Comments: Whew!

You're gonna complain about '88?

Dukakis lost to an incumbent Vice President running on a platform of "four more years" at a time when a majority of the country liked the direction things were going. It wasn't that bad of a loss, all things considered - it certainly wasn't a sure thing for Dukakis because, frankly, the country had an unnatural amount of Reagan-love and Bush was buoyed along with it into office. And admittedly the Dems picked the wrong man at the wrong time but that was mainly because Gary Hart, who might have stood a chance, played a really dumb game of poker with the press and lost. But '88 was never a sure thing for the Dems.

The better example is the loss to the anemic Bush/Cheney ticket in 2000. THAT is embarrassing - an incumbent VP at a time when the economy is going strong and the majority of folks think things are doin' fine can't win the election. Embarrassing. Even more embarrassing than the 2004 election where at least Bush/Cheney had the "don't change horses during a time of war" card to play.

So, yes, I'm perfectly willing to concede that the Dems are very likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory yet again. (Or, as our Poet Laureate in Chief said the other day, snatch defeat from the jaws of those who would defeat us - sigh), but '88 is frankly no longer really the best example of this behavior, if it ever was.

Posted by NonyNony at March 5, 2008 02:31 PM
To be fair to Pollitt, I think that was (her idea of) a joke.

I'd agree, but she was still using "hard-left" without irony, and (as your parentheses imply) her idea of a joke says a lot about her.

NonyNony: I'd say 2004 was far worse than 2000, since in 2000 Bush's Texas record was unfamiliar to many people but by 2004 they'd had plenty of time to see for themselves exactly how awful he was on issue after issue. It really took talent for the Democrats to lose to Bush then, but they were equal to the task. Of course, it took a John Kerry to do it...and I agree with Jon that the path to failure this time is paved with Hillary.

Posted by John Caruso at March 5, 2008 03:21 PM

Clearly, all of us Good Liberals can agree that the Democratic Party's penchant for losing is Ralph Nader's fault.

Remember when the Democrats gave in and continued funding the disastrous war in Iraq? Ralph Nader's fault. Granting immunity to telecom companies who participated in warrantless wiretapping? Again, there was Ralph Nader lurking, just waiting to siphon off votes.

Now, instead of running for president, how about Ralph Nader actually does something to improve the lives of everyday Americans? You know, like Hillary Clinton has.

Posted by charlie at March 5, 2008 03:29 PM

Given the current pair, Diebold may be out of a job.

Posted by Mike at March 5, 2008 03:30 PM

Kerry was a pro-war candidate. That's why he lost.

Posted by cemmcs at March 5, 2008 03:32 PM

now now, there's still plenty of work to go 'round, no matter who's elected

Posted by hapa at March 5, 2008 03:43 PM

I'm rather sick of poor short-term tactics that make for even worse long-term strategy, such as co-opting right-wing talking points. But what do I know? We're all gonna die in our sleep, thanks to gay commie Muslim facists, I hear.

Posted by Batocchio at March 5, 2008 04:12 PM

Err, "fascists." D'oh!

Posted by Batocchio at March 5, 2008 04:38 PM

This primary election will be decided by superdelegates (a straight win by either candidate is now impossible) and they will do one of two things — broker a unity ticket of Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama (it hardly matters which at this point) or ditch them both and call in Al Gore — so don't worry, the Dems will win in November, relax and enjoy it!

Posted by eatbees at March 5, 2008 04:40 PM

Commie Muslim facists are what I see in my sleep with my eyes closed - which is why I'm tired of this Bush joker. Lord knows what I might be seeing in my dreams if McCain is elected. Bombs, probably. And I'll be awake.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at March 5, 2008 04:47 PM
so don't worry, the Dems will win in November, relax and enjoy it!

Nooooo!

That definitely foils my goal of world domination. I was planning on ruling whatever comes after the post-apocalypse. Republicans = rubble; Democrats = life support for the dead and lots of busy, earnest types hooting and self-congratulating.

