The good guys lost on Tuesday. By the good guys, I don't mean John Kerry and John Edwards, I mean the millions of Americans who are worse for the wear of living in George Bush's American Dream. And the worse part is, its the Democratic Party's fault.
I use the word party very carefully here, because their ineptitude and laissez-faire attitude has cost them the last two elections. And if something radical isn't done soon, it will cost them a third in 2008.
Everyone knew that Bush would take the south and the west, and with it perhaps one or two Midwestern states. There is no chance that Kerry could ever win in Missouri or Florida or Arkansas, so why his team wasted their time there I'll never know. There's mistake number one. Don't pander to those three states: go aggressively after the housewife vote in Ohio. Go aggressively after the college vote in the Midwest.
Everyone also knew that Bush would most likely win every state he won in 2000, unless someone made a case for Kerry in one or two of them. No one did. Nevada should be an easy target. In a place like Las Vegas, it should have been easy to persuade them that Kerry's liberal views aren't dangerous: they're modern. There's mistake number two. They sent Bill Clinton there a week before the election, but by then, Bush's team had already persuaded them that John Kerry would steal their guns, and let their gay citizens...gasp! Marry! Their minds were made up by then.
Everyone knew as well what the Republican party was running on this year. They were elected because of God, gays, and guns. They ran their faith like a racehorse, saying that letting their faith lead the country just made good sense. Never mind that pesky separation of church and state thing. They were shocked that anyone could consider marriage an institution between anyone but a man and woman. I mean, their God told them that men marry women, and anything else is sin, so they must protect that. And your Gun is your friend. And by the way, the Democrats are going to do all of these things I'm against, so you better vote my way, or that Godless-gay man is coming to round up your guns, and he's bringing his husband too.
The Democrats...ahh, at this point its almost funny. They tried to run on Iraq, but couldn't make up their minds if we should or shouldn't be there. They tried to run on the economy, but the Republican spin on it was very effective, and countering it wasn't even attempted by the Democrats. They tried to run on health care, but again, it was spun like a tilt-a-whirl, and Democrats didn't have a chance. So basically, they had no platform to stand on. Literally.
So now that we've diagnosed why we lost, we must prescribe a remedy for it.
First, we need to secure an answer to the Republican's God. I would suggest education. Our '08 candidate needs to be someone either once a teacher or professor, or someone who has held some position of that nature. And that person needs to speak firsthand about the failure of America's schools, the students graduating who can't read, the failure to secure college educations for our children. It can't be billionaire John Kerry who went to private schools talking about underfunding No Child Left Behind. Education can respond to God. It can in the Midwest, where 75% of schools are underperforming, where in Indiana you have a brain drain. Students grow up here, graduate here, and leave as soon as possible.
We missed the boat hugely this year by not reacting properly to the gay issue. I hate even calling it the gay issue, but its become so because Democrats have lost their way. In the 1960's, it was considered morally and socially suicidal to marry a person of a different color. You would be killed in the south for an action such as this. The same holds true for gays today. Eleven states have defined marriage as between a man and a woman this year. We need to publicly and legally challenge these laws. Their basis is strictly a religious one. We have given too much power to the Republicans now, and as we have all read in our history books, this will end bloodily and devastatingly. We must run candidates in '06 and '08 who recognize that their is an unequal footing for homosexuals in our country, and civil unions are the new Jim Crowe laws. This will get the youth vote out.
And that is our third problem. We have a desperate problem in getting 18-25 year olds to vote. We've tried celebrities, and seen no results. A 20 year old will only vote in self-defense. If John Kerry had threatened that a second Bush term would mean, without a doubt, that the draft would be restarted, he could have gotten them voting. If he said a second Bush term would mean further decreases in federal funds for college students, he would have gotten them voting. If he had said a second Bush term would mean worse jobs, or no jobs, for them after they graduated college, if they can afford to graduate college, that would have gotten them voting.
But he said none of these, didn't court them the way Clinton did in '92, or even the way Dean did in the primaries, and he lost because they stayed home and watched Spongebob Squarepants. We need leadership in the Democratic Party that recognizes this problem and knows how to deal with it. So although this idea is not an original one, I recommend that Howard Dean replace Terry McAuliffe as Democratic National Committee chairman. He has the know how, the drive, and the plan to take the DNC to where they need to be.
Lastly, we have come to guns. We did not even attempt to capitalize on the gun issue this year. In fact, it seemed like John Kerry was not just indifferent on it, but supported it. That shot of him duck hunting in camouflage is the '04 version of Dukakis in the tank. We need a candidate who understands that guns are killing our children and ruining our way of life. This is not an issue that should be debated at all. We need to enforce safer restrictions at our gun shows, encourage more gun disposal events across the nation (events where people who have guns they no longer want can get rid of them), and we need to permanently get rid of automatic and semi-automatic weapons. These weapons of mass destruction have no place in retail America, and they are killing our children and our police officers. Imagine what might have happened had John Kerry given a speech touting that kind of gun reform in Ohio. Perhaps this post wouldn't need to be made.
In summation, the Democratic Party has lost its way. It has turned its back on the issues most important to it in favor of trying to straddle the line. There are more liberals in this country than conservatives, and if we can run a candidate in '08 who meets the needs of our party, we can't lose.
So Sayeth Brian