August 19, 2005

Democrats Fail To Capitalize on Bush's Drop In Approval Ratings

The Democrats are not capitalizing on Bush's drop in approval ratings:
Democrats hoped they would be scoring political points in this year's election cycle as a result of increasing terrorist violence in Iraq and skyrocketing gasoline prices that have combined to send President Bush's job-approval ratings plunging into the low 40s. But things are not turning out as they hoped. The Democrats are beset by internal division over the lack of an agenda, carping from liberals who say party leaders are not aggressive enough in challenging Mr. Bush's nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, bitterness among abortion rights activists after criticism by Democratic leaders that forced them to pull a TV advertisement attacking Judge Roberts, and complaints from pollsters that they have no coherent message to take into the 2006 elections.

Independent pollster John Zogby says that although Mr. Bush is not doing well in the polls, the Democrats aren't doing any better. "The Democrats aren't scoring points in terms of landing any significant punches on Bush or in terms of saying anything meaningful to the American people," Mr. Zogby said.

In a slap at his party, Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg said earlier this month that his surveys show that "one of the biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don't stand for anything." ...

Eager to show that they can be competitive in congressional races, Democrats are pointing to Paul Hackett, who received 48 percent of the vote in the Aug. 2 special House contest in Ohio's heavily Republican 2nd District. But analyst Stuart Rothenberg says Democrats have exaggerated the significance of the race, which Republican Jean Schmidt won. "Hackett's race may well be an aberration rather than a model for the future," he wrote in Roll Call. "Few serious GOP candidates next year will run efforts as inept as Schmidt's." Other analysts agree. "Democrats dream of a 2006 turnaround, but the odds against it are daunting," Congressional Quarterly said this month in a state-by-state review of next year's contests.
It is absolutely amazing to me that the Democrats have been unable to capitalize on the negative news over the past couple months coming out of Iraq or rising gas prices. Of course, maybe I shouldn't be suprised as the only thing that they really have stood for over the past year was being anti-Bush. They need an agenda that they can sell (i.e., no more insane Bush hatred) and they need it fast.They have been fairly reactionary and have offered very little in the way of policy initiatives.

The Republicans must resist the urge to play down to their obviously inept competition. From a Republican perspective, the Bush administration has done a very poor job in communicating our mission and our progress in Iraq (even though the media is fairly unfriendly - there are ways to get the word out). The Bush administration needs a new energy policy with more emphasis on alternative fuels and hybrids.
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