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Another Vote for Homeschooling Ronald Reagan, RIP

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Are the Democrats Crazy?

by Christopher Chantrill
May 29, 2004 at 8:00 pm


ARE THE DEMOCRATS crazy?  Or crazy like a fox?

In the last week we’ve seen former Vice President Al Gore foam at the mouth for the benefit of the left-wing whackos at MoveOn.org.  We’ve seen former President Bill Clinton gently tell the anti-war students of Kansas State University that “This is thinking time, not cheering time.”  And we’ve seen candidate presumptive John Kerry unveil a four point Iraq plan that echoes President Bush’s strategy, but advertises itself as different because it is “strong without being stubborn.”  What is going on here?  I’m confused.

And that worries me.  As a Boydian, I know that the whole point in any conflict is to get your enemy confused and demoralized and keep them there.  If I’m confused, then maybe the Democrats are winning.

Then there’s the murky business of campaign financing reform.  After all the sturm und drang of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001, the reform that was going to get big money and single-issue groups out of business and that was obviously going to hurt the Democrats and their reliance on big donors and “soft money,” we now have the reign of the “527s,” so-called independent entities that in fact are financed by big contributors like George Soros and run by Democrat campaign activists.  They are even more obscure and unaccountable than the evil PACs and evil “soft money” raised and spent by the national party organizations that the noble Sir John McCain and his knight-errants had promised to vanquish.

If I were a conspiracist, I would think that this was all a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, a planned and cynical attempt organized from deep within the Clinton political machine to subvert the system and return the Democrats to power by any means possible.  The ends justify the means, and all that stuff.  It would be easy to succumb to the simple delights of conspiracy theory, but I just can’t do it.

That’s because I believe that politics is amateur hour.  Anyone who has ever worked on a political campaign knows what I mean.  Campaigns are a mess.  Grand plans may be hatched by the big shots, but they are executed by twenty-something volunteers that haven’t a clue.   And even when a campaign team really jells and achieves electoral success, like the famous Clinton team of 1992, it disperses and disappears within a year or two.  You can get a glimpse of this in the headline characters of the campaign world.  Dick Morris is brilliant, but erratic; he’s in touch with the zeitgeist—every second!  So he’s confidently predicting things that turn out to be nonsense by the end of the week.  Then there’s Bob Shrum, Kerry’s senior campaign adviser who has run “people against the powerful” campaigns for assorted Democrats over the last twenty years and usually lost them.  How “strong but stubborn” can you get?

A political campaign, after all, is like a business startup.  There’s a grand vision, a so-so business plan and not enough capital.  Most startups fail within a couple of years.  Why should politics be any different?

So the chances are that Al Gore is spouting off his Blame America First speeches on his own account; Bill Clinton is carefully positioning Hillary for 2008; John Kerry hasn’t a clue.  And probably the dreaded “527s” will turn out to be impossible to coordinate for the good of the party.

The question is: What are the Bushies up to?  Who knows?  We haven’t heard from Karl Rove recently, and the reason isn’t hard to figure out.  The Bush team wants to keep the opposition guessing.  If you roll Rove out in front of the media he might inadvertently spill the beans on something it was better that the Democrats not know about.  You talk about election strategy after the election is won, not in the crucial months when you are assembling your forces for the decisive battle.

Of course, it is also possible that the Bush team is completely flummoxed by the Democrats’ Keystone Kops routine.  And it’s possible that they are completely at sea on their Iraq policy just as the liberal media likes to advertise. 

And it’s also possible that the Bushies made a terrible mistake in cutting income and capital tax rates in the spring of 2003.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about politics, it is that the bien-pensant line out of The New York Times is probably pompously wrong.  That rule applies in spades whenever the subject is economic policy, foreign policy, and the intelligence of Republican presidents.  So the chances are that Bush & Co. know what they are doing, and the Democrats are running around in circles.

But I could be wrong.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

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Francis Fukuyama, Trust

Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
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E. G. West, Education and the State

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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