While looking for something else, I noticed this entry from three years ago (5/20/05) which I'd forgotten about. Reprinting it here:
Doctor [Howard] Dean, underneath the public red-meat, is handing out a more subtle message to Democrats. He recently gave an hour-long forum at Wash. State Univ to a hard left audience.
Doc's main theme: Why do lower-income voters ignore their own economic interests to vote Republican? Because their kids are more important than their economic interests, and they feel under attack from a culture that is dangerous to kids. They also feel that Dems are firmly tied to that culture, and Reps are fighting against it. And everybody, not just the poor folks, wants to see integrity in a candidate. Dean said, without precisely saying it, that Kerry lost because he lacked integrity.
Pretty good diagnosis, both on the facts and the feelings. So what's the prescription? Speak softly about abortion, push hard to maintain So'Scurity, strengthen labor unions, emphasize strong national defense, strengthen NEA, push universal health insurance.
It's a plausible mouthful of pills, but I don't see how it even connects to the culture problem.
The audience cheered loudly on most points, and gave him dead silence on 'strong national defense'. Thus the real question is, can today's Dems fill this scrip with a straight face? Can the party of Traitor Durbin, the party of Traitoress Patty bin Murray, and for that matter the party of I-Hate-All-Republicans Dean, turn on a dime and start sounding like Joe Lieberman? Hillary can probably do it, because she began turning her steering wheel in 2000. She will have to stand against the rest of the party on most issues, though.
I'm not sure why I was using the doctor metaphor with Dean; there must have been some forgotten reference in the news. Leaving that aside, it's obvious that Doc had both the diagnosis and the prescription exactly right. If you look at the results of the '06 elections, you can see how it happened.
For a perfect specimen, examine the Montana debates between old silverback brand-R Conrad Burns and young brand-D Jon Tester. Burns lounged around with the attitude of a Roman emperor reclining on his golden throne, waiting for his phalanx of servants to fan him and feed him gold-plated grapes, while Tester looked like a 'squared-away' military man eager to serve the people. On every question, Burns growled "Don't bother me, you lowly slime, I got connections and you ain't." [And I'm really not stretching all that far for the sake of parody!] Tester gave meaningful answers in line with the needs of the people of Montana. Tester won.
And the same thing happened in many House seats. Republicans seemed to joyfully wallow in filth and corruption, offering the people nothing but Zero Zip Nada Taxes, while brand-D candidates seemed to be upright ordinary citizens, offering specific answers to specific questions. The Democrats won. This really shouldn't be surprising, but two years later, I see no indication that brand-R has garnered even the tiniest bit of information from the defeat. Still wallowing, still offering nothing but "tax holidays".
A more recent demonstration of the switch: When Sultan Bush decided to give a contract for Air Force tankers to the Euro company Airbus, it was the Dems from this state who fought to undo the decision and give the contract to Boeing. This is, of course, normal politics, not high-falutin principle.
Nevertheless, it's Osama's girlfriend Patty Murray and Baghdad Jim McDermott who are visibly and genuinely working for the interests of the state AND for strong national defense, while the brand-R representatives from this state have been absent from the fight, absent from normal politics. They have chosen loyalty to Sultan Bush over loyalty to their own state and nation.
I do not comprehend why.
Does Sultan Bush own compromising photographs of all the Rs?
In any case, the wheel has emphatically turned in the opposite direction, and (as I foresaw three years ago) Hillary is pulling hardest.
= = = = =
Later note: I was using the doctor metaphor with Dean because Dean was a doctor before entering politics. For some reason I forgot this. Senior moment.