Somebody call the waaaambulance. Realizing that they?re losing the political battle, the Democrats have fallen back on their last resort: weeping. Or as liberals like to call it, ?the nuclear option.? Senator Harry Reid of Nevada is crying mad at the Republican National Committee for calling him an ?obstructionist? in a research document distributed to a million Republican activists across the country. Citing President Bush?s call for bipartisan cooperation, Reid asked the Senate, ?Is President George Bush a man of his word, [or] is what he is telling the American people just a charade??
?What they want to do is just like [what] they did to [former Senate minority leader Tom] Daschle,? Reid continued, holding up an issue of Roll Call magazine with the headline ?RNC Turns Up Heat on Reid.? Yes, Senator, that would be the point of politics: to give your opponents the boot. If you really want to lead Senate Democrats, perhaps the best way to avoid ending up like Daschle is to ? here?s a bright idea! ? avoid acting like Daschle. The obstructionist girly-man routine didn?t work all that well for him, and that was even before President Bush?s re-election and continued Republican gains in the Senate.
Reid isn?t going to be able to get away with impugning the president?s integrity on this one. He?s clearly an obstructionist. The most inconvenient part of the RNC ?hit piece? about Reid is that everything on it is true. Reid is one of the lead proponents of blocking judges who believe in actually reading the Constitution ? he held a nine-hour filibuster last to block ?conservative? judges. He has vowed to oppose any plan to create Social Security personal retirement accounts as well.
Whining is not the way to win over the American people. But the Democrats are so wedded to the politics of the past that they?re boxing themselves into a corner. They?re not willing to go the extra mile to build new coalitions, to revamp their image, or to even accept that their grip on power is gone. They?re living in a dream world where they still run the Senate and can gain sympathy by calling Republicans ?meanies? and ?liars.?
John Kerry?s presidential campaign consisted almost entirely of references to his Vietnam service, juxtaposed with ?outraged? statements concerning non-existent Republicans questioning his patriotism. After Kerry made the ridiculous statement that America needed ?regime change,? he came under Republican fire ? and immediately resorted to the Kleenex box. ?I don?t need any lessons in patriotism,? he told reporters. Needless to say, Kerry?s strategy failed.
Sometimes, Democrats even whine about victimization at the hands of other Democrats in a desperate plea for sympathy. Howard Dean, whose presidential campaign was based almost entirely on questioning President Bush?s integrity, is the new Democratic National Committee chairman. Like Kerry, Dean resorted to whimpering when he came under attack. Only this time, he was under attack from rivals within his own party. He responded by calling out then-DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, sniveling: ?If we had strong leadership in the Democratic Party, they would be calling those other candidates and saying, ?Hey look, somebody's going to have to win here.?? Again, this strategy wasn?t too successful. Dean came in third in the Iowa caucuses, blamed others for attacking him, and then, like a Vermontian Wile E. Coyote, dropped the rest of the way off of the political cliff.
Playing the victim of a political drive-by became popular in the 1990s with President Clinton?s faux despair over the ?politics of personal destruction.? Of course, Clinton was smarter than any of the current Democratic leaders ? he didn?t merely cry and then leave it to the American people to sympathize. He defended himself by dealing directly with charges leveled against him, even if that meant lying.
Today?s Democratic leaders only remember Clinton?s tears, and think they can get away with avoiding legitimate charges by turning on the water works. They?d do well to remember Edmund Muskie, the prospective 1972 Democratic presidential candidate, who fell out of the race because he supposedly shed a few tears after the media ripped his wife. He had a good reason to cry, and he still lost. Democrats like Harry Reid have only their own records to cry about.