Will the real Slim Shady please stand up

By on November 21, 2002

When questioned by reporters, the newly crowned senator-elect from North Carolina, Republican Elizabeth Dole, relies on an array of battle-tested, staple remarks, such as “We’re gonna get it on the right track,” and, “We’re gonna move in the right direction to help Americans.”
The fact that Mrs. Dole always neglects to mention what direction that is or how she plans to get there seems to go unnoticed by the media, and even more disturbingly, unchallenged by the Democratic Party.
While I do not diminish Dole’s strong legacy of public service as Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan, and later, President of the American Red Cross, it is her style of bland, non-committal politics that is emblematic of the malaise of disinterest that characterizes the current American electorate.
So the question becomes, how did the Democratic Party fail to even put up a good fight against this seemingly substance-less candidate, and lose virtually every other closely contested senate race?
First, Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McCaullife must go. It is his tactics of political spin and poll watching that has devolved the party from the forefront of ideological progression that it once represented, to the uninspired mess it now is, and allowed for the maintenance of the status quo and the election of hollow candidates.
Democratic candidate selection and promotion, also responsibilities of the party as a whole, were tremendously flawed, if not down right horrible, in this futile mid-term election.
A senate seat in South Carolina was up for grabs as conservative stalwart Jesse Helms is retiring at the end of this term. The Republicans nominated slogan-slinging, corporate suckling, former Clinton impeachment manager Rep. Lindsey Graham, a man who has never said one word not pre-ordained on a list of talking points in his entire political career.
So whom did the Democrats turn to, to knock off this weak contender? Why, Alex Sanders of course, the pistol-toting, possibly clinically insane former President of the College of Charleston, whose major campaign ad featured him and his “crazy-eyed” wife skeet-shooting in what looked like somebody’s backyard.
Not surprisingly, Graham cruised to an easy victory, and the Democrats missed another golden opportunity to sure up their now vanquished control of the U.S. Senate.
The only seat the Democrats “picked up” was in Arkansas, and that vote was more against Republican incumbent Sen. Tim Hutchinson, a man deemed irrevocably hypocritical after criticizing Bill Clinton for “consorting with young girls” and then dumping his wife to a much younger woman on his staff, than it was for Democratic challenger Mark Pryor.
If the Democratic Party has any hopes of re-energizing the public, it must shun its practice of finding where the people stand and assimilating, and return to the politics of individual advocacy and persuasion. This means moving away from its current, stagnant, platform-driven leaders such as Tom Daschle, Dick Gephart and Connecticut’s own Joe Lieberman, and moving towards passionate ideologues such as Senators John Kerry and Joe Biden, and young Congressman Harold Ford Jr., who has announced his candidacy for House Democratic leader.
After Dole was proclaimed the winner on election night, she took the podium at her campaign headquarters and exclaimed, “What a night.” But while political consultants everywhere were drinking their mochas and un-athletically attempting to give each other high fives, the American public was once again cheated.


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