Divided they fall? After the 2004 primaries, fractious Democrats were impressively united in the great offensive to unseat George W. Bush. The party remained fairly monolithic earlier this year, thanks mainly to its widespread loathing for Bush’s Social Security plan. But lately solidarity has again given way to a familiar brand of infighting. Two big articles today in the Times and the Post chronicle surging tensions between the party’s liberal base and its Washington establishment — over Iraq on the one hand and the Roberts nomination on the other. Call for withdrawal from Iraq, or support the war while criticizing Bush? Go nuclear on John Roberts, or skip an uphill fight and focus on other issues? The debate rages — and the wheels spin.
Even some key Democrats fall on different sides of different issues. Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold — who is thinking about a run for president in 2008 — is featured prominently as a voice of the base in the Post‘s story on Iraq. But in the Times, Feingold is lukewarm about pummeling Roberts for political gain.
So if you’re wondering why Democrats aren’t getting more positive traction out of Bush’s dismal approval ratings, one reason is that they simply can’t agree on what to do. You better believe that makes Karl Rove a happy man.