Today marks the fifth anniversary of the birth of the wing of the Democratic Party which now controls the party apparatus. And while the leaders of that wing do not speak for all Democrats, they have become the face (and voice) of the Democratic Party in President George W. Bush’s second term.
There is, however, a small group of Democrats who have bucked their party leadership. Las fall, some remained silent, while others openly supported the president’s reelection. One such Democrat is Tammy Bruce who, when addressing a gathering of the Wednesday Morning Club last month, called herself a 9/11 Democrat. Other such Democrats include former New York Mayor Ed Koch, former Georgia Senator Zell Miller, actor Ron Silver and blogger Roger Simon, who, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, could no longer trust the Democratic Party with our national security.
The seminal event for the great majority of Democrats, at least those who favor the party’s chair Howard Dean, did not occur on September 11, 2001, but nearly nine months earlier, five years ago today, on December 12, 2000, when the US Supreme Court handed down Bush v. Gore, effectively ending the endless cycle of Democratic-generated recounts in the Sunshine State and deciding the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. Even after a ballot review “conducted by a consortium of news organizations” found that Bush would have won had the Supreme Court not reversed the Florida Supreme Court’s order to recount certain ballots, many Democrats and their allies believe Republicans stole the election of 2000. As Donald Luskin put it on National Review Online, “that George W. Bush stole the 2000 election is the creation-myth of the Angry Left — it is an article of religious faith not to be questioned.”
And with their belief that the then-Texas Governor stole the election, they have made opposition to him a focus of their every effort. By contrast, 9/11 Democrats started turning toward the GOP because the terrorist attacks that day made them increasingly concerned about national security. 12/12 Democrats turned irrationally against the GOP and its standard bearer, George W. Bush, because they felt the Supreme Court’s decision that day amounted to stealing the election.
Since that date, with a brief interlude after the attacks of 9/11 (there was no interlude for such angry extremists as Michael Moore), these Democrats have stood primarily for opposition to President Bush. When their party controlled the Senate from June 2001 through December 2002, they held up consideration of many of the president’s nominees to federal appellate courts. And when Republicans regained control of the Senate in 2002, Democrats filibustered the nominees they most objected to, an unprecedented move in over two centuries of federal judicial nominations. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has united House Democrats to oppose many of the president’s initiatives, even those that some once supported. To her, it’s not about making policy, it’s about opposing Bush.
They have compared the president to Hitler, accused him of lying in making his case for war (even though three studies have shown that he did not so deceive Congress and the American people) and leveled numerous accusations (nearly all of them unfounded) against this Republican, his closest advisors and even his defenders. During the 2004 contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, the various candidates tried to outdo each other in their Bush-bashing, in order to catch up with the then-surging (and later faltering) Howard Dean. While candidates in such contested primaries normally use televisions ads to attack each other, those Democrats broadcast more ads attacking Bush than those taking on their then-adversaries.
Even after Dean failed to win a single state (save his own) in the primaries, after the elections, Democrats picked him as their new party chair, largely due to the zeal of his followers who adored their man for his relentless attacks on President Bush. He earned their devotion with such statements as “I hate Republicans and all they stand for.” Once elected party chairman, his rhetoric has been no different. He has since called Republicans “evil . . . corrupt . . . brain-dead.”
Instead of debate those whom he has defined as hateful automatons, he has repeatedly declined invitations to appear together with his Republican counterpart Ken Mehlman on Meet the Press. And when he does appear on such programs, while he offers the standard pablum about how he supports a strong national security, a good health care system, strong public education and other noble goals, he fails to offer specific policy proposals to further these ends.
Last month when NBC’s Tim Russert asked Dean, “What do the Democrats stand for?” Dean noted that the Democrats were out of power and that the American people would have to wait to learn their agenda. When Russert, himself a former Democratic Hill staffer, pressed the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Dean replied:
Right now it’s not our job to give out specifics. We have no control in the House. We have no control in the Senate. It’s our job is to stop this administration, this corrupt and incompetent administration, from doing more damage to America.
In shot, instead of offering specifics, he offered attacks.
To be sure, Howard Dean does not represent all Democrats, but he is the party’s de jure leader, elected chairman by its national committee. More than anyone, he embodies a 12/12 Democrat for whom venting one’s spleen against the current president of the United States appears to be the primary purpose of political discourse — and to which all other concerns are subordinate.
Today, we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the genesis of this wing of the party. While the Democrats may celebrate the rise of this wing or gnash their teeth that their nemesis is still president, I’m grateful that the American people decided last fall to reelect George W. Bush to a second term as president of the United States and to reject the angry opposition of John Kerry, Howard Dean and the 12/12 Democrats.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: LibertyCorner thinks I made A 32-Year Error. Holding that “The Democrat Party began its veer to the hard left in 1968,” he makes a good point, but since I see Bush-hatred at the focus of today’s Democrats, I find 12/12/2000 to be the significant date. Now that you’ve read my post, check his out and come to your own conclusion.