Hillary Clinton seems unbeatable in the Democratic presidential primary and tops all GOP challengers in most head-to-head polls, Larry Craig won’t leave the Senate but re-electable GOP incumbents will, and President Bush’s approval ratings remain at record lows. So for conservatives inclined to be depressed there is plenty of reason to conclude that the future is grim for Republicans.
But the last few weeks have brought repeated instances of good news for Republicans and a signal that the Democrats may be seriously overplaying their hand.
First and foremost, what story is not on the front page of most MSM publications these days? Iraq. This would fall into the category of no MSM news is good news. There is some debate whether to declare victory over Al Qaeda but you will find no evidence that General Petraeus’ findings were inaccurate or misleading. To paraphrase a certain New York senator, it would require a willing suspension of disbelief to conclude that the military situation has not improved immensely in the last six to nine months.
While resolution of Iraq’s problems (politically or otherwise) is not yet in sight, the effect on American politics is this: the Republicans who voted against a precipitous withdrawal look less embattled and the Democrats who insisted that the war was lost (and banked on a disastrous and quick retreat) look a bit less smug.
In the last week or so we’ve also seen Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi once again overestimate the public appetite for their far left agenda. They are still willing to jump off political cliffs, but the willingness of Red State Democratic Congressmen and Senators to follow is fading fast. A USA Today poll revealed that most Americans, by a 52-40% margin , favored limiting the SCHIP to children at 200% or less of the poverty line. Perhaps a vast government takeover of healthcare is not what the public is after. President Bush vetoed the bill and withstood day after day of harsh media coverage and a 12-year old delivering the Democrats’ radio address. But Congressmen can read the polls too and the President’s veto was upheld by a comfortable margin.
After losing on SCHIP, Sen. Reid managed to engineer a political deja vu experience with the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) bill — which was amnesty for illegal aliens all over again. The bill, pushed by Sen. Durbin (D-Il) would have legalized illegal aliens who came to the U.S. under the age of 16 and would have made them eligible for a host of government benefits including in-state college tuition..
Well, the Senators who lived through the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration battle earlier in the year did not forget the hue and cry from the public and conservative commentators. The measure, despite emotional pleas “to help the children,” lost on a cloture vote with only 52 of the needed 60 votes.
Also this week was the confirmation of Judge Leslie Southwick to the Fifth Circuit. The ABA’s well qualified rating his distinguished volunteer service in the military meant little to Sen. Pat Leahy and the usual band of liberal activists who insisted he was anti-gay and anti-minority based on a willful misreading of a couple of cases. The charges were too ludicrous for even a stalwart Democrat like Diane Feinstein who voted Southwick out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. As they had for Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito, a number of Democrats joined Republicans first to invoke cloture by a 62-35 vote and then to confirm by a 59-38 margin.
Now this run of good fortune for Republicans has not been trumpeted in MSM news reports with “Pelosi Oversteps” or “Bush No Lame Duck After All” headlines. But the results are plain for all to see.
Listening to the Democratic and Republican presidential debates you hear one party’s candidates running on failure in Iraq, a proposed government take over of healthcare, amnesty for illegal aliens and an activist Supreme Court. The other is running on victory in Iraq, market based healthcare, border security and the appointment of judges who practice judicial restraint. Assessing the results over the last week or so, a savvy observer may conclude that the vision of the Democratic presidential contenders is as faulty as the Pelosi-Reid legislative agenda. Actually, it’s identical. That, more than anything else, should cheer up Republicans and give them hope for 2008.