years of Hillary and Bill and their same old tricks.
Combine all that with her shameless claims of centrism, and can there be any wonder at the wobbly wheels on her campaign wagon?
It doesn’t mean those wheels will come off. Hillary still leads nationally, she has extensive resources, and she has Bill (though an asset, he may be equally part of her problem). But she is beginning to look something less than inevitable.
Obama might prove as tough to beat — and never mind that the Clintons’ former political Yoda, Dick Morris, terms him “a Jimmy Carter, running for president on his personal moral outlook, his background and making a virtue out of his limited knowledge of how American government works.”
The Republican presidential field excels. Practically any of the leaders is a more commendable prospect than anyone in the Democratic dovecote. With Hillary, early Republican leader Rudy Giuliani may be fizzling, as well. At long last John McCain could be surging, paralleling the Petraeus “surge” in Iraq. As former Sen. Phil Gramm notes, “Republican primary voters know John McCain is the only great man running for president.”
Soon enough, we’ll know that, too.
Yet at this holiday season, the Democrats have given two marvelous gifts — not frankincense nor myrrh, but collapse in Congress and Hillary Clinton in what may be a fast fade. The two developments couldn’t have meshed at a more appropriate time.
The primaries are about to begin; we’ll know the nominees by mid-February. It’s a wonderful life: The gifts of Hillary and her fellow Democrats mean no one should rule out a Republican successor to George Bush just yet.