All Smoke - No Fire

As much as Karl Rove has been seen as a Machiavellian influence in the Bush administration, it doesn't diminish his insights into the Democrats and specifically Congressional Democrats. Hes' calling it as he sees it: all smoke and no flame. The Democrat majority Congress has managed to accomplish very little all while making a lot of noise about how much they're getting done.

This week is the one-year anniversary of Democrats winning Congress. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid probably aren't in a celebrating mood. The goodwill they enjoyed after their victory is gone. Their bright campaign promises are unfulfilled. Democratic leadership is in disarray. And Congress's approval rating has fallen to its lowest point in history.

The problems the Democrats are now experiencing begin with the federal budget. Or rather, the lack of one. In 2006, Democrats criticized Congress for dragging its feet on the budget and pledged that they would do better. Instead, they did worse. The new fiscal year started Oct. 1--five weeks ago--but Democrats have yet to send the president a single annual appropriations bill. It's been at least 20 years since Congress has gone this late in passing any appropriation bills, an indication of the mess the Pelosi-Reid Congress is now in.

Even worse, the Democrats have made clear all their talk about "fiscal discipline" is just that--talk.

Democrats promised "civility and bipartisanship." Instead, they stiff-armed their Republican colleagues, refused to include them in budget negotiations between the two houses, and have launched more than 400 investigations and made more than 675 requests for documents, interviews or testimony. They refused a bipartisan compromise on an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, instead wasting precious time sending the president a bill they knew he would veto. And they did this knowing that they wouldn't be able to override that veto. Why? Because their pollsters told them putting the children's health-care program at risk would score political points. Instead, it left them looking cynical.

Of course the situation where Congress has managed to do little may not necessarily be a bad thing. Their inability to carry through on their campaign promises may be saving the taxpayers billions of dollars in higher taxes and wasted taxpayer money going towards needless 'projects' in the form of earmarks.

It also means that the Congressional Democrats have been unable to expand the nanny-statism they so love.

That suits me just fine.

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