The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Are the Democrats Imploding? Can Al Gore be Far Behind?


Back in late 2006 I began predicting, incorrectly, that the Democratic nominee for president would be Al Gore. That 2008 would present him--an ambitious politician who's been dreaming of the presidency for 30 years--the best opportunity to come around in years. I suggested, correctly, that the economy would be ravaged, and that the Iraq war would still be raging, both crisis affording Gore a golden entree into the White House. For some strange reason (self-preservation? cowardice?), he elected not to join the race. So then I predicted, incorrectly, that he'd simply wait it out; wait for Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to cancel each other out and then leapfrog over the carnage and become the party's frontrunner. In fact, I think if I had a penny for every time I mentioned the term "cancel each other out" with reference to Obama and Clinton, well, I'd have many pennies. And here we are, in April 2008, just seven months from the general election, and Clinton and Obama have in fact cancelled each other out. Neither has been able to unify voters around them. Neither has presented enough of a compelling message that resonates with a majority of the party. Neither will obtain the minimum number of delegates to win the nomination. In short, they have both failed, and failed miserably. The scenario I had laid out for a Gore candidacy has indeed arisen, yet a Gore candidacy is, to-date, but a passing fantasy. Or is it?

I'm not normally a David Brooks fan, but I think the conservative nailed it Friday with his NY Times op-ed "How Obama Fell to Earth." Commenting on this week's Democratic debate, and Obama's campaign in general, Brooks wrote:

"He sprinkled his debate performance Wednesday night with the sorts of fibs, evasions and hypocrisies that are the stuff of conventional politics. He claimed falsely that his handwriting wasn’t on a questionnaire about gun control. He claimed that he had never attacked Clinton for her exaggerations about the Tuzla airport, though his campaign was all over it. Obama piously condemned the practice of lifting other candidates’ words out of context, but he has been doing exactly the same thing to John McCain, especially over his 100 years in Iraq comment....He’ll win the nomination, but in a matchup against John McCain, he is behind in Florida, Missouri and Ohio, and merely tied in must-win states like Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A generic Democrat now beats a generic Republican by 13 points, but Obama is trailing his own party. One in five Democrats say they would vote for McCain over Obama."

It should be noted that Brooks is no fan of Clinton either, and just a few weeks ago predicted she has but a 5% chance of winning.

Adding to the Democrats' woes, liberal columnist Bob Herbert wrote in Saturday's NY Times:

"The Democrats are doing everything they can to blow this presidential election. This is a skill that comes naturally to the party. There is no such thing as a can’t-miss year for the Democrats. They are truly gifted at finding ways to lose. So what are the Democrats doing? The Clintons are running around with flamethrowers, gleefully trying to incinerate the prospects of the party’s leading candidate, Barack Obama....Senator Obama, for his part, seems to have lost sight of the unifying message that proved so compelling early in his campaign and has stumbled into weird cultural predicaments that have caused some people to rethink his candidacy....Voters want more from Senator Obama. He’s given a series of wonderful speeches, but he has to add more meat to those rhetorical bones. He needs to be clear about where he wants to lead this country and how he plans to do it. That’s how a candidate defines himself or herself. Instead, Mr. Obama is allowing the Clintons and the news media to craft a damaging persona of him as some kind of weak-kneed brother from another planet, out of touch with mainstream America, and perhaps a loser."

He's got that right. At this point, both Obama and Clinton look like sure losers. And what a shame that is, as this year should've, and could've, been a cakewalk for the Dems. But also as I've been saying all along, the party and its ineffectual candidates have this nasty habit of tripping over themselves. And if they are defeated in November, it'll rank with the 2007 NY Mets' collapse as one of the biggest chokes--and heartbreaks--of all time.

To be sure, if Obama does lose, it will not be, as his supporters claim, because Hillary "did him in." That her relentless attacks brought him down. If that's the case, and his campaign was so weak and unable to withstand her wrath, then he deserves to lose. If he was a strong enough candidate...if he was able to connect with women, seniors, Hispanics and the white working class...if he was able to debate as effectively as he can deliver an inspirational speech to 20,000...if he didn't get stuck in the muck surrounding his controversial relationships with Rev. Wright, Tony Rezko, and Bill Ayers...if, as Herbert (a big Obama supporter, btw) writes, he had been able to add "more meat to those rhetorical bones"...perhaps he'd be victorious.

