upcoming events

in the next two weeks:

see all upcoming events


Do you have old cell phones or used ink cartridges and want to recycle them? Contact Liz Fossett.

dems poll

Unfortunately our poll cannot be displayed on this page.

georgetown dems blog

read the rest of the blog


Are you a Georgetown Dems alum? We'd love to hear what you're doing now!

subscribe to our mailing list

mailing list archive


It’s not hard to see that President Bush’s presidency is irreversibly stuck in the mud. Even a cursory glance at the front pages will tell you what Democrats already know-- Bush has failed in leading this country. Growing budget deficits, a pointless and costly war in Iraq, stalled bills in Congress and a growing anti-American sentiment abroad confirm what we’ve been saying for years: Bush is an incompetent leader who has left America worse off than we were six years ago.

But now we’re adding a new component to the mix: the Washington Post reports today that Bush and the GOP are losing the backing of even their most diehard supporters. The latest AP poll reports that Bush has a 52% approval rating among self-described “conservatives,” and that number goes even lower when discussing the Republican-controlled Congress, to 33%. Most conservatives attribute this loss to the failures of Bush and the Republicans in Congress to succeed in advancing key conservative issues, like banning gay marriage and cutting government spending. In fact, since Bush took office in 2001, government spending has increased by more than 25%, the largest increase under any president since Lyndon Johnson. (It’s worth pointing out, too, that under Johnson, American taxpayers saw at least some bang for their buck in the form of important government welfare programs like Medicare and Medicaid. What has Bush’s increased spending brought us? Nothing but more pork barrel projects and handouts to overly cozy lobbyists.)

Now, what does this all mean? Nothing, if Democrats drop the ball. This poll only reflects short-term phenomena, and the eventual results can only be predicted after examining polling data over an extended period of time. But it still bodes well for November crystal ball predictions. History shows us that the president’s party almost always lose seats in Congress during midyear elections; this trend is ever stronger when the president has low satisfaction numbers. (The most recent Gallup poll puts Bush’s overall approval rating at 31%; also interesting are approval numbers of Bush’s key administration members, with approval numbers hitting new lows for Vice President Cheney [34%, with a 62% unfavorable] and Secretary Rumsfeld [37% approval with 57% disapproval]. These numbers probably don’t have any bearing on election results or Bush’s overall approval rating, since most Americans tend not to pay that much attention to Cabinet members or vice presidents, but they’re interesting numbers for us political geeks, and also reflect a growing dissatisfaction with Bush overall that has trickled down to affect his key advisers and strategists.)

All of this portends well for Democrats in the fall, but these numbers must be taken with a grain of salt. Most conservatives aren’t likely to jump to the Democratic ticket unless they’re offered something in return. More likely than not, they’ll just stay home. Now, y’all know me, and I’m never one to advocate that voters stay home come Election Day (see below entry), but even that could work out well for Democrats, particularly in key districts with close races like in Minnesota and Missouri.

But just because Bush’s loss of base support is a win-win situation for Democrats doesn’t mean we should just ignore the potential bounty to be reaped here. Despite the doom-and-gloom attitude of many Democratic strategists, I still think that these self-described “conservatives” could be turned to a Democratic tide if we play our cards right. Strategists like James Carville and Paul Begala and moderate Democratic strategy groups like the DLC have paved the road for this type of campaigning; victories of moderate Democrats for both federal and local office in Republican-leaning Southern states like Georgia and Louisiana are just an example of how the Democrats can turn traditionally Republican supporters into swing votes. In the upcoming election, Democrats cannot concede the moral high ground to the Republicans. We need to show that we can “bring it,” if you will, on Republican turf just as well as we can in liberal enclaves like the streets of New York City and the wilds of Massachusetts.

Republicans do not have a monopoly on God. Did Jesus not say “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:13-14)? Now, which party is the party of equality and social justice? The Republicans, who have tried to cut every welfare program under the sun, or the Democrats, who want to help the unemployed by giving them a leg up until they can get back on their feet? Along this same train of thought, we also need to show the voters that Republicans’ efforts to ban gay marriage are just a empty gesture designed to throw a bone at the religious vote. Democrats are just as pro-family as the Republicans. Actually, we’re more: unlike the Republicans, we’re not trying to ban families, whatever form of love they might take.

Nor is the GOP the party of “fiscal responsibility.” President Clinton reduced the deficit during each year of his presidency. In fact, he even ran surpluses in his last four budgets as president. In contrast, the Progressive Policy Institute says,

“The Republican-led Congress is passing pork projects at a rate three times as great as the last time Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and it is spending at levels not seen since World War II. Add billions of dollars in debt-financed tax cuts to that mix, and you have a recipe for fiscal disaster. Clearly, this is not your father's GOP.”

Exactly. The Democrats’ challenge now is articulating a clear and realistic vision of federal spending. The National Democratic Party’s website says, “The Democratic Party believes in balanced budgets and paying down our national debt, while Republicans continue to put huge burdens on future generations by borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign nations.” This is a good start, but come November, the Democrats need a more clearly defined plan for cutting federal spending and paying down the national debt. We should start by reversing Bush’s irresponsible tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the richest of the rich, and instead cut taxes for the lower income brackets, those who are most likely to go out and spend the extra money, thus stimulating the economy and generating increased tax revenue. Additionally, any Democrat running for federal office must promise to cut pork barrel spending, and stick to that promise when Congress is called into session in January. We need to look at federal spending programs and cut the fat.

Conservative voters were Bush’s to lose, and he has. But if Democrats truly want to reap the benefits of Bush’s loss of key constituencies, we need to demonstrate that we can really play ball, even outside what is traditionally considered “our home turf.” The Democratic Party is truly the party of the moral (see: Republican ethical lapses), of fiscal responsibility (see: Clinton surpluses), of security (has Iraq really made us safer?). When the Democrats can truly put up a fight on what are traditionally “Republican” issues is when we will become the majority party once again, as it should be.