How the Democrats Can Blow It ... in Six Easy Steps
For years now, nearly every poll has shown that the American people are right in sync with the platform of the Democratic Party. They are pro-environment, pro-women's rights and pro-choice. They don't like war. They want the minimum wage raised, and they want a single-payer universal health-care system. The American public agrees with the Republican Party on only one major issue: They support the death penalty.
So you would think the Democrats would be cleaning up, election after election. Obviously not. The Democrats appear to be professional losers. They are so pathetic in their ability to win elections, they even lose when they win! So when you hear Democrats and liberals and supporters of Barack Obama say they are worried that John McCain has a good chance of winning, they ain't a-kidding. Who would know better than the very people who have handed the Republicans one election after another on a silver platter? Yes, be afraid, be very afraid.
In an effort to help the party doofuses and pundits -- and the candidate himself -- spare all of us another suicide-inducing election night, as the results giving the election to the Republican pour in, here is the blueprint from the Democrats' past losing campaigns. Just follow each of these steps and you, the Democratic Party establishment, can help elect John Sidney McCain III to a four-year extension of the Bush Era:
1. Keep saying nice things about McCain. Like how he's been "good on global warming" and campaign finance. Keep reminding a country at war that he and he alone is a war hero. Not to mention an all-round good guy. Say that enough and what happens? The same thing that happens when you repeat over and over, "Apply directly to the forehead" - people start to believe it! You've sold them on the idea that McCain isn't a bad egg, and they do not hear the rest of what you have to say: "But John McCain is four more years of George W Bush." If you keep saying he used to be a "maverick", our less-attention-span citizens hear only the "maverick" part, not the past tense verb included in that sentence.
This is not to say you should in any way demean John McCain as a human being or as an American. Disagreeing strongly with his policies or the direction he would lead the country is not the same as denigrating him as a person. This particular style of politics is the cesspool that the Right and the Republican Party apparatus swim in. We do not further our agenda by imitating them. Fight, fight back, and fight hard - but fight clean. It's ultimately what I believe the majority of Americans would like to see.
There is also nothing wrong with saying nice things about McCain's constituency, and you should. We want to hold out our hand to people who have voted for Republicans in the past. Many of them are tired, a good number are disgusted. They won't agree with a lot of what we stand for, but they've had it up to here with the Republicans and we should make sure our tent is big enough to welcome them in.
So if you want to help elect McCain, keep blessing him as if he were the white knight who accidentally hopped on the wrong horse. Forget to continually point out that he is truly up to no good. Keep pulling your punches. Don't remind people McCain wants to help the oil companies even more than Bush did. Don't bring up that he wants to outlaw all abortion. Back away from painting McCain as the guy who thinks it's a good idea to stay in Iraq until pigs fly. That way, if you keep praising him, you can send a mixed message to the less-informed who are simply not going to figure it out. When they walk into a voting booth, they will see two names on the ballot:
Ã‚Â· Barack Obama
Ã‚Â· War Hero
Trust me, this ain't Sweden. War Hero wins every time.
2. Have Obama pick a vice-presidential candidate who is a conservative white guy, or a general, or a Republican. Yes, it will seem like smart politics at first. Shore up Obama's lack of military experience with a hawk.
Be true to Obama's message that he'll be a president for everybody by having him run with a Republican.
Make a pitch to the purple states of Virginia and Indiana to vote Democratic this time by putting one of their own on the ticket.
Or swing for the fences and make the red state of Ohio happy by handing the vice-presidential slot to its governor.
But by doing any of this, you will upset the base that not only must come out on election day, it must also be active and work dozens of hours during the campaign. They have to personally bring 10 people each to the polls with them if we are to avoid the disasters of the past two elections. Many won't do this extra work if Obama picks the wrong Veep. It will suck the air out of the balloon in a big way.
Obama electrified the nation on the notion of change and hope and a fresh direction in Washington. If he picks a running mate who screams "Same old same old", it will make it harder for him to attract all the new voters he needs to bring to the polls to win. Remember there are nearly 100 million adults who choose not to vote. That is a large base from which to draw millions of new votes. Obama should not desert a strategy that has worked well for him.
There is nothing wrong with picking someone who can help him win a swing state or someone who has more experience than he does in certain areas. But when I hear pundits say, "He has to pick a Catholic", well, John Kerry was a total Catholic and the Catholic vote went to Mr W. I mean, here's one of the largest groups in the country - 66 million Catholics - and they/we have allowed only one Catholic to be president in 208 years. You would think they would have been flocking to Kerry in 2004. That is not the way people think. It is the way pundits think. Keep listening to them and you can help elect John McCain the next president of the United States.
3. Keep writing speeches for Obama like the one in front of the American Israeli lobbying group the day after the final primaries. Here's what he said: "The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat." And: "Let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel. Sometimes there are no alternatives to confrontation."
