Why are Democrats polling so poorly this year? I have a hunch that it’s overplayed (more on that tomorrow) but there’s no doubt that things are tough. So what caused it? This:
According to the Commerce Department this morning, the country’s gross domestic product this spring grew at an anemic 1.6 percent. But that’s just the latest in a series of indications that the economy isn’t really improving. Forget mosques and immigration and health care reform — they may split the country and bedevil Democrats politically, but it’s the economy that’s really to blame for all of it. The good news is, there are steps the government can take to improve the situation. The bad news is they’re not gonna. And that’s why Democrats are suffering.
“It’s very difficult to envisage any significant policy response to current economic problems in the near term,” said Mark Zandi, one of the nation’s top economists, earlier this week.
That means economic indicators won’t be improving. Unemployment is stuck at 9.5 percent and threatening to climb. Jobless claims are inching higher over time (there were 473,000 this week) and new home sales tanked in July, down 12.4 percent. It may not be a double-dip recession, but as Paul Krugman notes, “this isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters.”
That means pain for Americans, and potentially big losses for the Democrats in November.
But help isn’t on the way. Congress could pass legislation extending COBRA subsidies, food stamps, or major incentives for small business to hire. But the Democrats long ago gave up on passing significant stimulus, their hands tied by Republicans and squeamish, vulnerable members of their own party. And without any further action to pump money into the sputtering economic engine, Americans will be left to simply wait for the economy to improve on its own — which won’t happen very quickly.
Democrats came into office not because we were so great but because the Republican Party was so bad. We had a huge mandate and a mess that required and still requires bold action. And rather than being left, right, or center, most Americans simply want to see results, and with our majorities in Congress we should have seen results. But the Blue Dogs and company derailed all that. By obstructing from within the party, they aided the Republicans and have paralyzed the whole economic situation and have hurt the party’s chances in what started off looking like a cycle where Dems could even make gains.
I’m all for a big tent. I want to see a diverse party-men and women, white, black, brown, etc., people of every faith and people who don’t give a flip about religion, old and young, rural and urban, heterosexuals and every member of the LGBT community all in the same party. What I don’t want in the party are the people who are cutting our throats when they’re supposed to be part of the team. I don’t want people who are in the party of the common man, the party that’s supposed to give a voice to the voiceless, sabotaging our agenda for the sake of the wealthy and big corporations. That’s why the Blue Dogs and company have to go.
I don’t make many predictions. I ain’t Mrs. Cleo. I don’t think though that this year will be as big a disaster for Democrats as many are thinking or as the polls are suggesting. Whatever happens though, the best action Democrats can take is to cut the Blue Dogs and their ilk loose. At this point, it’s not only a matter of our party’s survival, it’s a matter of what’s good for the nation. The Blue Dogs have become a cancer on the country and are hurting it with almost every act. For that reason, it’s time to get rid of them altogether.