And should Hillary lose, it will not be because she was "ganged up on" by the media or because she's a woman or because she's a Clinton or because of Michigan or Florida's delegate controversies. It'll be because she's a hardened, shrill, calculating operative who is viewed by way too many Dems as untruthful, untrustworthy and disingenuous. Both Obama and Clinton are, simply put, lousy candidates. They have no one to blame but themselves.

But it's not too late for the Democrats. There is one solution out of this campaign catastrophe. And his name is Al Gore. He is the party's big hope. A deal needs to be struck immediately with Clinton and Obama, by DNC chair Howard Dean and other party leaders, as well as Gore himself, to send the campaign to the Denver convention in August where, on a second ballot, Gore can head the ticket. He'll make Obama his VP, give the State Department to Clinton, and the three of them will spend the next 2 1/2 months unifying the party and trouncing the GOP's presumptive dinosaur, Sen. John McCain. And if somehow this deal can be brokered sooner, even better.

While I have not thrown in the proverbial towel just yet, I am growing increasingly skeptical that either of the Dem's current two losers can somehow deliver a victory in November. They are both abysmal candidates, unable to cross over and appeal to the others' constituencies. To be sure, voters are fed up with Republicans, and want more Democratic leadership/control in Washington, and as such, they'll give the left an even greater majority in the House and Senate. But they'll give the White House to McCain--the "moderate"--to balance the power. Sadly, Democrats have given voters zero reason to do otherwise. Al Gore, are you listening?

30 Comments:

  • At 10:37 AM, Blogger Sidney Condorcet said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 10:50 AM, Blogger Sidney Condorcet said…

    As if your post, while to some extent accurate, was not depressing enough, you just had to mention the epic collapse of my NY Mets. Salt meet open wound!

    Gore doesn't want any part of this knife-fight. And they are not "lousy candidates." Clinton would have been a fine candidate, her campaign strategy was flawed from the beginning. Obama is generally a fine candidate as well. Every candidate is prone to missteps and every candidate has skeletons in their closet or past associations that do them some harm. While my first reaction to a Clinton character-attack on Obama is scorn, after my anger dies down, I feel that it makes him more battle-tested and ready for the Republican assault that awaits.

    All is not lost, Andy. Obama will likely wrap this up by May 6th. Clinton will suspend her campaign, and Obama will offer to help her pay off the $20 million or so she has in campaign debt. They will, hopefully, campaign together as a show of Democratic party unity. And we will have the summer and fall to use our 4-1 monetary advantage to blitz McCain and define him as an old, economically clueless, warmonger...The numbers of Clinton supporters intending to vote for McCain will decrease by at least 10%.

    We'll come together with or without the intervention of Gore...

     
  • At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ostroy is absolutely correct in everything he has observed and reported. Neither of the two will not win; they cannot win. And, I'd like to add one more concern: I, and others I know, won't even vote for Obama as vice president. I don't want the remote possiblity of his becoming our president. I'm a lifelong Democrat and I am disgusted by the entire Democratic Pary, starting with Dean. And, the others == the Kennedys, Richardson and hordes of other high-ranking Dems, endorsed OBama before he had been thoroughly investigated and proved worthy. The Obama campaign has been countless mistakes, and one serious one is being endebted to Soros. We have lost again and will suffer the consequences if something -- Gore? -- doesn't happen to save us.

    Now, what's Gore's problem. None except he didn't fight when he was elected and he's not stepping up to save the day now. Where is his patriotism. I am certain that we can still win if Gore takes action immediately. If he doesn't, Ill have to say the Democratic Party is getting what it deserves for being stupid, spineless (except for Hillary) and ineffective and I and those in my circle of acquainances will soon be registering as Independents.

