Are The Bells Tolling?
Eleanor Clift in this weeks issue of Newsweek sounds fairly well convinced that because of Katrina, Iraq, and Dubai Ports Bush is so weak that the Democrats will have their own version of 1994 come November.
Hardly a week goes by that Chris over at "The Fix" doesn't list the districts Democrats are likely to gain seats this year in the House and Senate.
So the question that comes up, would we be better off if the Democrats took over congress? In Fox News polls 45% think yes, 34% think no, and a lot of people just aren't sure.
I don't know that anything would get better or worse as far as the actual governing of the country would go if the Democrats took over one or both chambers of Congress. However, I think that if they did there would be an immediate tone shift in Washington.
For instance, I don't think that the party as a whole would keep either of the present Minority Leaders and elevate them to Majority Leader status. They are too shrill to be the voice of a party in control. When you are out of power you need your loudest voice up there stumping, when you are in power you need the most controlled voice.
Instead, I think you'd see someone like Rahm Emanuel, a former Clinton aide suddenly looked at to replace Pelosi. He's a much better speaker, and knows the ins and outs of being in control from his years on the White House staff.
The Senate side isn't hard to find a voice of reason in to take over leadership from Harry Reid. Evan Bayh from Indiana, or Christopher Dodd would probably be among the sought after choices. Why? They are both generally more centrist, and considered "statesman" by most politicians. However, both have hinted at possible Presidential aspirations for 2008, and I don' know that the party would nominate them for leadership posts if they were going to disappear the next year on the campaign trail.
Of course, I could be wrong. A sweep of the house and Senate could embolden the far left of the party, who would be able to claim with some legitimacy that it was their efforts that got them Congress back.
If that happened, then might still see new leadership, but from a more vocal liberal view. I'm not quite sure who that would be in the House, getting more liberal than Pelosi is a pretty tough job. (feel free to leave me a suggestion) In the Senate though there are a number of folks who might get considered. If he felt emboldened, I could see a Chuck Schumer, or even Barbara Boxer trying to take over the leadership.
In all likelihood it would be an unmitigated disaster for them. That end of the party has never been good at learning lessons. In 1994 when Gingrich was swept into power, he was a little smarter than I see today's level of liberals.
Knowing that he had to work with a Democratic President he didn't try and push a hard right agenda in congress. The contract for America, after all the lefty bluster, was actually pretty centrist, which is why Clinton signed a lot of it into law.
I don't see the left happy with trying to push that kind of agenda, instead they'll try and move congress hard to their side, and Bush might actually have to pull out his veto pen (not that he shouldn't have before).
A stalemate in Washington would do the Democrats no good. If they take back congress they have two years to prove they should keep it. The only way to do that will be to accomplish some things that the people are going to get behind, and in a less divisive manner than they have been using the last 5 years. I'm not sure the liberal wing of the party is capable of doing that.
So, are the bells tolling for the GOP lead congress, or are the Democrats too disorganized, and lacking in a message to win in November?
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