Saturday, August 09, 2008


In an excerpt from his forthcoming book published in The Guardian, Michael Moore lists several ways that, in his opinion, the Democrats can lose the election. One is:

Have Obama pick a vice-presidential candidate who is a conservative white guy, or a general, or a Republican.

A general? Um ... Mike, didn't you endorse Wesley Clark four years ago?

Moore's gloss on "general" is :

Yes, it will seem like smart politics at first. Shore up Obama's lack of military experience with a hawk.

But if "hawk" is what Moore means, why does he say "general"? Is this The Guardian's editing error, or does Moore just have a really short memory?


BUT: Maybe that's not what's really bothering me about Moore's piece. I think what's bothering me is the main thrust of it, which is this:

"Let's snatch defeat from the jaws of victory."
"We never met an election we'd like to win."
"Why get elected when you can be defeated!"

These have been the mantras of the Democratic Party. Beginning with their stunning inability to defeat the most detested politician in American history, Richard Nixon, and continuing through their stunning inability to defeat the most detested politician in the world, George II, the Democrats are the masters of blowing it....

After the debacles of Iraq, Katrina, gas prices, home foreclosures, our standing in the world, the failure to capture Bin Laden, and revealing the identity of a CIA agent in an act of revenge, it would seem that Barack Obama should be on a cakewalk to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The man should be able to sleep his way through the rest of the campaign season.

Ha! Think again. How many Democrats does it take to lose the most easily winnable election in American history? Not many....

There's no real difference between this and the press's insistence that, for instance, Obama difficulty in staying above 50% in the polls somehow means he's trailing a guy who's having difficulty staying above 45%. (Or, as Atrios puts it, "But Obama should be leading by 150 points!")

I'll say it again: Every four years the press decides (or, rather, finds itself in agreement with the GOP) that the Republican presidential candidate represents dead-center normality and the Democrat represents elitism and weirdness, plus a dangerous tendency to like things that you can't buy at a Sam's Club, or that, even worse, exist overseas. As far as I'm concerned, every Democratic presidential candidate starts with a double-digit disadvantage for these reasons, and that was just as true this year as any other year. Under the circumstances, Obama is doing about just as well as he can do. The fact that he's still ahead in most polls is impressive, not disappointing.

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