- The Washington Times - Friday, November 26, 2004

A rude awakening

“From the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and especially after the disputed election of 2000, Democrats operated on the premise that they were superior in numbers, if only because their supporters lived in such concentrated urban communities. If they could mobilize every Democratic vote in America’s industrial centers — and in its populist heartland as well — then they would win on math alone,” Matt Bai writes in the New York Times Magazine.

“Not anymore. Republicans now have their own concentrated vote, and it will probably continue to swell. Turnout operations like [America Coming Together] can be remarkably successful at corralling the votes that exist, but turnout alone is no longer enough to win a national election for Democrats. The next Democrat who wins will be the one who changes enough minds,” Mr. Bai says.

” ‘I can’t think of a thing in Ohio that could have done more to boost our vote,’ [ACT chief executive] Steve Rosenthal told me three days after the election, as the trauma of the defeat began to subside. ‘The shortcoming in some ways is that the national Democratic Party has built this values wall between itself and a lot of voters out there, and the Republicans took advantage of it. The rude awakening here is that I always thought there were more of us out there. And this time there were more of them.’ ”

Feeling blue

“Blue about November 2? As a labor lawyer in a Blue State, I’m ready to give up,” Thomas Geoghegan writes in the Nation.

“Not because Bush will repeal the Wagner Act — I almost wish he would. The act is so screwed up, management could hardly have it any better. Worried about the National Labor Relations Board? Not really. No union serious about organizing uses it anymore,” Mr. Geoghegan says.

“The problem is, unions represent only about 8 percent of the work force (private sector). When the airlines finish with Chapter 11, we could be even smaller. In four years, could labor in the private sector be more or less gone? I hope not. Anyway, I suppose someone will always be on strike at Yale.

“The worst part about the next four years is that labor will be tied down, on Capitol Hill, fighting privatization of Social Security. We will be too bloodied, after that, to do much organizing in ‘the backlands.’

“Still, am I really that discouraged? You bet I am.

“Let the real me step aside, then, and bring forward a me who pretends to believe why our defeat on November 2 is, or could be, a good thing. Because now, after November 2, we know that we are Two Nations. We should give up on D.C.

“Let’s govern from the Blue States.

“If we govern from the Blue States, it may be possible to bring the labor movement back. What do I mean by ‘governing from the Blue States’? Use state law as much as possible to set up the kind of social democracy we would like to see for the country as a whole.”

Skewed reporting

A new study by the conservative Media Research Center’s Free Market Project found that network news has consistently skewed its reporting of global warming.

“Most news stories (83 percent) portray global warming as liberals see it — a man-made problem that will lead to catastrophe — compared with just 17 percent that balanced that with conservative skepticism,” the organization reports at www.mediaresearch.org.

“While TV reporters hyped the supposed harm from warming, only two stories out of 165 detailed the punishing costs to the U.S. economy of liberals’ favorite remedy, the Kyoto global warming treaty, which could cost millions of jobs and punish American families to the tune of $2,700 a year.”

The Comedown Kid

“No one is talking about it, but Bill Clinton might be this year’s biggest political loser,” Eric Pfeiffer writes at the Weekly Standard Web site, www.weeklystandard.com.

“With the opening of his presidential library in Little Rock, Ark., last week, media attention has focused heavily on the Clinton legacy and what his future role will be in shaping the Democratic Party. Practically everyone in Washington has heard the numbers: A $165 million facility, 80 million pages of documents and 14 separate wings dedicated to Clinton’s eight years as chief occupant of the White House. However, the number no one is talking about when it comes to the Clinton legacy is zero,” says Mr. Pfeiffer, who is a senior writer for National Journal’s Hotline.

“Prior to Clinton’s quadruple-bypass heart surgery in September, Democrats salivated at the thought of their two-term former president hitting the campaign trail for John Kerry. Unlike Al Gore, Kerry was not making what most Democrats perceived as a tactical mistake in running from Clinton’s record. In fact, Kerry was doing just the opposite, literally promising a nostalgic return to booming markets, sans sexual scandals. And when Clinton returned to the trail in the campaign’s closing weeks, Democrats along with the media slipped into something resembling a feeding frenzy. Not only would he have time to campaign for Kerry, along with several key Senate and House races, people, at long last, would feel sorry for him. One of Kerry’s key weaknesses, a lack of voter empathy, would be quenched courtesy of the Comeback Kid.

“Instead, the results proved far different. Every candidate that Clinton endorsed, raised money for, or conducted a campaign appearance on behalf of, lost. Tossup Senate races in which Clinton appeared all went against the Democrats: Betty Castor in Florida, Chris John in Louisiana, James Hoeffel in Pennsylvania and outgoing Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota. In swing states where Clinton put in appearances, such as Arizona and his home state of Arkansas, Kerry also lost.”

Thinking big

“Until November, 2, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner was hoping to challenge Virginia Sen. George Allen in 2006,” Washingtonian magazine notes.

“But friends of Warner’s are urging him to think bigger because of two political facts of life. The only two Democrats to win the White House since Lyndon Johnson have been Southern governors. And Warner is the only Southern governor thought to have the skills, smarts and money to follow the Carter-Clinton model,” the magazine says.

“Don’t be surprised, Warner associates say, if Warner starts accepting early speaking engagements in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Calendar girls

The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute has published what it calls the “first calendar highlighting prominent conservative women leaders.”

The 2005 Conservative Women Calendar features, among others, Ann Coulter, Condoleezza Rice, Phyllis Schlafly, Shemane Nugent, Laura Schlessinger, Michelle Malkin and Monica Crowley.

The institute said the calendar will be distributed to college students across the country, and that hundreds will be donated to the USO for distribution to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The calendar is available, for a $25 donation, at the institute’s Web site, www.cblpolicyinstitute.org.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected].

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