So, Hillary or Obama in 2008? I voted for both Reagan in 1984 and Bush in 2000 (in Florida yet!), and now I'm torn between these choices.

The important part is that our friends in Israel can depend on whomever we choose to remain steadfast.

Posted by angryman.at.2410 at March 5, 2008 05:42 PM

Doesn't look good for McCain whoever wins the Dem nomination, and it's not very compelling evidence that Clinton is the weaker candidate.

Sure, but every losing Democrat I can think of has been way ahead in polls at this point. Also, I'm not saying Obama would definitely win and Hillary would definitely lose. I'm just saying that I'm almost certain she would manage to lose, given her instincts. Obama might have the same instincts, but also may not, or not to the same degree.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at March 5, 2008 06:12 PM

if i were trying to win the election, i would want hillary's machinery backing barack. the other way around depends on having a barack to sell.

Posted by hapa at March 5, 2008 06:53 PM

> The important part is that our friends in Israel can depend on whomever we choose to remain steadfast.

Not if Obama is a secret Muslim. Why do you think he wants to meet with Ahmadinejad? He wants to throw open our borders and ports. There will be a gay commie fascist Muslim in everyone's bed (not all of us would mind). And they will have drivers' licenses!

Posted by at March 5, 2008 07:01 PM

Sorry that was me, just above.

Posted by eatbees at March 5, 2008 07:02 PM

Not that it's your fault, but if the Dems had entered primary season with the truth of their situation frontmost in their minds - i.e. a randomly chosen tree stump could beat ANY Republican candidate this time - they might have managed to find a nominee with something to recommend them for the job rather than scurrying about as usual whimpering about "electability" - a testament to just how whipped they are. But now here y'all are, left to choose between the corporate factotum who wants to build bridges and the corporate factotum who'll celebrate her victory standing astride a bulldozer driving though the GOP shops on K Street, hollaring "Who's the bitchez NOW!" (I tried to work an AIPAC joke into that last bit, but it wouldn't come together.) As much as an Obama victory will be fun for watching heads explode amongst America's racist minority (and, for that matter, amongst the loons who think he trooly rooly is an Islamist plant), I think watching 4 to 8 years of Hilary's revenge on the Republican apparatus will be even more fun - in fact, the bad blood that will likely stymie any across the aisle bridge-building is about the only thing to recommend her ahead of Mr Springs Eternal. (Just trying to find silver linings here - it's not like you'll have progressive governance to look forward to in either case.)

But whomever of the two it is, the Democrat can't lose, not now, and certainly not against an embittered nutter like McCain. Sure, the campaign days will be heady with the scent of media-on-maverick lurv; but sooner or later some journo's going to ask the wrong question and, to borrow a joke from Gore Vidal, the cuckoo that lives in McCain's forehead will pop out for all the world to see. Not that it would matter if he manages to hold it together - he cannot win. Which is a bit of a shame, if, like me, you were looking forward to watching the kneecapped American empire take on an eight-front war.

Posted by RobW at March 5, 2008 07:31 PM

Never fear McCain is losing ground to both candidates. The real question is will he be able to rally the base with the Southern Strategy in the event Obama gets the nomination. If you look at the Texas primary results, Hillary won and got more than double the votes that McCain got - in TEXAS!

Obama has a great coalition - eight years from now when the older ones have died off and the younger ones have added numbers. Give him the VP seat for that time and he will be unstoppable.

Hillary is the right one this cycle. And she is much more liberal when it comes to domestic policy, which matters very much to those of us who have been sucking wind during the Bush II years.

Posted by patience at March 5, 2008 08:22 PM

Hillary is the right one this cycle. And she is much more liberal when it comes to domestic policy...

compared to... maybe Joe Lieberman?

If HRC is the nominee, history will record that the democrats had not one, but two chances, in 2004 and 2008, to choose a candidate that represented a repudiation of the obscene and illegal war that may well end up destroying both the republic AND the US economy for good(as in, hey World Bank-we-need-help-for-good),

and, both times, the party leadership instructed the rank and file to reject that candidate, and the rank and file dutifully obeyed.

