Leave it to the WaPo to reguritate conventional wisdom about the Democrats and/or Kerry. The conventional Washington widom these days is that Democrats have no new ideas. Finally, Michael Grunwald points out that 1994 and the GOP Contract With America was:
“the annunciation moment for the Church of New Ideas, alleged proof that a bold agenda can turn the partisan tide. In recent months, as Reid and Pelosi repeatedly delayed the rollout of their new strategy, pundits repeatedly contrasted their bumbling with the GOP’s mobilization behind the Contract With America. But Republican leaders did not formally unveil the contract until late September 1994, and even then it was only a House of Representatives strategy; the GOP took back the Senate without it.”
“New” is always overrated in politics. The New Deal had its roots in the Progressive Era; the New Frontier had its roots in the New Deal. The ideas in the Contract With America seemed new only after four decades of Democratic control of the House: term limits, balanced budgets, open government and “the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money.”
Of course, Republican rule has not brought about term limits. The budget is less balanced than ever; the government is bigger and less open than ever; Congress is mired in a new cycle of scandal and disgrace.”
OK so at least the WaPo recongized this and that “much of the REAL SECURITY platform does echo the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who stood silently in the back of Wednesday’s event like one of those Easter Island statues”
Ah, but forget about giving Kerry or any other 2004 Democrat not from “red” America credit for these measures on national security.
“But the downfall of the Kerry campaign was its candidate, not its ideas; Democrats with similar ideas ran far ahead of Kerry down ballot in GOP-leaning states like Colorado and Kentucky. Bush’s approval ratings were below 50 percent in 2004, but he successfully created a “choice election” that was as much about his opponent’s flip-flops as his own record. As a presidential candidate, Kerry could not avoid the spotlight, and his tendency to straddle issues was on full display. The Republicans will surely try to make 2006 another “choice election….”
Let us count the errors of the WaPo’s ways:
1) According to the last poll taken by the WaPo before the election (10-17-20 of 2004) Bush had an approval rating of 50%, disapproval of 46%. CNN exit poll of voters put Bush’s approval at 54%. Forget about misquoting Kerry, the post can’t even quote its own polls correctly.
2) Isn’t the whole part of every election with at least two major parties to have a “choice” election?
3) In Colorado Democrats did manage to pick up a Senate seat- while Kerry managed to win 47% of the vote- a greater percent of the Colorado for any Democrat since Truman in 1948 (with the obvious exception of LBJ in the blowout election of 1964).
In Kentucky the Democrats tried to unseat a GOP candidate whose mental stability was questionable-and failed.
4) “Kerry could not avoid the spotlight.” Pardon me folks, but isn’t it kind of counterintuitive for the nominee of a major party candidate to avoid the media spotlight? If I was ever nominated for president I’d want to be in the spotlight so much that the public forgot the name of my opponent.
Finally, where was the WaPo, and a lot of MSM outlets, in 2004 when Kerry was making some of the exact same points Kerry is making today? Wait, now I remember: They were busy promoting the image of Bush as a resolute leader taking the fight to the terrorists before the terrorists took the fight to us. 9/11 Commission Report? What 9/11 Commission report?
“What does Senator Kerry mean when he says that the brave, consistent Bush people are not defending America.”
As for Kerry’s flip-flopping what can we say? Media myths sure die hard, and journalists keep falling for the “Democrats are flip-floppers” charge every time the GOP makes it-regardless of who the Democrat candidate is.
Well, at least the WaPo for once didn’t run with the “Democrats have no ideas” or “the people rejected the Democrat ideas.”