Skip to comments.Victor Davis Hanson: Democratic Suicide
Posted on 05/06/2005 5:26:24 AM PDT by Tolik
When will the Dems start winning again? When they start living and speaking like normal folks.
We are in unsure times amid a controversial war. Yet the American people are not swayed by the universities, the major networks, the New York Times, Hollywood, the major foundations, and NPR. All these bastions of doctrinaire liberal thinking have done their best to convince America that George W. Bush, captive to right-wing nuts and Christian fanatics, is leading the country into an abyss. In fact, a close look at a map of red/blue counties nationwide suggests that the Democrats are in deepening trouble.
Why? In a word, Democratic ideology and rhetoric have not evolved from the 1960s, although the vast majority of Americans has and an astute Republican leadership knows it.
Today entitlement is far more complicated. Poverty is not so much absolute as relative: "I have a nice Kia, but he has a Mercedes," or "I have a student loan to go to Stanislaus State, but her parents sent her to Yale." Unfortunately for the Democrats, Kias and going to Stanislaus State aren't too bad, especially compared to the alternatives in the 1950s.
A Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean, George Soros, or Al Gore looks no, acts like he either came out of a hairstylist's salon or got off a Gulfstream. Those who show up at a Moveon.org rally and belong to ANSWER don't seem to have spent much time in Bakersfield or Logan, but lots in Seattle and Westwood. When most Americans have the semblance of wealth televisions, cell phones, cars, laptops, and iPods as well as benefits on the job it is hard to keep saying that "children are starving." Obesity not emaciation is the great plague of the poorer.
So the Democrats need a little more humility, a notion that the country is not so much an us/them dichotomy, but rather all of us together under siege to maintain our privileges in a tough global world and at least one spokesman who either didn't go to prep school or isn't a lawyer.
The country is also no longer white and black, but brown, yellow, black, white, and mixed. When a liberal UC Berkeley chancellor remonstrates about "diversity" and "multiculturalism," lamenting that his merit-based entrance requirements have sadly resulted in too few "Hispanics" and "African-Americans" (he ignores that whites at Berkeley also enroll in numbers less than their percentages in the state population), what he really means but won't say is that there are apparently too many Asians, about 45 percent enrolled in Berkeley versus about 12 percent in the state population.
What will he do? Praise a hard-working minority that overcame historic prejudice against them? Hardly. We suspect instead the typical liberal solution is on the horizon: some clever, but secretive administrative fix that contravenes Proposition 209, and then denies that compensatory action is aimed against the Asians it is aimed at.
In short, race-based thinking beyond protection of equal opportunity is fraught with public suspicion, especially when so many loud spokesmen for minorities Jesse Jackson or Kweisi Mfume either are elites themselves or do not practice the morality they preach. An Alberto Gonzales or Condoleezza Rice comes across as proud, competent, and an expert rather than a tribalist, while those in the Black Caucus or La Raza industry appear often the opposite. Would you want a sober Colin Powell or an often unhinged Harry Belafonte and surly Julian Bond in your party? Did Condoleezza Rice, answering acerbic senators without notes, or Barbara Boxer, droning off a prepared script, appear the more impressive in recent confirmation hearings? A Democratic "minority" appointment to a cabinet post at education or housing is one thing; a Republican belief that the best candidates for secretary of state, national security advisor, and attorney general are incidentally minorities is quite another.
George Bush is appealing to a new group that really is threatened the under-35's who cannot afford a house, have student loans, high car and health insurance, and are concerned that their poor therapeutic education will leave them impoverished as China and the rest of Asia race ahead.
Would Al Gore have invaded Afghanistan less than a month after 9/11? If John Kerry were President and China invaded Taiwan, what would he do?
What would an administration advised by Madeline Albright, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, Jamie Rubin, Nancy Pelosi, or Jimmy Carter do if Iran sent a nuke into Israel, or North Korea fired a series of missiles over the top of Japan?
Or, if al Qaeda, operating from a sanctuary in Iran or Syria, took out the Sears Tower, how would a Kennedy, Kerry, or Gore respond? Six cruise missiles? A police matter? Proper work for the DA? Better "intelligence"? Let's work with our allies? Get the U.N. involved?
Whatever we think of George Bush, we know he would do something real and just what that something might be frightens into hesitation and yes, fear many of those who would otherwise like to try something pretty awful.
Philosophically, two grand themes explain the Democratic dilemma. One, the United States does not suffer from the sort of oppression, poverty, or Vietnam nightmares of the 1950s and 1960s that created the present Democratic ideology. Thus calcified solutions of big government entitlements, race-based largess, and knee-jerk suspicion of U.S. power abroad come off as either impractical or hysterical.
