You know, there are a lot of reasons why the Democrats can’t seem to get their act together: they’re chicken, they’re almost as beholden to corporate contributions as the Pubs, and they’re still focused on pleasing (or at least connecting with) single-issue groups individually, effectively preventing themselves from putting together a unified coalition with an over-arching and inclusive General Goal (an every-man-for-himself philosophy pretty much shoots unity in the ass), to name a few. But one of their less-mentioned deficiencies was on parade at the Pace University Debate yesterday afternoon.
The lead in the NY Times said it all:
The Democratic presidential candidates squabbled intensely over tax cuts, health care and trade policy yesterday afternoon at a debate in Manhattan, trading often personal attacks. But the newest entrant to the race, Gen. Wesley K. Clark, stood on the sidelines and was largely ignored for much of the first debate of his political career. (emphasis added)
Howard Dean, the feisty ex-Governor of Vermont (right next door to me–practically), has had control of the Demo-race headlines for months, drawing only a little intermittent and ineffective fire from the candidates he was walloping like a wild boar with a nasty attitude wallops anything in its path. Only now, when they’ve already lost the battle, do the mainstream candidates finally get off their collective butts and take real aim. Only it’s just the teensiest bit too late.
So Gen. Clark enters the race, whips into frontrunner status with the speed of a hungry cheetah latching onto the neck of a passing gazelle, hogs a sizable share of the Demo-donation pool for the week, gets the cover of Newsweek and a raft of other coverage in every media going (at the minimum rate of 1-2 stories a day), and is instantly savaged by the right-wing, which may not be much good for anything else but has a real nose for threats to their main squeeze, the Smirking Chimp. And what do they do the first chance they’ve got? Put him in perspective? Attack his late arrival? Question his policies (to show how few he has, at least domestically)? Do they take advantage of this opportunity–which may not come again–to cut him down to size?
No, no, boys and girls, none of that. They ignore him. Pretend he’s not there–the Elephant (you should excuse the expression)-in-the-Living-Room Syndrome: “If we just don’t mention it, maybe it’ll go away.”
Proof–if you needed it–that one of the Demo’s biggest problems is that they’re constantly in denial of the realities marching around in front of them wearing big orange clown noses and playing tubas–very LOUD.
“Close your eyes and put your hands over your ears–if you can’t see it or hear it, it ain’t there.”
No wonder they lost the Congress.