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BLUE STATE BLUES | blog.deanland.com




No need to conduct a post mortem.  Here's the bottom line: Karl Rove's strategic planning, his tactics and manipulation, did the job.  Kerry and the Democrats in charge of this run never brought in the sharks, so they ran a lesser campaign.  And lost.


Where was Carville?  On CNN, commentating from the outside looking in, not in the Democrats' war room.  Where were the Democrats' thinkers, pollsters, planners and strategists? 


Running for elected office is an endeavor of strategy and endurance.  It requires constant care and feeding, an ability to stay both on message and to be reactive when necessary.  Judgement calls are a constant.  There are ups and downs, polls and other indicators vacillating and in a state of flux, reactive and responsive to the many elements of a campaign.


The most capable and effective campaign managers are the ones who can smell blood, who know when to fight fire with fire, and who perceive the poltical stage as tantamount to gladiator bouts.


This was not the case in the Democratic challenge in this most recent campaign.  Karl Rove and his crew crafted a sly and deep strategy, casting Bush as the great protector, the moral choice, as a principled man.  They then waged a campaign of name-calling, character assassination, with a constant subtext furthering the fear and paranoia of the unknown . . . that being, of course, a Kerry presidency.  It was no mistake when Cheney was on-mike, being recoded, when he said that the country would be more vulnerable to attack if Kerry were elected.


It was sometime back, seems like eons ago in the political season, when Dubya announced his initiative to "save the sanctity of marriage" and suggested a constitutional amendment banning same-sex mariage.  Sure, thought many of us on the Blue Side, this is an example of Dubya the Dodo.  Wrong, Kemo Sabe.  This was Rove the tactician.


Dubya rode this disenfranchising of a group of people --mind you, sinners, evil people who deserve less, since they don't follow the rule of the Bible, like good faith-based (as in Christian) people-- and managed to position himself as "the candidate with values."   Voting for Bush, as opposed to Kerry who hails from the state where they perform those satanic marriages, became a vote that stood for "The Christian thing to do."


The heartland, all those red states, is jam packed with voters who follow their hearts and vote along what they perceive as the Christian line.  This anti-gay marriage, couched in  pro-Christian rhetoric, provided a comfort about Bush, even though he lied about the WMDs, screwed up the economy, and oversaw the greatest job loss in US history.  Yeah, all that, but he was on record as protecting the good people from those homos who would corrupt and twist their children.  Yep, he would fight the cultural and moral homeland security war, as a domestic imperative.


The War On Terror is an invisible effort.  Dubya invaded Iraq under the purported pretense of the WMDs.  The NeoCon plan was already in place.  After September 11th, the framework of fear and a common enemy enabled the Cheneyburton regime to attack, occupy and wage war with the Iraqis.  They beat their chests and claim the US is safer and the world a better place with Saddam out of power.  This plays to fear and patriotism.  So voting for them was not just Christian, it was also patriotic.


The Democrats staged a totally scripted and controlled convention in Boston.  This was a cumination and manifestation of the Primary Process.  Sadly it is a hurried and rushed, overly early result producing process, which takes the wheeling and dealing and delegate race away from the convention.  All the pieces are already in place by the time the parties gather for their convention.  They don't convene or caucus; rather, they hold mini coronations.


The overly scripted Democratic convention was the beginning of the end.  Every word had to be vetted by Kerry's team, with speeches being bounced back with word and phrase changes.  The Kerry team had determined that various phrases and turning of words tested poorly, veered from the course of being on-message according to the Kerry slate, and were therefore unacceptable.


So that rousing speech by Barack Obama may have had a real nice Democratic inclusive multicultural Dr. Feelgood quality, even causing a good many to jump on a future bandwagon.  But the bottom line is that Barack Obama meant nothing in the larger picture.  He was the keynote, the exciting new orator.  He ran all but unopposed, as the Illinois Republicans trotted out perennial loser and party pin cushion Allen Keyes as a sacrificial opponent.


What did Obama's appearance do to get the Kerry-Edwards ticket elected?  What did any of those scripted and vetted speeches do, including Kerry's acceptance, during which he "reported for duty?"  They did nothing.  Preaching to the choir is good practice for slow days when the congregation is mostly absent.  And carefully scripted "on message" pablum does nothing to motivate the fence-sitters, or those from other arenas looking to test the waters.


The plan should have been to use the Convention to start the wholesale attack on the Bush-Cheney regime's miserable economic performance, the self-imposed isolation of the US in the world community, and the fact that this president who boasts of homeland security measures is the one on whose watch the attacks occured.


