Wednesday, October 17, 2007
On the ropes or roping them in?
Watching President Bush's news conference this morning, you would never think he was a man on the ropes. His approval ratings are appallingly low, the public does not trust him to handle the war, and the Democrats are all but putting up party decorations to celebrate recapturing the White House.

Yet, Mr. Bush is on the attack and clearly sensing weakness in the Democratic front. How can this be?

Maybe because the Democrats are becoming their own worst enemies, and fast:

- Their top presidential candidates will make no commitment to when or how they will end the war in Iraq, infuriating the left-wing of their party and puzzling the public, which wants such a plan from the Democrats.

- The Democratic governor of New York, a massively important state in any election, wants to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, despite public outcry against it.

- National Democrats are at war with their state counterparts over the primary voting schedule.

- And somehow, at a time when economic worries are rising fast, Democratic forces in Congress are openly sparring with each other over legislation regarding what happened to Armenians almost a hundred years ago, legislation which could cost American troops in Iraq important logistical support from the country of Turkey.

There are dedicated, well-meaning Democrats involved in all these measures who firmly believe in what they are doing. But overconfidence has been the downfall of many potential winners.

The Raw Politics Read: George Bush and the Republicans are on the ropes, but if the Democrats continue wandering down all these political side streets and ignoring the issues that concern the vast moderate middle of voters, they may find there is plenty of room on the ropes for both parties.

What do you think: Are the Democrats squandering the goodwill of voters at a critical time?

-- By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 6:54 PM ET
  22 Comments
I think they always find a way to shoot themselves in the foot! They were elected to stop the war and have done nothing to this day. It seems that they have gotten to a point where they are so noncommital to just about everything!! It is ridiculous!!

It seems they came in doing nothing and they will leave doing nothing! They better get busy or they may find themselves packing but not to go to the White House!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 7:17 PM ET
Yes, they're squandering the goodwill of voters because the voters are now seeing their true colors. The dems promised it, but there is no "breath of fresh air" , there is no "new Congress", there is only the same old same old.
Posted By ronnie - knoxville, tn. : 7:35 PM ET
I think in an attempt to stay down the center of the line, not wanting any wrong assessment of any situation the country faces, the Democrats are quickly losing credibility. As a voter, I would rather see someone take a stand on an issue, and be able to support that issue. It seems that the fear factor of being accused of "waffling" is a stonger motivator than actually voicing an opinion.
Posted By Pamina, New Rochelle, NY : 7:36 PM ET
Of course the Democrats are misusing the faith of voters, they will say whatever is popular to get elected but they do not know how to lead. Many of the presidential candidates cannot use one sentence without blaming this administration. We all know Democrats hate this administration with a vengeance, how about coming up with something more original. I think I will stick with Republicans this election season because I want a commander in chief and not a rock star as president.
Posted By Dusten North, South Carolina : 7:41 PM ET
Tom/AC360:
Yes, Democrats may be sparring but they are also doing it with blinders on.

One conversation neglected by Democratic candidates includes a big ONE: What is the US going to do about the national debt i.e. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid?

The first member of the Baby Boomer Generation will be 62 years old on January 1, 2008. He or she may want to retire and draw on SS or Medicare. This is only the beginning of a tsunami of boomers who will want to draw upon what is promised to them from the federal government at 62+.

As a Late Boomer, I want to hear solutions about how there is going to be money in these programs when I retire in 2019.

Whether it is a huge black gorilla or an enormous pink elephant in the room, Americans (especially Congress, the President, etc.) need to acknowledge that we have a mammoth problem only a few years away.

Otherwise, I could care less if Hillary Clinton needs to tie her shoes or if Barak Obama is somehow related via ancestry to a Republican candidate.

