Skip to comments.Democratic Catastrophe (Terry McAuliffe SAYS IT WAS A GOOD NIGHT FOR DEMOCRATS)
Posted on 11/08/2002 4:25:52 PM PST by TLBSHOW
By Jamie Weinstein, Published 11/7/2002
The following is a conversation that Tim Russert had with DMC Chairman Terry McAuliffe on NBCs Meet the Press last Sunday:
Russert: Now, you said in The New York Times last week, Jeb Bush is gone. You want to take those words back?
McCauliffe: Of course not. Im very excited about whats going on in Florida.
Russert: Hes going to lose guaranteed?
McAuliffe: Yep we are going to win Florida which is going to set up, Tim, very nicely for 2004
McAuliffe stuck his neck out, and it looks like his head is now lying on the streets of Florida. Terry wasnt even close. In what he deemed the most important race of the 2002 midterm elections, Republican incumbent Jeb Bush trounced his Democratic Challenger Bill McBride by 16 percentage points. McAuliffe set the stage for a battle between the President and himself in Florida, and when the smoke settled McAuliffe was battered and bruised. Unfortunately for McAuliffe, this was only a prelude of things to come.
This historic election saw the Presidents party win seats during his first midterm in both the Senate and the House for the first time in something like a thousand years. Put it this way, if youre reading this column you wont be able to remember the last time this happened. Not only did Republicans pick up seats in the House but they won enough seats in the Senate to take back the majority. It was a landmark night by all accounts.
As I jubilantly switched between the cable news channels on election night, I wandered across the Crossfire gang on CNN. The four of them were giving their analysis on the unfolding Democratic Catastrophe, so I decided to halt my channel surfing and watch. I couldnt help but notice that James Carville was hanging his head low. It looked as if someone had stolen his spirit. A recognizably chipper Bob Novak would ask him questions and the mouth of the south would sullenly whine and moan, eyes to the ground, about what must have happened to his Democratic buddies (none of his analysis making any sense). Then something remarkable happened. For the first time in recorded history Carville must have gotten tired of listening to himself spout unintelligible nonsense, so he opted to stop talking and stick a nearby trashcan over his head. I think we can all agree that this is something he should consider doing more often.
To be honest, I have empathy for Carville. If you are a Democrat it must have been very tough night. All across the nation Republicans made their mark. In Maryland, Robert Ehrlich beat a Kennedy, taking the Governorship of a state where registered Democrats are in the majority by a margin of two to one. Moreover, he will be the first Republican Governor of Maryland since Spiro Agnew. In Hawaii, Linda Lingle became the first Republican Governor in almost forty years. In Minnesota, Norm Coleman was elected Senator and Tim Pawlenty was elected Governor; two Republicans elected to major offices in a very liberal state. This type of Republican trend was found all over the country.
During my internship in Washington this summer, I remember that House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt confidently declared to the press that Democrats will win forty House seats and become the majority party in the upcoming midterm elections. Two days after the Democrats lost seats in the House; Gephardt is ready to announce that he will not seek another term as Minority Leader. It seems that this Democratic presidential hopeful was slain on one night (although remarkably some say he is still considering a run for the Presidency).
That raises a good question. With this tremendous failure, the Democrats must unite behind a leader moving into the 2004 Presidential election if they are to have a shot at doing anything. But who is there to lead the Democratic Party? Daschle, Gephardt, and Gore certainly wont be able to excite anyone. Perhaps the Dems will turn to Presidential hopeful Al Sharpton as their leader going into 2004. But, of course, I jest.
In my opinion, the most successful candidate in this election was a member of neither party. He didnt even win his race. I am speaking of Jim Traficant, the always fashionable former Democratic Congressman who launched his campaign as an Independent from a maximum security prison. Despite this little inconvenience, Traficant was able to obtain over 27,000 votes (or 15% of his electorate). Mr. Traficant, keep up the good work.
Anyway one looks at it, this was remarkable election. Some see it as a mandate for the conservative agenda after a historic Republican victory. Others point to the shaken state the Democrats find themselves in realizing that they have few, if any, true leaders and lack a coherent message. Still others may feel that Traficants small victory made this election both remarkable and memorable. I certainly agree with all of the above sentiment.
So how do Democrats sum up what happened election night? On the election night version of CNNs Larry King Live, Terry McAuliffe summed it up with this absurd statement: It was a good night for Democrats.
Republicans keep the House, win the Senate, and take a couple key Governorships. Sorry Terry, but not even you can spin this one.
Governors and State legislatures redistrict the house. This is a terrible outcome for Democrats. The republicans made progress toward Gerrymandering the house again in 2010. From 1942 until 1992 the house was house was so Gerrymandered that the Republicans only held the house for 4 out of 50 years.
Now the shoe is on the other foot. And there is a good chance the Republicans may hold the house until 2022 at least. That would be 28 straight years to go against the Democrats straight 44 years.
The denial is not new. It is so similar to the Repubican denial from 1932 until 1952. The full denial in the Republican ranks was not over until 1968. It took the Repubicans 36 years to figure out what they were doing wrong. It took Republicans 24 years after that to reverse it.
I am amazed by the Democrats. They are indeed in severe denial. We keep wondering why they can't see it.
I for one like it that way.
No, I really mean it...good luck!
James Carville is a guy I hate so much I wish he were on our side.
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