The article begins thusly:
When John Kerry ripped defeat from the jaws of victory last November, losing to a wounded president with a failed record, a few of us Democratic outliers took some solace in thinking that his campaign's dismal performance might actually force the party to own up to its mortal electoral weaknesses. Turns out we grossly underestimated the national Democrats' capacity for self-delusion and self-defeat.
Yes, it's only been two months, and it's not realistic to expect the party to remake itself even before Inauguration Day. But consider the head-scratching choices that Democrats have made so far since hitting close to political rock bottom. (That being defined loosely as losing in 81% of the nation's counties with a war hero running against a draft-avoider who has bungled both Iraq and our national finances).
Ooohhhkayyy. Sir, you guys are nowhere near rock bottom if you're still thinking like this.
The rest of the piece sort of has the tone "We pretty well suck and are worthless. We need to start thrashing around and find something, anything so we can win again. That's our inspiring vision for America!"
Some other gems:
But I am guessing these are many of the same folks who urged Mr. Kerry not to respond to the deeply damaging calumnies that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were slinging at his war record. God forbid we dignified those tactics by standing up for ourselves and actually fighting back (instead of robotically telling people we'll fight for them).
If Kerry had an answer to what the Swift Vets were charging, we'd have heard it. He didn't. We didn't.
So if we hope to win, we Democrats have to get over our predilection to preserve people's self-esteem at all costs, stop engaging in the politics of self-destruction, and start making some hardheaded calculations about what it takes to become a majority party again.
A bold and inspiring vision for America. Calculations.
Also check out the reader responses. Many are quite good. Here are a couple:
Try Growing Up
Ed Falkner - Appleton, Wis.
Mr. Gerstein has it quite wrong. The Democrats didn't lose because they weren't understood, they didn't have enough hawks, they weren't persuasive enough, whatever.
No, y'all lost because we understood you too clearly. America disagrees that George W. Bush is a "failed President." America disagrees with the ad hominem Democrats think is persuasive argument.
America is tired of the bloody and unrelenting pro-abortion tilt of your party. Tired of tax and tax and tax and tax only to find it going to your favorite constituencies for votes.
And, for that matter, tired of your hypocritical moral blindness: Men and women who suit your policy ends you defend with great fervor, yet men whose policies you disagree with your party will trump up imagined moral failings (no, George W. Bush did not avoid the draft, though Bill Clinton did).
No, the reason your side lost is it is on the wrong side of policy as a rule, and it is run by a bunch of loud, ad hominem juveniles.
Change your policies and learn some respect of your opponents. Then maybe you can reverse the tide.
One Nail Down, Many to Go
Gregory Black - Centennial, Colo.
In the statement that the Democratic Party needs new ideas and new leaders, you hit the nail right on the head. It was a really big nail and easy to hit.
However, the article completely missed every other nail. Bush is in fact a very credible president with a solid plan and is very capable of executing that plan to the satisfaction of the conservative and moderate base.
The Democrats had ideas regarding what they wanted to do, but had no plan and even worst, had no evidence that it was a better plan than the one the Republicans offered. To the American people regarding the Democrats "Where's the beef?"
And worst, the Democrats have no insight regarding their abhorent behavior. To say that "we Democrats have to get over our predilection to preserve people's self-esteem at all costs" appears to be self delusion. I have never seen a party in over 40 years of being involved in politics that could not take any form of criticism or questioning without launching off into a tirade of desperate attacks, slurs, and rage as I have seen in the last 12 years. Basically, the Democrats are rude.
Otherwise, the article was a good start in the right direction for the Democrats. Where are the Trumans when you need them?