Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd, and Kermit the Frog in Running for 2008 Democratic Nomination

Democrats are having problems with the vision thing. which seems to be caused by their preoccupation with the "hate thing". When all they offer to do is undo Bush because they hate him the message really doesn't carry. So, outgoing DNC chairman, Terry McAuliffe offers a vision, as it were, for packaging a presidential candidate for 2008 in this U.S. News article. The most revealing part is this:

Since the Democrats lack a clear leader and a clear path to the future, McAuliffe believes the party must fill the gap. "The next chair of the party has to begin to do message testing, message development in all 50 states. We need to start today," McAuliffe says. "We can't wait for a nominee in April of 2008 to say, 'OK, what's our message?' We don't have to wait for the nominee. By April 2008, we will know exactly what we have to do in order to win the presidential election."But what if the nominee disagrees with the DNC-tested message? McAuliffe thinks that is unlikely to happen, because the nominee is going to want to win. "If we have done our job for four years of this testing and the polling and doing what we need to do, you're going to have a very good idea of what works and what doesn't," he says. [emphasis mine]

If I read this correctly, and I have, they are already testing the message. So they either know who the nominee will be four years in advance, or more likely, the individual candidate is irrelevant. They need no candidate with a set of values, just a pretty face to download focus-grouped values and then run on them. Even better, his quote implies that, as it is, after clinching the nomination the candidate regularly turns to the DNC for his message.

Color me naive, but the idea of the candidate bringing his or her own personal set of values to the table is still the way it ought to be. Because if the candidate campaigns on a set of generally favored but politically risky policies (like tax reform, social security reform, the war on terror/war on terror-supporting regimes, etc), it is unlikely that he will take the bold steps required to make such visions realities unless he is personally committed to the ideas behind them.

It takes a certain measure of backbone to be a good president, and one must understand that the Europeans, Katie Couric, and Hollywood will likely despise you while you make history, but you must believe and persevere in order to move forward. And only the really brave and scary choices are the ones that change history.

In the 1990s we dealt with a president who said what he needed to say to remain in power. Even his vacation spots were poll-decided. The result was very little good for America, except what was popular at the time. Lack of conviction leaves you with lack of action. We know what a focus-grouped presidency looks like. We're cleaning up after it even today.


Blogger jwb said...

"Democrats are having problems with the vision thing."? Really? Stop the presses. Contact the NYTimes, we've found a replacement for Safire!

8:29 PM  

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