A Rush To Frame Views on Congress
Ads Start Before Presidential Race Consumes Voters
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 20, 2007; A01
Democrats and Republicans are mounting a fierce battle to shape voter impressions of Congress during August’s political lull, convinced that they must define the story line of the 2008 congressional election before voters are swamped by the presidential campaign.
The opening salvo of television and radio advertisements, automated calls and fundraising appeals is unusually intense this early in the election cycle, and it comes just seven months after the Democrats took control of Congress.
But lawmakers, pollsters and Congress watchers say it is not clear whether the Democrats have convinced the public that they can do the job an angry electorate handed them in November — or whether, once again, all incumbents will be vulnerable next year, regardless of party.
If all their ‘advisors’ would get the hell out, perhaps Congress could find its own ass without pollsters and pundits, steering committees and focus groups. Not clear to them, but crystal clear to me that America is furious the Congress has decided to give the agents of our disastrous policies a pass.
Jack Abramoff went to jail for messing with the process of democracy and the country breathed a (very brief) sigh of relief. Not a single legislator got the message–particularly Nancy Pelosi, who has almost immediately sold herself and her majority out to reelection rather than justice and reform.
“There’s a limited time period in which to brand the new Congress,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), who leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats’ campaign arm. “The window will go into the fall, but by early next year, it will be closed.”
That’s not the only window you can hear closing, Chris. But it takes an ear rather than a focus-group to listen.