December 23, 2004


Bob Casey’s Revenge (William McGurn, January 2005, First Things)

[P]erhaps the best explanation [of John Kerry's loss] was given by a Democrat who called this election more than a decade ago: Bob Casey, the governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995.

I didn’t know Governor Casey personally. But back in 1992, fate put me within a few feet of him inside Madison Square Garden during the Democratic National Convention. That was when Clinton officials refused a place at the podium for the Democratic governor of America’s fifth-largest state while also providing speaking slots for six pro-choice Republican women. To make sure the point was delivered, one of these was a pro-choice woman who had campaigned for Casey’s Republican opponent.

On Election Day 2004, the silencing of Bob Casey thundered through America’s polling booths. In vain, Casey in 1992 had warned his fellow Democrats about allowing the Party to be become “little more than an auxiliary of NARAL.” In his autobiography he put it this way:

Many people discount the power of the so-called “cultural issues”—and especially of the abortion issue. I see it just the other way around. These issues are central to the national resurgence of the Republicans, central to the national implosion of the Democrats, central to the question of whether there will be a third party. The national Democrats may, and probably will, get a temporary bump in the polls—even, perhaps, one more national election victory—from their reactive strategy as the defenders of the elderly and poor who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. But the Democrats’ national decline—or better, their national disintegration—will continue relentlessly and inexorably until they come to grips with these values issues, primarily abortion.

As Democrats emerge from the electoral rubble, must not a few be noticing that Bob Casey has proved to be prophetic?

The possibility, maybe even probability, exists that they've already come to grips with these issues and would rather decline as a national party than halt their personal declines into the moral abyss.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 23, 2004 8:46 AM

Their leadership and their intellectual elite supporters still think they're smarter than everyone else, so there's no reason for them to change their core positions when it's simply a matter of following the George Lakoff model and simply uncovering the right words and phrases to bring the masses back to your side.

That reduces the degree of personal discomfort for those Democrats to about the same as struggling to find the answer to 27 Down on the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle -- an annoyance, but not something that is a cause for any deep soul-searching.

Posted by: John at December 23, 2004 9:40 AM

The changes in the Democratic Party since the McGovern nomination, where they sold out patriotic G-d fearing working class people to appeal to urban trendnoids who could finance political campaigns, make it impossible for the Democrats to change in any substantive manner.

If the Democrats became patriotic and pro-life, what reason would anyone have to support them? Their economic policy is identical to that of the GOP except for a greater willingness to raise the taxes of working Americans. It would only serve to destroy their contributor base.

Posted by: Bart at December 23, 2004 10:40 AM
« 180 MINUTE BLISS (via Ed Driscoll): | Main | WE DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER: »