November 7, 2004

Inoffensive, ineffective

Eileen McNamara hits the nail on the head in her column in today's Boston Globe. Some excerpts:
Instead of drawing a distinction between the parties, Democrats insist on blurring the differences in a wrongheaded search for some squishy center. A concerted effort to offend no one ends up inspiring no one, either.

Democrats lose because they are unwilling to embrace the principles of their own party. Poverty is a moral issue, too. So is the right to basic medical care, a job, decent housing, safe streets, and a clean environment. If Kerry had projected half the passion about those issues that Bush did about abortion and homosexuality, this race might have been about big ideas, instead of a protracted series of skirmishes in a culture war that Democrats cannot win.

Kerry kept telling voters that the Bush tax cuts went to the wealthiest Americans. Why didn't he talk about the fundamental economic reality of the last two decades, the growing gap between the haves and have nots? Why no outrage about the fact that the top 1 percent earns more than the bottom 40 percent in the United States, the widest income gap since 1929? A stump speech reference to the ''two Americas" does not constitute a campaign against economic injustice.

Republicans have been winning big by changing the subject from the economic challenges facing Americans to the emotional issues that exploit their fear that the nation has lost its moral compass.

Instead of framing the fight to end joblessness at home or to engage in diplomacy abroad as the moral imperatives that they are, Kerry attempted a pale imitation of the president's personal piety.