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We Democrats have a complex. Even thought the last three CNN polls of likely voters over the last three weeks have Democrats holding a generic ballot lead of 16 to 23 points and the average generic ballot test has us ahead around 15 points, I hear a whispering reverberation of dismay and horror. "How can we mess it up this time?" "What will Democrats do in the last two weeks to destroy our chances?"

I must admit that I've been prone to believe this paranoia from time to time over the last few weeks. After all, I thought John Kerry would be the 44th President after the 2004 election, and we all know how that turned out.

But the reality is that without a significant event that changes the dynamics of this entire race in favor of the GOP, Democrats can't lose the House of Representatives. And with just 15 days left till the general election, Osama bin Laden would have to be paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue in chains to make Democrats lose, and even then, I'm not sure it will hurt us.

Do I think I'm being overly optimistic? No, not really. If you look at pollster.com, which is the best site for polling data around, it gives a list of every competitive congressional race and lists every poll, independent and internal available for the race. Based on the latest poll in every district, Democrats would pick up 31 seats in the House of Representatives. Based on averages of all polls listed, Democrats would pick up 27 seats. And these polls don't include a dozen other districts which have no polling, but which are viewed as extremely competitive by analysts.

So short of seismic shifts in the political climate, Democrats should win the House with ease.

But what does that mean for us?

The Six in 06 Platform that we're running on this year is nice, but largely humorous. It involves piecemeal legislation like raising the minimum wage, negotiating lower drug prices for Medicare, repealing tax breaks for big oil, passing the 9/11 commission recommendations, reversing the raid on student aid, and reinstituting PAYGO rules to balance the budget. These are what the Democratic Congress will pass in its first 100 hours in the majority.

But President Bush will probably veto most, if not all, of these measures.

We Democrats have not campaigned in a broad-based way on an agenda for change, and because of that, we will have no mandate to enact legislation when we take over.

In 1994, the GOP's Contract with America, did not win them the election. That's a historical distortion. President Clinton's unpopularity and the Democratic Congress' scandals and Southern redistricting won the elections for the GOP. But what the Contract did do was provide the GOP with a governing framework. Coupled with the enormous 52-seat pickup the Republicans had, the Contract gave the GOP a framework for a set of legislation that they enacted soon after they took power. Pushed into accepting right-wing legislation because of an assumed mandate, President Clinton signed some of the policies into law.

We have no similar mandate, and we will not. We will enact our Six in 06, but beyond that, we will not be able to pass Universal Health Care, a meaningful energy policy, or do anything about Iraq because we came into this election disorganized, dysfunctional, and disjointed. When our caucus comes to power in January, conservative, moderate, and liberal Democrats will eat each other apart, with regional forces each trying to pass their pet legislation. We will be unwieldy and we will be ineffective.

What, then, is our fate? I do not believe that we will hold a House majority into 2008 or help our chances of electing a Democratic President in 2008 if we do not unite completely in the next two years. If that means that nothing gets passed, that's fine. But Nancy Pelosi will have a very tough time as Speaker trying to quell dissenting opinions in her caucus, but she's going to have to if we're to succeed in the election that matters most, 2008.

Pay As You Go budget Policy


neonprimetime said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


The link at the bottom of the blog seems to have an extra "/" at the beginning. The real link should be
pay as you go spending
. Once this is fixed, we can fix the reciprocal link.