Thursday, November 04, 2004

Surprisingly non-suicidal / Angry about the codependent incompetents

I'm not really mad at Bush, or the Red States - they are what they are.

I am mad at the Democratic Party, the Confederacy of Incompetence. The party has no clear platform, have no viable national strategy and basically went into this election thinking they could win with Anyone But Bush...

(click here to continue)

In retrospect, Kerry was a horrible candidate - 20 years in the Senate means 20 years of voting records to tear down, not speaking in front of the electorate that much, and a New England Democrat is never going to win in the South, not even with Wonder Boy Edwards. And going into an election thinking "Let's keep all of Gore's states, but try to get all the blue counties in Ohio and squeak this one out" was a horrible strategy.

Simply put, the Dems are in deep doodoo and I don't know if they have a plan for getting out.

Now, I can see the counterargument. If 70,000 voters in Ohio switch their votes, Kerry would have won and we'll be talking about how the Republicans can't win in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, the West Coast and big Midwest cities.

But that ignores the fact that the GOP crushed the Dems in the Senate and House races.

No, the Dems are in an identity crisis. They don't have a clear platform, and the GOP has successfully painted them as the party of Michael Moore and Hillary Clinton, the godless liberals who want gay marriage. And it's not surprising that the GOP's most brilliant GOTV campaign was the gay marriage ban initiatives in 11 states. Once the Christian right came out to vote, game over.

The biggest problem for the Dems, in my opinion, is the disconnect between the leadership and the base. The leadership, Nancy Pelosi notwithstanding, is centrist, and wants to disassociate itself from the far left. However, if you cut off the base, you lose the grassroots, the energy and the traditional Democratic values. The base clings to the centrist leadership of course, because that's the easy track to power.

It is the ultimate codependency of incompetence. You had a centrist leadership trying hard as hell to paint Kerry as not that liberal, while the base was trying hard to get excited about a candidate who wasn't exciting at all.

And of course, no plan for washing the unwashed masses. Just hope that Kerry's medals and "I have a plan" would be enough to get 1% more than Bush. The Republicans on the other hand said "Morality, terror, leadership. Morality, terror, leadership" and worked like a fucking charm. They're light years ahead of the Dems on reaching voters.

There is still a glimmer of hope for the Democrats if they clearly define who they are. The Republicans are abandoning their traditional small government, economic driven philosophy. That's where the Dems can latch on to.

And I think the place to start is the Southwest. Places like Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and maybe Colorado - polls showed Kerry making inroads to varying degrees there. And the people tend to be more independent and less evangelical than the South, the Plains and rural Midwest. It'll take time, but if the Democrats can rebrand themselves as the party that stands for working people and small businesses and against big business, for healthcare and education, and for fiscal responsibilty, they have a chance. It'll take time, but it is possible.

2006 is a whole new game. Let's hope the party has a viable strategy by then.

God, I hate talking about politics. Man, I'm really hoping for some celebrity schadenfreude.

EDIT: Lest anyone pretend that Bush has any sort of popular mandate because he received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history, it should be noted that Kerry came in second. Yes, more people voted against Bush than any other incumbent in history.
That said, I don't know which is sadder, that an incumbent war president who enjoyed astronomical approval ratings post-9/11 was just one state away from being booted out of office by a personality deficient Northeastern liberal, or that an unpopular president with no policy to speal of, a tanking economy and an unpopular war won the popular vote by 3%. I guess it's a sad state of affairs any way you look at it.

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