Sunday, November 07, 2004

Democrats Flattering Themselves

No, the Bush victory hasn't made us speechless. Nor has the Yankees' failure thrown me into a depression. I've just been busy moving to Chicago.

One of the best election post-mortems is undoubtedly David Brooks' complaint against the prevalent interpretation that "throngs of homophobic, Red-America values-voters surged to the polls to put George Bush over the top." Another typical interpretation that Democrats use when they're licking their wounds is that "we don't have an evil genius like Karl Rove." (This is a re-tread of a similar complaint about Lee Atwater.) Democrats should think harder about why Kerry, a more liberal candidate, did worse than Gore did four years ago.

It's likely that the most important issue in the election was foreign policy and Iraq. Most Democrats cannot face the reality that the country is moving slowly into the Republican camp for many reasons, but foreign policy as much as anything else. I suppose we're witnessing a slow (generation-long) version of what political scientists like to call a "re-alignment." It's too soon after a major election to demand cold self-analysis from the losing party, but it will be interesting to watch how the Democrats respond over the longer haul.


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