(Page 2 of 2)
DEMOCRATS DISCOVERED a new formula for success in offering voters a new political identity: Not Republican. Many of the Democrats elected to Congress in 2006 ran on ostensibly conservative platforms — opposing gay marriage and taking get-tough stances against illegal immigration — but without the telltale “R” affiliation to brand them as allies of Bush.
Negative identification can be a potent force in politics, as Republican strategists have long realized. Since the 1980s, the GOP has rendered the “liberal” label toxic in the eyes of middle-class voters who learned to associate the term with the failed policies of Jimmy Carter and the tax-and-spend agenda of post-McGovern Democrats.
For two decades, Republicans succeeded when they could offer voters a clear Not Liberal alternative to Democrats. The political denouement of the Bush era is that in the eyes of many voters, Not Republican is now more popular than Not Liberal.
It is in this confused electoral environment that Barack Obama has been able to generate such enthusiasm with his vague promises of Hope and Change.
The Democrats who cheered Thursday’s apotheosis of Obama at Invesco Field were celebrating the political potential of the ultimate Not Republican, the contradiction of everything that the Bush-era GOP has come to symbolize.
Many Republicans seem astonished that the Democrats would nominate Obama, an associate of outspoken radicals like Bill Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and a creature of Chicago’s notoriously corrupt machine politics.
What Obama’s candidacy represents is the Democratic Party’s confidence that America is ready for a president — any president — who is Not Republican. The fact that Obama continues to lead in most national polls shows that that confidence is not entirely unwarranted.
If Americans are ready for a Not Republican president, they will empower a Democratic Party that is just beginning an uncertain transition from the Clinton era.
Democrats are seeking to create for themselves a new identity, a transformation that begins with rejecting the past in favor of nebulous promises for the future. Like Jessica Sideways, today’s Democrats are ready to “embrace it all.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?