Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dem-ja Vu

Going into the midterm elections, it seems the Democrats have chosen a strategy of tactical ambiguity, hoping that Americans view the election as a referendum on Republican leadership instead of a choice.

Here’s Donald Lambro in the Washington Times with “In search of an agenda” (Hat tip: Q&O):

The Democrats' election-year agenda is still a work in progress as party leaders attempt the impossible: to draft a document that appeals to all of its disparate ideological factions. But the word coming out of the Democrats' inner sanctums is, there's deep disagreement over its contents and core message and a brewing argument over the timing of its release.
Even the party faithful is getting antsy about presenting some kind of message. Here’s Paul Begala on the Huffington Post:

I am deeply frustrated with a party establishment that does everything except tell people what we stand for. They spend millions on voter files, field work, phone banks, staff, consultants, etc...and yet people don't know what we stand for. I am not opposed to hiring organizers. I'm opposed to pretending that hiring organizers is in any way a substitute for having a message.
Message, shmessage, say the Democrats. Victory will be assured by simply repeating: “We’re not the Republicans.” I seem to recall that this was a winning strategy for somebody else on the national stage:

Though [“Inside the Bubble”] director Steve Rosenbaum refers to himself as "a lifelong Democrat" and Kerry supporter, the film's press release describes it as following "a disorganized, contentious, self-absorbed team that thought they could win by 'not making mistakes,' and keeping their candidate in the public eye without clarifying a position on anything."
Then there’s taking every side of an issue:

Equivocating politicians are sometimes accused of trying to be "all things to all people," but few have taken the practice of expedience and shifty opportunism to Kerry's level.
Just what were the core beliefs of the Democrats’ presidential nominee? Maybe Kerry’s press man Jim Loftus can explain:

After the swirl of the campaign is over, Loftus is interviewed and offered as a sage to pinpoint the Kerry team's one great weakness. "What was the overarching point of the campaign?" he asks. "I don't know what the hell it was … I don't know now. I lived it for 11 months, admittedly intoxicated and exhausted and strung out from cigarettes and arguing with the press and sappers and the whole thing. I don't know. That's a problem.”
Of course it helps to have support from a sympathetic press corps:

The expectations had gotten so out of control that, on Tuesday afternoon, we reporters gathered in the ballroom of the Fairmont Copley Plaza had already moved on to the second-, third-, and fourth-day stories. The exit polls seemed to show such a clear sweep of the battleground states for John Kerry that the news of his victory already seemed stale. What would the more solidly Republican Senate mean for Kerry's ambitious health care plan? Who would he appoint to replace ailing Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist? Most important, how could Kerry co-opt John McCain, a Republican frontrunner for the 2008 presidential election? Yep, it's true. We were already speculating about the dynamics of Kerry's reelection campaign.
And the credulous “reality-based” wing of the blogosphere:

In detail. Tied race, incumbent fatigue, good closer for an opponent... those tied polls with Bush's numbers actually dropping may not tell you what the final Kerry percentage will be, but it's looking pretty bad for Bush any way you slice it.
Failing to have learned from their own history, the Democrats are poised to repeat it. Add me to the chorus that predicts: “come November, the Democrats will once again be wondering how they let an opportunity that seemed so golden slip away.”


Anonymous said...

Er, what "golden opportunity"? Does anybody think the GOP vote will precisely mirror Bush's approval rating? Does anybody seriously think the Dems will sweep into power? How long has this unstoppable, historic Democratic juggernaut been cresting, 3 or 4 months?

If the GOP is already positioning itself to spin the post-midterm review into "Nyah, nyah, your across-the-board electoral gains were finite," they must be in bad shape.

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