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By David Podvin

“Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” – William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

It is good to be George W. Bush. It means being able to stagger blindly through life, wreaking havoc as you go, without ever being personally damaged. It means bankrupting a company while getting rich in the process, losing an election yet gaining power, and damaging America without ever being held accountable. Best of all, it means having opponents who are so busy self-destructing that they never get around to destroying you.

It is less good to be a rank and file Democrat. Being a Democrat today means suffering an infinite number of frustrations and degradations, the litany of which would require writing an encyclopedia rather than a column. Being a Democrat today means watching Senate Democrats spend three years shamelessly capitulating to Bush, and then seeing two of the leading sycophants rewarded with seventy percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses.

According to the National Election Pool Survey caucus entry poll, John Kerry and John Edwards received much of their support because Iowa Democrats believed that the senators are the most “electable” candidates in the field. Not coincidentally, the electability argument is the one that has been relentlessly pushed by Karl Rove and his echo chamber in the corporate media: Howard Dean is unelectable, so Democrats who really want their party to win the presidency will vote for one of the Washington politicians whose major policy differences with Bush are less “extreme”.

Forget that every member of Congress who has run for the presidency since 1960 has been defeated.

Never mind that Kerry and Edwards were unwilling to confront Bush about his tax cut for the rich that defunded the Democratic agenda, or to challenge his transparent lies about weapons of mass destruction, which were used as a pretext to start an illegal war.

When wise men like Tim Russert and William Safire rang a bell and offered their friendly advice that voting for these two submissive guys is the winning approach for shrewd Democratic voters, the easily manipulated political savants who attend Iowa caucuses started drooling.

Welcome to The Twilight Zone. Democratic voters are casting their ballots based on the analysis of people who desperately want to see the Democrats annihilated in November. This irrational mindset is reminiscent of the poll taken in January 2001 that showed a majority of Democrats wanted their representatives in Congress to “cooperate with” rather than “confront” the man who had just stolen the presidency. And it is similar to the recent poll that showed a majority of Democrats in California think Arnold Schwarzenegger is a nice guy, even as they watch him dismantle the social safety net designed to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

It should not be surprising that a political party is in freefall when its voters take advice from people who openly despise them and want to defeat them. Seeking to mollify implacable opponents is not a recipe for success, nor is attributing honorable motives to those who mean you harm.

At some point, liberal Internet activists are going to have to stop fixating on the undeniable evil of Republicans and deal with the major factor currently shaping politics in this nation, that many Democratic voters are like the masochistic dental patient in Little Shop Of Horrors. They just can’t seem to get enough pain.

If you bought into the highly advertised theory that Karl Rove and the gang were salivating at the thought of running against the one Democrat who intended to bash Bush into submission, you probably now believe the Republicans are despondent at the prospect of running against someone who has spent the last three years kissing Bush’s corrupt ass.

Remember P. T. Barnum?  Something about suckers?

Should Howard Dean win in New Hampshire, his national organization and advantage in fundraising will probably render the Iowa Caucuses irrelevant. However, if General Wesley Clark wins in New Hampshire and then Edwards wins in South Carolina, the Democratic primary campaign could become a bloodbath.

The bad news is that this turn of events would greatly assist Bush as he attempts to retain power. The good news is that it would make Russert and Safire extremely happy, and don’t they deserve a little joy for selflessly going out of their way to help Iowa Democrats chart the wisest path to  regain the presidency?

More David Podvin

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Last changed: December 13, 2009