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Why Democrats Lose Presidential Elections They Should Win

One of the reasons Democrats have been losing Presidential elections is that they continue to choose a campaign manger who has the combined record of the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl. He's 0- 8 in presidential races (he was locked out of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton's campaigns).

'No excuses, Concessions of a Serial Campaigner', to be released Monday by Simon & Schuster, are the memoirs of Bob Shrum, a man who's lost more presidential campaigns than anyone else alive After reading some of the excerpts of the book one can see why.

For example, Matthew Yglesias's review 'Shrum and Dumber' recounts:

...the 2000 campaign when "Gore was determined to give a blunt speech on global warming, and to do it in Michigan.". Shrum and the rest of the staff talked Gore out of it on the grounds that the issue "was a third rail in the automotive state of Michigan, a state we had to carry." And, indeed, such a speech almost certainly would have been unpopular in Michigan....(but- )if Gore had carried Florida, he wouldn't have needed it (Michigan). Giving the speech could not only have put him over the top in Florida, it would have countered the public's image of Gore as a phony, dull, passionless calculating figure by letting him connect with the environmental issues on which he was a lifelong advocate. It would also have allowed Gore to skewer Bush where his record was most vulnerable. The speech could have helped Gore establish a persona distinct from Clinton's, without forcing Gore to distance himself from Clinton's accomplishments. And even if the polls didn't show voters yearning for a speech on global warming, it was clear that the voters were yearning for Gore to do something that seemed driven by convictions rather than polls.
Tumble forward into 2004, where three of the four leading Democratic presidential contenders--Gephardt, Kerry, and Edwards--were all Shrum clients. What's more, on the most important moral and political issue of the day, they all broke the wrong way, supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Shrum concedes that he urged his clients to do this, going so far as to say that he prevailed upon Kerry and Edwards to opportunistically endorse a war they knew was wrong.

Attywood in The Philadelphia Daily News' fleshes out some of the detail about the Edwards' story:

Edwards, then a North Carolina senator, called his foreign policy and political advisers together in his Washington living room in the fall of 2002 to get their advice. Edwards was "skeptical, even exercised" about the idea of voting yes and his wife Elizabeth was forcefully against it, according to Shrum. But Shrum said the consensus among the advisers was that Edwards, just four years in office, did not have the credibility to vote against the resolution and had to support it to be taken seriously on national security. Shrum said Edwards' facial expressions showed he did not like where he was being pushed to go.

And Shrum made a very sucessful career for himself, giving well-paid advice like this, and unfortunately getting it accepted --against the better instincts and judgment of his clients.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (3)

Paul Hamilton:

You nailed it, Jay. The war hysteria leading up to the invasion was just unbelievable to me -- it was like everybody was afraid to say a single word against the idea in spite of the fact there were mountains of evidence that it was a terrible idea.

And Hillary and Kerry are just a couple examples. Our Dem senator, Evan Bayh, made sure he was standing right next to Bush during one of his Rose Garden pep talks back in the days when everybody loved the war, but now he's gung ho against it.

As I've said before, I opposed this war from the start, and now I have nothing to be ashamed of, to apologize for, or to dance around when discussions of the subject come up. It's a shame that so few elected Democrats can say the same thing.

John in CA:

Perhaps democratics lose presidential elections they "should" win because they run sucky candidates that the American people reject.

Steve Crickmore:

It seems that the one thing, many people across the political spectrum can agree on, is the American political system needs a Democratic Presidential Candidate who appears'the real thing', the genuine article. Obama, so far has been refreshingly different to the 2000 Gore, the one the spin doctors such as Shrum successsfully kept in wraps. See Obama's 'Inconveniet Truths'" "

"We anticipated that there weren't necessarily going to be a lot of applause lines in that speech. It was sort of an eat-your-spinach approach," Obama conceded when I asked him about the stony silence that greeted his address. "But one thing I did say to people was that I wasn't going to make an environmental speech in California and then make a different speech in Detroit."


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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