Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Pointing Fingers: I guess Raplh Nader is starting an exploratoy committee to run for President in 2004. Of course, this has many Democrats angry. They still think Nader threw the election to Bush which is true, to a point. Just read a post from yesterday's Talking Points Memo to see how angry Democrats are.

What bothers me though is Dems want to blame everybody for the outcome of the 2000 election but themselves. They blame the Supreme Court and the blame Nader. They think the election was theirs and it was taken away from them unfairly.

No it wasn't. The fact is, Gore should have won hands down and not by a whisker. Clinton was a popular president and the economy was still doing well. Gore should have won saying he would continue the Clinton legacy. Because of all the mess concerning Monicagate, he acted like he wasn't the Vice President and ignored the Clinton strategy of running in the center. The result? Gore, a Southerner, lost the South. He could not even win his home state of Tennesee. He didn't even win West Virginia, a longtime Democratic state because of his stance on guns. Gore won my state of Minnesota barely and Minnesota is as Democratic as they come. Like it or not and I don't, Bush ran a campaign that at least looked centrist and appealed to voters. The "red-meat" social conservative message was toned down and that made the GOP more acceptable to Middle America.

What it comes down to is this: the Democrats lost in 2000 because they forgot how to tailor their message to fit all Americans. The Supreme Court, Bush and Nader were only peripherals. If Gore had stuck to the Clinton program, Nader would have been an asterisk and Bush would still be governor of Texas.

If the Dems want to get the White House and Congress next year, they have to be able to describe themselves as the party with a vision for all of America and not just East and West Coast liberals. That's why I was not so bothered by Howard Dean's "guy with confederate flags on their trucks" message. He knows the Dems have forgotten the common man. The right wing in the GOP has courted these people by using wedge issues and Dean wants to bring them back with bread and butter issues.

So I say to my Democratic friends who, barring a McCain candidacy, I want in the White House in 2005: quit whining about 2000. Stop blaming everyone else and look at how to make sure you are running a campaign that reaches the common person.


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