Have you noticed that Democrats don't have a vision, much less a coherent platform this election year? It's because they don't have serious alternative policies to offer the voters. But they are nonetheless united and motivated like never before, behind an overarching objective: defeating George Bush (the goal).
The disparate single-issue groups that make up the Democratic base are more than willing to subordinate their differences in furtherance of the goal. Since the primaries began, it has been the driving force that has shaped the campaign. It initially surfaced in the unexpected popularity of Howard Dean, whose only redeeming virtue was his single-minded hostility toward Mr. Bush, which mostly manifested itself in his antiwar zeal.
But don't be fooled. It wasn't antiwar sentiments that drove the antiBush fervor. It was the other way around; Democrats are mostly against the war because they are against Bush, who is leading it. They had no objections to Clinton's interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo or, yes, Iraq.
They've been obsessively against Bush since November 2000, when Al Gore's Machiavellian operatives succeeded in deceiving Democrats into believing that Bush, rather than Gore, was trying to steal the election. This was essentially the same group of adept spinmeisters who convinced Democrats that the exceedingly honorable Kenneth Starr was the villain, rather than the true rogue, Bill Clinton. And no, I'm not quite over that injustice yet.
This focused anger was so intense that even 9-11 could only momentarily deter it. Within no time at all, the Democrats were back to hating George Bush as usual, even though he extended numerous olive branches to them and was implementing much of their domestic agenda.
Howard Dean, then, was the perfect messenger for their rage, and it was only when he seemed to go off the deep end that the party began to slip away from him. But it was not his rage that turned them off. It was his apparent instability -- now being played up by the major media, whose support Democrats rely on -- because it would interfere with his electability, and thus, the goal.
No sooner than Dean imploded did the previously unappealing John Kerry emerge to pick up the anti-Bush football that Dean fumbled. Kerry instantly became the Democrats' choice because he was prepared to carry that football with much less chance of fumbling through some Dean-like screaming incident and he projected a presidential air.