The recent LA Times poll showing that only 27% of Americans approve of the way Congress is doing its job should surprise no one but Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
Since January when they took control of Congress, the Democratic leadership has misunderstood its mandate (it didn’t really have one) and promised changes that simple arithmetic would have shown they could never deliver (the Senate math favors a GOP blocking strategy).
In their fervor to take down George Bush, they misinterpreted voter expectations regarding Iraq. Other than the far left wing of the Democratic party, Americans in general do not favor the war, nor do they want to pull the plug on our troops or the Iraqis. Pelosi and Company believed differently, couldn’t deliver on their anti-war strategy, and ended up alienating the liberals and the rest of country in the process.
The ramifications of this failure have eluded many in the world of political punditry.
Who benefits from Congress’ miserable showing? Clearly it is not George Bush, who continues to sag under the weight of his own ineptitude and bottom-feeding poll numbers. Nor do the candidates who are most allied with the Democratic Congress’ position on the war: Obama, Edwards, Kucinich, etc.
The only possible winning hand belongs to Hillary Clinton. Her centrist point of view is precisely where most of America lives right now. Yes, it is ambivalent, questioning, hopeful, and principled, all at the same time.
Few people have the stomach anymore for the Bush-Cheney fantasy of a militarily liberated Iraq. Just as few — other than the far left — believe we have an ethical or moral duty to pack up and pull out.
Hillary reflects this voter ambivalence perfectly. It is a disquieting gray area that Pelosi, Reid, Bush, and Cheney haven’t the intellect to understand or accept.