But at least John Kerry didn't go around screaming at people, and at least Hillary has years of experience being a political spouse, plus 1&1/2 terms as a senator.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at March 6, 2008 01:57 AM

Oh, Obama probably wins. And he' ll be the second worst president of the century, after W, and like with W, it will take about six years for people to figure out he's a fucking loser. for W, it was post 9-11 we-can't-admit-to-outselves-our-prez-is-an-idiot syndrome, with Obama it will be we-can't-say-out-loud-a-black-guy-with-a-HLS-diploma-really-is-dumb. But keep in mind, it does all come down to Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire. So McCain does have a 37% shot at winning. Oh, and how many of you supported Nader in 2000? Oh, thanks for the laughs : )

Posted by xyz at March 6, 2008 04:22 AM

Charlie, I don't give a toss about Nadir. I do care about the idiots who helped Bush win. What Bush did and does is his and his party's fault first, then of the Democrats if they don't bring opposition when the opportunity arises (this is not as cut and dried as most Greens/Libertarians/other suckers for the Republicans paint it), then that of those who use their vote in a way that doesn't oppose Republicans or don't use it.

At election time you have two choices: mildly liberal mixed with illiberal or thoroughly illiberal. Try to choose anything else and you'll get the latter. That's what Nada is about. The rest is hot air.

Before election time, you have a lot of other choices. The mildly liberal party can expel and replace its illiberal portions for a start.

Posted by me at March 6, 2008 08:12 AM

NonyNony,Gore lost to the Supreme Court in 2000,not Bush.
On the one hand,I think it's not terrible for them that the Democrats haven't got a candidate yet-the ongoing horse race assures media attention,while McCain without his supporting cast of Huckabee,Romney,et al.,is about as exciting as watching snow melt.On the other,the Democrats have a lot of practice with circular firing squads.On the third hand,the elections of 2000 and 2004 have taught that the Republicans have developed a miraculous ability to win elections in spite of poll results suggesting that unliklihood and there's no reason to think 2008 will be any different,even should the Democratic candidate have a substantial 'lead' when they wake up election day morning.
Given the unshakable belief in all of the candidates in American (and,like angryman said,Israeli)exceptionalism(and let's face it,those are the only candidates our bosses ever let us choose from),the only compelling reason I can think of to vote for the Democrat is their tendency to nominate Supreme Court justices who aren't quite the authoritarian corporatists we get from Republicans.

Posted by BobS. at March 6, 2008 08:24 AM

hapa said: "if i were trying to win the election, i would want hillary's machinery backing barack."
I sure as hell wouldn't. The machinery shapes the message (and the consequent range of acceptable policies) at least as much as the candidate.

RobW said: "[Dems should] find a nominee with something to recommend them for the job rather than scurrying about as usual whimpering about 'electability'"
Most didn't, IMO. Some of the idiot strategists did, and some people copied them. Naturally any notion that can be interpreted as a sign of weakness is amplified. Looks like it worked on you.
"a bit of a shame, if, like me, you were looking forward to watching the kneecapped American empire take on an eight-front war."
The other reason for voting Nadir. The consequences would be economic collapse and a glorious revolution. Problem is, it would be led by theocrats.

Posted by me at March 6, 2008 08:25 AM

Obama said “The violence in Gaza is the result of Hamas’ decision to launch rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel has a right to defend itself.” Clinton issued a similar statement saying “I deplore and condemn the Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel, including the city of Ashkelon. Israel has the right to defend its citizens.”

Well, at least we can be confident that they're both tripping over each other to be hardest hardliners supporting Israel's collective punishment of the Palestinians. Neither is a candidate for much change. And that may be how they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! That's how they lost even when they won in '06, when Pelosi et al. translated our mandate to end the occupation into continuing the occupation.

Posted by jerry at March 6, 2008 10:43 AM

Which corporations are running for office this year? I keep forgetting.