Second, there is the widening gulf between word and deed and Americans hate hypocrites most of all. When you meet a guy from the Chamber of Commerce or insurance association, you pretty much know that what you see is what you get: comfort with American culture and values, an upscale lifestyle that reflects his ideology and work, and no apologies for success or excuses for lack of same.
But if you listen to Dr. Dean and his class venom, it hardly seems comparable with how he lives or how he was brought up. John Kerry's super power boat, Teresa Kerry's numerous mansions, Arianna Huffington's gated estate, George Soros's jet, Ted Turner's ranches, Sean Penn's digs all this and more, whether fairly or unfairly, suggest hypocrisy and insincerity: Something like, "High taxes, government regulation, racial quotas, and more entitlements won't hurt me since I have so much money at my own disposal anyway, but will at least make me feel good that we are transferring capital to the less fortunate."
Worse yet, such easy largess and the cost of caring often translate into contempt for the small businessman, entrepreneur, and salesperson who is supposedly illiberal because he worries that he has less disposable income and is less secure. And when you add in cracks about Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and the "Christian Right" all the things the more cultured avoid then the architects of a supposedly populist party seem to be ignorant of their own constituencies.
When will Democrats return to power? Three of the most influential legislators in the Democrat party Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Nancy Pelosi reside in and came out of the San Francisco Bay area, which for all its undeniable beauty has created a culture still at odds with most of America. John and Teresa Kerry would have been the nation's first billionaire presidential couple. The head of the Democratic party is a New England condescending liberal, with a vicious tongue, who ran and lost on a platform far to the left of an unsuccessful liberal.
In contrast the only two men elected president from the Democratic party in 30 years were southerners, hammed up their rural and common-man roots the son of a single mother in Arkansas and a peanut farmer in Plains, Georgia and were narrowly elected largely due to national scandals like Watergate or third-party conservative populists like Ross Perot. The aristocratic media CSB News, the New York Times, NPR is often liberal and yet talks of its degrees and pedigree; the firebrand populist bloggers, cable news pros, and talk-radio pundits are mostly conservative and survive on proven merit rather than image.
When we see Democrats speaking and living like normal folks expressing worry that the United States must return to basic education and values to ensure its shaky preeminence in a cutthroat world, talking of one multiracial society united by a rare exceptional culture of the West rather than a salad bowl of competing races and tribes, and apprising the world that we are principled abroad in our support of democratic nations and quite dangerous when attacked they will be competitive again.
Since they will not do that, they will keep losing no matter how much the economy worries, the war frightens, and the elite media scares the American people.
Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His website is victorhanson.com.
In plain, simple words, VDH boils down all the argle-bargle about the Democrats'incredible shrinking relevance.
Let's hope they don't listen ...
OUTSTANDING! VDH is OUTSTANDING!
And my question is: Have there been any Dr. Dean sightings?
I keep reading what he has to say, but still have not seen him being interviewed live on any of the TV shows.
Why is he in hiding?
In order to make this true, the Republicans need to get off the pot and lead. They need to ram the judges down the Dems collective throats. They need to ram Bolton through. For all the talk you hear of people loving the underdog, what poeple love the most is a winner and someone who leads. And a strong Republican needs to come out and stand tough on illegal immigration. That alone - IMHO - will curry enough respect and votes from non-Hispanics - to win the day.
Funny, yet sad, too.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
What a great article this is. VDH sums it all up very nicely.
He's a fricken genius.
Good man. Glad he's on our side.
Ouch! A finely crafted, scathingly true piece. If only it could be printed in some MSM outlets.
Better put some ice on that, democrats...
Nope .. Howard "The Coward" Dean is still hiding from the Media
If the republicans keep pandering and posturing and not believing their own rhetoric, the rat's may get a chance to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Again.
They cannot learn.....they lament, will the unwashed EVER learn?!!
IMHO these liberal/progressive columnists are as out of touch with reality as jihadists themselves...what we have is an elite upper crust in the US, educated beyond utility and reason by an Ivy League whose educational objectives are essentially described by UNESCO- http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/IBO.htm When this elite sees and experiences a wholesale rejection by society (Red/Blue state conflict) of the cultural and academic paradigm they've paid to buy into -both financially and personally-the rejection acquires apocalyptic overtones
Because the comedic impression of Rush Limbaugh snorting nose candy doesn't play well outside the fever swamps of the DNC.
The more I read Victor Davis Hanson, the more I tremble that the Dimocrats may also read him and begin to understand. Then I wake up. ;)
Bump for later read.
As Rush asserts, the Democrat party has been hijacked by their kook fringe. All they stand for now is criticizing and obstructing Bush's agenda.
I see the under 35 crowd that he is referring to at my work. We had a really sharp lady recently leave the company and move out of California because it was too expensive for her and her husband to live and own a house.
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