November 01, 2004

Proud to Be a Democrat

It is no secret that there have been a lot of moments in my life when I have been embarrassed at the positions assumed and actions taken by that incredibly amorphous and uncoordinated thing called the Democratic Party.

Not tonight. And not this fall.

The Democratic Party has (a very few ventures into demagoguery on "outsourcing" and employment numbers aside) conducted itself with honor and courage. It has told the truth about its political opponents. It has put forward an alternate vision of America--one that values our allies and builds the Grand Alliance without which the War on Terror will be long and bitter indeed, one that levels with the American people rather than pulling the wool over their eyes with phony intelligence and specious reasons for actions, one that values our soldiers and their lives not to send them into combat in insufficient numbers with inadequate materiel. The Democratic Party has argued for concern with the future of America--while our adversaries argue for the creation of enormous fiscal messes for future generations to clean up. The Democratic Party has argued for equality of opportunity--while our adversaries argue for the great principle that society should be arranged so that the children of the wealthy and the powerful automatically grasp wealth and power themselves. The Democratic Party has argued for effective government--while our adversaries have presented an example of governmental fecklessness and incompetence that I do not believe has been matched anytime in American history.

This year's political campaigns have been conducted against an incumbent, in a time of national danger, with Ralph Nader (once again) spotting the Republicans a point or two of the vote. It ought to be a blowout: it is very difficult to beat an incumbent in America today. The fact that it is not a blowout but is at the moment close is testimony to the truth of the Democratic message, to the wisdom of the American people, and to the skill of the Democratic Party's activists.

Tonight, I'm very proud to be a Democrat. And so all Democrats should be.

Posted by DeLong at November 1, 2004 09:23 PM | TrackBack
Comments

"It ought to be a blowout: it is very difficult to beat an incumbent in America today. The fact that it is not a blowout but is at the moment close is testimony to the truth of the Democratic message, to the wisdom of the American people, and to the skill of the Democratic Party's activists."

I think this is a bit dishonest. Incumbents in most offices hold a substantial advantage over their opponents because they have greater name recognition and few voters bother to educate themselves about those races. That doesn't apply to presidential elections. Incumbency really isn't worth much in a presidential election.

The fact that this election is close despite the Republicans running a candidate as awful as W is testimony to the weakness of the Democratic message.

Posted by: Xavier at November 1, 2004 09:33 PM

It took me 1 econ. Class to realize the Libertarian shtick I picked up in High school was Bull droppings. It took me the entire second term of the Clinton Administration to make me realize that “liberal” wasn’t a dirty word...

2 years of George W. Bush were enough for me to become a Democrat...

Tonight, as we count down what should be the last 24 hours of a bitterly fought campaign for the soul of my beloved nation; I, too, am finally proud to be a Democrat...

Posted by: Andrew Cory at November 1, 2004 09:37 PM

I feel much the same way. In the past, I had seen a lot of what I thought was real moral equivalency between the parties. I thought the Republicans behaved worse than the Democrats, but not by much.

However, during this administration and election cycle, I have been *stunned* by the Republicans' dishonesty and, well, wickedness. In contrast, the Democrats, while exhorted by many (including many here in comments) to play the hardball politics of the Republicans, have nevertheless mostly held themselves to a higher ethical standard. More than anything I am shocked and repulsed by the Republican drive to intimidate and discourage new voters from the polls. I know they've long done this, but I guess with everything else, it seems to me to show their true colors.

Another example is the ABCnews.com experiment in sending people to both Bush and Kerry rallies wearing an opposing t-shirt. The very different responses say a lot, all of it bad about the Republicans and good about the Democrats.

No need to mention the astonishing mendacity that Brad has so carefully chronicled here. And then there's the incredible partisan stupidity on the part of Republicans to defend an administration that, it seems to me, has betrayed a good number of the conservative core ideals.

I've traditionally thought of myself as an independent, sort of, but this year is the first election where I've ever seriously considered voting a straight party ticket. (And that's partly because I live(d) in Austin where DeLay's manipulation has effectively disenfranchised many Democrats.)

This one administration and election, far more than any in the twenty years of my adult life, has forged me into something very like a true partisan Democrat. Congratulation BushCo, you've done what years of lefty friends and academics have failed to do.

Posted by: Keith M Ellis at November 1, 2004 09:49 PM

Very well said. This is one election where many of us will feel guilty if we do nothing more than vote. Tonight I spent a little time on the phone bank and will do so tomorrow. It isn't as much as I would like to have done, but hope it will help the Kerry effort.

