Monday, January 08, 2007
Dems Worry About Timing Of Bush's Pitch
The Democrats seem to fear that their "100 hours" showcase will be upstaged this week by President Bush's winning issue.
Democratic leaders who had hoped to emphasize their domestic agenda in the opening weeks of Congress have concluded that Iraq will share top billing, and they plan on aggressively confronting administration officials this week in a series of hearings. ...
Democrats had hoped that the headlines and evening news would be dominated by votes in Congress to bolster homeland security, raise the minimum wage, fund stem cell research and grant the federal government authority to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare. Each of those measures will be taken up on sequential days this week, a bill-a-day approach designed to capture headlines and show the nation that Democrats can get things done.
But with Bush's long-awaited policy address tentatively set for midweek, those much-touted bills are not likely to lead the news, and the Democratic leaders have been forced to change their tactics.
"The challenge for them is this: Iraq is the central issue. It's an enormous problem for the president and the Republicans, but it has the suffocating effect of taking attention away from the Democrats' domestic legislative priorities, and I think they understand that," said Joe Lockhart, a White House press secretary in the Clinton administration.
Needless to say, the slow motion unraveling of the Republicans over Iraq is a much larger determinant of the future success of the Democratic Party than the "100 hours" legislation.