The Democratic dialetic

Instapundit observes that Kerry-Dukakis comparisons have become the rage lately. One of the best I’ve seen is at Soxblog (August 19).
Keep in mind, however, that while all candidates are not equally ridiculous, all major presidential candidates receive enough exposure that they can be viewed as at least slightly silly if the public is inclined to do so. Would Kerry seem as ridiculous if employment were at 7.5 percent, or if 10,000 American lives had been lost in Iraq? Or would the focus then be on some of President Bush’s quirks?
Meanwhile, Roger Simon makes a valid point about the Kerry-Dukakis comparison — it’s unfair to Dukakis. The Massachusetts miracle worker became an object of ridicule in part because he was not a flip-flopper. He stood up for his, um, counter-intuitive left-liberal beliefs and paid the price. Kerry may once have been like that (here I tend to disagree with Simon), but clearly is no longer.
I see a sort of dialectic in the Democratic party. They used to run mostly candidates of (liberal) principle — Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, and Dukakis. When that didn’t work, they turned to unprincipled relatively non-ideological candidates — Clinton and the Gore of 2000. That wasn’t entirely satisfactory either, so now we get the synthesis — an unprincipled liberal.


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