DATE: 2/07/2005 09:51:00 AM
Fact-Checking Kennedy - I didn't watch Ted Kennedy's appearance on "Meet the Press" this weekend. The Democrats have had another bad week. President Bush's State of the Union was extremely well-received, the Democrat response was terrible. The January job numbers removed a talking point for Democrats - the Hoover analogy is now defunct. Oh, and elections in Iraq went really well, considering the challenges. (I wish someone would tell the Bangor Daily - a large headline just under the fold trumpets a story about election irregularities.)
Part of the problem the Democrats have is who they allow to speak for them. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy have become the public face of the Democrats, much to their detriment as a party. These four spent much of their political career in Congress when it was in Democratic hands. The experience of being in the minority seems to have embittered them to no end and it shows in their recent rhetoric.
Howard Dean's first job as chair of the Democratic National Committee should be to pressure the Democrat leadership in Congress to put their best faces forward. Senator Barack Obama is personable and optimistic. Ditto for Representative Harold Ford, Jr. Colorado Senator Ken Salazar seems reasonable and was good during his debates. Heck, even Dean himself does a great job on television - he's entertaining when he's at his best.
We're seeing, once again, the damage an ego-driven superstar can do to his party. Bill Clinton was an amazing politician, but spent too much time using those gifts for his own benefit instead of building up leaders to take over the party once he was gone. In the absence of such leaders, the old guard has stepped in to take control. I predict in the next few years, smart Democrats will realize just how much damage the Clintons did to their party and move to keep Hillary away from the nomination in 2008.