Intentional Election, Unintended Consequences

In politics, it seems like nothing goes the way the experts thought it would. Conventional wisdom had it that the Democrats would likely take over the House in the 2006 mid—term elections, but the Republicans would retain a majority—albeit reduced—in the Senate.

Such was not the case, however. The Democrats surprised the pre—election predictions and won the Senate as well. A narrow 51—49 win, perhaps, but a win nonetheless. The committee chairmanships, scheduling of votes and the legislative agenda now belongs to the Democrats. Washington is a changed town.

Nancy Pelosi has promised that her 'first 100 hours' as Speaker would be busy: She'd push for the immediate implementation of all of the 9—11 Commission's recommendations, introduce legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25/hour from the current $5.15/hour, slash the interest rates on Federal Student Loans in half, push for the Government to negotiate directly with the major pharmaceutical companies in order to obtain lower drug pricing for Medicare patients, and broaden the Government's involvement in funding for embryonic stem—cell research.

Quite an ambitious 'four days.' Putting aside the fact that with very narrow margins in both Houses the Democrats will have at least as difficult a time—if not more so—than the Republicans did in passing controversial bills, they do have the initiative and they do control the agenda. They're on offense now, and regardless of how stiff the Republicans' defenses are, some of the Democrats' bombers will reach their targets. An inevitable number of Democratically—sponsored proposals will wend their way to President Bush's desk.

That is the moment of unintended consequences that no one is talking about. Although to committed conservatives, a Democratic agenda rife with top—heavy Government spending, intrusive 'Mommy' policies, one—sided political correctness, and anti—free—market initiatives is anathema, a very significant portion of the U.S. electorate is neither hyper liberal nor ultra—conservative. Most consider themselves to be fairly reasonable, moderate individuals, even if their leanings are slightly left or slightly right. Another sizable chunk of the voting population is even less politically—attentive, relying on headlines and quick soundbites to form their voting opinions shortly before any given election.

President Bush will work with the Democrats and compromise to whatever degree he must as their bills come before him. But, ultimately, he will sign some. He may sign Minimum Wage. He may implement some 9—11 Commission dictates. He may modify his public rhetoric regarding the War in Iraq.

The liberal Mainstream Media will hail these events as proof of important Democratic achievements. Every Democratic proposal that becomes official policy will be trumpeted by Katie Couric and Time Magazine as yet more evidence that having a Democratically—controlled House and Senate is good for the country.

But the significant number of non—political partisans in the country will see things differently. They'll see an increase in, say, minimum wage or more 9—11 Commission implementations and simply think to themselves, 'Good. We're making progress as a country.' They'll see President Bush signing a bill, or standing with both John McCain and Harry Reid at a press event, and the average person will think that President Bush is doing good things. As the President is seen by the general public cooperating with Democrats, the national mainstream press is likely to dial back on the unrelentingly vicious, negative shots that they've taken at him for the past six years.

The Hill and the White House are no longer both controlled by Republicans. This denies the mainstream press a free—fire target zone, where unrestricted criticism of Republican policy and Republican personae was the order of the day. Since the President will no longer be savaged daily from all corners, the average voter will not be bombarded with negative images and derogatory impressions of President Bush to the same degree as before.

Instead, he'll be seen cooperating with the Pelosi/Reid bunch, and despite the MSM's undoubtedly frantic efforts to make President Bush look bad even as he works with the Democrats, the net result will be that President Bush will be seen in a less negative, more favorable light in the next two years than he was for the past six years. More bills that the liberal media approve of will be passed, with the assistance of a Democratic House and more closely—balanced Senate. The President's approval ratings among the general populace are therefore likely to rise——perhaps significantly—as a consequence.

This augurs very well for the Republican Presidential candidate in 2008, especially if that candidate is seen as one who can reach across party lines to get things done.

Unintended consequences, indeed.

Steve Feinstein is an occasional contributor to American Thinker.

