Pouring Out The Cups

11.8.2004 | Jonathan Leaf | National Affairs | 8 Comments
jon hed.jpg

Things aren’t as bad for the Democratic Party as they may seem.  Consider: The Dems ran a stiff, pompous blowhard with no record of having done anything while in elective office except marrying for money, and still got 48% of the vote in a year of low unemployment and inflation.

Moreover, the party does have a number of plausible, down-to-earth, centrist candidates for 2008, including Bill Richardson, Evan Bayh, John Edwards and Dick Gephardt, if he can be dragged back into the muck.  Meantime, the Republicans may well do what they did after the 1994 elections and go off the deep end, turning off the electorate in the process.  Iraq remains unresolved, the possibility of a currency crisis looms, and another recession — possibly even a nasty one — may come before the next Presidential election arrives.

In addition, this election proved something that many of us had suspected: The Democrats are now the party of big money.  With the backing of Hollywood tycoons, billionaire self-styled intellectuals like George Soros, trial lawyers and wealthy individuals with particular interest in causes like gay marriage, the party isn’t likely to be shy of funds next time around.  It outspent the Bushies in 2004, and probably will do so again in 2008.  Finally, the party still has its black voting base to turn to and turn out.

All of this is solid ground upon which to build for Democratic victory in four years. If the party can get back to talking about mainstream issues, responding to the concerns of tuned out working class voters by addressing common concerns like the U.S. trade deficit, uncontrolled immigration, crime and terrorism, it can win again.

Some imagination on these subjects would help immensely, of course.  For instance, why not offer to eliminate federal phone charges as a trade-off for increased gasoline taxes?  How about federal aid for higher teacher salaries matched to expanded school choice programs?  Or tying reduced Medicare physician benefits to medical tort reform?  Plainly, if the party comes up with some novel proposals addressing real problems, voters might respect it more and take it more seriously as an alternative to the Republicans.   

What the Party must not do is turn once more to the Kool-Aid pouring cult-leaders on its leftmost fringe.  Calling John Ashcroft and George Bush fascists is bad politics in addition to being dim.  There is no way for a party to win American elections led by a contingent of America-haters.  The Democratic Party must not turn itself over to Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, or to their politer acolytes.  Their message just won’t be taken seriously in Arkansas, or the rest of “fly-over” country.

It was the infatuation of left activists with Howard Dean which led the party to choose John Kerry as a poorly scrutinized alternative.  The party mustn’t make this mistake again.  But the party’s various Jim Jones-types are out there, pouring out the cups.

Take, for instance, occasional editrix/socialite Tina Brown.  After the election, she showed typical depth and seriousness by comparing her situation as a disappointed Kerry-supporter to the plight of women living under the Taliban!  Party members might note that she is not a U.S. citizen and couldn’t run either Talk or The New Yorker profitably.  Wouldn’t this suggest that her awareness of life in the U.S. might be less than keen?  Democrats might ponder this as she relentlessly plugs Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions.           

Foremost among the hoisters of the cup, though, is the left-wing attorney Markos “Kos” Moulitsas Zúniga, who is widely known on the web for his Daily Kos weblog.  Most recently, he attracted notice for spreading bogus exit polls (which were, to be fair, also posted by right-wing outlets like National Review), which purported to show that John Kerry was going to win last Tuesday.  This was just one of many instances of his getting the facts wrong over the last week.

On Friday Kos featured a blog entry which claimed that Ohio may have been lost because of Republican fraud, no matter that Republicans won the state by over 130,000 votes.  On Thursday, Kos wrote a preposterous and inscrutable mathematical analysis purporting to show that Democrats in 2004 had done better than in 2000 in key states like Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin.  Kos himself was forced to admit that he couldn’t understand the math behind this bizarre claim (“The formula for the index is probably simple to anyone with even the most basic grasp of mathematics, but I don’t fall into that camp. Hence, I won’t try to explain it,” he wrote), although this didn’t stop him from putting up the tables with the “evidence”. In all it was a typical week of Kos nonsense.

The point of the Kos blog is to reassure the faithful that all is wrong (i. e. right for the Democrats).  This message of hoping for the worst and ignoring the real lessons of recent elections is absurd—witness the self-proclaimed members of the “reality-based community” mirroring exactly that which they claim to see in Republican partisans—but more importantly, it can’t and won’t lead to the sound policies and sensibly centrist approaches needed to make the party popular enough to present the electorate with real choices and real debate. 



Jon-boy strikes again. In addition to revealing his utter ignorance of every conceivable subject about which he chooses to opine, he here achieves a new nadir of bad taste, offering pathetic Weekly Standard advice about how to become republicans to people already in mourning. Who in the hell do you think you are to slander Kerry? Why don't you go get a life?

So what if John Kerry's wife is rich? Is every woman who has a rich husband thereby, according to you, a whore? Your meanspirited attacks are thinly disguised expressions of your own petitesse* and lack of self-esteem. You're probably just jealous because John Kerry actually speaks French, while you can only pretend to be a pundit. Or anything else, for that matter.


*petitesse (Fr.) = smallness, littleness, insignificance, narrowness

petitesse is etymologically related to the English word

petty = nugatory, negligible, slight, paltry, trivial, base, minor, in a word:

NUL (Fr.)
"The Democrats are now the party of big money." If you've only "suspected" this up to now, you need to quit sniffing Fred Barnes' letter opener and start paying attention.

Donors gave Bush roughly $260 mil, and Kerry $248 mil. If you've got different numbers please post and source them, I'd love to see 'em.

Democrats are now, and have long been, A party of big money. One of two. It certainly compromises them and costs them elections, but not in the way you imply. And yes it will have money next time around because 48% of the voting electorate supports it, and the corporations will hedge their bets.

