When Dinosaurs Ruled The Land

The Joe Moneybags Gazette:

The Party that Obama Un-Built

The focus of this week’s Democratic convention was President Obama. Lost in the adulation was the diminished state to which he has brought his broader party. Today’s Democrats are a shadow of 2008—struggling for re-election, isolated to a handful of states, lacking reform ideas, bereft of a future political bench. It has been a stunning slide.


In 2006, Nancy Pelosi muzzled her liberal inclinations to recruit and elect her “Majority Makers”—a crop of moderate and conservative Democrats who won Republican districts and delivered control of the House for the first time in 14 years.

Democrats in 2006 also claimed the Senate, with savvy victories in states like Montana and Virginia. The party thumped Republicans in gubernatorial races, winning in the South (Arkansas), the Mountain West (Colorado), and in Ohio (for the first time since 1991). A vibrant candidate Obama further boosted Democratic ranks in 2008.

By 2009, President Obama presided over what could fairly be called a big-tent coalition. The Blue Dog caucus had swelled to 51 members, representing plenty of conservative America. Democrats held the majority of governorships. Mr. Obama had won historic victories in Virginia and North Carolina. The prediction of liberal demographers John Judis and Ruy Teixeira’s 2004 book, “The Emerging Democratic Majority”—lasting progressive dominance via a coalition of minorities, women, suburbanites and professionals—attracted greater attention among political analysts.

It took Mr. Obama two years to destroy this potential, with an agenda that forced his party to field vote after debilitating vote—stimulus, ObamaCare, spending, climate change. The public backlash, combined with the president’s mismanagement of the economy, has reversed Democrats’ electoral gains and left a party smaller than at any time since the mid-1990s.

I have to disagree somewhat – the problem with the Democratic party goes deeper than Obama. He is just an acute manifestation of a chronic disease. That’s why the party needs electoral chemotherapy.

It all started back in the 60’s when the New Deal coalition began to fracture and establishment liberals took control of the party. Even though the Democrats had a solid grip on Congress they began to suffer a series of blow-outs in the Electoral College.

From 1972 until 1988 the Republicans won the White House four out of five times – each time by a landslide. The lone exception was 1976 when Jimmy Carter won, but that was due to the backlash over Watergate.

The Democrats focused on identity politics – putting together a coalition of special interest groups like unions, minorities, feminists, environmentalists and the anti-war movement. This was effective in winning Congressional districts in part because the legacy of the New Deal left them in control of redistricting for another couple of decades. They also kept control of the Senate because seniority rules and the advantages of incumbency allowed Democratic dinosaurs to remain in office even as their states began turning red.

Then came Bill Clinton – a different kind of Democrat. He ran as a moderate and managed to pull off a plurality victory in the popular vote, thus winning a majority in the Electoral College. Establishment Democrats and the DFH wing hated him because he wasn’t a doctrinaire liberal. But the voters liked him, especially after they got a good look at Newt Gingrich.

I never realized until 2008 how much the far left despised Bill Clinton because I live in a red zone where liberals are an endangered species. Even the Democrats here are conservative. Back then there was no blogosphere where people could gather and discuss politics. We had to do that stuff face-to-face and I was always one of the most liberal voices around.

I thought Bill Clinton was a great preezy. Nobody around these parts ever called him a “DINOcrat” or a traitor to the party. What’s not to like about peace and prosperity?

Things caught up with the Democrats in 1994 when their institutional advantages of seniority and incumbency left them too ossified to adapt to changing times. Then the Republicans overreached and Bill Clinton out-maneuvered them, winning a second term in 1996. But the Democratic establishment still blamed him for the loss of Congress.

Al Gore lost in 2000 because the left thought he was too much like Bill Clinton. John Kerry lost in 2004 because the voters thought he was too much like McGovern, Mondale and Dukakis. If it hadn’t been for 9-11 Bush probably would have lost anyway. The voters were so disgusted with Bush and “movement conservatism” that by 2006 they voted the Republicans out of office, handing the Democrats an unexpected and unearned victory.

In doing so they returned to power two old dinosaurs – Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Their goal was to restore the old order, and that included blocking Hillary Clinton from the nomination. It was a power struggle and the Clintons lost. Barack Obama was installed as the nominee and he went on to win the White House.

And that brings us to where the article cited above begins.

This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to When Dinosaurs Ruled The Land

  1. driguana says:

    please don’t let me be misunderstood….please!!!

  2. myiq2xu says:

    One telling fact about the Democrats – after the 2010 midterm defeat they left Nancy and Harry in charge.

  3. yttik says:

    “Where is the next generation of Democrats? ”

    I noticed that, too.Oh look, John Kerry again….and Jimmy Carter?! Where’s the new Dems, the rising stars? I hope they don’t think Mayor Castro was it, because that’s just sad. By contrast, R’s have dozens of fresh and new faces, ready to lead the next generation.

  4. thanks for filling a few gaps in my knowledge myiq!!

