TIME Magazine understands why Democrats lose
Someone at TIME Magazine has finally figured out why Democrats lose elections. Joe Klein blames the losing record of the Democrats on their dependence on consultants and focus groups. Limbaugh has been saying this for years — I don’t know why it’s taken so long for a smart man like Klein to figure this one out. When it comes to politics, the Democrats are still at “Ned in the First Reader.”
Of course, the other reason that Democrats lose elections is that they’re wrong on the issues, but Klein hasn’t figured that one out yet and probably won’t.
Klein talks of Gore losing the 2000 election:
Gore won Michigan and Pennsylvania, but he lost an election he should have won, and he lost it on intangibles. He lost it because he seemed stiff, phony and uncomfortable in public. The stiffness was, in effect, a campaign strategy: just about every last word he uttered—even the things he said in the debates with George W. Bush—had been market-tested in advance. I asked Devine if he’d ever considered the possibility that Gore might have been a warmer, more credible and inspiring candidate if he’d talked about the things he really wanted to talk about, like the environment. “That’s an interesting thought,” Devine said.
Klein says of the Kerry campaign:
“We’re going to meet the voters where they are,” Shrum had told me early in the Kerry campaign, which sounded innocent enough—but what he really meant was, We’re going to follow our polling numbers and focus groups. We’re going to emphasize the things that voters think are important. In fact, Shrum had it completely wrong. Presidential campaigns are not about “meeting the voters where they are.” They are about leadership and character. Mark Mellman, Kerry’s lead pollster, figured that out too late. “If you asked people what they were most interested in, they would say jobs, education and health care,” he later said. “But they thought the President should be interested in national security.”
Klein finally says this about political consultants:
Consultants are unavoidable, given the complexity of modern communications. But I have a vague hope that the most talented politicians now realize that the public has come to understand what market-tested language sounds like, and that there is a demand for leadership, as opposed to the regurgitation of carefully massaged nostrums.
What Klein does not yet understand is that Americans want a leader. I’m not fond of everything that President Bush has done but I know that he’s a statesman in the class of Churchill and not a prissy political hack like John Kerry. Bush understands that national security is our number one issue and he realizes that, deep down inside, most Americans understand that, too. I’m ticked at Bush for the “No Child Left Behind” boondoggle of his first term and for the horrid senior medical payments monster.
However, I’m willing to forgive Bush of these problems because he’s shown a backbone by not refusing to use nuclear bunker busters on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities. He knows that once Iran has nuclear weapons they will use them — not only against Israel but also against portions of Europe. He understands that protecting America is his number one job.
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