Thursday, November 04, 2021


In the aftermath of Tuesday's elections, there are a lot of Democrats blaming other Democrats and liberals for the bad results. James Carville blamed "wokeness."
"PBS NewsHour" host Judy Woodruff asked Carville what went wrong for the Democratic Party in the Virginia gubernatorial race in which Republican Glenn Youngkin beat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

"What went wrong is just stupid wokeness. Don't just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Wash. I mean, this 'defund the police' lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln's name off of schools. I mean that — people see that," Carville said.
Arizona congressman Ruben Gallego (understandably) blamed intransigent Democrats serving the plutocracy.
“Everyone is very clear that the biggest problem we have here is Manchin and Sinema,” Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona told reporters. “We don’t trust them. We need to hear from them that they’re actually in agreement with the president’s framework.”
Representative Abigail Spanberger of Maryland seemed to blame President Biden.
Ms. Spanberger said Mr. Biden must not forget that, for many voters, his mandate was quite limited: to remove former President Donald J. Trump from their television screens and to make American life ordinary again.

“Nobody elected him to be F.D.R., they elected him to be normal and stop the chaos,” she said, alluding to the sweeping agenda the president is seeking to enact with the thinnest of legislative majorities.
Did you hear anything like this from the Republicans after Gavin Newsom defeated the recall effort in California a few months ago? No. Republicans don't apologize, don't soul-search, don't organize circular firing squads. They don't do it when they lose elections -- these days, when that happens, they usually cry "Voter fraud!" and insist they won -- and they don't criticize fellow Republicans, or themselves, when they're being attacked for governance failures between elections.

Republicans never feel abashed, which is why Donald Trump is a strong 2024 presidential contender and Eric Greitens, a crook and rapist, is the likely next U.S. senator from Missouri, even though he was pressured to resign as governor in 2018.

When I say that Republicans never feel abashed, I think of Florida governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis's state experienced a particularly brutal summer COVID surge this year -- 18,040 Floridians died of COVID in a four-month period, despite widely available vaccines. DeSantis occasionally promoted vaccination, but he devoted most of his energy in the area of health to preventing any and all efforts to reduce the spread of COVID.

Did DeSantis apologize for the surge in cases? Did DeSantis concede that his critics had a point?

Of course not. And now DeSantis and his rooting section in the right-wing media are praising him because Florida's case rate is very low. (Well, of course it's very low -- the virus has burned through the state and done the damage it was going to do, at least for now.)

And what has DeSantis's refusal to acknowledge error done for his standing with the public? His job approval rating in the state is a solid 56%, according to a Saint Leo University poll, and he's beating each of his potential 2022 Democratic rivals by double digits. Politico says that he "seems unbeatable," and that appears to be accurate.

Maybe it's smart in politics never to beat yourself up, or beat up your party, in public.

Sure, Democrats should learn from their mistakes. But maybe they should be more like Republicans and never publicly acknowledge their mistakes. Maybe they should never admit error -- in good times or bad, they should insist that their critics are the ones who are wrong. At the very least, maybe they should say nothing when they screw up. It works for the GOP.

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