The chance for House Dems to continue the ethics truce rather evaporated when Tom Delay was indicted. Not to mention Abramoff - which Dems naturally are doing. A lot.
To the sound of fanfares, Pelosi and Reid come out with their Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (S 1280, if anyone's counting).
I doubt whether the same bunch who brought you the Swifties are going to hold their fire against potential Dem suspects just because Miss Nancy has told her class not to snitch on the Republican students!
Why was there an ethics truce in the first place? Were all GOP complaints in the pre-truce period really all vexatious and without foundation? Tell that to William Jefferson.
Plus, what better chance for Congressional Dems to show that, despite all indications to the contrary, they actually do have some spine?
(Uh oh - think I've answered my own question there...)
I'm a little unclear on the 'Democratic support' statistic: when it says
Democrats... support[ed] his position 38 percent of the time in the Senate...
I assume that means a majority of Democrats voting for the Bush position on 38% of the roll calls - rather than some Democrats or all Democrats.
Isn't the problem that the GOP is only concerned that enough Dems vote the Bush ticket? And my reading is that there's a squad of a dozen or so usual suspects among Senate Dems who from whom GOP floor managers can often look to get cover when they come up a couple of votes short. Not every time, but regularly.
I take the point that the smaller the level of Dem support, the more pressure is placed on GOP floor managers to keep their people in line.
But the critical votes for those managers are those where Dem support for the GOP position makes the difference between a vote passing or not. In evaluating the performance of Dem Congress members, there ought to be some weighting given to those votes.
(The Medicare bill HR 1 in the 108th is one example (in both houses).)
Then again, there must be be some Bush-position votes on which there is genuine bipartisan support, where Dems voting the Bush way can't be criticised. Mustn't there? One or two?...
A piece in the Prospect reports polling yielding a distinct trend towards illiberalism amongst Americans:
Between 1992 and 2004, for example, the percentage of people who said they agree that "the father of the family must be the master in his own house" increased ten points, from 42 to 52 percent, in the 2,500-person Environics survey. The percentage agreeing that "men are naturally superior to women" increased from 30 percent to 40 percent.
It doesn't say what percentage of those agreeing with the second proposition were women. Or liberals.
Looking at the series of stats going back to 1969, I can't figure a correlation between the stated Dem lead and success in electing a Dem president. (I'm assuming the polls are taken in January of each year, and roughly reflect the position in the previous November.)
Nixon won with Dems leading by 17 and 22 points; Reagan with Dem leads of 11 and 9 points; Clinton with 9 and 8 points; Bush II with 5 and 6 points.
How much is this due to party realignment in the South, with Southern conservatives gradually dumping Dem identification for the GOP?
The political philosophy numbers since Reagan show a range of 33-40% classing themselves as conservative; but the lowest score comes in 2003 - just after the GOP widened its margin in the House!