What’s wrong with those Democrats? Well, how long have you got?
The problem with those Democrats can be summed up in five simple words: they don’t stand for anything. Hold on a minute, though, that’s not entirely accurate. They do stand for something: Bush-bashing. Certainly not the awe-inspiring program we’ve all been waiting for from the gang of ten.
Whenever a candidate, or in this case a group of candidates, make the central focus of their effort come down to nothing more than a series of attacks on the generally accepted opponent, it usually means that the battle has been lost before it’s ever been fought. The way that one wins is by putting forth an actual program that the candidate sells as forward-looking and innovative. Bill Clinton did it in 1992 and he won. Some might say it’s because the economy was bad and George H.W. Bush got blamed – a not completely inaccurate fact. However, it was as much about the vision Clinton laid out, as it was the negative aspects of that first Bush administration that propelled Clinton into office.
If you happened to watch the Democratic presidential candidates debate that took place in Baltimore on September 9th, you essentially saw 8 people trying to be just like former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. They even tried unsuccessfully to sound like him as well. With the exception of Senator Joe Lieberman’s challenge of Dean in reference to the latter’s comments about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, the bunch of them looked like Bob Dole – they weren’t quite sure what to say nor how to make it interesting.
There was one thing they were all unified on however: the need to defeat George W. Bush. Okay, fair enough, it is a presidential campaign after all. Problem for them is that they’re not going to capture the White House by being the anti-Bush. They’ve got to be pro-themselves. This is not likely to happen. Since last year, when the Democrats got in a jam such as in New Jersey and Minnesota, instead of looking to the future they looked to the past.
In the campaign of 2004, barring anything unforeseen, it appears as if they’re going to do it again by nominating George McGovern II in the form of one Howard Dean. Retro liberal and Bush basher… sounds like its Bush 2, Democrats zip.
Scott Wacholtz is a senior majoring in political science. He can be debated at firstname.lastname@example.org.