I'm not convinced of that, mind you. But I do think that one of these candidates is going to win by 6 to 8 points, and it might be Bush. So what next? Howie Kurtz has one of two Washington Post pieces on that topic. (The other piece is here.)
Kurtz quotes Katrina van den Heuvel as saying that, should Bush win, the left "will continue to fight the good fight during what we think is the dismantling of our democracy."
What does that even mean? Does van den Heuvel think that in 2008 a President Bush would cancel elections? Repeal the 22nd Amendment? Install Jeb as president in a military junta? Does she think he would abolish the Senate and scrap the Electoral College, as fellow left-winger John Sperling proposes?
Of course not.
Now this doesn't mean that Bush is a faultless president--or even worthy of reelection. (As Andy Ferguson put it, the thinly disguised secret of the 2004 election is that "Republicans are supporting a candidate that relatively few of them find personally or politically appealing.")
But here's what it does mean: Almost since the day Bush arrived in Washington, Democrats in general and liberals in particular have been incapable of making a case against him without resorting to hysterical, idiotic hyperbole.
The left could have argued that the Bush Doctrine wasn't militarily sustainable after a decade of defense build-down. They could have argued that democracy is not a universal solvent and that cultural differences between El Salvador and Iraq make lessons from the one impractical for the other. They could have argued that while removing Saddam was a noble goal, the risks of a theocratic--or a lawless, terrorist-run--Iraq made war imprudent. They could have argued that Bush and Donald Rumsfeld were overly-concerned with transformation, and failed to commit adequate troops to post-war Iraq. If they really wanted to, they could even have argued that, by failing to pay attention to history and the FAA, Bush contributed to the intelligence failure responsible for September 11. They could have--God knows, this would have been nice--come up with a coherent, detailed, strategy for how to approach a global war against Islamist radicalism.
There has been ample room to criticize this president at nearly every turn during his tenure.
But what has the left given us?
* No Blood for Oil
* Bush went to war for his daddy
* Bush knew about 9/11
* Bush lied about WMDs
* The Patriot Act is destroying our liberties
* Bush is dismantling our democracy
If Bush wins, it will be in large part because a bilious, irresponsible wing of liberalism hijacked the Democratic party. Yet at the moment of Kerry's defeat, these same forces of insanity will claim that Democrats failed because they weren't tough enough. And these same people--the Sperlings and Kos's of the world--will try to convince to main body of the the Democratic party to crawl further out on a limb with them.
If Bush wins--and I can hardly believe I'm saying this--it will be up to Bill and Hillary Clinton to save the Democratic party from itself.
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