Edward M. Kennedy, senior senator from my home state of Massachusetts, is the perfect symbol for what the Democratic party has become – dogmatic, elitist, arrogant – floating in an intellectual ether, hermetically sealed against the intrusion of reality.
It’s not just that Kennedy is given to goofball, logic-defying pronouncements. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he persists in proclaiming himself the tribune of the people.
"Democrats may be in the minority in Congress, but we speak for the majority of Americans," Kennedy insisted in a speech last week. When the Senator speaks impromptu, his comments are laced with "uhs." Does that mean Americans are incoherent?
After the Democratic debacle of 2004 (when Bush became the first incumbent in almost 70 years to win re-election and increase his party’s representation in Congress), some have called for a move away from the leftist mindset that’s transformed the Democrats into a regional party.
Not Senator Kennedy.
In a January 12th address at the National Press Club, the Senator offered the usual lame excuses for the public’s regular repudiation of his worldview.
Kennedy attributed his party’s shellacking in the last election – reminiscent of what Max Schmeling suffered at the hands of Joe Louis in 1938 (KO in Round 1) – to a failure to communicate its core principles to voters. "We were remiss in not talking more directly about them – about the fundamental ideals that guide our progressive politics," was the word from Mt. Olympus.
But the only time the party of plunder has managed to elect a president in the last 40 years is when it nominated political chameleons – Carter in 1976, Clinton in ’92 and ’96. When Democrats speak candidly to voters about their fundamental values and the direction in which they want to take the nation (McGovern, Mondale and Dukakis) Americans run screaming in the opposite direction.
Consider, Michael Dukakis’ brilliant 1988 campaign. Here was another product of Massachusetts politics, liberal Neverland, who actually thought his ACLU membership and opposition to capital punishment (even if his wife was raped and murdered) would endear him to the electorate.
The Democrats – who speak for the majority of Americans, Kennedy claims – have won only 3 of the last 9 presidential elections. They speak for a majority of Americans, but haven’t controlled the House of Representatives in a decade. They speak for the American people, but have been in the minority in the Senate for most of the past 20 years. Apparently, someone forgot to tell the American people that the Democrats speak for us.
In reality, Americans can smell an elitist a mile away. (They do give off a distinct aroma.) In 2000, Bush won the election during the first presidential debate, when that master of the common touch, Al Gore, repeatedly sneered at him. The former vice president should title his autobiography, "Here’s Looking Down at You, Kid."
The Democrats followed up on that triumph in 2004 by nominating another man of the people – an Ivy-League social climber who married not one, but two heiresses (the second worth an estimated $700 million), a Planned-Parenthood Catholic who, as a senator, never met a tax hike or a defense cut he didn’t like. John Forbes Kerry is convinced that the middle class needs more caribou and less domestic energy production.
How could Joe Six-Pack not relate to a guy whose wedding reception (marriage #2) was enlivened by the music of The French Millionaires?
The Democrats are to populism what the Democrats are to patriotism.
The life of Ted Kennedy is the key to understanding the post-1968 liberalism that infests his party. Kennedy is a 72 year-old boy who never held a real (private sector) job. He entered the United States Senate in 1962 at age 30 (based on his record of being born a Kennedy), and remained there for the past 42 years.
The expression limousine liberal was coined with Ted Kennedy in mind. He’s never had to worry about meeting a payroll, keeping a job, paying a mortgage, balancing a household budget, educating his kids or saving for his retirement.
His idea of helping ordinary Americans is raising their taxes, increasing the size and scope of government and forcing weird social experiments on us. His political career seems to be dedicated to making sure that no one in the middle class will ever be able to achieve the prosperity of the Kennedy clan.
Personal responsibility? Here’s a guy who drove a car off a bridge and left a woman to die while he dithered for 8 hours before telling the police. In 1991, at age 61, (on Good Friday, no less) the perpetual adolescent roused his son and nephew from bed round midnight to go drinking with him at a working-class establishment called Au Bar. From this Kennedy field trip came charges of rape against the nephew, William Kennedy Smith. In the aftermath of the incident, our distinguished senior Senator was seen running around the Kennedy compound in his underwear.
