What is holding the Democrats back? That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo".
These are dark days for the Bush administration. According to the polls, most Americans say the country's going in the wrong direction. And today, the president's top adviser, Karl Rove, testified again in front of a grand jury investigating the Valerie Plame (search) case. If Rove is indicted, we should know within two weeks, more chaos befalls the Bush administration.
Now you would think the Democrats would be looking better to Americans because the Republican administration is having so many problems, but according to a new poll taken by Pew last week, Americans like the Democratic leadership less than they like Mr. Bush.
The poll question asked do you approve or disapprove of the job the Democratic leaders in Congress are doing? Only 32 percent approve; 48 percent disapprove; 20 percent don't know.
So 40 percent of Americans approve of President Bush's job performance, according to the latest FOX News poll. And only 32 percent approve of the Democratic leadership. The question is why?
Now the answer's two-fold. First, the Democratic leadership has not been able to articulate solutions to big energy prices, Iraq, the porous borders, among other big problems.
And secondly, many Americans perceive the Democrats as mean- spirited and petty. That perception comes from people like Howard Dean when he says stuff like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIR: You think people can work all day and then pick up their kids at child care or wherever and get home, and then have a -- still manage to sandwich in an eight-hour vote? Well, and Republicans I guess can do that because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And from far-left fanatics like Cindy Sheehan when she says:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY SHEEHAN, ANTI-WAR PROTESTOR: If nobody else will hold them accountable, we will. We'll do our job. We'll be the checks and balances on this out of control, criminal government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now most Americans are not "Kool-Aid" ideological fanatics. They're fair minded people who don't like smears, and would like to hear rational solutions to complicated problems.
It's tough for the Democrats to sell an anti-Iraq message when standard bearers Hillary Clinton support the action and Democrats in general have no alternative strategy.
It's tough for Democrats to criticize energy prices when it is the party that opposed domestic oil drilling and more refineries. It's tough for the Democrats to get traction when that party continues to promote a tax-and-spend agenda, when most working Americans are strapped for cash. Higher taxes are not going to sell in the USA no matter how they're framed.
As for the war on terror, the committed left wants lawyers for captured terrorists. You think that's going to resonate with middle America?
So while President Bush is down, the Democrats have not risen. Both parties better take a hard look at themselves. The folks are getting fed up.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar live near Little Rock, Arkansas. They're regular folks. Jim Bob sells real estate and dabbles in politics, but when family pictures are taken there's a different look from most families.
That's because Michelle and Jim have 16 children. All born to them. None adopted; none that just showed up.
Anyway, Jim Bob is 40 and Michelle is 39 and they want even more children. So if you have any to spare, you might give them a call.
The couple says they spend about $2,000 a month on food. They home school the brood. And they are not tired.
So if you see Jim Bob and Michelle in a restaurant, you order what they're having. To not do so would be ridiculous.
They're not tired?