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Like an old tired New York Yankee team, the big sluggers of the Democrat political team had a very bad year. They were swinging and missing, and now they're out, lost, and in a political winter. Worst yet, they're leading rookie candidate for '04, 'left' fielder, Hillary Rodham, has a disapproval rating from nearly half of all voters.
Let's review their season.
Strike One: First, they tried to pin the stock market meltdown and the despicable actions of the corporate heads of Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, Global Crossing on President Bush and the Republicans. A proven strategy in the past: GOP equals party of the rich. By year end, the Republicans had recovered, arresting the worst of the corporate thugs, and sending in the Justice Department's legal attack dogs to feast on cooked corporate books. Bush replaced his economic team.
The public, while still simmering and lamenting their own stock market losses, is satisfied that justice will be done. Vice President Dick Cheney was absolved of any wrongdoing while working with the Energy Task Force. Then there's that whisper among many that the stock fantasy market had something strangely in common with the previous president's apparent stellar performance.
Strike Two: The Wellstone political orgy. This was supposed to be the democrats' Kodak moment. An old fashion political revival. It should have been a solemn tribute. That might have gained them some political kudos. A serious tribute to Senator Wellstone might have produced just the effect they needed before the November elections.
Instead, they drag out a former vice-president and remind the country just how tired and bankrupt their ideas have become. Vice President Mondale was heard gloating about how fun it will be to "tax the hell" out them. Them is us, of course. All that misplaced hooping and hollering was caught on primetime TV. The party was embarrassed. Mondale lost, a preview of things to come in November.
Strike Three: It's all about race, baby. Donna Brazille engineered the expected senatorial victory for Sen. Mary Landrieu by turning out the black vote. Wait a one minute. Louisiana hasn't voted a Republican into U.S. senator since Reconstruction. And Brazille had to practically threaten to exile the local black leader to get him off his butt and turn out his constituents. The Democrats, coming off one of the worst showings in an off-year election, lost the U.S. Senate, and lost seats in Congress.
But a month later, in unison they yell "Eureka." Play the race card; it could turn out the black vote nationally. It worked in Louisiana and it just might win in 2004. It's always worked.
Now this writer warned in an column here at Rightturns.com that the Democrats would be looking for another Rodney King incident to take down G.W. Bush like they took down Senior right after the Gulf War. I wrote earlier this year: "We must fear a repeat of this episode. Not necessarily the police subduing a suspect driving at 117 miles per hour, ignoring flashing lights, running red lights nearly causing an accident. But some event portrayed to destroy the unity and moral rearmament this country is experiencing as a result of the terrorist attack."
And that event came, courtesy of former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. He accommodated the Democrats with one of the most ill-timed, off the cuff, absolutely unnecessary comments about Strom Thurmond's Segregationist Party. Boom! The Democrats pounced. They already had two strikes against them. Nothing had worked so far.
But like their earlier efforts - it too backfired.
First, the public encounters two prominent black Americans almost daily - Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice. They're part of that other team--the Republicans. Moreover, the Republicans reacted. Lott got the boot; and a very savvy Senator took his place, one sure to be more effective. Again, the dems overplayed their hand, like the Enron scandal, like the Wellstone rally.
So this team's run out tricks and gimmicks. They've tried everything that's worked in the past, but it's not working now.
For one, the democrats need a solid foreign policy. And their domestic policies are handcuffed to the interests of their major contributors - trial lawyers, unions, especially the growing government workers' unions, uncompromising environmentalists, and progressive cultural warriors.
Until they begin addressing the needs and concerns of parents, non-union workers and small business owners, you know, mainstream America, they'll be left with their old and now ineffective tricks and speeches. In 2002, they struck out - losing control of the U. S. Senate, House of Representatives, and most definitely, they sit outside the White House, watching a Republican Party that's learning how to adapt, change and modernize.
But, hey dems, there's always next year.
Award-winning TV producer, talk show host, and Republican leader Arthur Bruzzone has written over 150 political articles for national and regional media, and has commented on political issues for American and European television and radio networks. His articles and columns have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Campaign & Elections Magazine, among other publications. He is the former Chair of the San Francisco Republican Party, and president of Bruzzone Investments, a real estate investment company in San Francisco, California..
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