Thursday, November 04, 2004

Whoops, I forgot to include Camille Paglia's comments in Salon:


The Democratic Party bureaucracy and A-list consultants need to be disassembled like matchstick men. After Kerry's failure to win crucial states in the great red sea of the South and Midwest, it should be obvious that party strategists have lost the national war of ideas. First step: Fire DNC chief Terry McAuliffe, a shallow hack whose political expertise is at the Chamber of Commerce level. This is no way to pick the leader of the free world.

Democrats have got to go cold turkey on their tedious old rhetoric about the suffering masses in their World of Pain. The Democrats' condescending portraits of African-Americans and the poor are manipulative, patronizing and ultimately self-destructive. The humanistic vision of progressive liberal politics (which I subscribe to) needs to be projected in inspiring, poetic language.

Democratic principles should not just be a litany of complaints, a fracturing of the body politic into pockets of greedy self-interest. This is an energetic, creative can-do nation: Democrats must celebrate independence and individualism (the spirit of the 1960s) and stop encouraging infantile dependence on the government.

In the weeks leading up to this election, the Northeastern major media (network news and urban newspapers) were caught in blatant displays of liberal bias and overt conspiracy. This can't go on: It is unprofessional and unethical, and it alienates the heartland. But conservative talk radio and TV must admit that they too are now part of the media -- and a very powerful and richly compensated one too.

Progressives must do some serious soul-searching. Too often they are guilty of arrogance, insularity and sanctimony. They claim to speak for the common man but make few forays beyond their own affluent, upper-middle-class circles. There needs to be less preaching and more direct observation of social reality. America is evolving, and populism may be shifting to the Republican side.

And don't look to Hillary Clinton to be the party's savior. I hope Hillary will run for president in 2008, but I am skeptical of her willingness or ability to endure a punishingly long campaign on the stump and, as a New York senator, to win more states beyond the Gore/Kerry list. We Democrats need to groom a far wider slate of national candidates, above all talented women from the Midwest and South who can make inroads into the Republican base.

But the country and world would benefit from making Bill Clinton the next secretary general of the United Nations. He will do the repairing of alliances that would have been President Kerry's greatest achievement.

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