The political spectrum has truly transformed. At the end of 2006, Grandma Pelosi and company took the Congress “back” and the media hoopla that followed bordered on insanity. As events preceding this “monumental” (and by “monumental” I mean an entirely typical and commonplace shift in party control that the Democrats paraded as if it were an unexpected achievement) unfolded, it looked as though the Republicans would never redeem themselves (at least in the eyes of leftists). Indeed, from Bush’s low approval ratings and public disdain for the war in Iraq to the Democrats rise in both the Senate and the House, prospects for the Republicans appeared quite grim – but, luckily, things have started to turn around. At the time, I was more than convinced that the Democrats’ rise in popularity was not due to a literal spike in adoration for the Democrats. Rather, I knew quite confidently that the Democrats had won for two reasons. First (and as I mentioned), it is very common for the opposing party to win the Congress during a president’s second term.
Second, George W. Bush and the Republicans had unintentionally disillusioned a substantial proportion the American public (myself excluded). While this second point stands on its own, a substantial portion of its weight is tied with the implications mentioned in my first point. It was due to this unintentional disillusionment that the secondary cause of the Democratic “rise” to power was seen.
If one trended the popularity of the Democratic Party over the past seven years, he or she would not find a dramatic rise in its popularity among mainstream Americans, as one might expect. In fact, he or she would easily find that the public has remained relatively unmoved in its support for the Democrats:
“Yet the Democrats’ growing advantage in party identification is tempered by the fact that the Democratic Party’s overall standing with the public is no better than it was when President Bush was first inaugurated in 2001. Instead, it is the Republican Party that has rapidly lost public support, particularly among political independents.” – The Pew Research Center
While these prospects appeared grim (the above quote is taken from a March 2007 study), the climate is quickly evolving; in turn, one might wonder what will happen concerning the 2008 election. While the American people expressed a need for change in 2006, it is quite clear that the decision to shift party control was based more on a rejection of current policies than it was an embracement of Democratic inclinations.
If this is the case, which party will have its prime candidate sitting in the oval office? While there are many factors at play, it appears that the negativity once plaguing the Republicans is beginning to disseminate. Last week, the New York Times played its typical undercover political game, as it infused badly corroborated partisan views into its news coverage. Following this journalistic debacle, Clinton and Obama intensified their “playground” politics, with a public display of child-like banter that has continued into this week.
“He published pamphlets about me and my policies that were unfair and untrue!”
“She disseminated a picture of me wearing Muslim garb! I’m not an Islamist!”
From dirty politics to high school jeers, the candidates on the left are making themselves look like fools. Let’s briefly juxtaposition their jeers (and for those of you who haven’t picked up on the fact that the above quotes are not direct, please take note; as realistic as they appear, they are derived from my own perception of the candidates’ ridiculousness), allow me to provide a brief excerpt from Sen. John McCain (via the “revered” New York Times). He was responding to comments made about Obama and Clinton prior to his arrival at a political event:
“It’s my understanding,” he said, “that before I came in here a person who was on the program before I spoke made some disparaging remarks about my two colleagues in the Senate, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. I have repeatedly stated my respect for Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, that I will treat them with respect. I will call them Senator. We will have a respectful debate, as I have said on hundreds of occasions. I regret any comments that may have been made about these two individuals who are honorable Americans.”
So, who’s it going to be? The playground bullies or the man who refuses to play “politics as usual?”