Posted by DBK at March 6, 2008 11:53 AM

the corporate factotum who'll celebrate her victory standing astride a bulldozer driving though the GOP shops on K Street, hollaring "Who's the bitchez NOW!" Goddamnit, why do you have to keep coming up with images that make Hillary so attractive to me? Or was that Obama you had in mind? Either way, it's totally hawt.

SteveB, I didn't see where Jonathan was implying that the Democrats would lose this year because there are two candidates in the primaries. But I still have faith that, whoever the Democratic National Committee in its wisdom chooses, they'll find a way to fuck it up, as they have before.

As for "It's nothing compared to what the Republican slime machine has waiting for the eventual winner, and may even serve to put the candidates on guard against the coming shitstorm", anyone who mounts a serious campaign for the Presidency and isn't prepared for the coming shitstorm is too stupid to live. Of course, it may well be that neither Obama nor Clinton expects the shitstorm, which will be one more good reason to vote for Cthulhu, the lesser evil. Naomi Klein has a good piece on The Nation website, for instance, suggesting that Obama take the line that being called Muslim is not a smear. That would be creative, and might even be helpful.
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080317/klein

Posted by Duncan at March 6, 2008 12:00 PM

Fuckit, I'm voting for Michael Meyer.

Posted by Mike Meyer at March 6, 2008 02:56 PM

It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future.

But, if it is my destiny to vote for US President in November 2008 - and certainly I'd rather have a ballot in front of me than a frontal lobotomy - my best guess is that it will be for one of the following:

a) A Democratic slate including the black guy
b) The man who was elected President in 2008
c) Ralph Nader

I do not anticipate voting for any other alternative.

Posted by mistah charley,, ph.d. at March 6, 2008 03:33 PM

Sorry for the mistyping - for alternative b) I meant the man who won the 2000 election, Al Gore - a few commenters here and there have suggested that if Hillary and Barack have totally shredded each other, the nation may have to turn its hopeful eyes to him. We'll see.

Posted by mistah charley,, ph.d. at March 6, 2008 03:48 PM

Do you suppose he will be running with Lieberman again? Will he push for the Kyoto Protocol this time around? Why would you vote for him?

Posted by StO at March 6, 2008 05:32 PM

no
d.k.
because he would be better than mcsame

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at March 6, 2008 05:59 PM

SteveB: Is it bad because Hillary will say mean things about Barack, or vice versa?

No, it's because Sen. Clinton will say nice things about John McCain:

"I think it's imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander-in-chief threshold," the New York senator told reporters ... "I believe that I've done that. Certainly, Sen. McCain has done that and you'll have to ask Sen. Obama with respect to his candidacy," she said.

I really can't say it any better than Devilstower: "Oh, she's crossed a threshold, all right."
"

Posted by Nell at March 6, 2008 09:12 PM

"At election time you have two choices: mildly liberal mixed with illiberal or thoroughly illiberal. Try to choose anything else and you'll get the latter. That's what Nada is about. The rest is hot air"
-me

When the hell will you commissar-clowns give it a rest? A vote for Nader or McKinney is NOT a vote for McCain no more than a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush in '04. The choice for those of us who supported Nader then and now was either voting our conscience or not voting at all.

A vote for Hillary/Obama is a vote for continued American militarism and expansionism for both plutocrats fully embrace the spirit of the Team Bush agenda if not its tactics. This voter says no thanks.

Posted by Coldtype at March 6, 2008 10:08 PM

Dead Kennedys?

Posted by StO at March 6, 2008 11:23 PM

When the hell will you commissar-clowns give it a rest?

Um... never.

And I'm stealing "commissar-clowns."

Posted by SteveB at March 7, 2008 08:20 AM

Butbutbut...the democwats CAN'T lose! We Pwogwessives are going to take over the party! It's all RALPH NADER'S fault! The sun was in my eyes! The dog ate my homework! The drugstore was closed! My speedometer is faulty!

Posted by AlanSmithee at March 7, 2008 01:45 PM

SteveB: "And I'm stealing 'commissar-clowns.'"

Me too.

Posted by Duncan at March 9, 2008 01:06 PM