Posted by: Stephen Denney at November 1, 2004 09:54 PM

I have been voting as a proud Texas Yellow Dog Democrat for four decades. I will dutifully trudge to the polls tomorrow fully realizing that my vote doesn't have a snowball's chance in this "reddest of the red" state. Yet I am supremely confident that I will be laughing my ass off somewhere around midnight tomorrow night as my wife and I dance around the TV and toast everyone responsible for sending George and Karl back to us four years ahead of schedule...

Posted by: jim in austin at November 1, 2004 10:03 PM

me too.

thanks for . . ., well, a number of things. your service to the prior administration. your educational posts on complex issues.

but most of all, thanks for adding your voice to the chorus of those who are proud, PROUD, to be a Democrat, a liberal, a progressive.

Francis

Posted by: fdl at November 1, 2004 10:05 PM

You've said perfectly, Brad.

Since I have become something of a free trade whore, I am uneasy with the fact that the Democrats in general have demagogued outsourcing so much. Yet, when I look at who Kerry is surrounding himself with and his actual record, I am fine. Politics is politics, and when you consider everything else - particularly, but certainly not entirely, the alternative - that is being offered, the answer is quite clear.

Posted by: Brian at November 1, 2004 10:36 PM

The sleeping donkey just got woke up.

Posted by: jc at November 1, 2004 10:50 PM

Thanks, Brad. I used this, with due attribution to you, in a final e-mail to my friends and family before the election. You sum up my position well.

Posted by: BA at November 1, 2004 11:13 PM

I became a citizen in 1995. In 1996 and 2000, I voted but did not do anything further. This year, I made my first political contribution (to John Kerry) and worked at a phone bank for his campaign because I am terrified of another 4 years of Bush. Yes, I am proud to be a Democrat, but personally, I'd sacrifice a few pride points to have the election not be as close as it looks today! There have been many times when I wish the Democrats have played hardball like the Republicans have --- another 4 years of the conservative dominance of the airwaves and we might not have any democracy left, so pride be damned!

Posted by: Piaw Na at November 1, 2004 11:17 PM

As an Australian who has always admired the United States of America and what I believe it really stands for, I want to thank you for providing an opportunity for people like me to try to put our feelings into words. Let's hope things turn out right.

Posted by: Steve at November 1, 2004 11:28 PM

"most offices hold a substantial advantage over their opponents because they have greater name recognition and few voters bother to educate themselves about those races. That doesn't apply to presidential elections. Incumbency really isn't worth much in a presidential election.

The fact that this election is close despite the Republicans running a candidate as awful as W is testimony to the weakness of the Democratic message."

Posted by Xavier

Or to the awful power of incumbency. Bush has fully utilized the power of a GOP-dominated government to suppress bad news, while trumpeting good news (even if it had to be made up). He has pushed, very, very hard, the theme that to oppose his administration is to oppose America (and, indeed, God).

Posted by: Barry at November 1, 2004 11:57 PM

Brad, I am (was?) a Republican, and you helped convince me to vote for Kerry. Thanks.

Posted by: R at November 2, 2004 12:21 AM

Hear hear!

Once Democrats develop some more business savvy (and they will, as the entrepreneurial talent of real businessmen--not trust fund kids or oligarchs--the Dems have attracted begins to tell), it'll be Katy Bar the Door.

A professional-quality marketing, positioning, and PR operation is the only thing that separates Democrats from an enduring majority. We'll have one built in 3-5 years.

For sharp, principled folks, there's no alternative. After all, who wants to be a member of the "Don't let the Ni**ers vote" party?

Posted by: Chris Charuhas at November 2, 2004 12:28 AM

One of the things that makes the Democrats so good is that we have our good cops center-stage, with Kerry, Edwards, and such sticking to policy disagreements (the best they could come up with for a Kerry personal attack was that he noted that Cheney's openly lesbian daughter is *gasp* lesbian, while Bush constantly uses the state of Massachusetts as an insult, claims that he doesn't want to fund the defense of the U.S., makes it sound as if a 1993 proposal to remove excess, hoarded cash from intelligence agencies wa a 2001 or later proposal to gut intelligence services, etc). We've developed a good contingent of bad cops over the past few years, like Franken, Ivins, and others have switched from non-partisan radical leftism to support of the Democratic party (Moore). And, of course, there are plenty of lower-level bad cops like our esteemed host right here! These are at the fringe of the Democratic party though.

The Republicans, by contrast, have the bad cops center stage, with Bush acting like a mocking, peurile jerk in front of everyone, and the negativity goes all the way down. It's an almost all bad cop party.

Posted by: Julian Elson at November 2, 2004 12:51 AM

The best illustration of my above point, I think, was Barack Obama vs. Zell Miller, but you see it everywhere, really.

