Political Hay

Can’t Win for Losing

The Democrats' long losing streak gets an extension.

By 6.14.06

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Well, it looks like that "culture of corruption" ploy didn't work out too well for Democrats last week in California. But after Brian Bilbray won disgraced Duke Cunningham's seat, some liberals quickly changed tack to claim that he did it by using the illegal immigration issue as a "scare tactic."

This sounds strange coming from folks who regularly warn that Republicans will starve children, throw old ladies out into the streets, etc., but such is life when you're on a losing streak. Year after year, defeats leave modern Democrats scratching their heads and navel-gazing; trying in vain to hit upon better ways to "get their message out." But that's the problem. Their message has been resounding for decades: they're liberals.

Some Democrats understand that one of the reasons they lose is that instead of finding ways to win, they'd rather rehash their losses. Washington Post writer Dan Balz points out:

They are experts at commissioning papers analyzing their weaknesses. ("Why we can't win with______." Fill in the blank with "white men," "married women," "rural voters," "people of faith," "more Latinos," "the middle class," or whatever group is considered the party's latest demographic debacle.)

In spite of this self-realization that they may be out of the mainstream, certain lefties out in cyberspace continue to delude themselves into thinking that the key to producing electoral victories is to harness the power of Al Gore's Internet. Last week's Las Vegas convention of liberal bloggers sponsored by Daily Kos is proof positive that these delusions will happily continue.

Remember, Howard Dean proved that raising a lot of dough from far-left extremists is not conducive to shutting them up. As Howard himself said of his supporters, "We listen. We pay attention. If I give a speech and the blog people don't like it, next time I change the speech." He changed the speech so often that in the end, it resembled nothing if not a primal scream.

Two years later, it seems as if history might repeat itself. As the Washington Times reports, "a poll earlier this year on the Daily Kos revealed 41 percent of those surveyed said they 'despise' Mr. Bush more than they despise Osama bin Laden." And one patriotic "Kossack" remarking on the death of Abu Musab Zarqawi said, "Now we are rid of one murderous tyrant -- how about the removal of another one -- believed to be hiding in a safe-house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

Surely, no mainstream Democrat would lend legitimacy to this left-wing hate-fest? Yet there they were; Senators Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer; presidential hopefuls Mark Warner, Tom Vilsack, and Bill Richardson; and naturally, DNC Chairman Dr. Dean, eager to rub elbows with the likes of Kos founder, Markos Moulitsas.

What was the media reaction? The New York Times cheerfully covered the event as if it were a meeting of the League of Women Voters, cooing, "Indeed, the convention, the first of what organizers said would become an annual event, seems on the way to becoming as much a part of the Democratic political circuit as the Iowa State Fair."

Yet when Bill Frist appeared last year on a remote broadcast sponsored by the Family Research Council on the filibustering of judicial nominees, the media reacted predictably. Indignant that the FRC suggested Democrats were blocking judges who were "people of faith," the Times growled, "It is one thing when private groups foment this kind of intolerance. It is another thing entirely when it's done by the highest-ranking member of the United States Senate."

The fact is, the liberal platform of today's Democratic Party is buttressed mostly by those who are members of radical factions like Daily Kos. Its tactical planks -- charges of Republican bigotry and disdain for the environment; sowing mistrust of corporations, and the populist drivel that tax cuts only benefit the rich -- are becoming a tough sell to the growing number of Americans who use the Internet, not as a political tool, but as an alternative news source.

Meanwhile, the "old" media continue to laud the influence of web warriors like the Kossacks, happily citing Mr. Moulitsas' prediction on the upcoming Senate race in Connecticut: "Lieberman is going to lose this one."

This may make for good copy, but missing is the record of Daily Kos-backed candidates in general elections. Considering that those it has supported are a dismal 0 for 20, its rise to power can only buoy those who hope to further extend the Democrats' losing streak.

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About the Author

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut (mailbox@lisafab.com).