Censuring Bush

CENSURING BUSH….A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll has some good news: it pegs George Bush’s approval rating at a dismal 37% and it gives Democrats a 13 point lead in a generic congressional ballot (50% prefer a Democratic congress compared to 37% who prefer a Republican congress). Unfortunately, there’s also some bad news: apparently we’ve done a lousy job of mobilizing public opinion against the NSA wiretapping program. In what looks to be a properly worded question, the poll shows that the public still supports the program by a margin of 52%-46%:

So is Russ Feingold’s motion to censure Bush a good way of shifting public opinion on this issue? Maybe, although the transparently faux-naive way he introduced it makes me think he might have gotten a little too fond of his reputation as Mr. 99-1. (As in, “Golly, I’m shocked that my fellow senators aren’t instantly flocking to support this obviously controversial motion that I sprung on everyone without a word of warning.”) As near as I can tell, Feingold has spent more time since Sunday playing up his maverick status to reporters than he’s spent actually lining up support for his censure motion.

Bottom line: Feingold (and the lefty blogosphere) are right that Dems need to show more spine, but it doesn’t follow that every possible attack on George Bush makes political sense. The attacks still have to work and still have to resonate with the public. See Clinton, William J, impeachment of for more details on this.

Still, even though I’m not impressed either with Feingold’s sincerity or his political savvy, I hope he figures out a way to make this work. What’s done is done, and, like Atrios, I think Democrats are foolish not to support his motion now that it’s out in the open.

Next time, though, I hope we either let our leadership lead or else fire them. A little consultation could go a long way toward making Democrats look like an actual party, not a herd of cats.