In politics, it seems like nothing goes the way the experts thought it would. Conventional wisdom had it that the Democrats would likely take over the House in the 2006 mid—term elections, but the Republicans would retain a majority—albeit reduced—in the Senate.

Such was not the case, however. The Democrats surprised the pre—election predictions and won the Senate as well. A narrow 51—49 win, perhaps, but a win nonetheless. The committee chairmanships, scheduling of votes and the legislative agenda now belongs to the Democrats. Washington is a changed town.

Nancy Pelosi has promised that her 'first 100 hours' as Speaker would be busy: She'd push for the immediate implementation of all of the 9—11 Commission's recommendations, introduce legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25/hour from the current $5.15/hour, slash the interest rates on Federal Student Loans in half, push for the Government to negotiate directly with the major pharmaceutical companies in order to obtain lower drug pricing for Medicare patients, and broaden the Government's involvement in funding for embryonic stem—cell research.

Quite an ambitious 'four days.' Putting aside the fact that with very narrow margins in both Houses the Democrats will have at least as difficult a time—if not more so—than the Republicans did in passing controversial bills, they do have the initiative and they do control the agenda. They're on offense now, and regardless of how stiff the Republicans' defenses are, some of the Democrats' bombers will reach their targets. An inevitable number of Democratically—sponsored proposals will wend their way to President Bush's desk.

That is the moment of unintended consequences that no one is talking about. Although to committed conservatives, a Democratic agenda rife with top—heavy Government spending, intrusive 'Mommy' policies, one—sided political correctness, and anti—free—market initiatives is anathema, a very significant portion of the U.S. electorate is neither hyper liberal nor ultra—conservative. Most consider themselves to be fairly reasonable, moderate individuals, even if their leanings are slightly left or slightly right. Another sizable chunk of the voting population is even less politically—attentive, relying on headlines and quick soundbites to form their voting opinions shortly before any given election.

President Bush will work with the Democrats and compromise to whatever degree he must as their bills come before him. But, ultimately, he will sign some. He may sign Minimum Wage. He may implement some 9—11 Commission dictates. He may modify his public rhetoric regarding the War in Iraq.

The liberal Mainstream Media will hail these events as proof of important Democratic achievements. Every Democratic proposal that becomes official policy will be trumpeted by Katie Couric and Time Magazine as yet more evidence that having a Democratically—controlled House and Senate is good for the country.

But the significant number of non—political partisans in the country will see things differently. They'll see an increase in, say, minimum wage or more 9—11 Commission implementations and simply think to themselves, 'Good. We're making progress as a country.' They'll see President Bush signing a bill, or standing with both John McCain and Harry Reid at a press event, and the average person will think that President Bush is doing good things. As the President is seen by the general public cooperating with Democrats, the national mainstream press is likely to dial back on the unrelentingly vicious, negative shots that they've taken at him for the past six years.

The Hill and the White House are no longer both controlled by Republicans. This denies the mainstream press a free—fire target zone, where unrestricted criticism of Republican policy and Republican personae was the order of the day. Since the President will no longer be savaged daily from all corners, the average voter will not be bombarded with negative images and derogatory impressions of President Bush to the same degree as before.

Instead, he'll be seen cooperating with the Pelosi/Reid bunch, and despite the MSM's undoubtedly frantic efforts to make President Bush look bad even as he works with the Democrats, the net result will be that President Bush will be seen in a less negative, more favorable light in the next two years than he was for the past six years. More bills that the liberal media approve of will be passed, with the assistance of a Democratic House and more closely—balanced Senate. The President's approval ratings among the general populace are therefore likely to rise——perhaps significantly—as a consequence.

This augurs very well for the Republican Presidential candidate in 2008, especially if that candidate is seen as one who can reach across party lines to get things done.

Unintended consequences, indeed.

Steve Feinstein is an occasional contributor to American Thinker.