Don’t just blame Eliot Spitzer. The Democratic response to his driver’s license plan is a case study in the singular ability of the donkey party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Mistake number one: Cowardice. The moment Eliot Spitzer started taking heat, his fellow Democrats ran for cover like Sir Robin in Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail. Of course, if Democrats are folding under pressure from opinion polls, you can bet Hillary Clinton is somewhere out front, method-acting as a pretzel.
FYI, there are Republicans out there that still, against all manner of
fact and logic, support the war in Iraq. The concept of a fire line was
invented by Republicans. Democrats? We like water.
Democrats should have supported the most powerful liberal governor in
the country. Eight years of George W. Bush has left the country on
bended knee, begging for somebody to stand up to the Republican party.
Whether you agree with the plan or not, Spitzer came to this debate
ready to fight. His fellow Democrats came ready to run, ready to
equivocate. Democrats were afraid of the issue. Not only did they lose,
but they managed to alienate every possible constituency in the
process: soccer moms, legal immigrants, die hard liberals, social
conservatives, everyone. You know why? Because cowards never win.
Mistake number two: Compromise. Once Spitzer compromised to a three-tier system, the proposal was dead in the water.
The compromise was a signal to opponents that they could stop the
proposal, and wound Eliot Spitzer in the process. Spitzer’s poll
number are now at historic lows,
which means more to his enemies that the specifics of any particular
proposal. His agenda is stalled and despite winning just a year ago
with 69 percent of the vote, he has no mandate. Thanks Mr. Compromise.
But the compromise plan was not just a strategic mistake. Americans,
even New York-Americans, say they want their leaders to compromise, but
time and time again we vote for the most stubborn politician in the
bunch. You can talk about George W. Bush, you can talk about Theodore
Roosevelt, but America consistently votes for men and women who stand
their ground. Compromise is what intelligent people do, it helps you
govern effectively. But we don’t vote for intelligent people who can
govern effectively, we vote for the guy with the biggest testicles.
Mistake number three: Ceding the Debate. As usual, Democrats
accepted the premise of various questions that made no logical sense.
Democrats should never have answered “does the plan pose a threat to
national security” question. They should have stayed on message and
said, “I think the war in Iraq poses the greatest threat to national
security” or “National security has nothing to do with the
documentation of those who use our roadways” or “Damn it Jim, I’m a
doctor not a terrorist.” I mean, a guy who was on the 9/11 commission supports this plan.
“National security” does not mean “whatever Republicans think will help
them win elections.” Is there any liberal left that can articulate
The next false choice Democrats idiotically accepted were the people
running around saying the plan will allow illegal immigrants to
purchase guns, if they lie about citizenship.
Breaking news people: You can get a gun in this country if you lie!
FYI, you can also get a gun in this country if you: live in Texas and
are all the way out of your mother’s womb; have an Internet connection;
have $10 and know a guy named Pooky.
Compromise, cowardice and ceding a debate, these have been the markers
of the Democratic party for far too long. Terrorism and gun ownership
have nothing to do with immigration. But, once again, Democrats
couldn’t help themselves from acting like Democrats. They employed the
classic donkey strategy, “My tail fell off … again.”