April 30, 2008

SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO HEAD THE REACTIONARY PARTY:

The Political Limits of Idealism (NICHOLAS WAPSHOTT, April 30, 2008, NY Sun)

Yet Mr. Obama has one thing in his favor: the predilection of ideologically driven supporters to fall in love with a losing candidate. The Democratic party's virgin foot soldiers put more value on intention than achievement and prefer purity to pragmatism. They consider idealistic perfection more important than tainted electability. They are often natural oppositionists who prefer to complain from a position of self-righteous impotence than make the grubby compromises needed to win and to govern.

In 1952, they favored the eloquent intellectual Adlai Stevenson, whose lofty tone, soaring rhetoric, and disinclination to be seen scrapping for the nomination are echoed in Mr. Obama's languid style. Even though Stevenson lost to Dwight Eisenhower by 442 to 89 electoral college votes, winning just nine states, the purists chose him again in 1956, when he went down to an even more inglorious defeat, with just 73 electoral college votes.

After rejecting the party of Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey, in 1972 the purists picked the weak, well-meaning peacenik George McGovern and watched him lose catastrophically to Richard Nixon by 520 electoral votes to 17.


And their increasingly angry self-righteousness will just kill them with voters, especially because it contrasts so badly with Maverick's openness about his flaws.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2008 7:10 PM
Comments

Will Michelle get a prime-time speaking slot at the convention? Whether Barack wins or loses, any speech she gives will be, well, angrily self-righteous.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 1, 2008 7:17 AM
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