Moore emphasizes his working-class roots in Flint, Mich., and his dedication to the workingman. But he seems to have nothing but contempt for most Americans. "They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet," he told the anti-American British tabloid the Mirror. "We Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance. We don't know about anything that's happening outside our country. Our stupidity is embarrassing."
There is an unmistakable note of condescension here, of snobbery -- a note that is echoed in many Democrats' attitudes toward President Bush and much of his constituency. On the campaign trail, John Kerry and other Democratic candidates have made snide remarks about Bush's supposed lack of intelligence and verbal infelicities, remarks that elicited knowing laughs from the audience.
It is a tactical mistake, of course, for a politician to assume his opponent is an idiot -- he may turn out to be smarter than that and outsmart you, as George W. Bush did in his debates with Al Gore. And it is a strategic mistake for a political party to assume that the great mass of voters are stupid; they may just disagree with you, just as most voters disagree with Michael Moore on Afghanistan and Iraq.
Presumably, McAuliffe, Daschle and the other Democrats had a good time laughing at Bush in "Fahrenheit 9/11." And they might take comfort from the fact that it had the highest first-weekend gross of any documentary ever, beating "Jackass: The Movie."
There is indeed a large constituency that hates Bush and would rather see the United States humbled in Iraq than a Bush victory in November. But it's dangerous for a party and a presidential candidate to be identified so closely with those who hold such views. If you are seen as rooting against America, as Michael Moore seems to be, it's awfully hard to get a majority of Americans to vote for you.