Dems Rapidly Becoming the Minnesota Vikings of Politics


[Cue John Facenda voice]: With little left to lose and even less to gain, Reason's own Tim Cavanaugh began prognosticating with the protean power of a latter-day Jimmy the Greek while mouth-breathing with all the suet-choked grace of a phlegmatic Jack Germond. As Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid stumbled to the scrimmage line deep in their own terrritory, pinning their electoral hopes on a Hail Mary play involving disgraced lobbyists and banished GOP pols rather than anything resembling a policy agenda, the Democrats' troubles grew ever more grave on the frozen tundra that is mid-term politics: Even their own supporters are openly saying that the Donkey Party's hopes for evening the score in Congress this fall are going down faster than a Clinton-era White House intern:

The Democratic congressional leadership (is that a oxymoron?) still cowers when it sees its Cold War shadow, a ghost drawn by Republicans and regularly re-inked by the Washington-based Democratic neo-conservatives who gave us John Kerry and who me-too'ed Bush on Iraq. They can't seem to understand that Democrats have won the baby boom generation-dominated electoral center on socio-cultural issues, not at all like the Depression-era center that elected Nixon and Reagan.

So, instead of boldly opposing the madness in Iraq and firing up the base with unapologetic opposition to the Talibanic wing of the GOP, Democratic leaders have brilliantly concluded they can win in 2006 by hammering away at The Hammer and his friend, Mr. Abramoff…

That's not what [voters] are going to vote on 10 months from now, when Abramoff is forgotten and/or conflated into a pox on incumbents in both houses and on both parties.

While Republicans are prepared to beat the brains out of Democrats with taxes and terrorism, my party apparently intends to win by default. But what else is new?

That's from an op-ed in the DC Examiner by Terry Michael, former press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, current head of the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism, and proprietor of a blog titled "Thoughts from a Libertarian Democrat." Whole thing here.

NEXT: Gangs of New Jersey

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  1. Terry Michael can believe, if he wants, that Republicans have won five of the last seven presidential elections, and have held Congress since 1994, despite the fact that they advocate an aggressive foreign policy. Democrats have been running, and losing, on the "real issues" (warmed-over New Deal/Fair Deal/Great Society proposals) for decades. Unless and until Democrats develop a foreign policy that consists of more than being really nice to people, they're going to keep on losing.

  2. Ouch! That hurt. At least we Vikes got to the Superbowl.

  3. Harry Reid is no Fran Tarkenton

  4. Would somebody explain to a non-fan what it means to be the Minnesota Vikings of football? Do they constantly lose games, or do they constantly make it to the Super Bowl without winning it, or what?

  5. Jennifer, since the Denver Broncos have now won a couple Superbowls, the Vikings have the distinction of being the losing-est Superbowl team in history: 0 for 4.

  6. Well, they throw really bumpin' parties on cruise boats, I know that much.

  7. SR: So we're letting the Buffalo Bills off easy then?

  8. I should add that I am not a football fan; I just happen to live in Denver.

  9. The Minnesota Vikings lost four Super Bowls back in the 70's. A notorious honor not exceeded until the Buffalo Bills lost four consecutive SBs in the 90's. The Vikings are therefore often referenced as 'unable to win the big one'.

  10. It doesn't help that they went 15-1 in 1998 and then missed the SB by one field goal.

    After that game I vowed never to go to Atlanta ever again... but then I realized that I never wanted to go to Atlanta in the first place...

  11. I lived in Buffalo for the first three SB losses (and they really were *that* close from beating the Giants in '91), so yes, I'm letting the Bills off easy, even if choke-artist QB Jim Kelly had a porcelain clown collection.

    Back to Alan V's point at the start of this thread: Democrats have won 2 of the last 4 presidential elections and Clinton definitely had an aggressive (and stupid) foreign policy, deploying the military far more often than anyone in recent memory (and typically less effectively too). During the '90s, it was the GOP who argued that we couldn't be globo-cop, a stance that played pretty well with voters.

    9/11 greatly changed that, but perhaps not as much as we might think, especially given the low ratings for Bush re: the war these days. Michaels is, I think, correct in saying that the Dems will *never* get ahead with a me-too approach to foreign policy. Had they crafted a muscular response to terrorism that included a critque of Iraq, they might have gotten somewhere. And I think he's right that Dems should stress the general embrace of social tolerance in the U.S. as a good thing (and a recent thing; Mr. Roper-level fag-bashing routines barely went out of fashion 20 years ago).

    I'm sure we all agree that John Kerry was not the man to pronounce on foreign or domestic policy. And, given that I have no connection or affiliation with the Dems, I don't really care. Except that democracy does function better when the major players bring some game to the court.

  12. "So we're letting the Buffalo Bills off easy then?"

    As I actually was writing at the very moment you posted that, I'm not a football fan. I'd either forgotten or was never aware that the Buffalo Bills had tied the Vikings for that record.

  13. Would this make the Republicans the San Diego Padres of first place only because the competition is so pathetic?

  14. Hmmm . . . I recall reading an interview of the new House Majority Leader expressing similar pessimism about the GOP's chances of keeping their majority after mid-terms. I suppose it'd too much to hope for that they might both be right (for once)?

