June 9, 2008


Masters of Disaster (Robert Stacy McCain, 6/9/2008, American Spectator

Somewhere, there should be a Hall of Fame honoring profoundly stupid Democratic Party campaign ideas. Among the featured exhibits would be Michael Dukakis's 1988 tank ride and John Kerry's 2004 Ohio duck-hunting trip. ("Can I get me a hunting license here?")

The important thing to remember about such classic campaign blunders, however, is that Democrats didn't realize their disastrous potential until it was too late to prevent them.

Whether it's George McGovern's choice of Thomas Eagleton as his 1972 running mate or Fritz Mondale's promise to raise taxes in 1984, for some reason there's never anybody around Democrat HQ with the foresight to shout an advance warning.

If Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign melts down this year, however, the Democrats won't have that excuse. This time, there was plenty of warning....

There's an understandable human temptation to believe that such details matter--giving us the illusion that we have some control over events--when, in fact, it is the broader historical and social forces that are determinative. It is conceivable that this time around the nomination of a Northern liberal (*) to run against a Sun Belt conservative won't be a disaster for the Democrats, but if you have any regard for history you wouldn't want to bet on it, irrespective of the minutiae of the campaign. It's just a conservative country.

(*) One of the most important misunderstandings of modern politics is the erroneous belief that JFK contradicts this point. Nevermind all the McCarthyite, Cold Warrior, Supply-sider arguments and consider only this question: what was thought to be his main weakness as a national candidate?

Zemanta Pixie

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 9, 2008 7:09 AM

The narrative drives the events not vice versa. And if the events don't exist the media invents them. Like Bush-41's alleged marveling at seeing a grocery checkout scanner for the first time because he never used one before.

Posted by: Gideon7 at June 9, 2008 9:09 AM

As Gideon7 alluded to, it requires a compliant media (to help or hurt a candidate).

Obama's comments in San Francisco were 'reported' by a liberal blogger, not anyone from the press (it was a closed event). Look for the most limited & controlled access of any campaign ever - he can't risk any more gaffes or reversals.

And the media, though they will cover for him, run their own risks. Olbermann and Matthews are about two SNL parodies away from complete breakdown. The major dailies are cratering, and the public just isn't buying what they are pushing.

Election night is going to be an inflection point in politics and for the media. Watch for some psychotic breaks on CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC.

Posted by: ratbert at June 9, 2008 9:59 AM

It'll be like that opening scene is "Scanners" with Olbermann, playing the bald Canadian bureaucrat.

Posted by: narciso at June 9, 2008 7:16 PM