     
  • At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Andy - it's just...not...gonna...happen. Gore will not seek the nomination and the superdelegates will not likely try to draft him. Our party is in disarray. Both candidates are flawed but it is still likely that Obama will ultimately get the nomination and limp into the general election. I cannot recall a primary season in my lifetime where the discourse has been so personal and damaging internally. Whether it was Bradley -Gore, Kerry-Dean, Clinton-Kerrey-Harkin-Brown, Dukakis-Gore-Tsongas or go back further, the Democrats have always recognized the need to send the nominee into the general election without the self-inflicted wounds. If Hillary's kitchen sink offensive get her the nomination, so be it. If it only serves to send a weakened Obama into the general election, then she has done the party and the country a great disservice. Of course the Republicans will try to smear the nominee, but during the general election campaign, we can actally discuss differences in policy.

    They say we get the leaders we deserve.

     
  • At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Off topic but heard this recently and wanted to share it - Obama is a mac and Hillary is a pc. Seems funny, yet oddly accurate.

     
  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger RGJ/Dallas112263 said…

    Well have no fear Andy... We are not alone out on our very long limb... In fact we could soon be joined by many others as the nomination of Mr. Gore for President becomes The Third Way, for indeed the only way to unite the Party may be to disappoint both camps.

    At the recent CA DEM state confab I spent many hours as a volunteer over 4 days of preparation and Convention. During that time I was asked countless times what I thought, in all cases I admitted that I had lent my support to Obama (when the Grateful Dead reunite and endorse a politcal candidate I am forced to go to the show...Yeah! Wave that Flag! Deadheads for Obama!)but did not believe that either of the two candidates would eventually be the nominee. When I flipped up my lapel and revealed the Gore 2008 button and said "Second ballot, to unite the Party we will disappoint both if we must...", the reaction was surprising. Oh for sure some said that no one would like having a nominee that didn't participate in the Primairies, to which I posed the question "What if fatal flaws emerged in both candidates late in July? What then?". I further pointed out that the Demo Primiaries were open to Independents and even Republicans and did not exactly represent the wishes of just Democrats and that the Party and the Superdelegates were duty bound to make the choice in the best interests of the Party, not the pundits or the occassional little "d" Democrats who come out to vote...

    I for one have never wavered, "Al Gore will be the consensus candidiate for President in 2008" was the title of my post back in 2006 and I still stand by it...

    Se ya in Denver!

    RGJ/Dallas112263

     
  • At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Please don't insult my Mac by comparing it with Obama.

     
  • At 1:44 PM, Blogger RGJ/Dallas112263 said…

    Oh... Just one more thing...

    In 2000 Al Gore was elected President by the people but the Court said otherwise...

    Many people, not usually friendly to Mr. Gore, like to make statements about his unwillingness to fight for the Presidency in 2000, they remark that he wimped out after the Supreme Court ruling.

    Now aside from the obvious question "Would you have joined him at the barricade on Inauguration Day, to face the military?", the answer to which is never given, we also have Mr. Gore's response... In Marin in 2007
    Mr. Gore told the assembled 2000+ people who had come to hear his Assault on Reason speech, "Under our system of government there is no half way measure between a ruling of the Supreme Court and armed insurrection in the streets"...

    So I don't wanna hear anymore about this aspect of the tragic election of 2000...

    And no I ain’t ever gettin' over it...

    RGJ/Dallas112263

     
  • At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ok, so how exactly does Gore get the nomination? First - I wouls love to see it, but can't envision a scenario where either Obama or Hillary don't get the superdelegates to fall in line b/f the convention, thus giving one of them the requisite delegates to win the nomination. It seems any Gore scenario requires a certain amount of courage and principle from the superdelegates. Hate to sound cynical, but I don't see that happening. Wouldn't a Gore nomination necessarily involve the superdelegates withholing support for any candidate, leading to a second ballot? Icant envision the supers taking that chance. They are still too concerned with their own careers to go out an a limb like that. Hell, they won't even pick a side now.

    I'd love to see it happen, just don't think it will.

    Good line on the pc -mac analogy.

     
  • At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    rgjdallas. Please help me out. I thought my disappointment and the disappointmnet of others in Gore, was that he didn't demand action before the Supreme Court was involved which would have provem he had been legally elected. I don't remember if it involved a recount in parts of Florida, or what, or if somewhere along the line he could have protested and won a chance to prove his legitimacy as president. I admit my memory is hazy and would appreciate clarificaiton.

