Thursday, July 9, 2009

When Democrats reach for their hankies

"It's like deja vu all over again" - Yogi Berra

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS are mournful worriers. The untreatable sense of foreboding by my crowd is a kind of genetic guilt that took hold when the Democratic Party, which was less than progressive, foolishly endorsed George McClellan, a terrible general, against Lincoln in 1864. But things were so bad that even Lincoln, a Republican seeking a second term against the backdrop of the Civil War, didn't think he would be reelected. Since then the prevailing gloom among liberals was that if there was a way to lose an election, Democrats would certainly find it. It's the curse of John McClellan.

Nowadays, although some Dems are putting up a brave front, down deep they just know that Governor Strickland will be a one-term governor because of his dithering over a state budget. They flinch and reach for their moist handkerchiefs when polls show his approval rating in a nosedive. Frankly, I have no idea how that will turn out at the polls next year. The media will be full of dire warnings for Strickland, and will continue to urge him to raise taxes to pay some bills. That, of course, would only serve to increase the despair in his party, particularly among other Democratic candidates on the state ticket who will be forced to toss and turn at press conferences over whether they support tax increases, too.

On the other hand, liberals will be scowling at Republican John Kasich, hanging effigies of him in their basements, and fretting that their party's brief years of glory will be ended regardless of Kasich's ludicrous sing-song pledges to lower taxes. He, after all, was a big-time executive with Lehman Brothers before it tanked and would not be expected to know something worthwhile about the financial system. Sorry, not enough to assuage hanky-twisting liberals that the end is near. They will keep their cell phones turned on should a friend want to report the latest dismal poll. Damn the McClellan curse anyway!

There is even concern with the aforementioned crowd about President Obama, who still has three and half years remaining to define his work before the next election. My friends have been skittish about polls that say Barack has dropped some points but remains around 60 pct. job approval. It is of no consolation among always- nervous Dems that as a married man cavorting with a teenage girl friend, Italy's Silvio Belusconi's approval rating in the polls fell only two points. Boastfully defiant, the Italian president declared: "This is how I am. I am not going to change a thing. If they like me this way, they like me this way." The McClellan factor obviously has not found its way to Rome.

I quickly recall that during the past presidential election campaign, my gang was standing
on tall ladders looking ahead to the next poll and fully expecting defeat. John McCain and the national media mentioned more than once that the Republican was closing the gap. On the other hand McCain was cool and confident that nature, and even the Supreme Court, if necessary, would again favor the GOP.

Republicans, particularly conservatives, aren't like that at all. Guys like William Kristol, the Neocons' foster parent, grin their way through another Fox hour full of certainty that in the end, America is a just nation and will do what's extreme right. Even now, Kristol is finding ways to justify another national campaign for Sarah Palin.

It would have been different if Lincoln had been a Democrat.


Kyle said...

Great post. It is disappointing to me how many Democrats respond when the going gets tough for our elected officials. I give conservatives credit because they see tend to be much more focused on the big picture. Conservatives share their frustrations behind closed doors and have public message discipline to stay positive.

How do we retrain our fellow liberal Democrats to fight instead of fold?

Mencken said...

It's tough to get worked up for a fight when for example, there's little difference between Obama's statements on gay marriage and Carrie Prejean's.

Between Obama and Prejean... who folded?

Grumpy Abe said...

Can't disagree with you on that.

Geoff Elliott said...

Thanks for mentioning Honest Abe. I don't know if things would've been different had Lincoln been a Democrat, but the Republican party of today does not begin to resemble the Republican party of his time.

Geoff Elliott

The Abraham Lincoln Blog