The lesson of the 2000 presidential election was not that George W. barely won. Rather, it was that a two-term incumbent vice president, in a good economy, did not absolutely crush his opponent. After all, Bush was the made-to-order straw man for the Dems. Rich and privileged, somewhat inarticulate, labeled as “dumb,” not as cool as Bill Clinton, boring, and just plain folks. Add to that, the overwhelming number of media outlets (except the Internet and talk radio) supported Al Gore.
Somehow, though, Gore could never develop a significant lead. The party, to its credit, and not Gore himself, was able to mobilize the traditional mindless core groups–minorities, seniors, teachers’ unions, and self-hating intellectualoids–along with a smattering of illegal aliens and assorted vagrants, and they almost pulled it off. They lost because their candidate was extremely unattractive, and he had no message. Thus, if a voter of an independent mind actually wanted to evaluate Gore on his merits, he would most often come up empty.
There was no shortage of rhetoric, of course, but how many times can the New Deal be re-introduced as the Great Society, and how many more oppressed people needing more rights can possibly be discovered? Give some props to FDR. His playbook worked for Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter. Then again, by the time Clinton used the outdated playbook, he probably should have lost, but was carried to victory on the back of Perot’s third party challenge, and then a weak opponent in Dole. Truth be told, Carter barely won. How in the world did the Dems expect FDR’s strategy to work for Al Gore?
So, in 2002, they changed the game plan just a little. They deflected any talk of terrorism, uncontrolled immigration, public education, and war with Iraq, to concentrate on the “real issues” like prescription drugs. Add to the mix ridiculous sensationalistic scenarios about throwing Grandma out into the street with no Social Security, and the big bad GOP (far too many of whom are pro-choice anyway) removing abortion rights, or “turning back” civil rights gains, as if they could if they even wanted to, and you have about 80 percent of the shtick. That left 20 percent to be taken up with punishing George W. Bush. Imagine, the so-called party of the little guy was spending huge dollars only for revenge.
Florida was to be the ultimate battleground, and defeating kid brother Jeb was priority one. Their media-spun reputation for political acumen notwithstanding, the Dems were clueless this time. Janet Reno eventually lost in the Democratic primary despite a gigantic initial lead because her only issue was revenge. Admittedly, the image of an ugly Parkinson-suffering woman driving her pickup truck around the state getting into accidents did not help her cause, but her cause was bankrupt from the get go. Bill McBride, being a decorated Vietnam veteran, was a more attractive candidate, but pandered to the usual groups, championed big government and lost big. So much for revenge.
The campaign of the late Marxist-Dem Paul Wellstone was important, since he had always been elected by the slimmest of margins. As cynical as I am, I would have not predicted that the Dems would have resurrected the quintessential loser, Walter Mondale. In the 1984 presidential election, Mondale lost the popular vote to Ronald Reagan by more than 18 points, and the electoral vote by an incredible 525 to 13, carrying only his home state of Minnesota by a razor thin 0.2%. Yet, he was chosen the standard bearer, and he lost.
Bereft of new ideas for decades, while calling themselves “progressive,” the Dems will talk about new leadership, and then bring in a faction even more left-wing than the cadre in power now. And, unless they can create many more victim groups, that will go to the polls in record numbers, they will keep on losing.
Works for me.