I thought the GOP was the dumb party

I know that Democrats and members of the left are supposed to be our intellectual betters, and that those of us center or center-right are all “knuckledragging neanderthals” (Ted Kennedy, circa 2002) but the Dems seem to be making some very dumb unforced errors, heading into the Fourth of July Weekend and their National Convention:

1) Only Fox News reported positive news from Iraq. Because God forbid we should hear it (and think well of our troops) as we head into Fourth of July! The left-leaning members of the mainstream press cannot abide giving you good news about Iraq, or our troops, because you might start to think well (gasp) of all America has accomplished there. They’d rather ignore it, and they assume the rest of us don’t care, because “no one they know” cares.

This is why the general public hates the press more than either Congress or President Bush.

2) This fellow more or less makes my point. America is certainly imperfect, but there is much to be proud of…but not for this fellow. He says focus only on the negatives and spew as much hate as possible. Sing a dirge. Beat the breast. Baaaad, bad, America. Now, don’t forget to vote for the Democrat!

Coming into a Fourth of July weekend when Americans say they feel safer than anytime since 9/11, this writer did not do his cause or his candidate much good.

3) The newly freed, newly Democratic, newly empowered Iraqis understand and appreciate America (and her troops, and her president) much more fully than the insulated clubby members of the press – and that’s becoming difficult not to notice.

4) Again recalling that we’re heading into the Fourth of July (and a Democratic Convention) I wonder how many Iraqis, if invited to sing the Star Spangled Banner with us, would decide to just change it all around to express their own personal feelings. They’d be free to do so, because this is (currently) a free nation. But I bet that Iraqis – who know what it means to live under tyranny, and who do not yet take liberty for granted as so many Americans do – would never in a million years presume to do it. This Democrat woman, singing for Democrats, has a nice voice, I’d like to hear her sing something else, but frankly, most Americans will likely prefer their National Anthem straight up, no chaser.

If you are a political party, and you want the other half of the nation to trust you and to put your people in office, you don’t ignore positive news from the war front, you don’t tell people to feel badly about themselves and their nation and you don’t publicly change the words to the National Anthem because you feel like it. I mean, this is just basic common-sense stuff.

More common sense advice on what candidates and political parties “ought not to do” during this patriotic weekend, or as you head to your convention:

Don’t let your candidate be caught flip-flopping like a landed fish in the hot sun on issue after issue. It makes him seem rather weak and inauthentic.

BUT! (And this is a biggie) Don’t cleanse and sterilize web sites (or get others to do so) in order to sanitize or protect the candidate. It makes people think of names like Nikita, Boris and Vladimir, which are rather cool names, but…they have a disturbing pedigree.

When your candidate makes the inevitable step-center after fooling the extremist base, tell him not to do it in giant leaps. It makes his base nervous, and it suggests that he has almost no scruples at all. In other words, it does not persuade. And the other side calls him the successor to George W. Bush, which you cannot like.

When you hear that your nation is winning a war, don’t say “if we’d surrendered, we’d have won it even better!” A little fair-minded praise would actually make you seem reasonable, grown-up and even statesmanlike, and not like some putzes on a hate-trip!

Try to choose candidates with no connections to people who like to blow stuff up!

Try to admit when the stuff your candidate did earlier failed. You can’t dress up the pig. If he owned a baseball team and it failed, it failed. If he put together low-income housing and the project failed, it failed. Truth is humility. It’s also a lot quicker to move on from.

Try to pay your convention bills in a timely manner. It makes people believe you can run economies.

Don’t let your candidate make a defensive-sounding speech about how patriotic he is. If you have to say it, you’re not convincing. And yes, it matters.

Try to choose a candidates with no connections to money-lender issues when some Americans are losing their homes due to less-attractive mortgage deals.

Try not to keep reminding voters that your opponent is a war veteran who was tortured and held captive for five years, and then saying it’s no big deal. Just don’t. Partly because it keeps people talking about it, and because it also makes all of you look very small.

Try to happily and manfully acknowledge, when terrorists have been defeated and hostages released, the good work of the troops, the CIC and the foreign government who assisted in victory. Again, it’s about seeming grown-up and aware of the dangers of our times. It might also reassure voters that they can feel as safe under new leadership as they feel right now.

Try to be consistent. If you disliked faith-based initiatives under President Bush and found them a troubling commingling of church and state, don’t start liking them under someone just because he has a D after his name. It’s just too opportunistic, and politics is vulgar enough. Also, be aware that a faith-based initiatives that requires leaving out the faith part is not a faith-based initiative; it is a flim-flam.

Try not to let your candidate accuse a reverend of “just making stuff up”, especially when he’s had his own “reverend” problems. It makes people want to look more closely, at what everyone really did say. Also, crossing swords with a reverend is clumsy if one is not proficient. It just reminds people of Jesus, double-edged swords, and how much the Christ might lack sympathy for one’s all-abortion-all-the-time plank.

Try to remember that welfare reform measures take some gumption, and that even presidents who undertake it don’t get much recognition for it from their own party.

Try to rein in the giddy press. All their gushing, all their softball questions make you look like your candidate can’t take a punch and that his party won’t let them throw one. As we’ve seen the past 8 years, a president needs to be able to roll with punches.

Try not to project so much. Try to make prominent party members sound less like big cans of crazy. Save all that for group therapy.

Take the right side of this case. We owe the UN nothing, and an alliance with a strong, healthy Iraq is good for us.

Finally: Don’t pretend that this mush-headed, hypersensitive, passive-aggressive nonsense hasn’t been right up your alley these past 30 years. Try to change that. It’s tiring. And we really don’t want what it leads to.

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About Elizabeth Scalia