Monday, November 03, 2003

Democrats are losers

Here's what bugs me about the criticism I hear from Democrats about Howard Dean: they all appear to be based on a defensive strategy. Every one of Dean's critics is worried about his apparent weaknesses on some issue. They think the Democrats need another candidate who won't have to waste their time defending those issues.

The problems with this position are manifold, but they come down to two things: (1) there is no perfect candidate who cannot be attacked on a multitude of issues and (2) playing defense all the time makes you look weak.

Dean is not perfect, but none of the current candidates are any more perfect. Dean can be attacked on his stance on the war? Clark and the other candidates are all coming around to Dean's point of view. Dean at least has the advantage of saying he was there first and thus he can argue that he was smart enough to figure out the problem before all the other geniuses and he was brave enough to make this stand clear and unequivocal when it wasn't very popular.

Dean can be attack on civil unions? All of the major candidates support this to some extent and thus all of them can be smeared with the same brush. Dean at least has the advantage of actually putting his political future on the line for the issue and can thus score points for political bravery (and yes, that does count for something).

Dean can be attacked on taxes? Hate to break it to you folks but being a Democrat means you will always be attacked on taxes. Trying to finesse the issue simply doesn't work. The Democrats, to win on this, have to change the assumptions of the debate and the "let's rollback some but not all" simply appears politically calculated and thus cowardly.

Dean is something this country hasn't seen in quite some time: an unapologetic Democrat who doesn't play defense but instead takes the fight to the opposition and confronts them on their failures and their weaknesses. He does it with Democrats as well as Republicans. The leadership may squawk about the attacks, but maybe its about time someone slap them around a little in order to wake them out of their stupor.

Instead of sitting around worrying about how some aspect of Dean's policies stances will make him unelectable maybe Democrats should think more about how to make those positions positive. For that is the real problem here: negativity. The Dems are all about how things won't work. They are all about how they will fail yet again. Every time I see a prominent Dem say, in public, that Bush will be hard to beat I just want to slap them silly and tell them to shut the f*ck up. Democrats don't lose because of their stands on a particular issue. They lose because they act like losers! If they would just spend their time and energy thinking of ways to make their issues winners instead of just looking for winning issues than maybe they might actually start winning.

Or could it be that Democrats have gotten so used to losing that they don't know how to play the game any other way?

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