Man Without Qualities

Friday, February 28, 2003

Two More

The Note says:

With Bush facing the possibility of running for re-election with an economy so weak that just might trump any national security credentials, here's your clip-and-save of why and how 43 (struggling GDP and all) is in better shape than his dad was at this point in the 1992 cycle,

and then provides a list of factors which seem to favor Mr. Bush. The list is rather long, and I'm not convinced of the significance of every listed item, but I would like to append to that list two more factors which I think do have real significance:

1. Unlike his father, the current President is making significant inroads into ethnic constituencies that are absolutely essential to Democratic success. As Donna Brazille put it: "The GOP is making inroads in the black vote. It's trending away. Groups of [minority] voters are hearing the Republican message." Every time Powell and Condi goes on television, obviously in charge, another piece of this constituency comes loose - and the Democrats still retain the proven multiply-inept Terry McAuliffe in his role over probably more capable African-Americans. And it's not just African-Americans who are "trending" - its Hispanics, too. Just one word: "Estrada."

[UPDATE: And certain remarks of Senator Lieberman that passed little-noticed outside of the African-American community are still troubling and vividly remembered within that community. Former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, a longtime civil rights activist and prominent player within the Democratic Party - the man who should now be the head of the Democratic National Committee - has said: "I didn't appreciate Lieberman saying that Thurmond is 'a man of iron with a heart of gold.' " Mr. Jackson is a man of admirable and remarkable restraint.]

2. Democrats are experiencing a huge loss of American Jewish support on the national level because of the Iraq/Israel interface and Democratic waffling over the coming Iraq war. The fact is that what the President is doing hugely helps Israel, as Israel keeps pointing out. And, no, arguments that invading Iraq may trigger Iraqi attacks on Israel are not going to get the Democrats out of this box. The Israelis see through those silly arguments and so do most Americans - including most American Jews. It's a big problem for the Democrats.

In contrast, the current President's father got into all kinds of stupid scrapes with the American Jewish community and Israel, which inculcated a deep suspicion of the former President. Just by way of example, remember the kerfluffle over the housing subsidies for settler housing in occupied areas, and the prior President's appalling comments of September 1991, when he spoke of himself as "one lonely little guy down here" and referred to his being "up against some powerful political forces?" It is all but impossible to imagine such a thing in this Administration - where Mickey Kaus runs a cottage industry analyzing the scope of Likudnik influence in the White House.

Has the current President learned from the mistakes of his father? If you have to ask, ....

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