When Bush couldn't seem to put his shoe on the right foot for the better part of a year and his approval drifted to the 20s as he spent what very little political capital he had by stealing from his friends and giving to his enemies in order to get more friends to abuse - the Dems saw a chance to NOV to win something they have not had in a dozen years outside a brief period in the Senate - legislative power.
Instead of listening to the wise sages in their party, they let the goofy AFDB fringe of conspiracy churners explain away their losses in '00, '02, and '04. You see, if you loose due to trickery and theft, then you don't have to admit that perhaps you need to change.
The President and his Party's problems mostly have to do with the fact that rank and file Republicans did/do not like what was not happening with the borders and the courts (all the worries they had about Bush 41's son in 2000 coming home to roost) - and like an unappreciated lover - they were withholding their attention.
In spite of the silly Gay Flag Burning Kabuki dance that everyone had to put up with but really didn't give a hoot about - the President's approval rate has clawed its way back into the low 40s. Not hot, but you know what? If that can hold, if the Presidents approval remains above 40%, the odds of the Dems taking one, not to mention both houses of Congress slip lower and lower. A few months ago, I felt the odds were better than even that the Democrats would take one of the Houses, probably the Lower House - but that was before the start of the President's recovers. Now, well, the challenge is greater.
What the Democrats don't understand, well most of them (hint, listen to Carville if you want to win) is that the President is recovering because the Republican base just does not see a viable alternative in the Democrats that is worth a switch-over. That and the fact that they are starting to understand that they are in significant risk of loosing power in part if not all of the Legislative Branch not due to anything the other side if offering, but because the White House and the Republican leadership in both the Lower, and especially Higher House has gone out of their way not to dance with those who brung'um.
Four months and change is a long time - a lot can change - but the trend right now is going the Republican's way. The smart money is that the Democrats will gain seats - it would a huge historical anomaly if they did not - but it starts to look that the Dems will need a strong showing to grab a ligit victory. It doesn't look too strong though.
In an off-year election, when voter participation is generally 15 to 20 percent lower than in a presidential year, turnout is critical. For Democrats that means the party has to excite its base, pursue the "dropoff voters" (who voted in 2004 but not in 2002) and court independents and disaffected Republicans. Polling suggests that the public would prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress. But politics has a lot to do with mechanics--especially when control of the House and Senate will turn on a few dozen contests come November.Getting back to where I started; in a way I hope the Democrats manage some kind of a victory just to keep their sanity. The un-hinged fringe still thinks that the whole country is run like the Chicago Democrat Party and are already trying to figure out where they are going to put that barricades outside the neighborhood Starbucks.
"The current measures of potential Democratic turnout and enthusiasm are not impressive," Democratic pollsters James Carville and Stan Greenberg wrote in a sharply worded strategy memo a day after Busby's defeat. In mid-June only 3 percent of voters showed up for the Democratic primary to choose a Senate challenger to George Allen in Virginia, five times lower than the last contested Democratic primary. "Democrats have not yet felt the fire and energy that they felt in 2004," EMILY's List president Ellen Malcolm ominously wrote to donors recently.
Alright, let's pretend, just for the sake of argument, that the Repubs are right, as are most Democrats and the media, when they insist that the election was legitimate. Fine.The quasi-funny thing will be that this group would be engorged with even more BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) and in '08 will have nothing to do with it but get goofier .... and will enable the Republicans to play Lucy to their Charlie Brown by nominating someone from the very talented Gov. pool that has no connection to the Bush Administration leaving them nothing to run on but the unknown unknowns that we won't know of until the first quarter of '08.
We're going to give them one more chance to hold elections that are credible. We're going to throw ourselves into this next election, getting out as many voters as we can.
We're going to watch the polls, and watch them count the votes. We're going to keep track of every wrong or merely screwy incident, every startling trend, every weird anomaly. We're also going to pay close heed to all the relevant statistics: newspaper polls, independent exit polls (we cannot trust the NEP) and so on.
And so, when the Repubs win yet again, surprisingly maintaining their control of Congress, notwithstanding their subterranean approval ratings, we will be prepared to note all the anomalies and improprieties -- and, at long last, to SAY NO. As this will have been the fourth election cycle ravaged by Bush/Cheney since 2000, Americans must finally go Ukrainian, and just refuse to acknowledge BushCo's latest "win."
Where that may take us I can't say. But it is something that, it seems to me, we have to do, or else we don't deserve to call ourselves the citizens of a republic.
So, this fall will be fun. Me? I am still thinking a good chance for a Democratic win in the House, but they have just a little time to get their act together. The Republicans seem to have found their footing. Find your A-game Dems, find your A-game. Labor Day will be here before you know it.