Democrats' new strategy: Almost winning
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | August 7, 2005 | Mark Steyn
The other day an official with a British teachers' union proposed that the concept of "failing" exams should be abolished. Instead of being given a "failing" grade, she said, the pupil would instead be given a "deferred success."
Oh, sure, you can scoff. But evidently the system's already being test-piloted in Howard Dean's Democratic Party. That's why the Dems' Congressional Campaign Committee hailed their electoral failure in last week's Ohio special election as a triumphant "deferred success." As their press release put it:
"In nearly the biggest political upset in recent history, Democrat Paul Hackett came within just a few thousand votes of defeating Republican Jean Schmidt in Ohio's Second Congressional District."
Yes, indeed. It was "nearly the biggest political upset in recent history," which is another way of saying it was actually the smallest political non-upset in recent history. Hackett was like a fast-forward rerun of the Kerry campaign. He was a veteran of the Iraq war, but he was anti-war, but he made solemn dignified patriotic commercials featuring respectful footage of President Bush and artfully neglecting to mention the candidate was a Democrat, but in livelier campaign venues he dismissed Bush as a "sonofabitch" and a "chicken hawk" who was "un-American" for questioning his patriotism.
And as usual this nearly winning strategy lost yet again -- this time to a weak Republican candidate with a lot of problematic baggage. Insofar as I understand it, the official Democratic narrative is that Bush is a moron who's nevertheless managed to steal two elections. Big deal. Up against this crowd, that's looking like petty larceny. After the Ohio vote, Dem pollster Stan Greenberg declared that "one of the biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don't stand for anything." That might have passed muster two years ago. Alas, the party's real problem is that increasingly there's no doubt whatsoever about it.
Fortunately, the Dems have found a new line of attack to counter the evil election-stealing moron. A few days ago, the Democratic National Committee put out a press release attacking Bush for being physically fit. It seems his physical fitness comes at the expense of the nation's lardbutt youth. Or as the DNC put it:
"While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs."
Wow. I noticed my gal had put on a few pounds but I had no idea it was Bush's fault. That sonofabitch chicken hawk. Just for the record, "his cuts to education funding" are cuts only in the sense that Hackett's performance in the Ohio election was a tremendous victory: that's to say, Bush's "cuts to education funding" are in fact an increase of roughly 50 percent in federal education funding.
Some of us wish he had cut education funding. By any rational measure, a good third of public school expenditures are completely wasted. But instead it's skyrocketed. And the idea that Bush is heartlessly pursuing an elite leisure activity denied to millions of American schoolchildren takes a bit of swallowing given that his preferred fitness activity is running. "Running" requires two things: you and ground. Short of buying every schoolkid some John Kerry thousand-dollar electric-yellow buttock-hugging lycra singlet, it's hard to see what there is about "running" that requires increasing federal funding.
Perhaps America could have a Running Czar or a National Commission on Running that would report back on the need for a Cabinet-level Runner-General. Perhaps Title IX needs to be expanded to provide a federal sneaker subsidy: a woman's right to shoes.
But I don't think so. Sitting behind yet another Vermont granolamobile bearing the bumper sticker "Bush Scares Me," I found myself thinking that perhaps the easiest way to reduce childhood obesity in American families might just to be to shout out, "Look! There's big scary Bush! Run! Run for your lives! No, wait, there's John Bolton, too! Better cut through the park before he puts his hands on his hips in an aggressive manner!" Indeed, when yesterday's coming man John Edwards dusts off his "Two Americas" stump speech -- the one with the heartwarming Dickensian vignette about the shivering girl whose parents can't afford to buy her a winter coat ($9.99 brand new from Wal-Mart) -- he might want to add a section about how an easy way for shivering coatless girls to keep warm is to run around the block a couple of times.
Speaking of shivering coatless girls in Bush's America, spare a thought for the underprivileged urchins of the Bronx. The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, a nonprofit social-services organization in New York, receives millions of dollars in government funds to give disadvantaged youth in poor neighborhoods a leg up the ladder of life. But mysteriously much of the money wound up being diverted to the coffers of Air America, the liberal talk-radio network whose ratings are yet another example of "deferred success." The needs of disadvantaged Al Franken and his pals apparently outweigh those of Bronx welfare recipients. Perhaps Janeane Garofalo is the coatless girl John Edwards was talking about all those months. Air America looks like the broadcast version of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, whereby money earmarked to save starving moppets somehow winds up in the bank accounts of bloated self-described do-gooders with political connections.
The DNC's Bush-is-the-reason-your-kid-is-fat press release is a convenient precis of the party's problem: While he runs rings around them, the Dems lounge about getting flabbier by the week and telling themselves it's all his fault they can barely move except to complain about Bush's Supreme Court nominee's kid being overly cute. What's the betting for 2006? The Dems will have a few more "nearly the biggest political upsets," while the Republicans will have the actual political upsets -- a couple more Senate seats? Including Robert C. Byrd's venerable perch in West Virginia?
Republicans may see the increasingly arthritic, corpulent, wheezing, flatulent Democratic Party as a boon for them, but I don't. Two-party systems need two parties, not just for the health of the loser but for that of the winner, too. Intellectually, philosophically, legislatively, it's hard to maintain the discipline to keep yourself in shape when the other guy just lies around the house all day.
This Guy Sure Has The DUmmies Pegged
I'm having "deffered success" with getting some answers to this post I guess
HELL , WELL I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY ANYWAY
I deffer your success.
My co-workers and I always refer to every problem as Bush's fault. Mocking the left of course here.
"My truck won't start. Bush made new batteries too expensive."
You get the idea.
I deffer your answer to my "It's All Bush's fault" super secret archive for safe keeping
Great editorial...gotta save that one.
OOOOOOOOH Hogue grips
He is, indeed.
Always enjoy Mark's stuff.