Posted by: Julian Elson at November 2, 2004 12:59 AM

Thanks Brad. I've been a Democrat since I moved from NYC in the late 80's. My early experience as a New Yorker made me very cyincal about the party of FDR, because it was also the party of Dinkins, Silver and Cuomo.

Over the past twelve years, I've become more and more passionate about my identity as a Democrat. I supported Clinton in '92, voted for him with an upswelling of pride in '96, and damn near punched a hole in the table as well as the card voting for Gore in 2000.

This year was amazing. I watched the Democratic National Convention and saw an assembly of people who share my values and who look like the America I want to be a part of. When I completed the arrow to vote for Kerry, I did so with pride, with hope and with the firm belief that we can take our country back.

Thank you for providing your insight into the practical (as opposed to theoretical) world of macroeconomics. I've referred quite a few of my fiscally conservative GOP friends to your site for a touch of re-education.

The shrill have risen! The future is ours!

Posted by: Larry Brennan at November 2, 2004 01:11 AM

Here is something worth pondering, an essay by Tom Wolfe which appeared in the Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1340525,00.html

Posted by: A. Zarkov at November 2, 2004 01:24 AM

Amen. I know the Democratic party ain't perfect. We've got a distressing number of protectionists and economic populists. A large number - maybe even the majority - of our candidates don't agree with every plank of our platform, and even that platform doesn't contain everything I think that the party should stand for. Some of our candidates and officials are probably even corrupt.

But I am sick and goddamn tired of being told that that makes the GOP and the Dems the same. It leaves me breathless sometimes, the way that people are willing to ignore differences of scale - Bush said that the sky is red (while standing outside on a sunny day), but Kerry was off by 1 point on the score of the Packers game, so they're both liars, right?

Only one party in this country has tried to legalize torture. Only one party in this country has made it legal to deport people to countries where they'll be tortured. Only one party in this country tries to *keep* people from voting, by telling them to go to the wrong polling place or to vote on the wrong day or that they can't vote if they have bad credit or a parking ticket.

Only one party is responsible for the fucked up economic and foreign policy situation we're in today, because only one party currently has control of the entire government. I think we all know which party that is.

Posted by: cyclopatra at November 2, 2004 01:50 AM

Today is for praising the Democratic party. But tomorrow we must go back to reviewing sites like www.opensecrets.org and publicintegrity.org to see what shameful acts our revered Party folks have been committing.

Posted by: laservisor at November 2, 2004 02:02 AM

It's nice to see a Democrat show pride and exuberance in their party that, for most of this election year, has only been seen from Middle America Conservatives.

But, this twenty-something San Francisco student is still voting for David Cobb.

Nonethelesss, Bravo Brad! Keep up the good fight.

Posted by: Jerry Chan at November 2, 2004 02:24 AM

I am as proud of being given the chance to fight for my country as I have ever been in my life. This is the most important election since that one before the Reichstag fire.
http://www.weyrich.com/political_issues/reichstag_fire.html

Posted by: marc sobel at November 2, 2004 04:43 AM

It has been a comfort to be able to come here for a reasonable discussion of the election and what it will mean.

Brad, will we lose you sometime late in Q1 of next year? It would be a great loss, but worth the cost.

Posted by: kharris at November 2, 2004 04:45 AM

I believe it was matched during the first, major American overseas Imperialism, the Spanish-American War period, under Presidents McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft.

Posted by: Josh Narins at November 2, 2004 05:22 AM

I just got back from the polls, where I pulled the lever for Kerry. I, too, dearly love my country and am tired of seeing it dragged through the mud and impoverished, and where everything our leaders tell us is a lie and everything they do is incompetently done.

May my vote be one of many to start the landslide.

Posted by: Chris at November 2, 2004 05:26 AM

In the early part of this campaign I wished the party had spent more time bashing the r's, but as it went along, I became more and more proud of the way John Kerry handled things. This was a campaign that laid the basis for good government. The r's wanted it to be about personalities, but Kerry rose above that, by making it about the failure of the government of the r's. And every arm of the campaign, every one of the 527s, did about the same thing. We had to look in the corners of the net, for pretend ads like Seriously, to find personal attacks.

I too am proud to be a Democrat.

