Democrats Are Afraid of Their Own Shadows

John Kerry had a bad case of it in 2004. The consultants, operatives and self-described strategists in the Democratic Party's Washington Establishment spreads it as a profession. Now, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar (D) looks like he just contracted a virulent strain of it, and some of his other colleagues may soon be susceptible to it. No, I'm not talking about a venereal disease, I'm talking about something far more politically toxic: A disease known as Autoshadowphobia, or fear of one's own shadow.

Here in America, we like our politicians to emulate descriptions used in tire ads or SUV commercials: We like our leaders "tough" and "strong" (and maybe even with some "torque") as any number of the aspiring, cliche-peddling pundits who crowd the nation's capital will happily tell you. That's why Autoshadowphobia is so dangerous: Because regardless of the issues where its symptoms most clearly present themselves, the disease lets the public know about a deeper sense of insecurity, fear, spinelessness and unprincipled calculation that governs a politician's decision making. It projects the opposite of a Michelin ad or Dodge Ram spot. For voters, Autoshadowphobia elicits at best what a Kleenex ad portrays (softness), and more likely recalls the impulses associated with watching a commercial for Raid (a desire to spray the scurrying varmints down with a blast of industrial strength repellent).

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