Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pessimism Is A Hard Sell in the Land of Optimism

Why is Howard Dean a bad choice for DNC chair? Why do I have such a high time spotlighting the antics of the Angry Left? Why did I begin this post by asking multiple questions?

We'll never know the answer to that last one, but the first two are easy: you can't win elections if your politics is based on hatred, ridicule, and opposition to authority, never mind the source. The Dems have lost touch with this crucial part of the American spirit. While Paul Krugman, Michael Moore, Frank Rich, and Maureen Dowd assure us that Operation Iraqi Freedom was a tragic mistake, the vast majority of Americans say, "Why throw in the towel so quickly?"

When the response of a good portion of the blue-staters to their latest loss was to look aghast at the American heartland and dub it 'Jesusland', when people like Markos Zuniga devote their entire lives to fighting George W. Bush tooth and nail, never mind the merits of a particular issue, when every message being promulgated by the American left is a negative one - "Prevent Social Security Reform", "Prevent Judicial Confirmations", "Give Up on Iraq", "He's Not My President" - then the line has been crossed from partisanship to fanaticism.

Much as a cornered animal will turn vicious and snap at anything, the American Left is thrashing out in anger and denial. It wasn't always this way. FDR - "...nothing to fear but fear itself". JFK I - "...Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty" (does that sound like the second Inaugural Address of anyone you know?).

This is the same American spirit that was captured on the right by Ronald Reagan ('it's morning in America'), and George W. Bush's compassionate conservatism and stirring orations on liberty and freedom. Against it we have - what? JFK II's waffling and droning? Howard Dean's screeching? John Edward's pessimistic 'two Americas' snoozer? When there is a voice of reason on the left, such as Joe Lieberman, he is vilified and cast out - "not mean enough", "not sufficiently radical", "doesn't turn beet red with anger when the name of George W. Bush is uttered" - I exaggerate only ever so slightly. Contrast Laura Bush's demeanor with the spiteful braying of Mrs. Heinz-Kerry to see the left - right divide in a microcosm.

The reason Bill Clinton is the only successful Democrat on a national level is that he knew that Americans want to hear about our promise, not a condemnation of our founding principles; don't tell us about our mistakes, tell us what you want to do differently. There's a reason why Hillary Clinton may yet be the Democrat to beat in '08 - for the most part, she has been very careful not to fall into the radical trap since the nationalized health care debacle.

The angry voice often gets the most attention - we love our righteous indignation, and we like to say I told you so; God knows we aren't perfect. At the end of the day, though, Americans believe America is exceptional because it is exceptional (how many American radicals have moved to France since the election? Can you name one?). The lesson isn't that hard - you have to wonder what it is that keeps the Democratic Party's leadership from learning it. If I had given any money to the other side lately, I'd be looking for a refund.

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