And please spare us the elite and extremist baiting. The suggestion that Moore and Chomsky have some influence within that party are laughable. The people you're talking about have no elective function or power at all, and the elected officials that even come close to approximating their views are a tiny minority, around 8%. Moore's candidate of choice, Clarke, got his hat handily handed to him in the primaries. No one in party politics has ever listened to Noam Chomsky or his "acolytes".

Contrast to the Repubs whose extremists are actually part of the functioning party and elective apparatus, and powerful ones at that: Rick Santorum, Jim Demint, Tom Coburn among others. Of course there are moonbat left-wing extremists that voted, as there are on the lunar right. But only the right has them in office.

If Americans are voting to spite Moore, Chomsky, George Soros, and Kos they truly deserve to be called stupid. There is no other word for it. If Tina Brown can be used to scare moderate voters and Ann Coulter can't, if Tina Brown can be used to scare anyone at all into voting for anyone, then the Democrats don't really have much hope with this electorate except to become Republicans. Calls for "real choices" and "real debate" are meaningless in such a context.
11.9.2004 | Scats
I appreciate any and all criticism. But...I should wish to note a few things.
To the first writer above: I have no idea where you get the idea that I suggested Ms. Heinz was a "whore" (your word). I also have no idea how I've slandered John Kerry. You can only slander someone by saying something UNTRUE. I said Kerry was a "stiff, pompous blowhard with no record of having done anything while in elective office except marrying for money". These are surely harsh comments, but is there any evidence that they're false? The only part that could possibly be questioned is that Kerry married for money. I wonder then: how many poor men are there in the world who twice married fabulously wealthy women who weren't motivated by money in their choice of spouses?
To the second writer: check out this.
Liberal 527s vastly outspent Conservative 527s and functionally gave Kerry a clear edge in money.
And, whether you know it or not, many Democratic politicians have key staff aides whose bookshelves are lined with the works of Chomsky and Moore. The Democratic leaders in Congress - as Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton - have not surrounded themselves with aides who are the middle-of-the-road. This is hardly a secret in Washington. I should add that Ms. Clinton herself worked for Marian Wright Edelman and remains on great terms with her. Ms. Edelman is not a centrist anywhere outside of Havana.
11.10.2004 | Jonathan Leaf
While I do not agree with Mr. Leaf's position, I can not approve of the tone of the other two comments. I just don't think that they are in good form.

What the Democrats are suffering from, is the same illness that globally the Left has to come to terms with. The leftist governments in power have followed Clinton's (really Carter's) lead and are rushing to "the center". The leftist opposition in other parts of the world are fighting among themselves between those who define themselves against the right and those who wish to go to "the center".

The first problem is, for as much as I can make out, "the center" seems to be the right of the 1950s to the 1970s (in fact Nixonian in character). For those who do not define themselves as "the center" the problem is that no one know where they stand.

Ultimately the right won by being clearly defined, thus the Contract With (on) America. The left needs both to bring together a coherent position and a degree of party discipline (which the Republicans have in spades).

If the Democrats were to follow Mr. Leafs advice they might as well nominate Zell Miller for president in 2008.
11.10.2004 | Constantine Constantus
"The Dems ran a stiff, pompous blowhard with no record of having done anything while in elective office except marrying for money,"

I think that "disgusted"'s complaint was about the above comment about marrying for money, the implication being that no person can marry a wealthier person for any but mercenary motives. The criticism does not claim that you call Kerry's wife a whore, but that you effectively call Kerry himself a whore, by claiming that he married for money. So the outrage expressed above by "disgusted" does not seem completely unfounded, in my humble opinion. Why cannot it not be that John and Kerry love each other? Perhaps they delight in each other's francophonie, for example.
11.10.2004 | Paul
whoops--I meant to write
Why cannot it not be that John and Teresa love each other?

You may interpret that as a freudian slip, but I was being serious, really. I think that Teresa is a fascinating woman--blows Laura Bush out of the water intellectually.

Kerry is an intellectual (well, at least when compared to the vast majority of politicians, with Bush at the absolute bottom of the list). In case you didn't know, intelligent men sometimes love intelligent women because they are INTERESTING. Why should the default belief be that Kerry married for money? This is your own prejudice, nothing more and nothing less.
11.10.2004 | Paul
For my part, I don't understand what any of this has to do with the election. Doesn't everyone know by now that Kerry lost the election not because Mr. Leaf believes him to be a pompous gigolo, but because 4 million Evangelical Christians were newly registered, and 3.5 million of them made it to the polls, driven by that great motivator, the threat of eternal damnation. When God speaks people listen, even when they receive The Word through the grapevine (their preacher, for example). The gay marriage issue on the ballot was very helpful in this regard, as gay marriage = Massachusetts = John Kerry, or so many Evangelicals have been told by higher authorities.

In addition, as every Evangelical Christian knows, God talks to Bush on a regular basis, telling him to invade nations and slaughter their people until they submit to U.S. occupation and corporate restructuring and what not.

Isn't this obvious? What is all of the banter about Moore and Chomsky about? This election was won for Bush by a strange combination of religious fanaticism and faux populism, the latter of which may explain the support by Mr. Leaf of Mr. Bush. Or is he perhaps an Evangelical Christian?
11.10.2004 | KC
Al Cancelliere Constantine Constantus:

Although I had believed you to be a denizen of sunny southern Italy, it now emerges that you live north of Napoli.

Do you really think that defending a person from gratuitous slander is in "bad form"? (note that the election is now over, so there is no possible political end that such nastiness might help to achieve)

Sia. I do admit that your opinion is your prerogative.

I regret to inform you, however, that, in my opinion, your accusation of "bad form" is in egregious form, and I am quite confident that your Sicilian brethren would wholeheartedly agree.

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