The New York Times recently suggested that the Democratic Party needs to look back and regain its base. I donâ€™t see the crisis.
The democratic voting block wants to see the troops come home. The leadership pushed real hard. They didnâ€™t have the votes to override Bushâ€™s veto. Its not rocket science, most voters will understand that it simply isnâ€™t the Democratic Partyâ€™s fault that a timetable wasnâ€™t attached to the latest Iraq funding bill.
According to the times article, the base strongly supports the timetable that the Democrats were able to get out of congress. Score one for the leadership, no? Then Bush vetoed the bill. That seems like a strike against Bush, something likely to get the democratic base riled up for 2008, not angry at the democratic representatives and senators.
The majority of the base is also strongly opposed to cutting off all funding for the war. That means that most the base would have counseled the Democrats to do exactly what they did: let the second bill go through to fund the troops. And the Democrats got a minimum wage hike out of the deal.
So the domestic initiatives have been a little weaker than expected. So what? The headlines still show democrats challenging Bush, and the democrats pushing through a minimum wage hike. Other policy weaknesses are receiving little attention.
There is no risk that â€œsome might simply stay home in 2008.â€ Likely to be another close election dependent as much on base turn out on undecided voters, the base will be riled up to campaign and vote. In fact, the NYT article even predicts how the war issue will continue to hurt Republicans more than Democrats over time:
Either Republicans will follow through on their threats to reassess their support for the war by September, or they will keep voting with Bush and doom themselves in 2008.
Most the anti-war voters will have seen the Democrats fighting to bring the troops home and not blame them for the ultimate failure to do so. Even if the democrats could have eaten more fire over the war, the anti-war vote sure wonâ€™t vote republican. And these political savvy voters sure wonâ€™t sit out an election or vote third party when an election is coming down to the wire, featuring hot button issues they care about.
The Democrats havenâ€™t lost much ground with their base, and when the Democratic voting block sees their other options, they will definitely jump back in line in the voting booth.