Posted by: masaccio at November 2, 2004 06:14 AM

Such lofty sentiments!Interesting, Brad, that you mentioned Nader in your 'proud' post: how can you all be so proud of a party whose chairman prohibited Mr. Nader from entering the convention? ( Now that is democracy in-action!)How can you be proud of a campaign that only, and incessantly, mentioned the middle class, and never addressed the issue of poverty in America? (Something tells me that poverty is a bit far off from all of you who post here.) Were you really proud of a campaign that pulled so many punches? You all are the same dems who let a stolen election slide, who didn't protest when Kathyrn Harris went to congress instead of to prison.
And, don't you all wonder what the numbers would look like had Kerry, when he met with Nader last spring, urged him to join him, talked platform, enlisted Nader's devotees? The puny 1%-or 2-Nader is polling at notwithstanding..perhaps Kerry then could have drawn the really and truly disenchanted into political participation; despite the wonderful new registrations, that still leaves 10's of millions of people who wouldn't think of participating in an election, based on the commercials alone. (I know, I know, you don't think a third party candidate should even get the 1 or 2 %...that little is owed to the Democratic party in a close race.)

Posted by: vixen at November 2, 2004 06:21 AM

I don't think of myself as a Democrat.

But I seem to agree with most of what they say.

Posted by: Dan Robinson at November 2, 2004 06:21 AM

Such lofty sentiments!Interesting, Brad, that you mentioned Nader in your 'proud' post: how can you all be so proud of a party whose chairman prohibited Mr. Nader from entering the convention? ( Now that is democracy in-action!)How can you be proud of a campaign that only, and incessantly, mentioned the middle class, and never addressed the issue of poverty in America? (Something tells me that poverty is a bit far off from all of you who post here.) Were you really proud of a campaign that pulled so many punches? You all are the same dems who let a stolen election slide, who didn't protest when Kathyrn Harris went to congress instead of to prison.
And, don't you all wonder what the numbers would look like had Kerry, when he met with Nader last spring, urged him to join him, talked platform, enlisted Nader's devotees? The puny 1%-or 2-Nader is polling at notwithstanding..perhaps Kerry then could have drawn the really and truly disenchanted into political participation; despite the wonderful new registrations, that still leaves 10's of millions of people who wouldn't think of participating in an election, based on the commercials alone. (I know, I know, you don't think a third party candidate should even get the 1 or 2 %...that little is owed to the Democratic party in a close race.)

Posted by: vixen at November 2, 2004 06:24 AM

Amen, Brad!!!! I too have been proud to be a Democrat this year, ever since about January 15, when the poll numbers in Iowa started moving in the right direction. And it's been sixty years - since FDR - since we've had a candidate as admirable as John Kerry. He's smart, decent, and loves his country. And he's a fighter without parallel, at least in my lifetime - he's taken everything the GOP Slime Machine could throw at him, held his ground, and fought back. On account of him, we have a good chance to oust Bush today. And if he wins, he will need all those characteristics in the coming months and years, because the Slime Machine won't call it quits just because the election is over. But he knows that, and is ready for it. We have, as our candidate, a bona fide hero, in ways that go far beyond his service in Vietnam.

Vixen: "how can you all be so proud of a party whose chairman prohibited Mr. Nader from entering the convention? ( Now that is democracy in-action!)"

Because it was the **Democratic Party** convention, and Nader isn't a Democrat. He was free to have his own convention; that's democracy in action.

"How can you be proud of a campaign that only, and incessantly, mentioned the middle class, and never addressed the issue of poverty in America?"

The Kerry campaign addressed it through his proposals, such as raising the minimum wage, and expanding access to health care.

The Kerry campaign certainly did make an issue the fact of increased poverty under Bush. I agree that it didn't make poverty in America one of its front-and-center issues. That's because it wouldn't have helped Kerry win, and we need to win in order to do any good. Four more years of Bush won't lift anybody out of poverty, unless "poverty" is defined as "not yet having one's own private jet," in which case it'll be a terrific fighter of poverty.

Politics is the art of the possible. And Kerry will do his best to widen the possibilities of what can be done for the less fortunate members of our society. But first, he's got to win. Another four years of Bush won't help the poor one bit.

Posted by: RT at November 2, 2004 06:53 AM

I'd like to direct everyones attention to an op/ed piece in today's NY Times written by David Brooks:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/02/opinion/02brooks.html?hp

It pretty much sums up how I feel about the election. Contrary to being proud to be a Democrat, I am embarassed at the campaign they have run. Kerry has never defined any of his positions. He stakes them out, but when pressed he refuses to elaborate on any of them. If one looks at the landscape of pop culture and sees something like Farenheit 911 as the propaganda piece that it is, one sees droves of ill-informed people believing it to be the truth. If this is what campaigning in America has become I fear for our future. It has been a dark and nasty campaign that has gone on far too long. Whatever the results may be I feel America has turned a corner in the direction of a European style election, with personal hit pieces, insults and skullduggery instead of candidates educating the electorate on where they stand.

