Looking forward to the 2008 presidential election, as I find myself doing often lately, there are literally dozens of reasons for the Democrats to be optimistic. We can run down a lengthy checklist of positive signs. Polling data showing the incumbent and his party to be incredibly unpopular? Check. Well-funded candidates with money and name recognition? Check. A lousy field of GOP candidates with no clear front-runner? Check. Economy going straight into the shitter? Check. Wildly unpopular, expensive, and interminable war? Check. Positive outcome from the 2006 midterms? Check. Yes, it's a great time to run for president as a Democrat.
So why am I so pessimistic?
It's tempting to say that I feel like a fan of the Washington Generals (for those of you who miss that reference, they're the fake team who were created to play, and lose every game to, the Harlem Globetrotters). That would be inaccurate; the system was set up such that the Generals literally could not win. The Democrats are not hopelessly unable to compete. Instead, the sad fact is that they are not only able to win but in many cases the odds are in their favor. No, the Democrats are a team that often should win but always finds – invents, if necessary – ways to blow it. They're the political world's Arizona Cardinals. Chicago Cubs. L.A. Clippers. "Lovable losers," if you will, although they're often only half of that statement. Give the Democrats a decorated war hero to run against a draft dodging idiot and they find a way to blow it. That's the sort of thing they do…all the goddamn time.
Am I just being too pessimistic? Have years of being an actual Arizona Cardinal fan warped my mind so that I see defeat looming everywhere? Feel free to sound off and let me know how you're feeling about the odds. No matter how many polls I see or how terrible the GOP field manages to look (and make no mistake, it is historically awful) I just cannot shake the feeling that the Democrats are going to go down in flames next November. Every comment I hear – be it media or regular voters – has the same pattern: an expression of condemnation of the GOP followed by some sort of suggestive hint that, well, those Democrats just aren't any better. Ergo, if I may complete their mental road map, voting for Giuliani is the superior option. No matter how many people die in Iraq, no matter that the GOP field is laden with neocon cowboys hell-bent on war with Iran, no matter how much real wages fall, no matter how badly unequal our nation's wealth….when shove comes back to push these "middle American"/"undecided"/"average Joe" voters are going to make up some reason to vote for another right-wing gas bag. Said reason, of course, will probably be some fiscally ludicrous round of tax cuts.
So it's time for a verdict on Ed: paranoid or drifting toward the sad truth?