Sorry I was called away; you should see a meaty post here later today (I hope). In the meantime, I direct your attention to this article
by Brent Budowski on Bill Clinton, who is leading the Democratic charge in the 2014 mid-term elections.
Yes, it's a partisan puff-piece, one which never mentions the discomforting truth that Clinton may campaign in areas where the far-less popular Obama is unwelcome. But consider these words about our current political state:
Many Americans warmly smiled when former first lady Barbara Bush said “I love Bill Clinton.” The respect and affection between former presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush is genuine and very American. It hearkens back to an Americanism dating back to the early republic of Jefferson and Adams, which voters would greatly value today, when political opponents collaborated with mutual respect to advance national interests.
The mudslinging attack by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) against Clinton is a textbook case of why Kamikaze Republicans lost national elections in 2006, 2008 and 2012. Voters are disgusted by this lowball brand of GOP politics, practiced by politicians who look mean, shallow and small against a former president who is widely liked, admired and respected.
Ditto for Republicans addicted to what I recently called their “Benghazi disease,” which has left former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton towering above potential Republican opponents in polling for the 2016 presidential race.
My question is this: Has the low road, as defined here, truly failed? I would argue that the Republicans have been practicing scurrilous politics since well before Bill Clinton became president, and that the strategy of sleaze has often prevailed.
Today, Benghazism hasn't gained much traction for the GOP, and Rand Paul's (and Mitt Romney's) attempt to hoist the flag of Monica's blue dress did not make the party seem more attractive. Such tactics may inflame the troops, but will not increase their numbers.
Nevertheless, the "mean, shallow and small" approach must work -- otherwise, our default economic mind-set would be something other than neo-liberalism and our default foreign policy approach would be something other than neo-conservativism.
Yes, Democrats did win in 2006, 2008 and 2012. Moreover, I would argue that Democrat presidential candidates really
won the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. But what about traditionally Democratic ideas
Those have lost.
Budowski may have forgotten what happened in 1994, but I never will. That was the year when Republicans learned the true value of paranoia and rage. Consider this account by a Salon writer of a sad case of Fox News addiction
My father sincerely believes that science is a political plot, Christians are America’s most persecuted minority and Barack Obama is a full-blown communist. He supports the use of force without question, as long as it’s aimed at foreigners. He thinks liberals are all stupid, ignorant fucks who hate America.
I don’t recall my father being so hostile when I was growing up. He was conservative, to be sure, but conventionally and thoughtfully so. He is a kind and generous man and a good father, but over the past five or 10 years, he’s become so conservative that I can’t even find a label for it.
What has changed? He consumes a daily diet of nothing except Fox News. He has for a decade or more.
Democrats have become accommodating squishy-conservatives while Republicans have had their brains transformed into vats of flaming bile. When an allegedly "Democratic" president spends eight full years eschewing Keynesianism while failing to heal the economy (and that's the Barack Obama story in nutshell), the public may see no alternative but to back the candidate favored by an army of bile-brains.
I share Budowski's admiration of Bill Clinton, but I cannot share Budowski's optimistic view of the American public.