For many key Democrats, the emerging strategy -- should they win some congressional control this November -- appears to be to try to score legislative victories where possible, thwart GOP initiatives, and wage an aggressive oversight campaign to expose what they see as Bush administration shortcomings and neglected national problems. They hope that the high-profile hearings and investigations they plan to hold as part of their 2007-08 oversight effort will lay the groundwork for more-sweeping legislative changes after the presidential election, when they may have widened their congressional majorities and perhaps captured the White House.Note that "oversight" is a likely code word for impeachment, a move against the administration that has a lot of steam on the hard left, although top Democrats in the House are apparently dismissive of the idea.
Already, many Democrats are making clear that they are eager to use their prospective oversight authority. They have long complained that oversight of the Republican-controlled White House by the Republican-controlled Congress has been abysmal.
Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., could not have been clearer in an NJ interview about his plans should he chair the House Armed Services Committee next year: "Oversight, oversight, oversight!" And Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., an ardent Iraq war critic who is in line to chair the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, recently told a breakfast group of reporters: "Accountability will be the key.... You have a guy raise his right hand, we ask him what happened, and we send out some investigators. It will be a big difference."
We'll see what happens after the GOP's midterm losses, which more and more analysts are saying will be substantial.