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Gray Watson Personal Thoughts 2004.11.03
Democrats Suck

It is the day after the November 2nd national elections here in the USA. The wind is blustery up here in Lexington, MA as the fall leaves swirl and scatter about the yard. My mood right now is a combination of numbness, sorrow, disgust, and seething fury. I entirely blame this failure on Kerry and the Democratic party leadership. Forget about the electoral college, lawyers, or Republican voter exclusion. Forget about Florida's "hanging chads", Diebold, or Sinclair. Forget about a stolen election, the stupid "let's not elect him again" bumper stickers. It's all crap. There's no excuse for what happened.

The Democrats have lost the Presidency, the house, the senate, and probably the Supreme Court. What an absolute slam dunk by the GOP. Absolutely horrifically amazing. The Democratic party leadership should be taken out into the back of the house and shot in the head. I'm completely and totally sick of them all. Political hacks such as Carvel should be drawn and quartered in the town square for not believing in the messages and for trying to sell shit instead of finding an appropriate leader for the party.

Maybe we should all start voting Republican and push more for moderate Republicans. Certainly I have a better chance of getting my candidates elected at this point in time. If you look back over the past 20 years, only Clinton's personality has saved the Democratic party from absolute ruin. We've lost the Reagan Democrats and even young people are coming out in droves to vote for the GOP. What is this world coming to when you aren't a liberal in college.

Why?

Why did this happen? Everyone is talking about how the Republicans mobilized their religious base. If Kerry would have won, everyone would be talking now about how he mobilized his base. How Moveon mobilized and contacted 10,000s of voters in key states. When it comes down to it, Kerry lost because he was unable to connect and talk to voters. The Republicans cast him as a flip-flopper and that stigma was never countered. During the first debate, Jim Lehrer, the moderator, gave him at least two chances to talk about it and all he could say was:

"I made a mistake in how I talk about the war. But the president made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?"

What sort of explanation is that? How about:

I must commend my opponent for casting me as a flip-flopper. As the recent opinion polls have shown this has worked extremely well but I content it is completely false. I voted to give the President the authority to go to war -- this is not the war that I though he would wage. I voted against the first $80 billion appropriations bill because it did not have enough guarantees for important equipment for our troops. I knew that the Whitehouse would submit another spending bill -- they had no choice. When the guarantees were added, I voted for the bill.

No, when it comes right down to it, the people did not trust Kerry. They saw him as doing anything to get elected and completely lacking in strong convictions. Regardless of how you feel about W, chances are that you know that he has strong convictions. As he said during the first debate and also during the convention:

"I understand everybody in this country doesn't agree with the decisions I've made. And I made some tough decisions. But people know where I stand."

That is masterful and entirely correct. The general public is much more savvy than the Democratic elite give them credit for. They have little interest in whimps and can detect problems with character from quite a distance. Both Gore and Kerry suffered from this inability to show their human sides. W connects with voters and with people with ease. So did Clinton who, by the way, would have easily bested W, Gore, and Kerry in another election regardless of the scandals. The right hated Clinton almost as much as the left hated W and he still won handedly.

What Does a Democrat Stand For?

What do I/we stand for? Everyone knows what Republicans stand for -- what Bush stood for. What did Kerry stand for? That is the overall reason why the Democratic party continues to be the center of incompetence. The Republicans know how to use language to state their views appropriately. They throw about words like "family values" and "compassionate conservatism" which have substance and which evoke emotions even though they really have never been defined or challenged. They speak about direction and beliefs, not plans and programs. W demonstrates and easy charm while Kerry shows a stiff intellectual reserve.

The Democrats need to define their platform in a few key statements, and then build the sort of linguistic framework of meaning and acceptance that the Republicans have been working on now for decades.

These are somewhat off the top of my head and they need to be tuned but you get the idea.

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