Insead of any of that, the usual promises were made (health care, Social Security) (yeah, real important but not the issues that resonate in the hearts and mind of the red state voters) but the attack on Bush-Cheney was notably missing.  How does a party foster concern that the incumbents are screwing up when all they do is whine and moan?


And where was the Democratic response to the Flip Flop issue?  Bush had changed his mind on the 9-11 Commission, on a Homeland Security initiative, on a variety of issues.  But the Kerry campaign ended up running scared, running behind . . . not running apace and fighting back, jab for jab.


It was a reactive campaign, not proactive.  The Kerry camp had not forecast how his post-war protesting and activities would be attacked by the other side.  The war college seemed notably absent.  And on that count, perhaps those who feared he'd be a weaker wartime president may have had a point.


Let us extinguish any and all thoughts of a Kerry run in 2008.  Kerry can remain in the Senate, but his moment on the national stage has come and gone.  Even Al Gore look stronger now.  After all, Gore beat Bush, that's more than Kerry can claim.


Heaven forbid that the Democrats now turn their eyes on Hillary as a possible candidate for 2008.  Hillary will make the red states redder, and cause some blue states to start leaning purple or lavender.  People love to hate Hillary; she had the Whitewater scandal, the supposed affair with Vince Foster, and she still is considered by many to have totally screwed up the Health Care issue. 


Hillary is my Senator, and I like her,   I like her a lot.  I like her voting record, her positions on issues, and the way she handles the office.  I actually like her collegue Chuck Schumer even more, the other senator from New York.  Nobody suggests Schumer run for President, why should Hillary --the woman Americans love to hate-- be given even a smidgen of consideration?


The GOP will trot forth some possibilities, test them and ready a strong cntender.  Right now it is clear that Rove and company are the dominant politicos.  They won the World Series of politics.  It has been a bad year all around for World Series outcomes.


On the GOP side there are a few likely early-stage names that come to mind.  Frist, the right wing doctor from Tennessee is the first name to pop up.  McCain will be too old, count him out.  Rudy Giuiliani's name comes up, of course.  He's almost bulletproof, except for the annulment, the divorce, the Jewish wife, and the fact that he's a New York City New Yorker, and those red staters tend to hate New York, except when it is attacked by terrorists.


Blue Staters have the blues.  Losses in the House, the Senate, and among governors of the states.  Now is the time to lay the groundwork for 2008, but with new faces and new party leadership.  I'd like to see Bill Clinton run the party, have him name the advance strategists, and groom the candidates.  The man knows politics, and he also knows how to pick his lieutenants.


Sadly, it will be a long and scary four years.  Supreme Court nominees will impact the future for thirty or more years.  The war in Iraq will continue to be a mess of bloodshed, with resistance fighters working to undermine the US efforty and that of the puppet government it will install in a supposedly electoral process.


Iran will become a warplace as well.  The Irani nuclear initiative will prompt pre-emptive action by the war mongering Bushiburton regime.  And that will leave the US extremely vulnerable to a North Korean foray of armed aggression against the West Coast.


The European allies will remain distant and isolated as the NeoCons go it alone.  Untold riches will pour into the coffers of Halliburton, and that cabal of the Carlyle Group/Bush family/Saudi Royal Family.  As long as the Bush financial interests (and geopolitical interests, as well) are aligned with the Saudis, expect a turnaround on the Israeli policy.  Once the 13 US armed forces bases in Iraq are further along in development, watch how Israel becomes less important and less protected by a less caring administration.


And watch out if you are not a red state sort of person.  Ashcroft's Patriot Act goon squad will use this to go after anyone and everyone considered a threat to the adminsitration.  Sound like theSoviet Union under Kruschev?  Yeah, sure does.


In the 1960's it was the baby boomers coming of age and reacting to policies, getting political and making the sound of discontent heard on a national stage.  Now is the time for the a new uprising, to publicly decry and protest the unjust and corrupt practices of the administration.


They are the ones who will be sent to fight these pre-emptive wars of coice.  They are the ones who will live their adult lives under the oppression of the deficit and the high taxes that will have to come about as a result of the cost of wars and gilding the lillies of Halliburton, et al.


They are the ones who will find their freedoms being so eroded that their children might just have to huddle in secret, whisper among themselves, if they choose to dare discuss disagreement with the regime.  They will remember how the Republicans made rally vistors either sign a loyalty oath or be turned away.


Their children will speak in awe of the days when people marched in the streets, openly voiced opposition and displeasure with the government.  But when they speak of this it will be in hushed tones and only among trusted friends.


Otherwise they might end up in Cuba at that detention camp, where enemies of The State are sent and denied due process.  All in the name of patriotism and protection, of course.


Now more than ever it is time to work on effecting change, in 2006 and in 2008.  The alternative is altogether too frightening.