The Democratic Party of the United States is in decline. That is a simple fact, yet one which the Democrats continue to deny, at least in public. This, frankly, risks an out and out tailspin, but that is the way of desperation, I suppose. Of course, the Left – which is presently in firm control, if not command, of the Donkapalooza which spews forth such notables as Howard Dean, John Kerry, and Al Gore – has at its reach the means to change its direction and fortunes, and in private the Democrats are trying to do just that. It must be admitted that, so long as people like John McCain and Arlen Specter and Bill Frist are the Republicans’ notion of national leadership, the keys to driving the national policy are very much up for grabs. Fortunately for the Republicans, the Democrats have repeatedly shown that they do not wish to take grasp of such opportunities, when that opportunity would require them to be realistic.
Two recent articles in the press abundantly show what I mean. The first one was an article The American Prospect by Justin Logan titled “Mind the Gap”, and the other was “Message of Misery” by Anne Kim, Adam Solomon, and Jim Kessler in The Democratic Strategist. Between them, they demonstrate an amazing lack of attention to the American public, and a continuing and serious case of denial, both of which have and will continue to prove fatal to any goal of national leadership. Let me walk you through some of their statements to show what I mean.
First, Logan’s piece. I like a man who sets out his thesis right from the start. I like Logan, therefore, because he is wrong from the very first sentence, which reads ” It is becoming increasingly obvious that Democrats have a stronger grasp on national security issues than do Republicans.”
Uh-huh. While I have long observed that there is a serious disconnect between the Left and most of America on Iraq and the subject of National Security, this is a still a very peculiar statement for Logan to make. The Democrats made Iraq an issue in the 2004 election, remember? Considering how that turned out, one would think the Left would have got the message, but it seems not. Logan claims America is on his side – the White Flag brigade – because he claims ” A recent CNN/New York Times poll showed 61 percent of Americans want to cut and run, with just 34 percent now supporting a “stay and die” policy.” A few problems with that claim. First off, I could not find any poll commissioned or produced jointly by CNN and the New York Times, and I have to say I find it suspect that Logan would not cite a source or link in an online journal. And as to the question about whether we should stay or go, the most consistent poll on the subject, Gallup, clearly states that Democrats want to leave and Republicans want us to finish the job.
If Logan meant the Gallup poll, then he is not only sloppy, but dishonest. Most people want the war over, which is a natural emotion for wars, but significantly more people said they understand the President’s reasons than said they understand the Democrats’ position. In other words, it is simply not true to claim that most Americans prefer the Democrats’ position. Logan is lying.
OK, so what Logan really means is that most Democrats are hard-line Left, and he would like to have us believe that most Americans are leaning Democrat. I found it amusing that he cited the Lieberman-Lamont primary as an example of the tide, deliberately hiding the fact that in the polls covering the general election, Lieberman is clearly leading Lamont. That can only mean that most Democrats in Connecticut changed their minds, or most Connecticut voters do not buy the Left’s White Flag strategy.
With that fairy tale put to bed, I now turn to the one in The Democratic Strategist. The dream team in that article also set out their argument from the start, stating ”$23,700. That is the household income level at which a white person became more likely to vote for a Republican over a Democrat in congressional races in 2004. That's $5,000 above the poverty line for a family of four, less than half the median income of the typical voting household of all races, and an emphatic repudiation of all things Democratic among the white middle class. Obtaining a sustainable Democratic majority in either house will be impossible unless there is a significant change in this economic tipping point.”
The problem is immediate and obvious to anyone who has ever asked someone why they voted the way they did in an election. Not once in my life, has anyone ever told me ’Well DJ, I woulda voted for the guy I thought was better-qualified, but my economic demographic demanded that I vote for the other fellah’. I mean, really, just how dependant on a class-warfare worldview does someone have to be to think that a specific economic bracket dictated election results? While it can be argued that Republicans or Democrats may be more appealing to people of a certain economic condition because of the likely effects of their recommended policies, the last several elections have been on character and security concerns, not paycheck envy. The blunder made by the team which wrote this article was in looking too closely at individual data sectors, rather than stepping back and seeing the trend overall. This team sees the Global War on Terror and the fight to reform Social Security as some kind of “clever … trick”, rather than the strike-home real-world concerns they are.
