Looking for love in all the wrong places

Posted: Dec 07, 2004 12:00 AM

 In their continuing post-election collective psychiatric couch session, the Democrats first need to determine whether they are going to maintain the charade that they were robbed, and, if so, then decide what to do about it.
Democrats have been vacillating back and forth between believing a majority of the public aligns with their liberalism on the one hand, and concluding that this isn't their country anymore on the other (their words, not mine).

 Their behavior smacks of full-blown schizophrenia when you consider they are maintaining they were cheated in Ohio (and elsewhere), yet simultaneously engaged in narcissistic self-analysis.

 If they would have won had there been no cheating, they don't need to be engaged in the soul searching, right? But if they are truly out of step with a clear majority of Americans, they should quit making these false, destructive claims of Republican election fraud.

 Today, newspapers teem with reports about Democratic plans to challenge the Ohio presidential election results and that Washington State Democrats just refuse to get a life.

 But also today, stories continue to explode like shrapnel concerning Democratic hand wringing over what they did wrong and how they can fix it before they wind up as a hopelessly lost minority party.

 They are desperately in search of a panacea to restore them to their glory days as the majority party -- a love potion that will reunite them with American voters.

 For example, Jill Lawrence reports in USA Today that Democrats are soberly pondering their choice to succeed Terry McAwful as Democratic National Committee chairman. This all-important selection, they say, will send a critical signal as to the party's future direction.

 But look at the qualities the various party honchos are aiming for in their new party "Boss." Lawrence says the state party officials "want someone who is energetic, charismatic and organized, expert at both fundraising and the pithy sound bite. Extra credit available for plans to strengthen Democrats in red states won by President Bush."

 Do you notice a common thread uniting the items on this wish list? That's right, they all have to do with superficial qualities, things that will enable the party to fool the American people rather than actually connecting with them on the issues. Don't forget that Terry McAwful himself possessed most of those qualities. He is energetic, some would say "charismatic" and organized. And I just read an article saying Democrats outperformed Republicans in fundraising.

 But the most revealing part is the Democrats' idea that they can adopt a magical plan to gain strength in red states. Instead of some elaborate hoax, they might consider coming back to reality on the morals issue rather than discarding wholesale the Judeo-Christian ethic and catering to the licentious whims of every one of their fringe constituencies. But that would be like asking them to abandon their church and their congregation. Forget it.

 The Democratic governors, according to Lawrence, are looking for a different set of attributes in their new chairman. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm says he/she "should be a centrist who comes from a conservative or battleground state, or is comfortable in those settings."

 Sound plausible? Then, read on: "We want somebody who can speak to the heart ? who can speak the language of values. ? " Sorry, Governor, you can't speak to the heart if you think "values" is a matter of semantics. You either share the values of the mostly-silent-except-when-they-vote majority, or you don't. But Democrats just don't grasp this concept. As Rush detailed in his show Monday, House Democrats are enlisting the counsel of Berkeley professor of linguistics and cognitive sciences, George Lakoff, to learn how to use "words and craftsmanship" to take back the majority.

 Lawrence also reminds us that Howard Dean, the guy who can fire up the Democrat base like no other -- is still in the running for the chairmanship.

 This isn't about the Democrats' base anymore. Their base was fired up, not for John Kerry -- who couldn't ignite a self-starting grill -- but against George Bush.

 The problem is they've marginalized themselves with a hodgepodge of such extreme positions that their base isn't big enough anymore and their core platform not only doesn't resonate with the rest of the people, including swing voters, it scares and alienates them.

 Democrats will fly blind until they learn their electoral difficulties are not the result of fraud and cheating (unless, by that you mean they weren't effective enough at either), or semantics or fundraising, but who they are at their core, mainly concerning national security issues and moral issues. Unless, of course, they are able to find another Bill Clinton -- not Hillary -- who can fool a plurality of the people a plurality of the time.