Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Vichycrats

There is much discussion over at Talking Points Memo about the idea that the Democrats are rhetorical wimps. The party of Karl Rove kicks ass because they're so good at toxic sloganeering, fashioning the kind of bumper-sticker smears that really... stick. I think there's a great deal to this notion. The Kerry campaign is the paradigm case, but they Kerryites were just following the tradition. The Democrats have always avoided simple, direct indictments of their opponents, for reasons never clear to me. They're like victims of abuse, afraid to do anything for fear of the price they'll pay, oddly co-dependant and enabling.

Back when Michael Dukakis was getting his ass handed to him by Bunnypants the First, the Democrats should have gone on the attack and usefully reminded the electorate of a little American history. They could have rustled up some grieving survivors of the Marines blown up in Beruit and asked them "How do you feel about George Bush dealing 2,000 missiles to the supporters of the terrorists who blew up your boy?" It would have been 100 percent pertinent, and it might have given the voters a chance to actually hold a pol accountable.

Kerry could have refuted the flip-flopper charge very simply, "I voted with the President because like most Americans I trusted the President. I see now that this was a mistake." He needed to say that plainly. Failing to call a liar a liar was a disservice to the people he promised to really fight for, and to the country in general. We could be much further along in wising up the electorate had Kerry taken the lead here. Ah, but that would have been like being a leader.
The Democrats are too often people who want the job, but they don't want to do the job.


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