"The Dems now think that there negative strategy finally paid off and now any politician (with few exceptions) who wants to have a job will need to follow the polls to try and survive."
Cannot diagree with this, however, I believe there's a second part to this that needs to be looked at very closely:
It's not as if republicans (of all stripes) acted in any sort of repsonsible manner to begin with. On the "Disgust-Meter" we can start with the slimy tactics of Tom DeLay (allegedly rigging re-apportionment to engineer a majority), move on to the criminal arrogance of Trent Lott (the American public has no right to know what we put in a spending bill), and finish with the unmitigated gall of John McCain (Campaign Finance Reform = tenure for elected politicians).
I seriously believe that many felt that with veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress, the bully pulpit of the White House, and the ability to pack the Supreme Court (gee, that's really worked out well so far, hasn't it?) as if they were invincible. Perhaps even going as far as to believe that with the public distracted by terrorism and "Dancing with the Stars", the President wrapped up in the war, that no one would seriously look at what Congress was doing. If they did, a simple "hey, we're fighting terrorists here, you Commie" should have been enough to shoo serious questioners off.
Pride goeth before the fall, does it not?