Thursday, November 04, 2004

Four more years!

You must have heard the news by now. I'm pretty happy, although I'm a lot happier now that my Star Trek metaphor came out right.

So, what went wrong for the Democrats? I'm not sure that I can answer that, given that I had a last minute crisis of confidence in a Bush victory on Tuesday afternoon. But here's my take, in hindsight:

  • Flip-flopping and seduction don't mix. Remember all of those Kerry "firearm photo-ops" that were designed to show that Kerry was a safe vote for gun ownership? As a tactic for getting the NRA's support for his election campaign, it was probably a pretty good idea. Remember when Kerry declared that he wanted to reauthorize the assualt weapons ban to keep assault weapons out of the hands of domestic terrorists? As a tactic for getting the NRA's support for his opponent's election campaign, it was a brilliant idea.

  • There is only one America, stupid. Let's face it, any campaigner whose stump speech is essentially "There are two America's, and you don't belong in the one you're in" is going to get trumped by the campaigner who starts off with "We're all in this together".

  • In hindsight, maybe Howard Dean would have made a better vice-presidential choice after all. The Democratic party's health-care base probably wasn't too happy when they found out how John Edwards had earned the family fortune. Also, did you notice how Dean's big college campus supporters basically vanished after the primaries, never to return?

  • Mindless attacks don't work in the long run. Taking ever conceivable bit of bad news and blaming your opponent for it is not going to help you after a while. Accusing Bush of deliberately poisoning children with arsenic, deliberately killing off Democratic voters with terrorist attacks, or deliberately cutting flu vaccine supplies to slaughter the elderly is just too insane to be credible. To put it another way, if Kerry and the Democrats had given the President more leeway on the more routine problems of government, then maybe they would have had more credibility with the public over the more critical problems of the government.

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