The state Republicans are upset that Howard Dean came to town a few days ago.
Tukwila, WA… Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is visiting Seattle today on a fundraising swing. He got his majorities last year, so why is he still screaming? Maybe because his base has joined the rest of country in losing confidence in the new Democrat majorities, driving congressional approval ratings down to historical lows in a recent Gallup Poll (poll link) and to the lowest they’ve been in a decade in another (poll link). Or maybe it’s because his party hasn’t passed a single piece of their promised agenda into law – as Rahm Emanuel said on CNN recently “The Congress has to do a better job of getting things done, there’s no doubt about it.” (link to video).
Well, the Democrats have passed the minimum wage. They passed a war funding bill with timelines to finally get out. They passed stem cell research funding. They exposed the shenanigans coming from the Department of Justice. They implemented Paygo, to restore some sanity to the budget. A war funding bill that while didn’t go far enough in my estimation, at least put some checks on the President. These are important things. If the Republicans in the Senate wouldn’t be so goddamn obstructionist, we’d also see passage of the 9/11 Commission recommendations in full and better veterans’ funding. By the end of the year, we may see some real environmental legislation.
“In just six months Howard Dean’s party has become exactly what they campaigned against and it’s showing up in their low approval ratings,” said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser. “The Democrats campaigned on ethics but kept on supporting a Congressman that the FBI found with $90,000 hidden in his freezer. The Democrats ran as fiscal conservatives but are pushing through the largest tax increase in U.S. history and ignored their own rules by creating secret earmark slush funds. The Democrats promised leadership in the War on Terror but they’ve broken their promises to implement the full recommendations of the September 11th Commission and offer a coherent policy on Iraq. If I were Howard Dean, I’d be screaming too.”
Most of these are silly. Congressional Democrats have cut down on the amount of pork (by the way, in my lifetime more pork has been the economically conservative thing, I can’t speak to the fogies reading this). They passed the 9/11 Commission recommendations out of the House and obstructionist Republicans refused to get it out of the Senate. And oh my God, after more than 4 years, what the fuck is the Republican’s “coherent policy on Iraq”? The Democrats’ plan was spelled out pretty clearly in the piece of legislation that the president vetoed. As for William Jefferson, I believe this is the checkmate to that silliness. So yes, the Democrats didn’t kick him out of the House. There was a significant primary challenge, and he lost his committee assignments, but he won’t be kicked out until he’s actually convicted.
From the Los Angeles Times (link): “Just 27% of Americans now approve of the way Congress is doing its job, the poll found, down from 36% in January, when Democrats assumed control of the House and the Senate. 63% of Americans say that the new Democratic Congress is governing in a ‘business as usual’ manner, rather than working to bring the fundamental change that party leaders promised after November’s midterm election.”
That’s unfortunate. I suspect the best way to change that is to stand up to the Republicans more. So, Democrats, Luke Esser is giving you permission to fight harder. He’ll be disappointed with you if you don’t. And he’ll keep sending out bullshit press releases. Oh, and there are plenty of polls where Bush would be happy to be at 27% even ignoring that there are a lot more undecideds in the Congressional polls.