November 7, 2002
STRIDING TO DISASTER:Tiptoeing to Defeat: The party of Roosevelt, Truman and the Kennedys has morphed into the party of timidity. (BOB HERBERT, November 7, 2002, NY Times)
The Democratic Party is like an army that dutifully goes off to battle but leaves its ammunition and its principles behind. It's bad enough to lack the firepower that you need to win. It's worse to not even know what you're fighting for.
Despite the economic burdens that the middle and working classes are shouldering, despite the two million jobs lost and the scandalous concentration of wealth and income in the precincts of the very rich, the Democrats have yet to offer a compelling alternative to the reverse Robin Hood policies of the G.O.P.
Throughout this year's campaign, the Democrats let the president bang the cynical war drums on Iraq whenever and however he wished. Other important issues — the economy, employment, the administration's appalling environmental record, the threat to abortion rights and civil rights posed by the president's federal court nominees — were largely pushed aside, to the delight of Republicans nationwide.
Republicans didn't win control of the Senate on Tuesday. The clueless Democrats lost it.
Suppose we concede for a moment the idea that the American people can't figure out that the Democrats are the party of taxes, peace, and abortion. We'll grant Mr. Herbert's notion that as a general rule no one knows what the Democrats want any more. But, surely, there was one race on Tuesday where the party of FDR faced off against the Republicans of 2002 and it was just as ugly as the rest of the country. We speak, of course, of MN, where Walter Mondale, who may even have been a New Dealer, led the Democrat Farmer Labor Party against a pro-life, pro-tax cut, pro-war Republican. If there was one testing ground in America for Mr. Herbert's theory it was there. How'd the test go? Posted by Orrin Judd at November 7, 2002 3:56 PM