It is becoming increasingly clear that the elephant has prevailed. The Moose comforts the donkey that the sun will still rise, seasons will change, babies will be born and life will go on. No need to check yourselves into the Betty Ford Depression Clinic.
Kerry ran a hard and admirable campaign. He endured the vicious and ferocious Republican swift boat attack with dignity. It is a stain on the honor of Republicans and the right wing punditry who promoted this vile smear on a man who risked his life and limb for country. John Kerry is an American patriot and hero.
The reality is that it was always going to be an uphill struggle to defeat a sitting commander in chief during wartime. The Moose would fault the Kerry campaign for never developing a compelling theme. When incumbents have been defeated in the recent past (Ford, Carter and Bush I), their challengers offered a distinct vision as well as a biting critique.
The Moose is struck that the Democrats came this close despite the incumbent’s clear advantage of leading a country at war. It is an indictment of the manner by which this administration has conducted this war that they only barely held onto power. The Moose believes that we cannot allow Iraq to become a failed state, but the Administration must shoot straight with the American people on the price to be paid and the real situation on the ground. The Moose is not holding his breath.
The Moose notes that the power of social issues far outweighed the factors of the youth vote or the “wired revolution.” Obviously, the Moose is fond of the internet, but neither cyberspace nor 527’s are substitutes for finding a way to reach middle and lower income voters who are motivated to vote by their perceptions that Democrats are “soft” on moral values. Without changing their principles, Democrats must find a language and a sensitivity to communicate to voters of faith who might agree with the party on economic concerns. And where were the youth voters inspired by the Deaniac Revolution and invisible to pollsters because they own cell phones rather than hard lines? Jor Trippi call your office.
The issue for donkey is neither moving to the right nor to the left. The Democrats have the opportunity to become the true reform party. It is not as if Bush won on a positive mandate. His main message was “vote for me or they will kill you.” With an increasingly ossified Republican establishment now fully in control of Washington, Democrats can truly become the insurgent party advocating fundamental reform in political and governmental institutions on behalf of the middle-class. It might be helpful to consult the old Gingrich playbook on how a minority party can seize power. Yes, the Republicans back then had voter mobilization, but they also were a party of ideas and seized the reform agenda.
Democrat governors can also be helpful in encouraging a progressive reform agenda. The state houses is where we will likely find much of the energy in the Democratic party.