Posted by: Michael Cahill at November 2, 2004 07:02 AM

Don't get me wrong: I want Kerry to win as much as anyone. I have talked and cajoled and explained more than a few votes his way...did a phone bank to Broward County last evening. (They're motivated!)..I do think Kerry ran the campaign (safe) he had to run. I believe he'll be an excellent president, despite the herculean problems and what will be an extemely vengeful congress. And I will be heartsick beyond belief if he doesn't win...
But proud of the Democratic Party? Sad to say, hardly.
I will be looking forward eagerly, however, to all of your creative and gutsy plans and suggestions and influence to really change the pressing,intractable "challenges" of this country and the world.
And please, Dems, if Kerry loses, can we have no scapegoating of a legal, third party candidate, with is own platform,(uh, only the Democratic platform of decades ago). Nader owed-and owes-nothing whatsoever to the Democratic Party. His voters are HIS voters. To slam him-or people who vote their hearts and not their heads-is supercilious and illogical and, in the end, unworthy.
P.S. Good to see you on the op-ed page this morning, Brad.

Posted by: vixen at November 2, 2004 07:03 AM

KHarris

What a fearsome thought. Losing this Blog, to a post in Washington would be terribly difficult. This Blog, posts and comments, is a wonder for so many. I would be quite distressed not to read Brad's comments and yours and others.

Posted by: anne at November 2, 2004 07:30 AM

8:28 am, Wisconsin, straight Democratic ticket--my first straight-ticket vote.

If we win today, as even the survey-poll paradigm is hinting we will, we must remember that victory is not the end, but the beginning. This great awakening, this movement of faith that George W Bush leads, will become more resolute if he is defeated. Every mistake that John Kerry makes, every tragedy that unfolds in the next four years, will be seen as a sign that the rightly-guided leader, the man of God, must lead again.

And weigh well that Kerry would inherit a slowing economy, a quagmire, twin deficits, and myriad ancillary crises. We must help him. We must work politically, economically, and as citizens to meet these challenges, to demonstrate once and for all that reason should govern the United States. It will take eight years, not four, to repair the damage done to this nation by George W Bush, his administration, and the political party that enabled them to act as they did. We must ensure that John Kerry gets those eight years, and that Clinton, Obama, or their like carries the work forward until the journey of our lives comes to an end.

NM

Posted by: Nicholas Mycroft at November 2, 2004 07:51 AM

There, there, Anne. You have nothing to worry about.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan at November 2, 2004 07:52 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/02/business/worldbusiness/02india.html?pagewanted=all&position=

India Taps China's Reserve of Technological Talent
By SARITHA RAI

BANGALORE, India - When Infosys Technologies began scouting for an alternative to India as a source of unlimited, low-cost human resources, the fast-growing company came up with one answer: its home country's archrival, China.

Now, a year after the Infosys Technologies (Shanghai) Company was set up, the venture center has 200 employees and 4 multinational customers.

Infosys, the Bangalore-based software services company, and other top Indian outsourcing rivals, including Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro Technologies, are doing application development and maintenance work in China as they grow rapidly to keep up with booming demand from the West for their services.

And they are quickly concluding that only China has a worker base equal to India's in terms of cost, quality and scale. Expansion there also offers the ability to cater to - and possibly garner more of - the local and regional markets, including Japan.

Vigorous global demand - revenue from India's information technology exports was $12.5 billion in the year ended in March, up 30 percent from the previous year - has resulted in a 10 percent to 15 percent annual rise in wages in India's software and back-office services industry.

According to a KPMG study for the National Association of Software and Services Companies, or Nasscom, an industry trade group in India, the country will face an acute shortage of technical employees by 2009, falling short by about 250,000 workers.

"We need a deep reservoir of talent as well as an alternative low-cost center like India as we continue to grow," said Nandan Nilekani, chief executive of Infosys, who has talked of his company's scaling up to become the Wal-Mart of outsourcing. "And only China can match up."

In the quarter ended in September, Infosys alone added more than 5,000 employees, for a total of nearly 33,000. And Wipro added 5,500 employees, reaching more than 36,000.

As Indian companies have looked for skilled workers outside the country for software development and customer support centers, some have ventured into Mexico and Eastern Europe. But many say that China holds the most promise, in part because of its potential as a rival.

Though its software export revenues were just $700 million in 2003, "China will soon be competing with India as an outsourcing destination," said the Singapore-based Girija Pande, director for Asia Pacific of Tata Consultancy, India's top software services exporter. It set up operations in China in 2002.