Continuing down the illusory road that class warfare is the ideal campaign strategy, the team of Kim, Solomon and Kessler (KS&K) fall even further into the foolishness of their own fairy tale. Even as they warn that “gloom and doom” won’t get far with the American voter, KS&K cannot resist claiming that ”Our kids are falling behind in math and science. Our middle class is shrinking. And by the year 2062 our GDP will be half the size of Burma's.” Those claims can only be considered panicked assumptions at the most, and in the context of political strategy they carry the stink of deliberate lies.
Having started down that road, LS&K gain speed in their little slander-fest, claiming that the Bush Administration means ” high debt, tax giveaways to the most affluent, a theocratic faith that corporate America will solve our health care and energy crises, and the growing income inequality found in our country” Even in the very next sentence, KS&K admit that ” America's vital economic signs are fundamentally robust”, without once considering that the President they are mocking with such little basis in reality had quite a bit to do with that economic health.
Essentially, what both articles miss, as everything I hear and read from the Left misses, is that George W. Bush has actually been successful as President. And while it would be unreasonable to expect Democrats to become just like Republicans and support them in everything, until Democrats and the Left accept that Bush has been successful, and become willing to study him with an objective mind to how they can improve in their own discussions and policies, their very hatred of Bush will continue to hold them down. I am emphasizing this need for two reasons. First, there is a need in this country for two healthy, functional national political parties, but the Democrats have got to heal themselves of this delusion and hatred of the Right. And second, since the Left has never really accepted the success of the Reagan Administration, I can offer them this advice in a pretty secure sense that they will not be mature enough to understand it, let alone accept it and correct their course.
UPDATE: Mr. Logan has replied by e-mail to my post. As a courtesy, I post his message in its entirety. I note as a prelude that Mr. Logan displays petulance, not cogency, in his argument. He also fails to note that I am the author, preferring to address a different person entirely. Thus, Mr. Logan remains as careless in his second attempt at accuracy, as he was in his initial attempt. Mr. Logans writes as follows:
"Dear Mr. Aylward:
I find it fairly misleading that you did not include the second sentence of my article (nor, indeed, the thesis) in your critical post. However, the poll I cited was only a CNN poll, not a CNN/NYT poll, so thank you for pointing that out. I think, though, you might want to set a higher standard for “lying” than that, especially since you apparently support the Bush administration.
In addition, it is going to become increasingly difficult for dead-ender war supporters to characterize opposition to an endless occupation of Iraq as “hard-line Left.” As the CNN poll indicates, you’d need to call sixty percent of the American people hard-line Left in order to do so, and I don’t imagine you’d want to do that.
As for the Lieberman-Lamont race, I made no statement on the drivers of current polling. (Obviously, the war is not the only issue.) I demonstrated fairly clearly, though, that to the extent the primary was a referendum on the war, Democrats were strongly against. I didn’t imagine anyone would find this point controversial.
If you’d like to post this email in its entirety as an addendum to your post, please feel free to do so. Otherwise, if you’d correct your claim that I am “lying,” I think that would be at least a mark of civility that is all too rare in the blogosphere.
In response, I begin by noting that I chose to leave off Mr. Logan's title, as a self-proclaimed "foreign policy analyst". I rather doubt his qualifications, if his recent attempts are an indicator. I would note also, that Mr. Logan completely ducked the points of my critique, and did such a complete flip-flop that although he considered the war in Iraq the salient indicator in the primary race between Lieberman and Lamont, he now wishes to use different standards now that the anti-war candidate is clearly lagging in the present condition. That sir, is weak, and to my mind proves your dishonesty. Logan still refuses to cite the specific source, falling back limply on a vague reference to "CNN" as the source, without so much as a date for the poll, much less the address to pull up the information ourselves. I could go on, but the reader can see for him/herself what passes for diligence on the Left. Tragic, in that the debate is one-sided when only the Right bothers to prove or defend their contentions.