Sounds like a speech McCain would give. Sounds like he's ready to invade Iran. He staked out an even worse position for the Palestinians vis-a-vis Jerusalem than the one held by George W Bush. Keep that up and more and more supporters will be less and less enthused. It will be harder to keep the base motivated if they continue to hear how Obama wants to expand Bush's "faith-based" initiatives, doesn't have a health plan that covers everyone, and wants to send more troops to Afghanistan. The implied message of this is that the Republican plan is a good plan. So why would voters want to elect the candidate imitating the Republican when they can get the real thing? Talk like this gets McCain elected.
4. Forget that this was a historic year for women. Obama should be making a speech about gender like the brilliant one he gave on race back in March. Millions of people, especially women, had high hopes for the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Attention must be paid. And you don't pay attention to it by having your advisers run your wife through the makeover machine, trying to soften her up and pipe her down. Michelle Obama has been one of the most refreshing things about this election year. But within weeks of the end of the primary season, the handlers stepped in to deal with the "Michelle problem."
What problem? She speaks her mind? She wears what she wants? Her biggest sin, according to the punditocracy, was to say that, as a black woman, this may be the first time in her adult life she's been really proud of her country. Shock! Surprise! Outrage! But not from any of the black women I know.
You have to be white and stupid to not know what she was really saying. If you don't understand, let me ask you this: Have you been proud of what this country has been doing in the past few years? Are you proud your neighbors had their house taken from them? Are you proud to be sending a good chunk of your paycheck to the oil companies so they can post record profits? Are you proud to know your vice president outed one of our spies and put her life and the lives of others at risk?
That's all she was saying -- what we are all feeling.
Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both lost the white-male vote but won the White House. They did so by winning the black, Hispanic and female vote. That HAS to be Obama's strategy to win. Otherwise, Cindy McCain will be our new First Lady.
5. Show up to a gunfight with a peashooter. Convince yourself that the Republicans are just going to roll over and play dead because there is simply no life left in their party. Convince yourself this one is in the bag! Convince yourself that if you play by the rules, the Republicans will too.
And when McCain and his people roll out their nuclear arsenal on you, just go all sweet and sensitive and logical. Believe that the truth shall prevail, that good people will see what the Republicans are up to. As they smear you, your family, your religious beliefs -- cower, back down, go on the defensive.
If they say you should quit your church, quit your church! If they explode over your speaking the truth about the anger and despair of the white working class, take it all back! If they ask you to stand on your head and do the hokeypokey, snap to it and do it with a smile on your face -- and don't forget to apologize for not doing the hokeypokey earlier; you meant no disrespect, and please don't take it as any indication that you do not love your country, your flag and your Christian God.
Do all of that and then listen for that sound -- the sound of your supporters shuffling away in silence. They'll stop showing up at campaign headquarters. They'll say they're too busy to go on another door-to-door literature drop. On Election Day, they'll do their duty and vote, but they will not be up at 6 a.m. driving around the city's neighborhoods, picking up strangers who need a ride to the polls.
And on the way to the polls, some of them might just come to a stoplight, turn around and go home. Maybe they'll pick up a six-pack on the way. Maybe there's a new episode of Deal or No Deal on tonight. That would be nice. The girls are pretty, especially the blonde in the third row. Wait, they're all blond. No, not that one -- THAT one! Oh yes, I see her. She is pretty. But the Man in the Booth has picked up the phone! He's calling down to you. Deal? Or no deal? No deal! No deal! Don't do it! Hey, I'm outta beer! Why didn't I pick up a case? Now I gotta spend eight bucks on gas to go buy more beer! Aaaaarrrggggghhhhhh!!!! HOWIE MANDEL ISN'T WEARING A FLAG PIN!! U-S-A! U-S-A!
6. Denounce me!
Obama, at some point, might be asked this question: "Michael Moore has endorsed you. But he recently said (fill in the blank with some outrageously offensive line taken out of context). Will you still accept his endorsement, or do you denounce him?"
And he better denounce me, or they will tear him to shreds. He had better back away not only from me but from anyone and everyone who veers a bit too far to the left of where his advisers have told him is the sweet spot for all those red-state voters. I won't take it personally. After all, I'm not the guy who married him or baptized his kids. I'm just the idiot who went to the same terrorist, Muslim school of flag-pin desecrators he went to.
I remember poor John Kerry not even being able to admit, when asked by Larry King, if he had seen Fahrenheit 9/11. "No," he said, "I haven't. . . . I don't plan to, right now." But he had indeed seen it. I sat there watching him say this, and I just felt sorry for him and for the election he was about to lose.
We can't take four more years of this madness, Barack. We need you to be a candidate who will fight back every time they attack you. Actually, don't even wait till you have to fight back. Fight first! Show some vision and courage and smoke them out. Keep asking why these lobbyists are McCain's best friends. Let's finally have a Democrat who's got the balls to fire first.
So Barack, by denouncing me, you can help McCain get elected. Because when you denounce me, it's not really me you're distancing yourself from -- it's the millions upon millions of people who feel the same way about things as I do. And many of them are the kind of crazy voters who have no problem voting for a Nader just to prove a point.
Elections have been lost by just 537 votes. I don't want that to happen to you.
From the forthcoming book "Mike's Election Guide," by Michael Moore. Copyright Ã‚Â© 2008 by Michael Moore.