Greenwald: Unpopular Democrats Should Stand Up to Bush

It's a shame that such obvious ideas have to be spelled out, but Greenwald does a great job of doing so.

Americans still trust the Democratic Congress far more than the President on "the major issues facing the country." Congress is so deeply unpopular not because they are investigating or obstructing too much, but because they are investigating and obstructing far too little. Every time "Blue Dog" Democrats and Democratic consultants and mindless, conventional-wisdom-spouting TNR types successfully argue that, especially on national security and war issues, Democrats need to capitulate to Bush lest they be politically harmed, they make Democrats look weaker, more like losers, and more impotent (the opposite of the "strength" they think they are projecting) and dig this political hole further and further.

With a President and a Republican Party this deeply unpopular, the only thing the Democrats could really do to harm themselves is to minimize the distinctions between them and Bush, and fail to take a strong stand against the administration. With very rare exception, that is exactly what they have been doing, and that is why they are held in such low esteem. That, of course, has been the predominant critique of Beltway Democratic insiders for quite some time, but this polling data proves this view rather conclusively.

Not much more to say on this. Rather depressing stuff, because right now, Democrats look like a bunch of pansies.

1 comment:

Stephanie Dray said...

I believe that Greenwald is right. However, that's a gut feeling on my part. His analysis of the data is unconvincing.

It may well be that most Democrats disapprove of the way Congress is handling things. (59%, it looks like.) And it seems certain that the high disapproval rate amongst Democrats is because they feel that Congress isn't doing enough.

But what we don't seem to know with complete clarity is what percentage of disapproving Independents and Republicans are angry at Congress for the same reason.

If most Republicans and most Independents are angry with Congress for the same reason that the Democrats are angry, then we have a plurality that should fundamentally compel Congress to take a harder line against Bush. (And from reading the Rasmussen polls, my feeling is that we probably have that plurality.)

However, it seems to me that the Democrats in power don't believe that they have that plurality. And there are trends and contradictions in the answers given in polls that may be leading them to think this.

They believe that perhaps all the Republicans hate them because they are "obstructionists" and that the Independents are perhaps evenly split on the matter. As a political matter, they are calculating that they need more than that. On the occasions that our party has tried to 'run to the base' the way that the Republicans did, we actually lost. So they are trying to calculate how not to alienate independents.

I think it's a dumb calculation, but that we need to do more work like Greenwald is doing to make them see that the math is in our favor, since the morality isn't that persuasive for them.