Some would say that the coronation of Howard Dean as the Chairman of the DNC carries the Party much further to the left than it already was. Given Dean’s moderate record as Governor of Vermont, I am not entirely sure I agree with this position. In fact, he sometimes sounds surprisingly Jacksonian, and he even asserted in his failed 2004 presidential campaign that the party needed to attract southern white males (which, unfortunately, he stated using the stereo-type of guys in pick-up trucks with confederate flags).
So, if someone can stand by to keep Dean’s foot out of his mouth, he might have more success than Republicans are expecting. I wouldn’t be as quick to dismiss him as the GOP appears to be. But, there are two HUGE problems faced by the Democrats that I have not seen a single one of them address: first, their credibility gap and, second, the victim fatigue of the average citizen. Dean’s problem: the people he likes to whip up into a frenzy are the very people that perpetuate these two problems.
The credibility gap suffered by Democrats stems from the ever more ridiculous claims they make and positions they take that have no basis in reality. Some examples include:
95% of domestic violence perpetrators are maleIt used to be the case in this country that you could get things done by generating hysteria and grossly exaggerating an issue. You could even do this with complete myths. The idea was that if you repeated something enough times, whether it was based in reality or not, it became true, even without any basis in fact. This worked when media information was much more limited and tightly controlled by a particular ideology. But, people have wised up, they know spin when they see it, and they are much better at deciding for themselves what has a basis in fact and what does not. And, 9-11 bought us all back to the harsh reality of the world in which we live. Moreover, our generally cynical attitude towards politicians leaves us not believing much of what we hear from them. So, the hysteria method does not work nearly as well as it used to.
There is no future financial crisis for Social Security
Reducing taxes hurts the economy
Trail lawyers are good for healthcare
Victim fatigue stems from the past 15 years of people racing to seek power from victimhood. The Democrats seem to feed this victim engine, all too eagerly manufacturing one victim group after another. Few Democrats make speeches that do not, as a central theme, appeal to the inner victim in most of us. If you are a woman, you are a victim of the so-called “patriarchy.” If you are black, Latino, Asian, American Indian, or anything but white and protestant, you are a victim. If you are old, you are a victim. And, so on, and on, and on …...
In both of these areas, Democrats present themes that seem to work at cross-purposes. For example, they say that all men are part of the patriarchy and that all men are violent towards women; then, they go up in arms when someone, like the President of Harvard, states that men and women might have some differences. Well, which is it? Men and women are all the same; or, there are some biological differences? The fancy-pants argument here is to say that sex is really just “gender” that is defined by culture and society, and the differences are not more innate than that. But, scientific research says otherwise. Any parent with both boys and girls can tell you otherwise as well.
Their entire position on “gender,” female victim cultish-ness, and the “patriarchy,” is just one of the many contradictions within the Democratic Party that makes it hard to take them seriously. They inspire fear because nobody wants to be left in an unprotected class or category and therefore the object of institutionalized government hostility. But, fear is the sort of response anyone has when near a person acting irrationally. Unfortunately for Democrats, a normal reaction is to reject that which you fear.
If Dean found his inner-Jackson, latched onto it, and found constituents for it, the Democrats might have a fighting chance to make up some lost ground. But, if he makes the mistake of forming the core of his army with “grass-roots” radicals, the downward spiral will continue.
Just listen for a few minutes to Howard Schultz, the aspiring Rush for "Progressives", and you will hear that callers love to say, “We are just not getting our message out.” Well, we’ve heard your message and we are tired of it. We don’t believe that there really are so many victims in this country. There are enough real threats in the world that we don't need to manufacture them.
You are selling victimhood and hysteria, and we aren't buying it any longer. Until you change your message, we aren’t coming back.