There have been a slew of new polls come out in the last couple of days. Instead of going through each one and doing graphs and highlighting points (that would make a huge post), I have decided to link to them.
For the highlights
- Bush’s job approval rating keeps dropping and has even reached some new lows
- Every poll has people voting for Democrats over Republicans this fall, with an average of a 15% margin in favor of Democrats
- Democrats are now seen as the party best to handle EVERYTHING. This includes moral issues, economy, national security.
- An average of 2/3rds of the respondents on all polls feel that the Republican Leadership has been covering up the Foley scandal. The interesting part is all polls worded the emails as “sexually explicit”.
- According to the CBS/Ny Times poll, the Republicans have a 39% favorable rating. The last time it was this low was during the end of 1998 and beginning of 1999. In other words, the last time people viewed Republicans so poorly was during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. They just can’t handle sex scandals – even if it doesn’t involve their party.
America is starting to look more blue, but we still have 4 weeks to go (exactly), which is a life time in politics. We still must work hard and try to get the message out on more than Foley.
According to today’s Washington Post, Bush plans on using the North Korea nuclear test as a tool to “scare” Americans into voting for Republicans.
GOP officials are urging lawmakers to focus exclusively on local issues and leave it to party leaders to mitigate the Foley controversy by accusing Democrats of trying to politicize it. At the same time, the White House plans to amplify national security issues, especially the threat of terrorism, after North Korea’s reported nuclear test, in hopes of shifting the debate away from casualties and controversy during the final month of the campaign. These efforts are aimed largely at prodding disaffected conservatives to vote for GOP candidates despite their unease.
This is a grey area. It could either help or hurt the GOP. The Democrats need to get out and emphasize the fact that it was Bush who choose a new diplomatic position with North Korea and caused this tension. If the Democrats are successful at that point then the Republicans will end up shooting themselves in the foot using this issue. Put it this way. The last 2 elections have had terrorism and fear as the central front. Americans are tough and tired of being scared. I don’t think North Korea testing a bomb is enough to make the fear card trump all other issues, but it could be close.
Another point this article highlights is the Gerry Studds defense of the GOP:
The NRCC is highlighting Democratic leaders who supported former representative Gerry E. Studds (Mass.), who was censured by the House in 1983 after admitting to sexual contact with a male page a decade earlier; Studds went on to serve in Congress until 1997. “It is important to contrast how Republican leadership is handling the situation with problems with one of its own, and how Democrats did,” said former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, a close White House ally.
The counter talking point on this issue should be simple.
- The Republicans constantly portray their party as the party of “moral values”. Shouldn’t they hold their members to a higher standard than Democrats then?
- Gerry Studds had consensual sex with a 17 year old page. His advancements towards that page were not met with such responses as “sick sick sick sick sick”.
- It was not the Democrats who returned Studds to power, it was his constituents. This is a democracy after all!
- The Republicans want to bring up something that occurred 23 years ago. Let’s talk about something from 8 years ago. Bill Clinton had sex with a 19 year old intern. Why bring that up? Because at the same time that Republicans were on this witch hunt to try and impeach Clinton, pages were being warned about Foley. The Republicans made consensual sex between two adults a higher priority than a Republican congressman praying on minors.
- The Democrats immediately moved to censure Studds. This is the harshest punishment that can be imposed by Congress on another member, unless that member is convicted of a crime. The Republicans want to rewrite history yet again and make it look like they force Foley to resign. They did not. Foley resigned on his own and if you remember back to that Friday a week and a half ago, Republicans were “shocked” by his resignation.
- And finally. This entire Gerry Studds argument reeks of childish defenses. Are we now a country governed by children who use the argument “well he did it so it is ok”? By that very argument, if George Bush was having sex with an intern, nothing would be done.
The Democrats hardest job right now is to out noise the right wing noise machine. They need to stay on message. The talking points the NRCC has put out for Foley are starting to backfire. People are tired of these talking points, and if the Democrats fire back with a strong argument against their talking points then the Republicans will have to reorganize. That will put a serious damper on their damage control.