Thursday, August 18


I have to say, I sympathize greatly with Mark Leon Goldberg's frustration with Democratic hawks. As I posted earlier this week, I'm reminded of nothing so much as 1968, when anti-war sentiment drove Lyndon Johnson to declare he would not run for re-election only to be succeeded by Hubert Humphrey as the Democratic presidential nominee, Humphrey who endorsed Johnson's war policies in toto. Eugene McCarthy was the hope of the anti-war movement, but institutional Dems submarined his campaign at every opportunity and in the end, we were left with the distressing choice between the known Humphrey and the deceitful Nixon, who fooled so many with his "secret plan" to win the war.

It wasn't until the 1972 campaign season that Robert Kennedy and George McGovern rose above the crowd of usual suspect Democratic hawks to insist that it was time for the nation to face the reality of the VietNam War and end that tragic and senseless conflict. For their troubles, Kennedy was assassinated and McGovern, after winning the nomination, was caricatured and marginalized by his own party and the media. Nixon, of course, was exposed after the election for the lying, cheating weasel he was, but it was too late to save thousands of young American lives and rescue the government's moral authority.

And here we are again. If the Democratic Party leadership doesn't begin to speak out and differentiate from BushCo, many Democrats will stay home from the polls just as they did in 1972. I hear the argument that Biden, Clinton, Kerry et al cannot win if they advocate withdrawal from Iraq, but I've heard it before, when McCarthy and McGovern lost. It's that fear, I believe, that drives the argument. But Democratic hawks are forgetting that both McCarthy and McGovern had long been characterized as doves, and they got little or no support from their fellow party members. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, I firmly believe he would have been elected president. It's a powerful statement when a hawk declares a conversion experience -- that he/she was lied to (on SO many levels), and that the "noble cause," whatever its chances for success might have been, has been lost irrevocably because of the mismanagement of the current leadership. Also, McCarthy and McGovern were soft-spoken, mild-mannered professorial personalities that simply didn't appeal to a large segment of the citizenry during a time of war. The current crop of Democratic hopeful hawks don't suffer from that handicap, being far more charismatic and resolute in type.

In marketing we constantly look for differentiators between our product and the competition's. Simply put, we have to offer a better value proposition; else what reason is there for the consumer to select ours? If Dems continue the Kerry strategy of saying, "It was the right strategy, I'll just execute it better," we'll lose again. And the American experiment can't afford another four years of Republican rule and survive as we've known it.

UPDATE: Chuck Dupree of Bad Attitudes quotes former Colorado Sen. (and presidential hopeful) Gary Hart:

It is a great wonder that war opponents, including increasing numbers of Democratic “leaders,” are so silent. Some of the most visible simply believe the invasion of Iraq, which they endorsed, has been mismanaged, that more troops (not fewer) are needed! Even today, they seem untroubled by the false statements and manipulated intelligence of the administration. The most difficult political statement in the English language is: I made a mistake.

Speaking only for myself, I will find it very difficult to support any Democratic “leader” who remains silent at this critical moment but who wants to be president in 2008. There are defining moments in political careers and in national life where true character is revealed, where moral authority is achieved, or forfeited. Recall Dante’s well-known warning that a special place is reserved in hell for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserve their neutrality.


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