Still Kennedy and his allies are convinced that they have an intuitive understanding of the common man, a psychic connection to him (the political equivalent of a Vulcan mind-meld), which allows them to act as his champions even while the average American repeatedly disavows them.
If you hold power long enough in a one-party state – North Korea, Cuba, Massachusetts – you can believe anything. Fidel Castro says he speaks for the Cuban people. Kim Jong Il believes those he holds in bondage adore him. Ted Kennedy thinks he’s a megaphone for the masses.
And to what can we attribute the public’s affinity for the Democrats? Clearly, it’s because Democratic ideals "unite Americans instead of dividing them," Kennedy explained in his National Press Club speech.
Here’s the way Democrats bring us all together, singing a rousing chorus of "We Are Family":
– Does Kennedy actually imagine that middle-class whites enjoy losing educational and job opportunities to less qualified minorities, that they never feel resentment over this form of collective racial punishment? Apparently so. The Democrats’ idea of equality sets the races against each other.
Social Security – As young workers bear more and more of a burden for the Democrats’ greatest boondoggle, (workers who will never see a Social Security check, if the system remains unchanged) the generational warfare between those supporting the system and retirees grows. Just another way the Democrats – who will demagogue a pay-as-you-go system to the last breath – help us to find common ground.
Taxes – Whenever tax cuts are in the offing, Democrats resort to class-warfare rhetoric – trying to pit the poor and middle class against the affluent. It’s always tax cuts for the greedy rich, which (it goes without saying) they don’t deserve – even though they’re paying a disproportionate share of total taxes.
Judicial nominations – Through an unconstitutional permanent filibuster, the Democratic minority in the Senate has prevented a vote on conservative judicial nominees. Prior to Bush, along with the presidency went the power to shape the judiciary (a power Clinton fully utilized, with his appointments of ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court). The voters who elected Bush twice are expected to feel no resentment toward the party that has unilaterally changed the rules to prevent their votes from impacting the federal bench.
Gay marriage – The American people adamantly oppose changing the millennia-old definition of marriage. Last year (by overwhelming margins), voters in 14 states passed marriage-protection amendments to their state constitutions. Democrats used a filibuster to prevent the Federal Marriage Amendment from coming up for a vote in the Senate. Kennedy and Co. are willing to see the institution of marriage radically transformed by the most elitist, un-democratic branch of government – the judiciary.
Abortion – While the public is split here (the majority say they’re pro-life, but want some abortions to remain legal), Democrats are radical and inflexible, even opposing such modest restraints as parental notification and a ban on partial-birth abortion. Moreover, they would force Catholics and evangelicals to pay for the procedures for low-income women. If the Democrats unite us any more, it may spark another civil war.
Publicly acknowledging God – In league with the ACLU and other secular fundamentalists, federal judges have taken away a right Americans have enjoyed for most of their history – to affirm God through public display of religious symbols (including The Ten Commandments) and other discreet acknowledgements of our religious heritage. The 9th Circuit Appeals Court even tried to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Atheist Michael Newdow, the plaintiff in that case, was recently in federal court seeking to prevent what he called "Christian religious acts" (prayers) at the Inauguration. Democrats fostered the misinterpretation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause that facilitates campaigns of religious cleansing. The roughly 96 percent of the American people who are believers are expected to placidly accept the left’s war on faith.
This is the true conceit of the Democratic Party: While pushing policies that have Americans at each other’s throats, they insist that they are bringing us together.
Doddering, blubbery, babbling, arrogant, impotent – Ted Kennedy is shorthand for what his party has become. I fervently hope the Democrats follow his prescription. Then, in 2008, they can hold their national nominating convention at the Denny’s in Hyannisport.