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 is an old story, the 2006 midterm elections. Buoyed by voters' opposition to the Republican status quo, the Democrats found themselves with majorities in both houses of Congress. For liberals across the country, it was like an early Christmas present: after having spent the past six years being trodden upon by uncaring, corrupt, and incompetent Republicans, the forces of progressive goodness could at last claim the powers of the legislature as their own. Though voters had much to frown at, the issue that topped them all was the War in Iraq and the management thereof. While a significant majority of the electorate disapproved of the war's handling or expressed support for some form of troop withdrawal, the position of the Left in the Democratic Party can be summarized easily: bring the troops home now.

It is with these demands that the 110th Congress have been grappling, but all attempts to end the War in Iraq or to minimize American involvement in any significant way have been met with a clear resistance from Congressional Republicans and the White House. Most recently, a Democratically sponsored $50 billion funding bill for the war, the money conditional on redeploying the troops to specific missions and completing the process by mid-December next year, failed to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate. Even if the bill had passed, President Bush would have vetoed it, just as he vetoed a spending bill in May that also had troop withdrawal conditions. The Democrats in Congress are repeatedly running into the same brick wall with the same results: nothing is getting done.

Democratic leaders, I would think, recognize that, regardless of how greatly the public might disapprove of the war, nothing will get done. President Bush has staked his political legacy on the war, and he isn't about to admit that it failed. Why, then, does the Democratic Congress continue to play this game? Naturally, it is impossible to read the minds of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, but here's a guess: Hillary Clinton & Co. are not the only ones looking for success in the upcoming 2008 elections. The entire House of Representatives, in addition to a third of the Senate, are also up for re-election, and they have to look after their own interests. Casting a vote in favor of in some way limiting the extent of the War in Iraq makes for a catchy soundbite and looks good to constituents at home, even if that vote had no actual policy impact. In a broader context, Congress as a whole could use a bit of a boost. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put Congress's approval rating at 19 percent (for purposes of comparison, the same poll put Bush's approval rating at 31 percent -- yes, Virginia, there is an institution more unpopular than our current head of state). Imagine how much lower it would be if Congress didn't even bother to try fulfilling its mandate.

Assuming, of course, that it is possible for that number to get any smaller.