September 19, 2006


9/11 anniversary events boost White House (Rick Klein, 9/18/06, Boston Globe)

Public confidence in President Bush's leadership appears to be rising since last week's campaign-style blitz touting his record in fighting terrorism, generating optimism among Republican lawmakers and operatives that they will be able to avoid losing control of Congress in the fall.

The president utilized a high-profile series of trips to important sites related to the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, along with a nationally televised Oval Office address, to emphasize that Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism and that the United States has been free of terrorist attacks for five years due to the extraordinary vigilance of his administration.

The concerted effort, which also included new plans for bringing terrorists to trial and conducting surveillance to disrupt terrorist plots, appears to have had an effect on his approval ratings. A series of recent polls shows Bush's approval inching back into the low 40s -- a level at which many pollsters say he won't be a significant drag on candidates in House and Senate races. And more voters are citing terrorism as a top concern, allowing Republicans to highlight an area that has long been a strong suit for their party. [...]

Democratic Party leaders say they always expected to see the president's poll numbers climb slightly around the anniversary of 9/11, given the warm memories so many Americans have of Bush's leadership after the attacks.

But with violence continuing in Iraq and no signs of US troops coming home soon, voters won't be convinced to vote for Republicans based on national security issues this year, said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

``Frankly, it did work in 2002, and it worked in 2004, but it's not going to work this year," Schumer said, explaining that Democrats won't let Republicans conflate the war on terrorism with the Iraq War. ``We're not going to let them switch the focus. We've learned our lessons. Every time they go after us, we stand up and fight back."

Anybody here remember the classic Simpsons episode where Homer accidentally desecrated the sacred parchment of the Stonecutters, and then unwittingly pounded it with his fists while proclaiming he had learned his lesson? The Democrats likewise insist they have learned their lessons for the next election, but lately they've been like the college student who gets a hangover before the big finals and throws up on his desk.

Also: Isn't this at least the third election cycle in a row in which the media has endlessly told us that the Democrats are going to make big gains, even to the point of interpreting close Democratic losses a year away from the election as some kind of anti-Republican bellwether?

Mark Steyn says that the Democrats and the press live in a mutually reinforcing cocoon of delusion. While nobody knows for sure what will happen in November, I think most of us are hoping we get to bust that cocoon again in November. It's an addictive habit.

Posted by Matt Murphy at September 19, 2006 2:35 PM

Please note the irritating boldface was added by me and was not part of the original text. I wish I'd left it alone, having gotten a good look at it.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 19, 2006 3:13 PM

And didn't the Stonecutters run all the world's conspiracies?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 19, 2006 4:21 PM

Would be amusing to have an overview of Democrats calling for a fight with the Republicans while also being on the record calling for compromise with the UN, France, Al Qaeda etc.

Posted by: Daran at September 19, 2006 4:43 PM

Yeah, Matt, next time try all caps. That works really well, too. :-)

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at September 19, 2006 4:45 PM

Raoul Ortega:

Ah, someone does remember, and remember well. The Stonecutter's Song is the national anthem for all conspiracy theorists who actually want in on the fun:

Who controls the British Crown?
Who keeps the metric system down?
We do, we do.
Who keeps Atlantis off the maps?
Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
We do, we do.
Who holds back the electric car?
Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?
We do, we do.
Who robs cave fish of their sight?
Who rigs every Oscar night?
We do, we do!

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 19, 2006 7:14 PM

Actually it reminds me of The Simpsons episode where Lisa has an experiment on "Is my brother dumber than a hamster?"

The hamster retreats after being shocked when touching a food pellet. Bart, on the other hand, keeps getting shocked every time he repeatedly reaches for the cupcake. "Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow."

Posted by: ken at September 19, 2006 8:06 PM
I'll be back. You can't keep the Democrats out of the White House forever. And when they get in, I'm back on the street! With all of my criminal buddies! Ba-ha-ha-ha-ha!!

Sideshow Bob (1991)

Posted by: John at September 19, 2006 8:30 PM

Bart: "Didn't you wonder why you were getting checks for doing absolutely nothing?"
Grandpa: "I figured 'cause the Democrats were in power again."

The Front (1993)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 20, 2006 12:03 AM