Over at Kos, they've picked up on a quote from David Sirotka in a Washington Post piece (note the misuse of "begs the question"!) in which he reaches a similar conclusion to the one I did earlier: that this is not the winner for Democrats that the polls imply. Of course Kossaks think he's wrong and that this will help usher out the arrogant GOP now that the public sees them clearly and disagrees.
But let me throw another couple of logs on the fire of political pessimism. Let's suppose Sirotka and I are wrong, and that the public is not, overall, impressed with the zealotry of protection and principle that Republicans are trying to present. Let's say a clear majority does in fact believe Congress is not standing on principle (hence, respectable), but on politics. That interpretation doesn't help much.
1. People want to root for those that champion their cause. Republicans may have picked up even more support among that minority who oppose right-to-die efforts. And the flock will have increased the fervor with which they show that support. That's more money, more volunteers, more determination to spread the total GOP message among those who may disagree with them on this one issue.
(And can you imagine what we'll have to listen to should the poor woman die tomorrow...on Good Friday? It's bad enough her legal fate is being sealed Easter weekend.)
2. Where will Republicans lose support over this issue? What is the profile of the person who previously voted Republican or crossed lines and will now be more likely to vote Democrat? Haven't the GOP already given that libertarian strain of Republicanism reason enough to bolt, well before this issue?
3. Even though a majority disagrees with congress, they're telling pollsters the GOP doesn't really mean it--"they're just playing politics". In truth, the modern Republican Party is run by fanatical madmen. Once the public realizes that then we're getting somewhere. Until then, the GOP is getting a pass on this issue from the very people that disagree with them. When we actually get the majority to oppose a Republican position, we want them to believe that those officials mean it, don't we? Now, we only have people believing that elected officials play politics. And they think both sides do that equally.
This is not a winner for Democrats, though not much of a loser either. Let's not drop the ball. Our winning issue of today is social security. Judging from the round-the-clock coverage, I'd say they've pretty well changed the subject. This religion and politics thing is not going to go away.