Will Saleton finds that the Democratic Presidential candidates are swinging to the left. Dean and others are renewing their rhetoric against the President’s Iraq policy, the war on terrorism, and calling for more liberal economic policies.
What the Democrats are consistantly failing to understand is that liberals don’t win elections. The last true liberal to be elected President was LBJ. Since then liberal candidates like Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis have failed miserably. At best there is only 25% of the American population that are true liberals, and that’s pushing it. If the Democrats are trying to cement their position with them, they risk alienating the 50% (or more) of the voting population that are swing voters.
Even though the Democrats see Bush as Evil Incarnate, most of the country does not. His ratings on foreign policy are high, and his ratings on the economy are not good, but not terrible either. While Bush does have weaknesses, expect the Democrats to attack Bush with the grace and subtlety of a howitzer cannon. They’ll bring up anything they can to tar Bush. The only message that most people will get from the Democrats in 2004 is "we hate George W. Bush and you should to."
Except that attitude caused the Democrats to have their asses handed to them on a platter in 2002. Now the Democrats appear to be repeating history once more, trying to throw red meat to their base while making themselves look like blind partisans to the rest of the American electorate. Give that, all Bush has to do is place himself above the fray, keep on message, and appear Presidential and the Democrats are likely to implode on their own.
What will only compound this is that I now believe that Dean will get the Democratic nomination. Dean has the support of a lot of the liberal activists, and those activists are the one who are now at the rudder of the Democratic Party. The DLC is right that Dean is running too far to the left to be viable, but that doesn’t stop the liberal wing of the Democratic Party from clinging to him like a burr on a dog.
Then again, the Democrats have shown a complete lack of any vision beyond unseating Bush. The Democratic plans consist of recinding the Bush tax cuts (which will instantly destroy any chance of economic recovery), and more expensive social spending that will make the deficit-increasing aspect of tax cuts look like chump change. The Democratic agenda has been hijacked by the extreme left, which means that 2004 may very well be a repeat of 1984.