The Yellow Dog Blog

More meaningless ramblings from another guy you don't know

Monday, January 31, 2005

Curious behavior

Mickey Kaus attempts to decode the seemingly inexplicable behavior of the esteemed senior senator from Massachusetts. It looks eerily similar to Al Gore's apocalyptic rantings on the imminent dangers of global warming - which he chose to deliver in New York, just as the city was hit with the coldest weather in decades.

Kaus attributes Kennedy's poorly timed analysis of Iraq - he called Iraq a "catastrophic failure" and a "disaster" three days before the wildly successful election - to the pursuit of money in a changed fundraising landscape.

His theory is that, at a time when in the past the opposition could safely get away with jumping on the majority party's bandwagon to cheer on a popular success that they'd previously opposed, the advent of internet fundraising has changed all that. Howard Dean has revealed the cash cow that web-based fund raising can be and Kaus posits that it's now more important than traditional PAC money. As Kaus sees it, in order to capture the largest portion of web money, it's necessary to appeal to the wacko-left, Bush-bashing base that makes up the most frequent contributor group via the net.

I suppose it's possible that this was part of the calculus that went into Kennedy's speech. But I attribute it to an even more simple reason than greed - self-gratification. Gore could have easily postponed his speech, or relocated to a warmer venue. Kennedy could have scheduled his speech for this week, giving him the opportunity to alter it in light of the weekend's outcome. Neither did. Why? Hatred, pure and simple. Both men represent the worst of the Democrats' current make-up, preferring to slam the president at every opportunity, no matter how ridiculous they may look as a result. It feels good to stand in front of a like-minded crowd of Bush-haters and hear their cheers as you rail against the illegitimate moron who's taken over the oval office. It confirms their moral and intellectual superiority to those neo-con cretins.

Kaus's reasoning for the apparent idiocy of Kennedy's comments requires a certain amount of self-reflection and ability to examine what may appear to be most in the Democrats' immediate interest. I don't think you can give Gore, Kennedy or a significant minority of other liberals that much credit at the moment. The extent to which they're blinded by their hatred of Bush to other considerations, can't be underestimated. We saw the same thing on the part of Republicans toward Clinton in the '90s.

The Democrats forget the lessons of history at their own peril. What makes it much worse for the them, however, is that they don't have a reserve of policies that positively resonate with a growing majority of the electorate to fall back on.


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