I’ve been telling you that in the deep, dark secretive bowels of the Democratic Party — which is where they exist these days, in the bowels — they are asking themselves, “What have we done? What can we do? How do we get through this? What’s actually going to happen?” Let me just give you a sample of some of the news headlines, and this just touches on them. Not all of them that I have in the stack are mentioned here, but this is just a little sample. From the New York Daily News: “Youthful Errors Captured on Tape Will Haunt Kerry.” From Townhall.com, Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online: “Contradictions at the Core of Kerry Campaign.” Richard Wolf of Newsweek on MSNBC.com: “When Will Kerry be Ready for Prime Time?” Hugh Hewitt, WorldNetDaily, “the Torricelli Option — Will the Dems Dump Kerry?”
Tony Blankley in the Washington Times: “Kerry’s Fatal Flaw,” and the Dallas Morning News, an editorial: “Kerry’s Medals,” and they’re all worried. Then you go to the Village Voice — and this one cleared our wires right after yesterday’s program: “John Kerry Must Go.” It’s by James Ridgeway. [Reading:] “Note to Democrats: It’s not too late to nominate somebody, anybody, else. With the air gushing out of John Kerry’s balloon, it may be only a matter of time until political insiders in Washington face the dread reality that the junior senator from Massachusetts doesn’t have what it takes to win and has got to go. As arrogant and out of it as the Democratic political establishment is, even these pols know the party’s got to have someone [italics in original] to run against George Bush. They can’t exactly expect the president to self-destruct into thin air.
“With growing issues over his wealth (which makes fellow plutocrat Bush seem a charity case by comparison), the miasma over his medals and ribbons (or ribbons and medals), his uninspiring record in the Senate (yes war, no war), and wishy-washy efforts to mimic Bill Clinton’s triangulation gimmickry (the protractor factor), Kerry sinks day by day. The pros all know that the candidate who starts each morning by having to explain himself is a goner.
What to do? Look for the Dem biggies, whoever they are these days, to sit down with the rich and arrogant presumptive nominee and try to persuade him to take a hike. Then they can return to business as usual?resurrecting John Edwards, who is still hanging around, or staging an open convention in Boston, or both. If things proceed as they are, the dim-bulb Dem leaders are going to be very sorry they screwed Howard Dean.”
Well! (Smacks table) There it is! Everything I’ve told you about what the Democrats are thinking has been expressed in these four short paragraphs in the Village Voice. But it doesn’t stop there. Today’s New York Observer, Robert Sam Anson, big liberal journalist, compares Kerry to McGovern. “[M]ostly John Kerry is suffering from a condition that strikes liberal presidential candidates the moment they begin to taste it?’it’ being the shock that they might actually hear ‘Hail to the Chief’ whenever they walk into a room, if they play their cards right. And that means: don?t seem too liberal, and explain away, deny, revise, trim or flat-out lie about all past events, beliefs and statements that got you the Democratic nomination in the first place.
“It happened to another friend of mine in 1972. His name was George McGovern; I wrote his authorized campaign biography (he didn?t cut out the passages that hit him over the head, which tells you something about McGovern, liberals or both); and for a goodly while, many otherwise sensible folk believed he would end the war by sundown on Inauguration Day, just like he?d promised all through the primaries. But no sooner was the nomination his than Senator McGovern?a decent man if ever there was one (and a brave B-24 pilot, besides)?commenced fudging: Well, maybe halting the fighting would take a little longer than supposed. There were all those P.O.W.?s to get back first, etc., etc. The net on Election Day was Nixon, 49 states; McGovern, 1. (That one, of course, was John Kerry?s…)”
Now, this guy is complaining that he’s not liberal enough. Robert Sam Anson is all upset that he’s not liberal enough. Robert Sam Anson is pulling a Walter Daum on him. You know, Robert Sam Anson wants Kerry to sit out there and say, “Bush is horrible! Bush is a chicken hawk! Bush doesn’t count! This war is an imperialist war. We’re an imperialist nation — and we got to get out of there. We have no business doing that. We have no business being anywhere but on our own shores.” “Nobody is saying,” this is the last line.
