The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll reports President Bush has a 38 percent job approval rating.
Scooter Libby and Tom Delay have been indicted. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Randy Cunningham, a former Republican representative from California, resigned his seat and admitted in court that he accepted bribes for defense contracts.
Ohio Rep. Bob Ney is under investigation for accepting bribes from Native American casino lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Yet, despite discouraging polls and numerous scandals, Democratic numbers have not risen – even while many candidates hopeful of winning back Congress in 2006 started their campaigns early.
For years the Democrats have suffered from an identity crisis. Few voters know what they stand for, and they very rarely are able to offer a clear alternative to the Republican Party.
Democrats should start by stating their case for rich and poor, supporting tax cuts only for those who need it. Too many citizens live in poverty or are unable to work due to disabilities or responsibilities for caring for children. Funding to proper healthcare, education, and social programs needs to increase. The middle class need to understand the good that programs like welfare and Medicare do. Democrats should stand for closing the increasing gap between rich and poor, and reinstate taxes on the rich cut by Bush.
They should be outraged with the continued lack of federal action in New Orleans, as many citizens without homes, mostly in lower socioeconomic levels, are slow to receive federal assistance. Right now, every time a Democrat opens his or her mouth, this subject should be included.
They should be supportive of equal marriage rights, not just civil unions. Democrats should point to the separation of church and state, and support granting all people the choice to marry. They should do this not because Democrats are against Christianity or unreligious, but because it is the philosophically moral and right thing to do, and that is all that matters to the law.
Democrats need to choose a stance on the war in Iraq and stick with it. They can disagree, but have clear reasons for supporting or not supporting it, instead of flapping in the winds of public opinion.
Not one Democrat voted against the McCain amendment securing fair treatment for detainees. This should be a foreign policy issue the party can unite under.
If Democrats want to win in 2006, they need to publicize themselves as a clear and opposing alternative to the Republican Party, not merely a Republican Lite.
It is time to stop listening to what voters "want." It is time for a New Deal with bold stances that send a clear message to voters. It is time to bring new ideas to the table.
Ben Bleckley is a senior majoring in English. His column runs every Monday in the Collegian.