As readers of the What Should Be know, I’ve become quite a fan of Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report. His piece, published on February 13 in the National Journal’s Congress Daily/AM, is entitled Obama’s Triangulation Squares With Public. I recommend giving it a read: Here are a couple of excerpts:
Regarding how Republicans in Congress are handling this economic crisis, it seems to appear that their efforts seemed designed to seek approval from the 28 percent of Americans who call themselves Republicans in Gallup polling, but there seems to be little if any effort to reach out to the roughly 72 percent of Americans who either consider themselves Democrats or independents.
Indeed, it would be hard to see how Republicans think they are helping themselves these days, other than trying to feel better about themselves, even if no one else does.
Isn’t that the truth? When Republicans need to be reaching out to the 72% of America that no longer agrees with them, they’re busy consolidating their 28% base. Yes, very smart. Here’s another excerpt that shows Mr. Cook is an equal opportunity critic:
Democrats in Congress seem almost as out of touch with the public mood.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comment that “Washington seems consumed by this process argument of bipartisanship,” suggests that she learned little from the 2008 election results. Voters really did seem to be serious last fall about Washington changing its ways, even if the old ways were more convenient for those in power.
After all, why try to work with the other side when you can just steamroll them? Granted, how Republicans have handled this economic crisis would certainly make it tempting to just ignore and work around them, but in the Senate, that won’t work.
Besides, the end product of a one-party solution might not be what Americans really want anyway. And while only 28 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, the 36 percent who call themselves Democrats are still a far cry from a majority. Add to that the fact that an equal number can’t bring themselves to identify with either party, and it should be a sober reminder to Democrats that while voters might have rejected the GOP, they haven’t exactly embraced Democrats either.
Democrats, especially those on the far left of the party, seem to forget that winning an election, even one as impressive as the 2008 election, does not mean that a grand shift has taken place in the American electorate. If Democrats push too extreme (liberal) an agenda, they risk alienation of the 36% who neither allign as Democrat or Republican, in addition to more conservative Democrats. Rather than being hostile to Republicans, especially in the Senate, who force moderation of Democratic plans, they should be thankful that they just might be what ultimately saves them from themselves in the eyes of a more conservative electorate.