Sunday, November 7


From Lead Balloons, a rational essay of hope:

Democratic Advantages Coming Out of 2004

The ruins are still smoking, and I understand anyone out there who needs a few weeks, or a year, still to grieve.

But here are just a few of the tremendous advantages the Democratic party carries out of 2004:

A crippled president, and party, to run against. Even many of Bush’s own supporters admit that he is a liar. Also, the concept that he, and his party, are incompetent at running the nation (and the optional war in Iraq and the entirely separate war on terror) have taken root so deep that the GOP cannot expunge it. John Kerry’s basic passive-aggressive plan of waiting for Bush (aka President Icarus) to kill himself off did not work, but not because the plan is not sound; the plan is sound, as evidenced by his fall from 75 percent 18 months ago, to 51 percent last week. It just needs more time.

Newly established credibility on the war on terror. John Kerry's considerable legacy to the party is that he persuasively argued that the Democrats are the party that would make America safer. Yes, the GOP retains a lead on the polling on this question, but the lead is greatly diminished, and the momentum is on the Democrats’ side.

Much deeper bench. The Democrats have a host of potential presidential candidates with national campaign experience. Never mentioned elsewhere, but first among these, is Al Gore. We also have John Kerry (who has emerged from the election enhanced, not diminished, in stature), as well as Howard Dean and John Edwards. (Hillary Clinton qualifies as a candidate with national campaign experience, but I don’t think she has national appeal, and I think she is smart enough to know it.)

We also have other attractive options with no national campaign experience, such as Bill Richardson. The GOP, by contrast, has only two chief candidates, neither with national campaign experience. Bill Frist will not make it because he stole and killed cats to practice heart surgery on. Jeb Bush will not make it because his brother, who has spent the past 18 months falling from 75 percent to 51 percent, will continue his slide over the next four years.

Actual, as opposed to claimed, party of moral values. What would Jesus do? Vote Democratic, is the answer. We are the party protecting the old, the young, the out-of-work, the environment.

We represent the economic interests of the vast majority. We want to help people become wealthy; the other party only wants to help those who are already wealthy. This comes through on many fronts: we want to protect and retrain the laid-off; the Republicans don’t; we want to keep tuition down and expand college opportunity; the Republicans assume you can pay full tuition.

Party of fiscal discipline. The Republicans foolishly have abandoned this critical franchise; we own it now, both by default and because the budget was balanced on our last watch. This does not seem like much of a mistake now, because times still are not tough in the sense the 1970s were tough; but guess what? Tough times will return, and when they do, the Republicans rightly will be blamed for having caused it by their profligacy. In the end, this will prove to be by far the most important item on this list.

Bottom line: we have a lot of ammunition. We’ll be back.


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