And a presence now, these companies say, positions them to grab such future business. Entry into the country is made easier by the ability to piggyback onto the existing base of customers with interests in China. "With China's economy swelling so quickly, multinationals are looking for global software firms who already understand their standards and systems," Mr. Pande said.

Tata Consultancy, for instance, is working in China with its longtime customer, General Electric.

China has some 200,000 information technology workers - compared with India's 850,000 - in 6,000 local companies, according to some estimates. More than 50,000 Chinese software programmers are being added to this pool annually.

Some important ingredients that have made India a formidable global software services exporter are in place in China as well, like the high value put on education and a focus on engineering in higher education.

The Chinese government is sweetening the deal for the Indian concerns, as well as for global competitors like Accenture and I.B.M. Global Services, by offering high-quality infrastructure at low costs and offering alliances with local universities to recruit Chinese talent.

China also offers Indian outsourcing concerns a low employee turnover rate. For instance, Tata Consultancy's staff turnover in China is less than 6 percent a year, compared with 15 percent in its Indian operations. The company says it may double the number of employees in China in the next 18 months from its current 180.

For now, however, even with wages rising in India, China's information technology workers are more expensive "because a combination of English-language and technical skills is at a premium," Mr. Nilekani of Infosys said.

According to Mr. Pande of Tata, the wage differential is about 12 to 15 percent. So while an entry-level programmer in India might earn $125 a month, a Chinese equivalent might earn $142 to $147. The managerial talent differential is even bigger.

And scalability - the ability to grow quickly when circumstances warrant - is posing a challenge because of the scarcity of good English speakers and experienced managers in China. While even second-tier Indian software companies have 12,000 to 15,000 employees, only a handful of Chinese software companies have more than 3,000.

When NIIT, India's top technology training company, set up by the founder of the software exporter HCL Technologies, made exploratory moves in China in 1997, it was a toss-up between setting up a software services unit or a training one.

"Available skills were so low that we went into training," said Prakash Menon, president of NIIT China, who opened NIIT's first training center in Shanghai in 1998. The company now has 121 centers in 25 provinces and trains 25,000 Chinese annually.

Posted by: anne at November 2, 2004 07:53 AM

Words to live by, Brad! And this campaign has become a lot more meaningful as a result of reading your excellent log.

Good luck to all of us!

David Ross
Houston, Texas

Posted by: David Ross at November 2, 2004 07:55 AM

Patrick R. Sullivan

We should both be most disappointed were this Blog not a day to day friend.

Posted by: anne at November 2, 2004 08:03 AM

Brad,

I tend to dwell in the world of reality, and therefore have found your blog to be a respite from the howlings of most republicans. The discussions found here are always insightful and help to keep one sane.

Posted by: bncthor at November 2, 2004 08:11 AM

Michael Cahill:

The Pew opinion studies show that Kerry voters overwhelmiongly know what Kerry's positions are. The majority of Bush supporters, by contrast, hold incorrect views about Bush's positions. We're not talking small margins here. Bush's campaign has *systematically* misled its own supporters, and Kerry's has not.

All of this suggests that you (like David Brooks) simply aren't paying attention, and are more focused on building a charicature of Kerry.

Now, why would you be doing that?

Posted by: CD318 at November 2, 2004 08:24 AM

I am not a joiner, and being part of organizations means little to me generally, but I am extemely proud to be a member of the Democratic Party. All of the good things in American life are the products of this party.

Posted by: Bob H at November 2, 2004 08:27 AM

I'm proud to be a democrat too. Kerry has done a really good job campaigning.

Posted by: joe 0 at November 2, 2004 08:30 AM

We are all proud to be Democrats. We do have different views on many issues including outsourcing (one must conclude that like French generals, economists are always fighting the last war) but still that leaves us with a core of beliefs including expanding civil, social and economic opportunities for all.

Posted by: Eli Rabett at November 2, 2004 08:43 AM

Hear Hear

Straight ticket dem in the sea of GOPers that is rural western iowa. I also have a box of fireworks left over from July that i intend to use tonight in celebration of freedom from economic and political tyranny.

Posted by: Clayton at November 2, 2004 08:48 AM

I am troubled by your nod to the wisdom of the American people. Not to say that we are not wise, but would a truely wise electorate be on the razor's edge of returning the Bush administration to office? Would not a strong and proud electorate have generated a firm rebuke of unmitigated mismanagement, of unyielding fecklessness, and of shameless demagoguery? However this evening unwinds, the marker has not been clearly laid: you cannot govern irresponsibly and survive. And that portends ill for the future.