“Nobody is saying that Mr. Kerry’s cooked, but McGovern parallels give him a toasted look that he didn’t get skiing in Sun Valley.” (Laughing.) By the way, folks, I got to tell you: it’s not just Kerry. Democrats are losing it everywhere. You know, this stuff going on in Fallujah today? I mean, that was Shock and Awe overnight. Shock and Awe continued this morning, and we are just leveling the place. Train stations and all this. If you had a chance to watch TV at all you’ve seen it but on the floor of the Senate today, “the Lout,” Frank Lautenberg took to the floor, had a chart, and the title of the chart was, “chicken hawk,” and it was a chicken outfitted in an army general’s jacket or an army officer’s jacket, and then an army cap on the chicken’s head and the chicken hawk is basically — you know, this is what libs call biiiig pro-defense people that never went to Vietnam.
And they were just ripping into Bush as a chicken hawk and they were ripping into Cheney as a chicken hawk and ripping into the whole administration as a bunch of chicken hawks — and McCain had had enough, and McCain got up and said, “My friend Joe Lieberman has urged unity in this house, unity in this body. There is bipartisanship everywhere but it’s time this came to a screeching halt. It’s time this came to a stop. We are not furthering the cause. We can’t pull out of Iraq. Everybody knows that we have no choice but than to win it, and to undermine the effort the way is happening on the floor of this body today embarrasses me. We can have all the investigations we wanted when this is over. We can have all the commissions we wanted when this is over. This is not a service…” I’m paraphrasing, “…not a service to our men and women who are on the battlefield in Iraq, fighting for this nation’s freedom.” He went on and on and on. It was pretty powerful.
But the real thing that stuck out to me was not so much McCain — although it was good, don’t misunderstand — but the sheer level of anger and hatred to take to the floor of the Senate and make it part of the official Congressional Record. It was a big blue poster, by the way, on an easel, “chicken hawk,” and Lautenberg — there were a couple of Democrats besides Lautenberg that got up and spoke to this. It was just pure, 100% total partisanship on the floor of the U.S. Senate in the midst of this offensive taking place in Fallujah today. It really cast the Democrats in just a childish, unseemingly light. It was just sad to watch this, and you cannot escape their rage and their anger — and their rage and anger is now bubbling over, effervescing to the point that they’re all taking it over on their candidate.
Their candidate’s a loser. Their candidate doesn’t have a chance. In fact, it was so bad that they renamed Chris Matthews’ show last night “Softball” because John Kerry was on there and got softball questions like you can’t believe. Typical question last night on Softball for John Kerry, What do you think of these guys and the way they’re attacking you on your medals? and, What do you think of these guys and the way they’re criticizing you on this? Why do you think these guys are criticizing you that way? Let’s face it, Kerry needed a softball stop somewhere along this tour because he’s getting hammered everywhere he goes, because he’s lousy on TV! He’s absolutely lousy on television, folks, and so somebody figured out a way to turn Hardball into Softball.
Here’s this piece from Newsweek. It’s posted on MSNBC.com, and it’s “Good Kerry, Bad Kerry — the flap over the medal-throwing Vietnam protest underscores how the candidate’s campaign remains ill-prepared for combat. When will Kerry be ready for prime time?” Fairly long story, don’t have time to read the whole thing to you. Maybe excerpts later on. But they just keep coming! These stories and these calls for Kerry to get out and these questions of great concern, “What are we going to do? Oh, woe is us!” And I want to announce to you, ladies and gentlemen, that I have had a world-renowned pollster accept my offer. Frank Luntz of Frank Luntz & Associates who works — you’ve seen him on television doing these focus groups during conventions and primaries and general elections and so forth during campaigns.
Frank Luntz has agreed to do a flat-out, standard, regular top-to-bottom poll, the usual thousand or 1,100 recipients, going to be Democrats, and he’s going to ask my question in this poll. He’s allowed me to purchase a question. The question is to Democrats, “If the primaries were today, for whom would you vote?” And then list all the candidates who were candidates during the primaries. Nobody else, just candidates who were candidates during the Democratic primaries, and then after all those names are listed there will be “Other,” to handle anybody else who’s not on the list that the Democrats think might be better than Kerry or anybody else on the list. He’s going to do this within the next week, and we will get the results when we get to them, he will, of course, publicize them when he releases his poll. Got off the phone with Frank about two hours ago, got this all set up. So this is going to happen.
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