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November 6, 2003
Democratic Pickup Lines

George Will writes an excellent column in today's Washington Post, one of three at least nominally about Howard Dean, but Will expands his review to the entire Democratic field of candidates:

For Dean and Deanites, the idea of courting the Confederate-flag-and-pickups cohort gives them the frisson of walking on the wild side, the tingle of keeping bad company, like a professor in a biker bar. But Dean's statement, which dripped a kind of regional disdain, was a clumsy attempt to make a sensible point: Disdain no voters.

The other candidates, instead of getting past the clumsiness (a Dean trademark), jumped all over Howard Dean to prove their own diversity chops, missing the point entirely. Dean sees that the South is about to depart from the Democrats for a generation, in part because the same disdain that dripped from Dean's statement has been part of the radical Left since the Civil Rights movement. Unfortunately, the South has changed dramatically, as Zell Miller explains:

The South, Miller notes with magnificent impatience, is an economic powerhouse and has 5,500 African Americans in elective office. Miller remembers another New Englander, presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, at a Georgia rally in 1988: "They had all these bales of hay stashed around here and there, like it was some kind of set from the television show 'Hee Haw.' "

But Will saves his biggest cannons for economic and foreign-policy issues:

The Democratic candidates seem not to understand that as the economy becomes a smaller issue, the election becomes bigger. It does because the election becomes about a single large question: What should be America's role in the world? The Democratic candidates' answers, other than Joseph Lieberman's, range from incoherence to ruinous clarity.

The incoherence: We favored removing Saddam Hussein, but oppose having done it without the cooperation of other nations that made it clear they were never going to participate. We support the troops in the field but oppose the money for them to continue what they are in the field to do, which is complete the emancipation of Iraq from tyranny's aftermath.

Not one of the candidates has offered an alternative open to the Bush administration other than to not have gone to war at all (in my opinion, not finishing the war that was started in 1991 and never ended). All of them, except Lieberman, explain that they would have used "diplomacy" to get the French and Germans and Russians to change their minds about Iraq, as if the Bush administration hadn't tried that at all. The Bush administration, it should be noted, is the first administration since the last Bush administration to go to the UN for approval for military intervention. The Clinton administration never bothered, not for the Balkans, not for Haiti. No Democrat has ever been able to clearly explain what they would have done had they wound up with the same answer that Bush got from the Axis of Weasels; they would just like people to believe they would have gotten a different answer, despite the fact that all three had big money invested in Saddam's survival.

All of that is inexorably leading to this:

Until Oct. 7, 26 states with 46 percent of the nation's population had Republican governors. Then Californians remembered that they really wanted a Republican governor after all. Then on Tuesday, Mississippi and Kentucky elected Republicans to replace Democrats. When all three are inaugurated, and if Republicans on Nov. 15 retain the Louisiana governorship, the GOP will govern 29 states with 60.6 percent of the population.

If you think I'm celebrating that, well, I am, but there's a problem with too much success. We operate best with an effective opposition party as a check on power. I don't mean that Republicans are going to impose a dictatorship (nor the Democrats either), unlike some people who have never gotten over the sixties. I mean that Republicans have bad ideas just like the Democrats do, and having an effective opposition keeps most of them from being implemented. With the Democrats falling backwards out of the South and only being effective in the massive urban areas of the Northeast and California (and not even completely so there), their perspective will be increasingly socialist and parochial, just when we need both parties to be firmly behind the war on Islamofascism. It does not help one bit that one of the two major parties has become defeatist and deeply pessimistic, openly hoping for disaster to befall the economy and our foreign policy. They do not offer realistic alternatives any longer; they just point fingers. No one wins under those conditions.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 6, 2003 6:10 AM

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