Tuesday, February 01, 2005

what's REALLY happening with the voters in America

Inspiration for this story: that Howard Dean appears to be a shoe-in for the next chairmanship of the DNC.

And in this I see the biggest problem with the Dems. Now while much has been written about a "shift of the electorate" to the right in the wake of the November elections, trying to actually gauge the placement of 100+ million people on a political spectrum is a fool's exercise. Let's look at the facts: Bush garnered more votes in 04 than he did in 2000 by a substantial margin (12 million); Kerry got substantially more votes in 04 than did Gore in 2000 (8 million); AND Kerry got over 10 million more votes in 04 than Clinton ever received in a single election (Kerry also got a larger percentage (by 5%!) of votes than did Clinton in '92). Those are the facts, and if you want to draw conclusions about the 120+ million Americans that voted in 04 AS WELL AS the unknown millions who didn't vote. . .well, you can understand why I might be skeptical to accept your findings.

But one thing IS pretty clear about politics in America: the visible leadership of the Dem party has moved to the left. When folks like Michael Moore get a reserved seat next to a former President at the national convention, you have become a party that caters to the way left rather than to the middle left. Other issues also trumpet the Dems' turn to the outside of the spectrum: support for partial-birth abortion; the desire to cut-and-run in Iraq; more government money to pay for almost everything (hello, higher taxes) are just some examples. The Dems getting major face time of late (aside from Hillary, who's ALWAYS received plenty of face time)--Boxer and her grandstanding at the Rice confirmation hearings, Byrd and his delaying of the Rice's confirmation, Kerry, Kennedy--they are all from the less-than-moderate faction of the party. And now the prospect of Howard Dean running the DNC, supposedly in an effort to correct the "abandoning of the Democrat's true values". This is the same Howard Dean that was so liberal that he forced other potential Presidential candidates to "go left" in a move that was pretty well repudiated by the electorate this last fall--and now he is given such an important (in appearance more than function) position in the party?

Listen, a party is as easily identified by its people as by its policies. Remember Arnold's speech at the GOP convention? He said he became a Republican (albeit a very liberal one, but Republican nonetheless) because of Richard Nixon, who spoke about ideals that a young Arnold found appealing. The Dems continue to thrust some very liberal minds into the role of ambassadors for their party. . .I've just got to ask them one thing: why? Playing the game this way appeals more to those who already share your ideals (by and large) than it appeals to the middle-of-the-road voter. Which group do you think is greater in number: the liberal-minded people who, for some reason or another, weren't energized by this last election but COULD BE energized in the future if the party can establish themselves as even more revolutionary; or the moderate voters who are likely to respond to a more moderate tone from the Democrats? It appears that the party is banking on the former. . .

. . .which just seems like a loser strategy to me. Look, the GOP has a fairly easy task at hand in 2008 (REGARDLESS of how the next 4 years play out. For more on that, check back here in the future): nominate somebody to the moderate side of Bush. Heck, the fact that Bush can't run again already puts the GOP in a good position because all the moderate-leaning Bush haters (and there were more than a few of them) won't be so quick to vote Dem. The Dems, on the other hand, need to find more votes somewhere (hopefully they won't just "create" them, although it appears they already may have done so this past year) PLUS they need to win the anti-Bush voters on merit rather than on hatred. Going further to the left is not likely the way to woo these voters.

And that's just from a popular vote standpoint. Looking at the Electoral College map from this past election, is going "more left" the way the Dems can overcome the vote in Ohio? Is it the way for them to hold on to the close victory in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin?

Now I'm not the world's foremost scholar on such matters, but I can't imagine that there's a lot of potential for investment return by taking a "more liberal" stance on the issues of the day.

There are a plethora of lessons to be learned from the election in 2004 for both parties. So far (in my opinion) I haven't seen the Dems respond to those lessons correctly. I just wonder what it will take to jolt them back to reality. . .

. . .maybe another "YEEE-AW" incident?

Well if that's the case, then they've got just the right guy for the job.


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