    In the meantime I'm angry he didn't fight.

     
  • At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    12:34 Hillary didn't dig up the dirt on Obama. FOX NEWS reported it first. The Wright tape was first seen there; the Ayers association was reported against Obama on Fox News; the ten million dollar mansion Wright's church has given to him was on Fox first; Obama's large financial contribution to that church was on Fox. The rest of it Obama did to himself -- the inadequate handling of the Wright association and not mentioning it himself,first, was a huge mistake. The "bitter" thing was outrageous. THe Michelle comments should never have happeend. THe landlord trial, his voting record, his lies about some issues and his poor performance in the debate all called attention to his faults. They were obvious without Hillary's pointing them out. Not only that, we should know about these problems before he becomes the Democratic nominee. He can't be elected with that many weaknesses. Hillary would have appeared stupid and weak if she had not at least referred to them.

    The stupidty and tragedy is going to be that the Dem. Party will pick him as the rep in the general and we will lose. Of course, we can hope Gore steps in.

     
  • At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Andy,your hitting the nail on the head,Obama and Clinton are both unelectable.And sidney the clinton campain is not 20 million dollars in debt and need the great Obama to bail her ass out,your great at your post start off like you don't much mind if hillary was the pick,but then as always throw your mud that most times is 10% true 90% lies,you must work on the Obama campain,THATS WHY THE SHIPS GOING DOWN

     
  • At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jesus Christ Andy!! Give it up about Al Gore already!!!! My God, he's a globalist asshole who is deceiving the world about global warming. MAN doesnt cause it!!!! NO ONE IS GOING TO SAVE US ANDY! THEY DONT CARE ABOUT ANYONE!!!!! I REALLY would like to read the deleted posts---I bet they are 100% truth. Ive posted things on here before that are the real truth and they get deleted!

     
  • At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My friend at 5:27 - Hillary didn't need to point out some of Obama's flaws, I understand that. But she ran with them and hit harder than Fox or Sean Hannity. She jumped on the "bitter" comment immediately calling Obama condescending, patronizing and elitist. There's a difference between fighting for the nomination and using the Repugs playbook. Maybe the problem is that there are so similar on the issues so that identity politics carries the day.she better knock him out b/c if she doesn't she is leaving little more than bones heading into the general election. Regardless, it appears, once again, the Democrats are screwed in November, unfortunately.

     
  • At 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1:29PM My mac is highly insulted to be compared with Obama.
    He is a cheap $400.00 PC that needs continual re-booting and has no extras like experience and graciousness. His little adventure with his middle finger - twice - makes him totally unusable and ready for the trash.

    Thanks to so many people going for the cheap candidate we may never know what it is like to have a creme dela creme president again. Too bad the Obama model doesn't meet industry standards. Kind of like getting a computer from China - cheap, shoddy, and liable to break down and whine at any moment. Now hows that for showing other world powers America's still got it? Not very good.

     
  • At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1:16 posted the insult to macs. See? I was on a PC - It was a half-a**ed performance just like Obama!

    My mac is still highly insulted and will also not be voting for Obama if he's the dem choice. Never voted GOP, but this year will be the first if the PC model Obama is the substandard choice chosen.

     
  • At 5:01 AM, Blogger bacci40 said…

    brooks is a hack, that debate was a sham

    and while mccain was a moderate in 2000, he is far from a moderate now, as he has embraced the entirety of bush's policies

    if the american people again vote against their best interests, then only they have themselves to blame for the ruination of the republic

     
  • At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When ninety-eight percent of a ten percent segment of the population votes for Obama, is smells of special interests and racism. That means there will be a disproportionate portion of that group's population appointed to the Cabinet and other key positions, in order to foster that group's special interests which they will have voted for and succeeded in getting their leader in office. That cannot be good for the country.

    I can't remember when in the past this has ever happened. Even now, all women are not voting for Hillary; all Hispanics are not voting exclusively for Hillary or Obama; and all men are not vorting for a male candidate. Our country has too many "special interests" for one group to dominate. And, that white males have ruled in the past does not mean there was not great diversity in their interests and legislation. This situation seems to be unique and certainly needs to be considred.

