Wednesday, November 10, 2004

What happened - Part 1

I took a week off from the Chicken as I regrouped and rethought. It seems pretty clear that we didn't have the right combo this time. While Bush might not have the Mandate he claims, that was a pretty decisive victory.

This post will throw out some ideas about what went wrong and how in 2004, and the next post will be about what we can do going forward. I'm not one to cry over spilt milk so the next post will be longer than this one.

I think Atrios said that looking at an election result is like reading a Rohrschact Test, whatever your pet peeve was becomes the reason we lost. You can make a convincing case for a number of different issues costing us this election including (but not limited to) gays, abortion, guns, taxes, terror or that people don't want to change captains in midstream. Whatever your tendency you can highlight your cause as the deciding factor. This doesn't give us an answer.

We didn't lose for a single cause.

We didn't lose for lack of voter mobilization

We didn't lose for John Kerry. We won because of Bill Clinton, but he didn't fix the party's ills.

We lost because Democrats were the anti-Republicans.

We lost because our base isn't as strong as the Republican base.

We lost because 42% of Americans claim to be Evangelicals, and about 80% of them vote for Bush.

We lost because the rhetoric from the Right has convinced these 42% of Americans that the party of tax cuts for the rich, no pity for the weak, old or ill, destroyers of the environment, hubris internationally is the party of God. I may not be a man of the cloth, but I'm pretty sure that Jesus had pretty strong feelings about issues other than abortion and gays. The Republicans have done a brilliant job of obscuring those issues. But this is just one aspect.

Because in addition to being able to rely on his base, Bush was able to put on the moderate face in public and go after votes from Kerry's base. And that's because Kerry's base didn't have an identity. There was no unifying thought, theme or concept with Kerry and the Dems to compare to Bush's Principled Driven Leadership.

We used to have an identity. Roosevelt's party had an identity. The party of JFK, LBJ and RFK had an identity. But now, we're without an identity.

Look at the nominating process. 9 men, 1 woman. Nothing unifying among them. No victory of one 'Democratic' vision over another. We didn't pick someone who had an identity, because we don't have an identity.


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