A Reminder for Democrats on Super Tuesday

by lestro

Well it is Super Tuesday, and while we will still probably not have a Democratic Nomination at day’s end, we should be a lot closer to knowing who will be riding the Donkey in November.

The choice seems to come down to this: Hillary wants to talk about policy detail and legislation. Obama wants to talk about larger concepts of vision and hope.

A quick review of the past shows that while Americans tend to favor Democratic policy – and, for the record, most of them seem to work better in the long run than Republican legislation – we still tend to elect Republicans as President.

Why? Because they apparently understand the electorate better, as well as the way the system is set up: policy and legislation are for Congress. Presidents are about vision and leadership.

Presidents, despite what they may say during the campaigns, do NOT write legislation, Congress does. The President should set the tone and the agenda, but not write laws.

Which is why Senators don’t tend to win elections (the last Senator to win was John F. Kennedy in 1960), despite many, many tries.

In ’64, President Johnson defeated Senator Goldwater (on whose campaign Hillary Rodham worked, mind you. So when she talks about it taking a President to get the Civil Rights act passed, be sure to note it was not a President she voted for…). In ’68, Former Vice President Richard Nixon bested Senator Hubert Humphrey. In ’72 Nixon housed Senator George McGovern, despite the highly unpopular war in Vietnam.

In ’76 and ’80 we elected governors over the incumbents. In ’84, Reagan destroyed Senator Walter Mondale and in 1988 the nation again picked the incumbent, this time over Governor Dukakis.

In 1992, the Democrats finally broke through again, though this time with a governor, despite the party faithful being all about Senator Paul Tsongas until the people finally put Bubba over the top.

In ’96, despite the wave of momentum from the ’94 midterm elections and the “Gingrich Revolution,” the Republicans nominated a longtime Senator, Bob Dole, and got crushed.

In 2000, it was governor versus a former Senator and Vice President and the country went with the governor again, despite most liking the Dem’s policy proposals better.

In 2004, the Democrats again nominated a Senator, and again, John Kerry got beat despite a highly unpopular President that lied his way into a highly unpopular war.

Why? Because Kerry was too wonky and was accused of “flip-flopping” on policy matters, even though that kind of negotiation and compromise is EXACTLY what we need Congress to do.

Meanwhile, say what you will, the Bush Administration knows how to lead. They may be leading us in exactly the wrong direction and not know what to do when they get there, but that guy has proved on a couple of occasions that he knows how to get people behind him.

This year, we look like we will be getting a Senator vs. Senator race, as Senator McCain seems to have sown up the Republican side and the two left standing for the Dems are Senators as well.

The difference between those two Democratic senators is important, as is the rhetoric they use – showing one caught up in legislation and the other speaking of vision and a new direction.

I am not a Democrat, so this choice is up to the Party, but smart money says if you want to win, pick the candidate who does not get caught in the minutia of legislation. That candidate belongs back in the Senate, where she can do the most good.

Nobody elects a policy wonk-in-chief.

One Response to A Reminder for Democrats on Super Tuesday

  1. twitterpaters says:

    From the politico via the drudge:

    “In a surprise twist after a chaotic Super Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) passed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in network tallies of the number of delegates the candidates racked up last night.

    … NBC News, which is projecting delegates based on the Democratic Party’s complex formula, figures Obama will wind up with 840 to 849 delegates, versus 829 to 838 for Clinton.


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