AND THE SEASONS THEY GO ROUND AND ROUND
It's helping my depression to remember that this election, though we lost, was quite close. We hated Reagan, too, and those two elections weren't even slightly close. We hated Nixon, and he slaughtered McGovern.
I think the main reason we lost was we had a lousy candidate yet again. Americans vote for men, not platforms or plans. Howard Dean was a candidate Americans could have voted for. Maybe a bit of a loose cannon, but you knew what he stood for. John Kerry was not particularly a liberal, as accused, but he was not particularly much of anything. He was an undistinguished senator who came to the nomination because the party hacks didn't want Dean, who owed them nothing, and because he had a war record.
Frankly it could have been worse. He lucked out because the Bushies didn't pound him for voting against Gulf War 1, where there was an international coalition, and which did prevent Hussein from getting WMD's.
There was nothing to vote for. If you voted for Bush, you knew what you were voting for: aggressive unilateral American foreign policy, aggressive tax cuts, restrictions on abortion and gay rights.
We only knew what we were voting against. Kerry couldn't offer a way out of Iraq, because no one knows the way out. He couldn't offer a solution for the deficit, because he refused to raise taxes on the middle class. All he could offer was a health plan, and I personally have no idea what it was.
No one knew who Kerry was. Is he a nice man? Is he a funny man? Is he really a hunter? What happened to the brave young man who fought in a war and then fought the war? Did he ever do anything terribly brave after that?
If the party can be persuaded to get behind a charismatic centrist -- one people can identify with personally -- a Barack Obama, a John Edwards, a Bill Clinton -- we can win the next one. If we run another Dukakis/Mondale/Gore/Kerry -- another intelligent liberal with clout in the party -- we're done for.
I'm hoping to God that Hillary doesn't run in 2008. I've seen her speak, and you have to think about what she's saying before it gets into your head.
Ah well. Let the 2008 primary begin.