September 22, 2004
Harold Meyerson, editor of the liberal magazine The American Prospect, tells a story of a friend of his who had a dream. He was walking through the headquarters of the Kerry campaign. Behind a door marked "Campaign Manager" he found Kerry manager Mary Beth Cahill. As he drew nearer, however, the woman suddenly ripped off her Cahill mask, behind which was . . . Susan Estrich, Michael Dukakis's campaign manager! Mr. Meyerson's friend woke up screaming.
Lots of Democrats are having similar nightmares about 1988, when Mr. Dukakis, once ahead 17 points in the polls, lost by eight to George W. Bush's father.
Says one Democratic consultant: "I would have called you crazy if in 1989 you would have told me that a decade and a half later this party was going to nominate Dukakis's lieutenant governor--another aloof Massachusetts liberal who would overconfidently feel he would mop the floor with this clueless guy named Bush. But I fear I've seen this movie, and it's 'Groundhog Day.' "
Even if Democrats have nothing to do with kamikaze attacks on Mr. Bush, they could still be hurt by them. Mr. Caddell says that if the documents CBS News used to claim Mr. Bush shirked his duty in the Texas Air National Guard are proved to be forgeries, "it would be the end of the race." He explained to Fox News that Democrats "have gotten themselves so involved in this issue that if they're not authentic, they're going to be blamed for it. It's incredible to me that they've gotten in this. I'm trying to save my party, you know, by telling the truth."
No doubt few Democrats will agree, but Mr. Caddell's larger point--that the Democratic Party will have some soul-searching to do should Mr. Kerry lose--is clearly valid. A party that is so myopic as to repeat so many of the mistakes it made in an historic loss only a decade and a half ago is a party that needs to re-examine its relationship with the American people. Perhaps, following the lead of Britain's Labour Party, it needs to shrug off its most liberal elements and embrace truly centrist positions.
Posted by: Harvey at September 22, 2004 06:06 PM (tJfh1)
Posted by: physics geek at September 22, 2004 06:23 PM (Xvrs7)
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