     
  • At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Although it's being reported that Hillary is up in the national poll since Obama's debate performenace, MSNBC commentators who deliver that news have to quickly say that it doesn't matter since there is no way Hillary can win. Who owns MSNBC and what is their "game"?

     
  • At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Robert Reich is the new Joe Lieberman. For months now when he's appeared on TV he's bashed the Democratic Party which he apparently hates, and he now endorses Obama, for one reason, because of Obama'shealth plan which is more nearly the Republican model than a liberal version of healthcare under which all are covered.

     
  • At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    11:30am, Republican model?? There is no Republican model.

     
  • At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1:16 Krugman, financial columnist who writes regularly for the NY Times has said in serveral columns that Obama's healtcare model follows the Republican model. I didn't know I'd be quizzed so I can't lay out the details, but I'm very clear that that's what he has written. It's up to us as voters, I guess, to do our own research.

     
  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger Sidney Condorcet said…

    3:26pm,

    Obama's & Clinton's health care plan is almost identical with the exception of mandates. The Massachusetts model, which Clinton's plan follows, has shown that mandates, while in theory a good idea, has not worked to universalize health care as the penalties can still be much less than the cost of insurance, so people who can't afford the insurance just take the hit from the gov't. Obama's plan, while it cannot be truly called a "universal" plan, is still dramatically better than any Republican alternative. Krugman is a professional Obama-basher. Since his plan is marginally to the right of Clinton's plan, Krugman compares it to a nonexistent Republican model. It's a good plan, nonetheless, and one more likely to pass the Congress than the Clinton version.

     
  • At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey Sydney...mandates shmandates...it's all talk. You can scream all you want like Wayne with a mountain-high plateful of salad. But if Mildred don't like Michelle Obama, then all you got is one angry Uncle Jeff on an African American frenzy.

     
  • At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Then we shall hope that the ancient crazies among us drink too much warm milk and nap through the election.

     
  • At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeag\h, sure, Sidney. You know more than Krugman about the economy and health plans. That's why you write here and he writes for the NY Times.

     
  • At 9:42 AM, Blogger Sidney Condorcet said…

    Krugman is brilliant, but he does have a political bias. He favors Clinton. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But he exaggerates when he declares Obama's plan to be in sync with an alleged Republican model. It's what we call "shaping the debate." William Kristol writes for the Times, should we believe every word he says and not attempt to scratch through the rhetoric and figure out his ideological motivations? Please...

    Krugman is a fine economist. But his attempt to label Obama's plan a Republican was clearly intended to prompt Obama to embrace mandates. To Krugman's chagrin, Obama has refused to kowtow. The absence of mandates, however, does not render Obama's health care plan a conservative or Republican one, which, if it exists outside of the ether, is a merely a further insurance industry goodie bag...

     
  • At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And I'd like to point out: Sidney "does have a poltical bias. He favors" Obama. At least Krugman has to have some credibility when he evaulates a plan since he's read world-wide and his reputation as a finanial expert is at stake, Therefore, I choose to believe him rather than you, Sidney. Krugman supports Hillary after considering her platform. Again, his rep is at stake and his career.

     
  • At 10:57 AM, Blogger Sidney Condorcet said…

    Obviously, I have no problem with that. Krugman is fairly influential. I'm not trying to tar and feather him. And I'm not saying I don't have my own bias. I'm only saying that Obama's plan is not a Republican plan, and that his plan would drastically improve the health care situation in this country and the lives of millions of Americans. Plus, it'd have a better shot at passing the Congress than a plan that calls for mandates and penalties for noncompliance.

     
  • At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Obama's is not a Republican plan but it is not a Democratic plan either. Hillary's is. Since Congress will probably have a Democratic majority Hillary's plan should have no trouble passing. Her plan is better because even with the mandate it prepares for ALL to be able to afford their payments. Obama's plan lets the young and healthy stay out until they Do need healthcare, and then they can get in which harms the fiscal integrity of anyhealth plan. The healthy are getting a free ride. That's not how insurance works. In fact, in commerical insurance plans once you're ill you cannot buy coverage.

     

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