In other words, you shouldn't do what Peggy Noonan does here.
Noonan compares an attack on Marco Rubio by Chris Christie this week to a past attack in a Democratic nominating contest, then draws a conclusion about current Democrats that's, to put it mildly, dubious:
[Christie] called Mr. Rubio “a first-term United States senator who has never had a tough race.” He continued: “This guy’s been spoon-fed every victory he’s ever had in his life. That’s the kind of person that we want to put on stage against Hillary Clinton? I don’t think so. She’ll pat him on the head and then cut his heart out.” It was wonderfully colorful and malicious and reminded me of Sen. Bob Kerrey, who said of Bill Clinton in 1992 that he wouldn’t win in November because he hadn’t served in Vietnam: “He’s going to get opened up like a soft peanut.”And now Noonan's conclusion:
Democratic presidential primaries in those days were fierce. They’re not anymore, because the new Democratic Party, the one of the progressive left, has only a single unifying principle: winning.Let's see: It's true that the last Democratic contest wasn't fierce, but that was because an incumbent president was running for reelection and there was no contest at all, just the way there wasn't one on the GOP side in 2004. So if we're looking for a pattern, we can throw that one out.
Which was the Democratic contest before that? Hmm, let me think.... Oh, right -- it was in 2008, between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It involved low blows, accusations of racism, and threats to leave the party. It went on forever. It looked for a while as if it might tear the Democrats apart.
Sorry, Peg, you failed at pattern recognition.
Right-wingers love to imagine that Democrats and liberals gather in secret rooms and agree on foolproof plans for domination. It's tinfoil-hat thinking for respectable people. And meanwhile, Democrats can barely win an off-year election, and our relatively civilized primary against a party full of mad dogs still might not yield a winner this year. So even if there's some sort of furtive, mystical technique for conquest in the Protocols of the Elders of Progressivism, we're apparently not following it, Peggy.