Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bush-hatred is hurting the Democratic Party

Craig Charney, a former pollster for Bill Clinton, notes how Bush-hatred is distorting the message of the Democratic Party.
A recent Fox News poll gets at the disturbing truth: A majority of Democrats say they want to see the president fail. Such deep hatred is bad news for the country at a time when America needs to bridge the partisan divide. It's also bad news for the Democrats, who risk repeating the Republicans' mistakes of a decade ago, driving away the centrists they need to regain power or going too far if they do manage to win.

Fox's question was revealing: "Regardless of how you voted in the presidential election, would you say you want President Bush to succeed or not?" Democrats said "not," 51 percent to 40 percent - where the public at large wanted success by almost two to one.

In other words, the rage extends way beyond the lip-pierced Deaniacs, aging hippies and other fringes of the Democratic Party. Lots of otherwise sensible people - suburban moms, hospital orderlies, schoolteachers, big-hatted church ladies - detest George W. Bush.

When these Democrats say they want Bush to fail, might this mean that they simply reject what they see as his far-right religious and corporate agenda? If so, it's hard to see why independents - hardly right-wing zealots - hope he succeeds by 63 percent to 34 percent. Sadly, much of the Democratic Party wants to see this president crash and burn.
Remember, for better or for worse, George W. Bush will be our president for more than two years. Hoping that he'll fail is really hoping that America will fail. These people detest Bush so much that they don't mind America getting a setback across the globe if it will weaken Bush.

And when half the Democratic Party members responding to the poll have this attitude, it can't help but have the effect of pulling Democratic politicians further to the extremes. Much as David Broder might deplore it, politicians respond to what their base feels. And if they don't, they will be less successful, and the ones who better represent what the base believes will be the ones to get nominated. And now we know that the Democratic base overriding desire is to see the President of the United States fail. That is not healthy for the Democrats or for the country.