Posted by: tegwar at November 2, 2004 08:51 AM

Vixen - I hear where you're coming from, as they used to say when I was much, much younger. Thanks for the clarification.

I do believe that one of the effects of this election will be a Democratic Party that is much more rooted in its voting constituency. For decades, the Dems have relied on "soft money" from various interest groups to finance its campaigns, and in doing so, it became mired in obligations to those groups. (And a lot of those groups were industry trade associations and the like - NOT your typical Democratic interest groups.)

This year, though, the money for the campaigns came from US - and that's gonna make a big difference. This is one reason why this election is so pivotal - we have a chance to have a Democratic party that actually represents the people, with no strings from the moneymen.

Posted by: RT at November 2, 2004 08:59 AM

My thoughts exactly. Thanks for putting it so well.

Posted by: Rob Salkowitz at November 2, 2004 08:59 AM

Xavier writes:
>
> I think this is a bit dishonest. Incumbents in most offices hold
> a substantial advantage over their opponents because they
> have greater name recognition and few voters bother to
> educate themselves about those races. That doesn't apply to
> presidential elections. Incumbency really isn't worth much in a
> presidential election.

OK, there is truth to what you say. But a big reason why (say) Congressmen enjoy such a huge advantage of incumbency is that we have recently also fallen into designing excruciatingly safe districts (for one or another party) rather than truly competive ones. You will note that incumbent senators have a distinctly lower (although still high) re-election rate, as do Governors. A counter-argument I supoose you could make is that the advantages of incumbency are somewhat inflated by the fact that the incumbent also chooses when *not* to run again, so they lose less than they might.

But at the presidential level, the numbers are pretty clear: in the 20th century, incumbents have a 13-5 record. That's pretty impressive, all things considered. Interestingly, though, 4 of the 5 losing incumbents were Republicans (Taft, Hoover, Ford, and HJW Bush). As far as open seats go, Republicans won 7 of the 8 available in the 1900-2000 (inclusive) period. (Taft, Harding, Hoover, Eisenhower, Nixon, BushI and Bush II vs. Kennedy alone, and Kennedy's victory was very, very close.) This tells me that default presidential vote in the US is Republican, that incumbents do tend to win, but that, indeed, Republican incumbents have more frequently found themselves in bad spots.

Well, I already voted, so it's back to grading mid-terms for me. :-)

Posted by: Jonathan King at November 2, 2004 09:00 AM

Jonathan's tally of who gets elected vs who gets reelected is a bit disturbing. On the face of it, it suggests voters will normally pick Republicans when there is no incumbent, but often prefer the Democrat when the incumbent is Republican. Why would voters repeatedly forget their disappointment the last time a Republican was in office?

Posted by: kharris at November 2, 2004 09:24 AM

OT

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Posted by: POLL TROLL at November 2, 2004 09:24 AM

"The Democratic Party has argued for equality of opportunity--while our adversaries argue for the great principle that society should be arranged so that the children of the wealthy and the powerful automatically grasp wealth and power themselves."

When the Democratic party argues to tax tax-exempt bonds, so that persons who inherit a billion dollars like Teresa will pay an income tax rate as high as someone working to make $7,000 single or $14,000 joint, let us know!

"It ought to be a blowout: it is very difficult to beat an incumbent in America today."

Just like in 2000? ;-)

"The fact that it is not a blowout but is at the moment close is testimony to the truth of the Democratic message, to the wisdom of the American people,"

Same blowout wisdom as in 2000?

BTW, you forgot to mention how Democrats until just two years ago championed campaign finance reform as the party of the little guy.

Of course, that was before five billionaires donated >$74 million to Democratic 527s (while doing their best to keep it secret lest the Dems' populist, pro-campaign finance reform image be tarnished) -- which was more than either candidate got in public financing from the campaign finance law, and dwarfed Repub 527 funds.

Oh well, what a party argues for changes -- and who says politicos financed by plutocrats can't be populists in their hearts? That's what really matters...

Posted by: Jim Glass at November 2, 2004 09:36 AM

Mosh!

Posted by: Charles at November 2, 2004 09:50 AM

Nice try, Jim. How does getting support from a few rich people invalidate the impact of the growth in small contributions?

The Democrats benefited from some large donations to sympathetic groups, but, keep in mind, that the total fund raising to parties and 527s was over 300 billion for each side. On the Dem side, most of that came from small donations. I do not know about the Republican side.

Personally, I am thankful for the few billionaires for Kerry. It helps offset the influence and money of Scaife and friends.