  15. Yep, the Bills should have the honor of being the Democrats. Except the Democrats tend to miss wide left.

  16. Eryk Boston:

    YES! Exactly. Below .500 but still headed for the post season.

  17. The Broncos were kinda like the Goldwater/Reagan wing of the GOP, years of humiliation building toward stunning triumph. The consecutive Super Bowl wins were like Reagan's Pres. elections...

  18. As a hockey fan, I think the Democrats are more like the Boston Bruins; lots of past victories, can't win a thing today.

  19. I just love election prognostications 10 months before an election - the Canadian pundits in early 2005 were all predicting that Paul Martin and the Liberals would easily hang onto power, too.

    I see the financial sector going into full-tilt blow-off/meltdown mode, the housing/mortage paper pyramid starting to crumble, gold, oil and commodity prices and consequent inflation (the real kind, not the phony-baloney CPI numbers) soaring, and everyone blandly ignoring it or assuming that somehow all this is a Good Thing. Well, it ain't, and there isn't much the Fed can do about it - if Bernanke stops raising rates, the dollar index collapses and the Chinese stop buying our debt, and if he continues to raise rates, the wondrous Credit Bubble comes to a very nasty end.

    I think that the 2006 midterms are not going to be decided by Abramoff, wiretapping or Katrina - they will be a referendum on future events that no pundit has predicted or even deigned to notice. I have no illusions about the competence of Mr. Reid or Ms Pelosi, but this may be one midterm the Demos win in spite of themselves.

  20. I'd the Boston Celtics have the "past glory, present shame" title

  21. Dems Rapidly Becoming the Minnesota Vikings of Politics

    Please don't insult the Vikings like that.

    Cute fact: When I was a little boy I had Fran Tarkenton pajamas.

  22. So, instead of boldly opposing the madness in Iraq and firing up the base with unapologetic opposition to the Talibanic wing of the GOP, Democratic leaders have brilliantly concluded they can win in 2006 by hammering away at The Hammer and his friend, Mr. Abramoff...

    Didn't the Dems try this strategy in '72 with McGovern and promptly got owned by Nixon?

  23. People who talk about the "Talibanic Wing' of the Republican Party have permanently forfeited any right to brag about their own personal tolerance / respect for differences. It's that kind of self-righteous BS that helps keep the Democrats out of power, so please keep it up.

    At a time where the most publicly visible arguments about gay rights are about "gay marriage", with 70% of Americans on one side, and the Democrat Party and their sleazy "judges" on the other, dems who want to win elections might want to avoid the whole "gay" thing for a while.

    And the thing that the polls never ask is how many of those who are disapproving of what we're doing in Iraq think that we're being too candy ass, instead of not wanting us there.

    Americans like to win. The Democrat Party wants us to lose. So long as we're at war, that's going to drag the Democrats down.

  24. Greg --

    What at least one Democrat (me) believes is that (1) Bush has never set out a coherent definition of what "winning" would mean (unless you count the original stated desire to remove Hussein from power, which we accomplished a while ago, and eliminate WMDs, and we all know how that turned out), which makes the whole discussion kind of ridiculous, but (2) the options now appear to be either a fundamentalist regime aligned with Iran or else civil war and/or partition, (3) neither of which is sufficiently like "winning" to justify the enormous amount of blood and money we've spent on this project.

    If it was possible to "win" in any meaningful sense, I'd be all for it; since it's not, we should recognize that and cut our losses. What's really going to happen is that when it's politically convenient for Bush to say we've won he'll declare whatever the situation happens to be at that moment a victory, turn the smoldering remains over to the Iraqis and wash his hands of the whole thing. And then probably model his flight suit again just for Laura.

    If you've got a viable definition of "winning" and a coherent plan for achieving it, please share it.

  25. Ted,

    There are two ways to win the war on terror:

    1: Replace every government in the Middle East with a representative democracry with free and honest elections, so that they can start building functional societies, adn their people have better things to do with their time than kill Americans.

    2: Repalce every ME government with one that will cherrfully kill half of its people if that's what they have to do to keep them from engaging in terrorist attacks against the US.

    Of the 19 9/11 terrorists, 15 came from Saudi Arabia, and 4 came from Egypt. That was our reward for "stability" and "not interfering with their internal affairs". Do you want more 9/11s? If so, vote Democrat, because they want to return to the policies that made it possible.

    If you don't want more 9/11s, then you want to shake things up in th ME, and keep on shaking things up until teh governments there let their people live worthwhile lives.

    Dictatorships don't want a flourishing middle class, but that is what all thsoe countries must get. Which means we need to destroy all the dictatorships.

    We don't have to destroy them all at once. In fact, we can't. Which is why Bush isn't connedecting all the dots for people. It doesn't, hwoever, explain why you Democrats dont' get off your intellectual butts and figure it all out yourselves.

    We're going to be in the ME for at least the next 40 years, just like we've been in Europe for the last 60. And for the same reason: because it costs us to much to let them screw up.

    There's not going to be a civil war in Iraq, an Islamic fundamentalist regime, or a partition (although I don't really see what's wrong with the last) unless the US pulls out.

    Which is what your leaders appear to want.

    So, do you think those possibilities are bad?

    If so, why are you aligning yourself with people who want to make them mroe likely to happen?

  26. If you really care, go read this post. He said it better than I could:

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