|HE DEMOCRATS, IN many cases otherwise known as the Angry Left, desperately want one of their own to be Speaker of the House and another to be Majority Leader of the Senate. Not likely -- at least not early in 2007 when those oaths of office will be taken.|
As deposed Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham slinks off from the memory of California's 50th Congressional District, the race to take his place is on. How bad is it for the Democrats? Their candidate, Francine Busby, received 44 percent of the vote and the leading Republican received just 15 percent. Everyone is viewing it as disastrous for the Democrat. The parties will likely line up behind their candidates in the next election. There were 14 Republican candidates in the primary and only two Democrats. Ms. Busby is seen as a sure loser to Brian Bilbray in the run-off since she did not deliver the well over 50 percent a Democrat typically needs in this kind of election.
If Democrats can't pick up a seat that belonged to a now-felon, and if the gravity of an unpopular-war president and spending-us-into-oblivion Congress can't create an atmosphere friendly to Democratic aspirations -- well, what can? Democrats need open seats like California's 50th if they are to seize control of Congress. But if this race is any kind of bellwether, Dems are fixing to be powerfully disappointed.
Democrats have assumed that being merely livid (complete with perpetual scowls on the faces of Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Democrat chief Howard Dean) will be enough to overtake the Republicans. Alas, the party of reaction isn't going to get it done -- at least not this year -- and the gettin' might never get better in the near future.
First, with no fresh ideas on the Democrat front, the Republican agenda won't be challenged and the GOP will feel no pressure to sharpen up its act and remember the party of Reagan that put them in power. Second, a weak GOP means a weak America; rising debt and a president that occasionally appears spineless cannot augur national greatness.
- Oil prices are producing frustration under Republican control.
- Iran has the bomb and the Middle East is purportedly out of control, and costing American lives weekly.
- The Republican base is livid over GOP spending and George Bush losing his veto pen.
- The President is mishandling the immigration issue.
- The names Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay are hardly stoking national confidence in Republican values.
- The polling numbers are dismal at best for the White House and Republican leadership.
As iron sharpens iron, says Scripture, so one man sharpens another. The same ought to be said of parties. Unfortunately for Democrats (because they will most assuredly stay out of majority power), Republicans (because they most assuredly won't change their MO) and America (which needs strong competing parties) -- not this year.
Matt Friedeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary. Respond to this column at his blog at "EvangelismToday.blogspot.com."
More columns by Matt Friedeman