Posted by: foo at November 2, 2004 09:57 AM

Became a US citizen in 1998 and I have voted in every election since. This is the first time I have given money to a political cause. This is the first time I have volunteered for a political party. This is the first time I have attened a political rally. This is the first time I have voted straight ticket. And March 2003 was the first time, ever, that I participated in a protest rally.

See you all on the other side! Go JFK!

Posted by: clone12 at November 2, 2004 10:09 AM

What Democrats face now. The long war to reclaim American democracy

Posted by: Charles at November 2, 2004 10:10 AM

The Daily Howler makes the point that: ". . . it is, simply put, an astonishing scandal when people have to stand in line five hours to vote. Is Jeb Bush’s Florida a banana republic? It is astounding—astonishing; intolerable; inexcusable . . . " Surely nobody could disagree.

Posted by: Steve at November 2, 2004 11:23 AM

Me too. Thank you, Brad.

Posted by: Cath at November 2, 2004 11:52 AM

With the past campaign (both sides) and the associated electoral process that we use, the question is not whether one is proud to be a Democrat but whether one can be entirely proud of being an American. Certainly I voted for Kerry -- easy choice given the track record of Bush -- but why does our country go about selecting a president in a manner so contrary to international standards for democratic elections?

Posted by: mike at November 2, 2004 12:51 PM

Shrill -- or shill?
You say the Democrats have a message?
Where can I find it? Certainly not in your embarrassing screed. I still don't have the vaguest idea what John Kerry stands for.
Read your own manifesto -- it's the same old Bush bashing plus a handful of platitudes posing as Democratic party principles.
"Values our allies"? -- tell that to Iyad Allawi among others.
"Builds the Grand Alliance"? -- meaning U.S. foreign policy paralysis in face of imminent threat until the prima Donnas of the Elysee are on board?
"Concern with the future of America" -- and motherhood, no doubt.
"Equality of opportunity" -- or social engineering by means of racial and gender preferences to produce racial "balance"?
"Effective government" -- huh?
You're "very proud to be a Democrat" based on this sorry collection of platitudes? Come on, you know better.
You say that Democratic party has "told the truth about its opponents." Then in the next sentence you go on to repeat John Kerry's big lie -- that he voted for the war in Iraq because he was "misled" or brainwashed or had the wool pulled over his eyes by the Administration's manipulation of intelligence.
How can anyone take pride in a Presidential candidate who won't take responsibility for the most important vote he cast in his life? If Kerry is elected, then where will the buck stop?
And why have you lent yourself to Kerry's shameless numbers game over jobs when you know that the comparison with employment at the height of the bubble is grossly misleading?
In an hour, I will cast my vote for George W. Bush, but I won't hypocritically claim that I will be proud to do so.
Tomorrow the election will be history (or so I hope). Then maybe we'll get the real Brad DeLong back again.

Posted by: Ian Maitland at November 2, 2004 02:41 PM

There is still a great advantage to incumbency in a Presidential race. The incumbent is on the nightly news on a daily basis for years before the general election, is seen regularly with foreign leaders and dignitaries, and gives regular policy addresses that are shown on national TV. In contrast, the challenger is generally not even decided until several months before the election, and is seen shaking hands, kissing babies, etc. Unless the incumbent can't string twenty sentences back-to-back from memory, the popular prejudice is that the incumbent can do the job, while they may not know so much about the challenger. Arguing that there is little advantage to incumbency in Presidential races because we get to see the challenger campaigning for a few months is, well, maybe a bit dishonest.

Posted by: ploeg at November 2, 2004 04:43 PM

1. It was a blow out. the liberal biased MSM are still worth 15 points, and with Bush at 53%, that means Kerry, the man and the plan were only worth 31%.

2. Don't learn from this guys. It makes good government from the Right all the more certain.

3. Liberal ideas have to get beyond starting with theft (taxation), and progressing to murder when people object.

4. Consider borrowing from the Libertarians. Lower taxes, diminished regulations, free the market (the best decision tool we have) and promote freedom. How about tax breaks for militia training. How about freedom to own/carry military caliber weapons for normal people who can't afford bodyguards?

5. Consider moving power from Washington DC to the states. That would detract from the powerful, and empower the people. Consider restricting the power of Judges. That would empower the people, and diminish the power of the oligarchy.

Just a thought. See you in 2 years.

Posted by: Don Meaker at November 3, 2004 03:46 PM

Oh yes, it may help to not run a traitor who lost title to his medals due to his less than honorable discharge next time.

Don't feel sad, Kerry lied to you too. Of course if he had signed his SF-180 you would have known that.

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Posted by: Pete at November 19, 2004 04:44 AM

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

Posted by: mortgage lender at November 21, 2004 06:20 PM

A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

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