The passage of the student loan bill on Friday is the fourth measure headed to President Bush's desk from the Democrats' "Six in '06" campaign pledge. If Bush signs the education bill as expected, three of the Democrats' high-profile legislative promises will have become law less than nine months into their majority.Read that last sentence one more time: bolder bills will come in 2009 when Democrats are solidly in control of the federal government. Indeed, those first hundred days of 2009 could be among the most historic in American history.
"These are significant but modest bills," Randall Strahan, a political scientist at Emory University, said, adding that the Democrats' legislative accomplishments will help shield them from Republicans’ criticisms of a "do-nothing" Congress. Bolder bills could come in 2009, Strahan said, when Democrats hope to have control of Congress and the White House.
In November 2008, Democrats will have a decent record of achievements to point to and will be able to plausibly promise more if the American people entrust them with the presidency and continued control of Congress. Republicans will not be able to point to any similar achievements since their party became consumed by ethics scandals in early 2005. The Republican Party has defined itself almost exclusively in terms of the War in Iraq. If the situation in Iraq radically improves, Republicans may survive next year. But if, as seems likely, we simply return to the status quo when the surge ends in July of next year, then Republicans will likely face a blowout loss at the hands of the American people.