Democrats officially take control of Congress today, and George W. Bush has already warned them against passing legislation to make "political statements." A brushback for the president: Americans are pretty fond of the political statements Democrats intend to make.
Associated Press/Ipsos pollsters asked the public about several of the proposals Nancy Pelosi intends to push through Congress during the early days of the Democratic majority. An increase in the federal minimum wage? Eighty percent of Americans say they support it. Letting the government negotiate with drug companies to lower the price of drugs for seniors? Eighty-seven percent say they're behind the idea. Making it easier to buy prescription drugs from other countries? Sixty-nine percent of Americans say do it.
Eighty-four percent favor cutting interest rates on student loans. Seventy-nine percent support creating an independent panel to oversee ethics in Congress. And 77 percent support "making significant changes in Iraq."
The Democrats won't be able to accomplish "significant changes" in Iraq on their own, let alone in the first 100 hours of their turn in the majority. That job falls on the president, at least for now, and he apparently plans to announce his new "way forward" with a nationally televised speech next week -- which is to say, after several months of deliberations and consultations and just in time to distract attention from the first days of the new Democratic Congress. Press secretary Tony Snow keeps saying that the president's plan isn't settled yet, but press reports indicate that it will involve sending as many as 40,000 more American troops to Iraq. The public support for that idea? In early December, CNN pollsters asked Americans their views on various options for Iraq. Only 11 percent of them backed the idea of sending more U.S. troops to fight there.