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The Democrats who came to power with so much hype and fanfare after the 2006 mid-term elections limped out of Washington Sunday, battered and bruised from multiple losses to the most unpopular President in modern American history.
After seven months of failure after failure, the Democratic Congress compounded their many errors by passing a far-reaching bill that allows Bush to spy at will on Americans without court approval. All he needs is a sign off by his lackluster and flawed Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales.
The Democrats, of course, will spin their failures as some measure of success against high odds and will point to high profile bills like raising the minimum wage to bolstering U.S. security and expanding children’s health care.
But their main promise — to bring the troops home from Iraq — remain a broken pact with American voters and even with Republican defections from the President’s unpopular war, the Democrats lack the votes or the fortitude to stand up to Bush on his failed Iraq policy.
The spin started early Sunday with Democrats pointing to claimed victories and ignoring their many losses.
Reports Richard Cowen of Reuters:
Much of the Democrats’ progress was incremental and out of the spotlight of the fights with Bush over the Iraq war, now in its fifth year. While those battles were raging, Democrats were able to plow ahead with bills they say will fulfill campaign promises to improve national security and help the neediest.
“We have made more progress in the last seven days than previous congresses made in the last seven years,” Democratic leaders boasted about the spurt of legislation that passed in the final days.
“Democrats have had a good run legislatively over the past few weeks and that does help them going into the recess,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
That would be welcome news for a Congress that this year has seen its public approval ratings dip even below Bush’s chronically low polling. A Pew Research Center survey released on Thursday said Bush scored a 29 percent approval rating, while Democratic leaders were at a similarly lethargic 33 percent.
Even though those poor ratings do not necessarily translate into public support for Republican lawmakers, Democrats will have their work cut out for them, trying to convince voters back home that they have responded to last November’s call for change.
And they will face another challenge when they return from recess in early September when the future of the Iraq war will again take center stage with a mid-September progress report to Congress.
But all the political propaganda in the world can’t hide the fact that the Democratic leadership of Congress has been a monumental failure.