    The Republicans have ALWAYS been better than the Dems at building their bench. That’s one (out of many) of the reasons you saw them highlight Nikki Haley, Susanah Martinez, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Mia Love, Kelly Ayotte, Marco Rubio, etc at their convention. That’s just how they do things.

    The Democrats are more entrepreneurial at how they pick their candidates and that method has many more minuses than pluses (exhibit A—Barack Obama). They should have highlighted in prime time people like Sen Kirsten Gillibrand. Instead they highlighted wannabees like Elizabeth Warren, Sandra Fluke, and the head of NARAL.

    I dream about a trip into the wilderness for the Dems when they lose in Nov. Having seen most of both party conventions, I must say that there was little at the Dem Convention that spoke to me.

    • tommy says:

      Honk, Honk, Honk! And Gillibrand should have been highlighted. Shes got a bright future ahead of her.

    • myiq2xu says:

      A party that is out of power has incentive to make personnel changes. The problem is the Democrats weren’t out of power long enough.

      The 1994 losses cleared away some deadwood, but not enough.

      BTW – Back in the 80’s the turnover rate in Congress was less than 2% and most of that was due to death or scandal.

      One of the positive things Newt Gingrinch and crew did was scrap many of the seniority rules in the House.

    • Pips says:

      Kirsten Gillibrand on the Daily Show a few days ago:

      “If we had 51% women in Congress, do you think we would be debating birth control?”

      [Audience goes wild screaming and applauding.]

      “No! We’d be debating the economy, and jobs, and how we create small business, national security, and things that really matter. So … we need more women in Congress!”

      That didn’t sit well with Jon Stewart. His reaction was … hmmm … interesting, heh.

  5. yttik says:

    The meme today seems to be that if Obama wins, Hillary will run in 2016. I think this is the most bass akward bit of nonsense I’ve ever heard. The exact opposite is true, if Obama wins, we probably won’t see another Dem in the white house for years.

  6. votermom says:

    Great post. The Dems built Obama.

  7. votermom says:

    Not the worst money-making idea I’ve seen

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Krugman doesn’t it think it’s fair we fire Obama after only 4 years because he inherited a big mess and we’re better off since he warded off a much bigger mess ….. something like that.


  9. tommy says:

    Myiq, that in a nutshell is what is wrong with the democratic party. Keeping Pelosi and Reid as heads of the dems in the legislative branch is a disaster.

  10. foxyladi14 says:

    Some fools never learn. 🙂

  11. Karma says:

    And I will add one point. He didn’t just help clear the decks of Dems with the lies they were forced/willing to tell in his honor.

    Obama made stars of the GOP newcomers when they battled those fools for their seats.

  12. tommy says:

    A very succinct and cogent article. Excellent write-up. Cheers.

  13. DandyTiger says:

    This actually makes me feel better. I think with a Romney win and a likely two term hold, that will be about the right amount of time for the old rot to be cleared from the Dem party. I think we will see a better party in 2016, and possibly a great party by 2020. And frankly, I think Romney is much closer to the Clinton’s than Obama, so the country might even be in OK shape by then.

    OK, who spiked my coffee?

  14. DM says:

    After the 2006 election, the Republican Party had a renaissance, and that’s what we saw during the RNC convention. My vote in 2008 was a fruitless attempt to stop the Obama train wreck, but today I recognize that the Democratic must be totally destroyed so that it can be rebuilt from the ashes or give room for a new party to emerge. Either way, the voters will win.

  15. tommy says:

    We just have to think about the repubs rationally. The current no. women and minorities that are in positions of power are astounding compared to just 4 years ago. They are evolving far too quickly for the democratic party. Its almost like the dems have become the Grand Old Party. I can almost sense that they are on the verge of integrating the hispanics. If that happens, the dems are in serious trouble. Identity politics always has a shelf life.

  16. myiq2xu says:

    Thanks to the Voting Rights Act the safest seats in Congress belong to the CBC. They can get caught with a live boy and a dead girl and still get reelected.

  17. Karma says:

    This is probably wrong because I missed a lot of the non-prime time coverage, and that usually when they are highlighted the most.

    But where were all the goofy hats that represent their state, etc? I saw a lot of the Obama delegates in awe of their leader but not the usual convention visuals. It seemed less fun, less colorful, less dancing, just all around less of the party that it usually is.

  18. wmcb says:

  19. angienc says:

    OT: I think Obama’s empty speech last night vindicated Eastwood.

    Eastwood himself says it was “mission accomplished” at the RNC in an interview to his hometown paper:

    AFTER A week as topic No. 1 in American politics, former Carmel Mayor Clint Eastwood said the outpouring of criticism from left-wing reporters and liberal politicians after his appearance at the Republican National Convention last Thursday night, followed by an avalanche of support on Twitter and in the blogosphere, is all the proof anybody needs that his 12-minute discourse achieved exactly what he intended it to.

    “President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” Eastwood told The Pine Cone this week. “Romney and Ryan would do a much better job running the country, and that’s what everybody needs to know. I may have irritated a lot of the lefties, but I was aiming for people in the middle.”

    Entire article is a good read. (h/t AoS)


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