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July 08, 2004

Exactly What Is Wrong With Democrats « Politics As Usual »
While I'm on the subject of the table of contents of National Journal (didn't know it could be so fruitful, did you?): A nugget describing Jonathan Rauch's column says, "John F. Kerry should take a page from John F. Kennedy's 1960 playbook and run as a hard-liner on national security issues."

And this brings up probably my biggest pet peeve of all time, political-campaign division: No he shouldn't. No, Kerry shouldn't. He should campaign on whatever it is he believes. No pretending. He should say what he thinks, how he would govern, and let the electoral chips fall where they may.

This is what I can't stand about Democratic candidates, chiefly. They won't run Honest Injun; they get all artful and calculating and masking. They spend months trying to fool the booboisie, so as to get in and then be themselves.

You won't have this problem with George W. Bush. He can't be other than himself. He couldn't be obscure if he tried. Sure, he's a politician, and not without some political artfulness — but, pretty much, what you see is what you get. No surprises. Take 'im or leave 'im.

Advice like Jonathan Rauch's makes me sick to my stomach, and sours me on the American political system. John Kerry is a Massachusetts liberal who hated Reagan, hated the hawks, and who said — you know this is my favorite quote — that the Grenada invasion "represented a bully's show of force against a weak Third World nation."

Let Reagan be Reagan, Let Poland be Poland, Let Kerry be Kerry, Let Rauch be Rauch . . .

My prayer, for this political year, is what it always is: that the candidates will just run honestly, and allow the voters to decide. That's what I would do. I swear. (Not that I'm gettin' elected to anything, believe me.)

If Democrats don't have enough confidence their policies, platforms, and views will garner sufficient support from the populace, then the worst thing in the world would be to let them have power. That's exactly what I hated about Al Gore: he "reinvented" himself, and the non- liberal media never said anything negative about it at all. They enabled it, they abetted it, they encouraged it, they gushed over it. And Democrats, in their hatred of allowing people the freedom to choose for themselves how to spend the money they earn and experience the consequences of their own decisions, will back such fundamentally dishonest politicians if it means wresting power away from Republicans.

Look around the United States right now. Republican policies work. The only things from President Clinton's administration that worked were what he appropriated from the Republican playbook.

It disgusts and disheartens me that approximately 50% of the people in this nation could be so petty, short-sighted, and generally clueless of the way the world works. Sure, it would be great if visualizing world peace could bring it about, if welfare could eliminate poverty instead of sustaining it. But that's not reality, and it's not the way to vote. The supreme irony, to me, is that Democrats in Democrat states are blaming President Bush because their own Democrat policies have resulted in slower recovery than the Republican states with Republican policies. Democrats, as a group, seem to embody that classic definition of insanity: keep doing the same harmful action expecting beneficial results.

Oh, the blockquote came from today's Impromptus.

Posted by Nathan at 05:17 PM | Comments (3)

Is Jonathan Rauch a Democrat? If so, he sure as hell isn't the kind most people's imaginations would conjure up if that's all they knew about him.

Be that as it may, it's not possible to tell from that one sentence (most of his NJ articles are eventually posted to Reason On-line, but this one isn't there yet, and I don't feel like registering for NJ) what the meaning of his "advice" is. Why is a political reporter's opinion about what a candidate needs to do to win necessarily "advice," anyway?

Then there's the fact that candidates can't always know what they would do in whatever confluence of circumstances they face. It's one thing to say that you should make your principles plain, but that doesn't take away the burden of prioritizing them if necessary in practice. You know, kind of the way "free trade" GWB was happy to sign off on that bailout of big, antiquated steel companies.

Posted by: Sean Kinsell at July 8, 2004 07:28 PM

Ouch. Good point.
However, that doesn't address Mr. Gore's "reinventing" himself, or President Clinton's deliberate "move to the right" after he won the primaries by campaigning as a solid (but not extreme) liberal.
And so, I think the enacting of policies can never be executed in an ideological vacuum. I don't blame President Clinton for signing welfare reform, because the Republicans had a credible chance to overturn a veto...
But if you make promises you never intend to keep, if you deliberately misrepresent your position, so that you can enact your hidden policy after elected...well, that's despicable.

Posted by: Nathan at July 8, 2004 08:02 PM

True--not that, heaven forfend, I was defending Clinton and Gore and their many avatars. My point wasn't that Bush is also inconsistent so why not just call it even. My point was that thinking you can be an influential politician without compromising anything is as unrealistic as thinking you can have a welfare state that doesn't turn people into parasites. And there are sometimes ways to tweak the presentation of a policy to appeal to different groups without eviscerating or misrepresenting it.

Posted by: Sean Kinsell at July 8, 2004 11:13 PM
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