There's a lot of buzz in Washington about a tidal wave coming—not from the Potomac River but from the Democrats. Many experts think midterm elections are a referendum on the president. That's why Republicans are worried.
In nine national polls taken since the beginning of March, 36 percent of Americans, on average, approve of the way President Bush is handling his job. That's 10 points lower than President Clinton's job-approval rating in November 1994, when a Republican tidal wave hit.
Is there a Democratic tsunami coming this November? There are clear warning signs. Bush's job rating is one of them. Another is the job rating that the public gives Congress: an average of 33 percent approval in six polls since the beginning of March. People think that the Republican-controlled Congress isn't doing its job. The House can't pass a budget; the Senate can't pass immigration legislation. So what do people see happening in Congress? Behavior like that of convicted felon and former Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif.; convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff; and indicted Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas.
"Last night, former Majority Leader Tom DeLay blamed Democrats for his fall from power," Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said on the House floor on April 4. "He said Democrats were upset because Republicans changed the culture of Washington. Well, Republicans changed the culture around here, all right. Two of Congressman DeLay's former aides have already pleaded guilty as part of the ongoing Jack Abramoff scandal."