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Sunday, November 05, 2006

It's A Two Way Test

David Broder has an interesting, though slightly misleading column, in today's Washington Post.
The Election 'Earthquake' ends with these paragraphs, which is what I consider slightly misleading:

Bernadette Budde, the shrewd political observer who runs BIPAC, the Business Industry Political Action Committee, told me that the right description of this election cycle is not a "tidal wave" against the GOP but "an earthquake."

"A wave recedes," she said, "but an earthquake reflects deep shifts in the underlying structure. The voters are deeply dissatisfied with the failure of government to move forward on the real problems the country faces. That won't go away until they see that action is being taken."
A political "earthquake", of the magnitude Broder and Budde are describing isn't going to happen Tuesday. Another article Broder co-authored in today's paper points to a possible gain of 25 seats in the House for Democrats, and maybe a bare working majority in the Senate. Neither are "seismic events" of the proporation to talks of in his op-ed piece. They are actually slightly below average gains for the out of power party in a Presidents sixth year.

Broder prepetuates the myth that Congress has given Bush everything he's wanted since his election, which is far from true, or we'd have a fixed social security system, permanent tax cuts, a Central American Free Trade Agreement just to name a few things they've bailed on.

Broder claims losing both majorities would be a test for Bush (based on the above false premise of getting everything he wants) to see if he can govern. I say it's also going to be a test for Democrats, and one they have to be careful on.

Bush has proven many things in six years, mostly that he's not your "standard politician". He's confusing to Democrats, who for years have governed by polls, because he doesn't. If they are expecting him to become a lame duck for the final two years of his office, they will probably be sorely disappointed when he doesn't.

Leon Panetta said of Clinton losing the Congressional majority in Broder's column:

"The confrontation with Republicans helped him define his administration. It had been pretty fuzzy in the first two years, but now he was able to say, 'I'm not them.'
The worry for Democrats should be that Bush will use that same strategy not to help himself, he is out of office in two years, but his party. Democrats, for six years, have been the party of obstruction without ideas. Bush may spend the next two years forcing them to show their ideas, and having folks keep score. We're not them could be the very strategy that tosses the Democrats after two years in control of congress.

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