September 22, 2004


Kerry — A Party Divider? (Chuck Todd, Sept. 22, 2004,

One of the more remarkable things about the national campaign these days is the incredible unity enjoyed by the Republican Party.

With the Democrats in the minority, there ought to be a push to unify under the party banner, yet that hasn't occurred.

As has been noted in numerous reports about the structure of the Republican campaign apparatus, the party is incredibly streamlined -- not just on the presidential level but among campaigns for the House and the Senate as well.

It's a stark contrast to how the Democrats operate. And we're not just talking about the coordination (or lack thereof) that takes place between John Kerry, the Democratic National Committee and the House and Senate committees, but the overall attitude of the consultants and candidates in many races.

Democrats running in House and Senate races have no problems publicly distancing themselves from their national party leaders. Even Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has gone out of his way to put distance between himself and the Democratic nominee. [...]

By contrast, Republicans running in blue states, with few exceptions, aren't nearly as afraid of being linked with their party and its leader. And they have certainly not run as far away from Bush as some of Southern and Western Democrats have run from Kerry. [...]

Once the Republican Party identified specific principles to which all candidates could agree (defense and taxes quickly come to mind), the GOP became the governing party. The Democrats, particularly if Kerry loses, have a lot of work to do to unify the party so that a Senate candidate in South Carolina doesn't try to find a scheduling conflict to avoid a snapshot with a national candidate. Until Democrats gets past this, they may not become a governing party for a long time.

So if all Republicans run as Bush Republicans and half the Democrats run as Bush Republicans--which is in good measure why nearly the entire platform the President ran on in 2000 passed--isn't it fair to say that George W. Bush has proved to be exactly the uniter he said he'd be?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2004 11:45 AM

Actually, the Democrats are divided three ways -- those who support the war on terror without hesitation (the Zell Miller/Joe Lieberman wing); those who know the war on terror is critical, but are cynical enough to think they can regain power by downplaying it while at the same time thinking they can change their stance once they're back in the White House; and the third group, which honestly thinks the U.S. is the source of all trouble in the world and would be out there protesting even if a Democrat was in the White House.

Zell of course, supports Bush, while Liebrman is probably in the "faith" wing of the party whose members actually think Kerry will get better on the issue than what he's saying right now if he wins election. The problem is the candidate himself has managed to align himself with all three factions of his own party, sometimes within the span of 24 hours. A Ouiji board gives you more straightforward answers, which makes casting your ballot for the guy a major leap of faith for anyone who takes the battle against terrorism seriously.

Posted by: John at September 22, 2004 3:19 PM

Here in Nebraska (a pretty conservative state), the Democrats running for Congress run away from the word Democrat. I've been watching all these political commercials during Wheel of Fortune and the D's don't mention the fact that they are D's.

Posted by: pchuck at September 22, 2004 3:54 PM


& Ben Nelson is switching parties in January.

Posted by: oj at September 22, 2004 4:01 PM

If Bush wins 56-58% of the vote, then he will have united the country (and he should quietly say so in his post-election news conference).

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 22, 2004 8:51 PM