October 30, 2004
A LATE-BREAKING ELECTION — Michael Barone has thoughts:
We have had close elections before but not usually ones attended by such bitterness and anger. The 1968 race beween Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey and the 1976 race between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter turned out to be very close, closer indeed than expected. But few partisans on the losing side considered the winner unacceptable. That’s not the case today.
In the debates, John Kerry recalled that Bush campaigned in 2000 as a unifier, not a divider, and criticized him for dividing the nation as president. Yet the harshest rhetoric of this long, long campaign season has come not from Bush and the Republicans but from Kerry and the Democrats. Democrats have called Bush and Dick Cheney unpatriotic, not the other way around; Democrats have charged that Bush was ” AWOL” in the Texas Air National Guard; Democrats have claimed that Bush “lied” about Iraq. The Democrats are the opposition party and as such can be expected to attack the incumbent. But they are not conducting a campaign that will make it easy for them to unify the country if they win.
Nor have they been conducting themselves in a way that will make it easy for them to govern. One of the hardest things in politics is to come up with campaign proposals that will help you win the primaries, help you win the general election, and help you govern. Bill Clinton did a good job of this in 1992, though he made a detour on healthcare in 1993-94. George W. Bush also did a good job of this in 2000, although the September 11 attacks led him to refashion foreign policy as no other president has done since Harry Truman in the Cold War. John Kerry has not done such a good job.
I agree, and think that if Kerry should be elected he will find it very difficult to govern effectively. Read the whole thing.