While the Democrats have good reason to enter 1987 with a new sense of optimism, not all is well on the Democratic front. Specifically, it is the source of this new optimism, the Iranian arms affair, which the Democrats may yet founder upon.
First, the increasingly partisan tone of the congressional investigations may hurt the Democrats as it could well engender a backlash of sympathy for President Reagan. The public's distaste for any Reagan-bashing will only intensify as the evidence exonerating the President from knowledge of the contra diversion continues to mount.
A second problem is the Democrats' own preoccupation with the Iranian investigation, which will divert attention from their discussion of other issues. One of the benefits Democrats gain from controlling the 100th Congress is a forum to demonstrate to the American people that Democrats can govern effectively. However, the Democratic agenda may well get lost in the shuffle as the affair drags on throughout the year.
The voters will be assured that Democrats are competent investigators, but they will still ask themselves, can the Democrats also govern?