Sigh.
Posted By Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 7:42 PM ET
I think that some of the Democratic candidates believe the way to beat the Republicans is to be more like them. I think that ticks off Democrats and make Republican candidates look better.
Posted By Jane P. El Paso, Tx. : 7:44 PM ET
I think that the reason it appears Republicans are on the ropes is that people who don't want our troops in Iraq anymore think that change of party in the White House will automatically remove us from war situations.
Posted By Cary - Lowell, IN. : 7:50 PM ET
Im a Democrat, but Im also a realist. Now Hillary and the other Dem candidates are seeing that they can't just leave Iraq. We're going to be looking for terrorists in Iraq and surrounding nations for many years.
Posted By rick b. , philadephia, pa. : 7:54 PM ET
Bush is at 24 percent approval but the Congress is at 11 percent. Why should we have faith in them over the President?
Posted By Matt F., Spokane, WA. : 7:58 PM ET
Doesn't Congress have anything else to work on other than saying that some country committed genocide 90 years ago?! I don't want to seem uncaring, but is this where my tax dollars are going? Congress is lame and the whole group of them should be thrown to the curb.
Posted By ellen c. -- cambridge, ma. : 8:23 PM ET
Hi Tom,
I have family and friends who are Republicans and Democrats. We do all agree we're somewhere in the middle on most issues. So, I guess on the ropes or roping them in will really depend on who votes in November of next year and who stays home. I must say that I feel neither the donkeys or elephants have roped me in with their skill at big time problem solving. However, one thing is for sure, there will be enough bull headed our way to keep the lasso makers in business for many months to come. Take Care
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 8:25 PM ET
I think confidence in Democrats in Congress is low because people don't see them working on the problems in this country. What the heck is our Congress doing worrying about atrocities that occurred before World War I?
Posted By james f., cleveland oh. : 8:28 PM ET
Well Tom, I hoped that with the majority switching to the Democrats last year that things would improve. However very little has gotten done and this latest episode with dredging up the Turkish genocide, proves that they may even be worse than their predecessors.
Posted By Carole J. - Albany, NY. : 8:34 PM ET
You know, Tom, I've been so upset with the actions of the Bush administration, I was counting on the Democrats to make things better. What you say here in your post is all very true and leaves me heartbroken. I don't want to give up hope for our country, nor do I want to become any more cynical than I already am. I think part of the problem is that politicians these days seem to care more about their party than about their constituencies. I guess all we can do is use the power of the ballot.

Barbara, Culver City, CA
Posted By Barbara : 8:36 PM ET
You don't have to be a scholar to see that Nancy Pelosi's resolution has nothing to do with genocide in Armenia. It's simply a roundabout way for Democrats to get a veto-proof action against war in Iraq.
Posted By michael g., mesa, az. : 8:40 PM ET
I don't mean to sound insensitive, but the Democratic Congress clearly is making a political move by introducing something as obscure as the history of relations between Turkey+Armenia . It's odd and calculated and I think people can see that.
Posted By Dennis D., Lincoln, NE : 8:43 PM ET
This latest little game the Democrats are playing makes them look like politicians who aren't doing things for the people, but for their own advantage. In case people have forgotten, the Ottoman Empire no longer exists. However, Japan does, so why aren't democrats condemning their actions in WW II?
Posted By Frank W, Colorado Springs, Co. : 8:48 PM ET
Not only are they squandering the goodwill voters, they are piling up illuded hopes to the innocent voters. Before they attempt to beat the odds, they better make sure they could survive the odds beating them.
Posted By lily - phoenix az : 8:51 PM ET
I think Speaker Pelosi's proposal is off-topic for our country right now. Shouldn't the speaker be interested in doing what is right for our country? Unfortunately I see she is only interested in doing what she thinks is damaging for the Republicans as it pertains to the next election.
Posted By shannon ellis, dover, me. : 8:54 PM ET
Tom - I have to disagree with one item, that "economic worries are rising fast". I think you refer to bad mortgages; but people who risk those mortgages- both the lender and the lendee- are just paying the price for their recklessness, but many other factors and parts of the economy are doing great .
Posted By Haley -- Bellvue, Wash. : 8:59 PM ET
I think most people are just sick of listening to politicians. Can we just have Congress get back to us when they've actually accomplished something ?
Posted By xtina - chicago IL : 9:50 PM ET
To all of you. I respect the fact that you somewhat pay attention to politics. What we need to realize is that both sides are committed to getting reelected more than they are committed to making progress, it's unfortunate. With that being said, we have to put this into context. The republicans GOAL right now is to make sure that NOTHING gets done by this Democratic lead Congress. Why? Well this is their strategy, so they can talk to their constituents on the campaign trail and say, they are the Can't do congress or something to that nature. The dems are bringing legislation forward that is attempting to stop this occupation and addressing health care and trying to get spending under control. This is what's happening. The Dems are doing what they said they were going to do. They just do not have a big enough of a majority to fight filibusters and override vetos. It's just that easy. The question is, do you think that the republicans are going to let the dems be the party the ends this war while GW is still in office? All this is classic partisan politics. THAT'S why nothing is getting done.
Posted By Greg : 11:51 AM ET
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