The old fable about the scorpion and the frog ends with the scorpion explaining his suicidal behavior by saying 'because I'm a scorpion.' The Wall Street Journal puts Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in the role of the scorpion:
For starters, the leaders have failed to keep the Bush-hating left under wraps. This crowd isn't nearly as interested in passing legislation as it is flooding the Beltway with subpoenas. By one count, the new Democratic Congress has held over 600 oversight hearings since assuming power. Given the Senate has only been in session 100 days (the House, 92 days), that works out to six hearings per day, or one every 1.5 hours. The bashing covers everything from wiretapping to President Bush's global warming science.
The events are primarily cathartic, designed to allow the base to work out its Bush anger. Yet many Democrats have also convinced themselves the hearings are smart politics--that the way to increase their congressional majorities next year is to further paint Republicans as corrupt and incompetent--and point to Mr. Bush's approval ratings as evidence it is working. Democrats' own (lower) approval ratings suggest voters have limited tolerance for such partisanship and would prefer to see the party implementing the "new direction" it promised in its campaign.
Yet even when the majority has found time to legislate, it has again perilously allowed its liberal wing to lead it astray. Instead of focusing on completing their "Six for '06" priorities, Democrats instead engaged in a long fight with the president over the war supplemental. This bloodletting pleased the MoveOn.org faction, but was a defeat for the broader party, which ultimately gave Mr. Bush all the money he'd demanded, with nary a timetable or withdrawal in sight.
Strassel hits the nail dead on. The American people vote on the future. When they go to the polls in November, 2008 -- when no one affiliated with the Bush administration is on the ballot -- how many will be casting a vote to repudiate George Bush? Perhaps 15%-20% -- all of whom would vote for any Democrat over any Republican. While it's smart politics to point up the mistakes of the opposition, it's foolish to do so at the cost of real accomplishments.
And that's where the Congressional Democrats are now -- with nothing to speak of, legislatively, and little prospect for anything significant in the rest of this Congress. At this rate, voters will be in a 'pox on both houses' kind of mood -- which would represent a dramatic improvement for the GOP from November, 2006.
Update: Elsewhere, the Journal notes that Ms. Pelosi is instructing House Democrats to 'create a drumbeat of accomplishments' when they return to their districts this summer. It's telling that she has not issued such a message to them while they're in Washington:
Speaker Pelosi presses fellow Democrats to spend vacation days shaping climate for 2008 re-election campaigns, cautioning, "We must create a drumbeat of accomplishments this summer." Democrats privately fret over paltry congressional-approval rates, but divide on whether to seek bipartisan deals or draw sharper contrasts with Republicans.
More here, as well.