The Candidates Blew It
John L. Perry
Monday, Oct. 27, 2003
The embarrassing leadership famine so starkly evident among Democratic presidential hopefuls has come to characterize what is now their party’s irreversible plummet into political oblivion.
Sunday night’s Detroit “debate” on Fox News Channel featuring the nine major candidates for the nomination was the latest in a series of such opportunities they had to redefine and rescue their party. Once again they muffed it.
These were public events over which the Democratic wannabes had almost exclusive control. They could depict themselves as they wanted to be perceived.
Bush Busy Elsewhere
Their opponent next November, George W. Bush, although he occupies the presidency, had no such good fortune. He was wrestling with events abroad over which he has little control.
And what did the Democratic rivals do with this unprecedented opportunity? They opted to fail to shake off their party’s decades of dependency on creaking selfish-interest groups whose jaded constituencies are at last shrinking or self-destructing.
One after one, their only clarion call was for a return to the past (and Republicans were supposed to be the reactionaries!), to the good ol’ days of the Clinton era. If they had any semblance of forward direction it was, “Ahead to the past.”
Not What the World Needs Now
As a consequence, the stamp they placed on what was left of what used to be the Democratic Party was the image of a party that might as well rename itself the Angercratic Party.
If there was any real debate Sunday night it was over who could froth the nastiest against the president. These unattractive specimens don’t just dislike what Bush stands for; they make it plain they flat-out hate the man. The closest historical parallel was the vehemence with which Republicans used to hate Franklin D. Roosevelt, and to absolutely no avail.
These Democratic candidates for nomination to the highest office in the land consumed themselves with outbidding one another on two fronts – who hates Bush the most and who can grovel the lowest before the selfish-interest groups that have become such political pariahs.
Knowing Little or Knowing Better
They used their face time on television to display their unblushing lack of grasp of the cardinal issues facing America and the Free World. If it wasn’t that, then it was a cynical lack of reluctance to embrace blatant demagoguery.
It’s come to a sad pass when the Rev. Al Sharpton’s mind is demonstrably the sharpest of the nine seeking the Democratic nomination.
It’s a toss-up who would inflict the most damage if allowed to run around loose in the Oval Office – Sharpton or Howard Dean. The reverend seems to have a better grip on whatever it is he believes, or at least he can express it more coherently than Dean.
Trying to Out-Dean Dean
Instead of recognizing that Dean is now well in front, and if nominated will take the Democratic Party into certain defeat, the other eight are not seriously endeavoring to knock him out of the lead. Rather, they are allowing Dean to lure them like a Lorelei into certain shipwreck by trying to mimic his siren’s song.
As Dean, himself, might put it, “You can’t defeat Dean with Dean lite.”
Dean is right about one thing, and it is the one thing that will save this country from him. He likes to say, “I’m from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”
The Ultimate Democrat
Actually, he’s from more than just a wing. He’s the epitome of the residue of the whole party. And that’s because he truly does represent precisely what the Democratic Party has become after the past decade under the pillages by Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The ultra-left has hijacked the national Democratic Party, and Dean – Neanderthal that he is – stands foursquare for know-nothing isolationism and shopworn socialism that the party is embracing so giddily.
If the democratic process is to be served in this federal republic, Howard Dean deserves to receive his party’s nomination, just as those still clinging to its core deserve him.
As Seen on TV
And unless the majority of Americans have lost both their senses and their sense of integrity, 2004 will see the biggest defeat the Democratic Party has received in many a decade.
Thank you, Fox News Channel and the Congressional Black Caucus Leadership Institute, co-sponsors of the two debate-debacles where the entire Democratic presidential lineup split their pants in prime time.
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for NewsMax.com.
Original NewsMax article
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