by John H. Conyers Jr.
Reprinted from the Chicago Defender.
The mainstream media seems to be waking up to the idea that all of the post-election talk about a mandate was just that: talk. Under the understated headline, "Doubts About Mandate for Bush, GOP," the Washington Post reports that the President's poll numbers are plummeting, his social security privatization plan and cuts are unpopular, and Congressional Republicans are abusing their power and are, likewise, very unpopular. They conclude that maybe there was never a mandate after all. In other words, they conclude "the main question facing Bush and his party is whether they misread the November elections."
A couple of points. First, this is a significant story.
The President's generally consistent lack of popularity (dating back to before the 2004 elections), his disastrous plan to dismantle Social Security brick by brick, and the corresponding floundering of House Republicans will be a major factor in the 2006 midterm elections. As the Post puts it: "History suggests the possibility of major losses next year is not beyond imagination. The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll showed support for Bush's handling of Social Security at just 31 percent. That is several points lower than support for Clinton's handling of health care in the summer of 1994 – just before the failure of what was widely perceived as an over-ambitious plan helped fuel the GOP takeover of Congress that fall."
I very much want to be the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in 2007 so that we can bring back checks and balances to our government, and restore accountability. There may be a wave developing that will make that happen.
The second point is the continued disregard of the most obvious explanation for these low poll numbers by the mainstream media. They wonder: how can a President, just re-elected, have such low poll numbers and hold positions on the issues that are so unpopular? Is he already a lame duck? Better questions: was he just re-elected legitimately, or was voter suppression and machine malfunction or malfeasance used to manipulate election results? In other words, maybe these polls, rather than our broken election system, better reflect the true will of the people.