Democrats Can Avoid Rout -- It's Up to Them
When the pollster calls and asks whether I think the country is going in the right direction, I will say "no." When she asks if I approve of the job Congress is doing, I will say "no." And when she follows up with a question on President Obama's performance, I will answer: "Sometimes good, sometimes bad. The guy drives me nuts at times."
But when they ask whether I want Republicans to take back Washington, I'll respond: "Are you out of your mind? We're still recovering from their last round of debauchery — their fiscal irresponsibility, servility toward Wall Street, disrespect for science, contempt for the environment."
"Thank you, Ms. Harrop. One more question. Are you registered as a Democrat, Republican or independent?"
To which, I will respond:
"I'm an independent who usually votes for Democrats. I used to help send the occasional Republican to Washington, back when the party seemed to care more for the country than the least-informed member of its so-called 'base.'
"Did you hear Mitch McConnell say the other day that 'there's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue'? This is our Senate minority leader spewing absolute ignorance! He must be trying to yank more campaign money out of the fat cats. Or he's playing to the yahoos who believe they can have big tax cuts, Medicare, wars and balanced budgets all at the same time.
"Republicans doubled the national debt under Bush. Perhaps they'd like to triple it the next time.
"But now that Democrats are in power, they're suddenly worried about deficits, which they hope to cure by — give me strength! — permanently cutting taxes even more.
"Republicans ran ruinous deficits when the economy was doing well. Now that the economy is depressed, Washington must spend more than it takes in to get the heartbeat going.
"Gotta go," interrupts the poll-taker. CLICK.
Dear reader, I'm a reasonable woman. I don't care much about ideology. My bottom line is what's good for the country. While the country is on a bad path, Republican voodoo is what put us on it. Surely, many voters agree with me.
That's why these predictions of a Democratic rout in November seem so overwrought. Sure, Democrats will lose seats — but do the voters want a return to the crazy years?
The threat of a Republican takeover seems gravest when the Obama administration does stupid things like attack Arizona's tough immigration law. The law may be misguided, but it does reflect real public frustration with a real problem. Does Obama think it wise right now to use this volatile issue for shoring up support among some Latino voters?
Disappointing can't begin to describe Attorney General Eric Holder's explanation for suing Arizona. He said that "diverting federal resources away from dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and aliens with criminal records will impact the entire country's safety."
We don't have the resources to go after criminals and enforce our labor laws at the same time? Try again, Holder.
Still, he's better than George W. Bush's first attorney general, John Ashcroft. Shortly after Sept. 11, Ashcroft found the time and resources to go after businesses selling marijuana pipes.
When it comes to confidence levels, Republicans always seem to be taking uppers, and Democrats downers. But the pill that Democrats really need is the one that cures the urge to play identity politics.
What's good for the country should be good for everyone in it. That includes Latinos, blacks, whites from Northern Europe, whites from Southern Europe, Asians, Indians, Polynesians.
One thing that would be good for the country: More meaningful polling questions.
To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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