Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Op-Ed inauguration thoughts

Normally I would be interested in anything that filmmaker Errol Morris has to say. "The Fog of War" - Robert McNamara's mea culpa about the Vietnam War - and "The Thin Blue Line" - which eventually led to a murder conviction being overturned - were two incredible documentaries. But in today's New York Times, Morris gives his two cents as to why John Kerry lost to George W. Bush. I know the inauguration is this week, and many would prefer to see Kerry up there instead of Bush. But really, unless there is anything the Democrats can learn from Kerry's failure for the 2008 campaign, then what's the point in flogging this very-near-dead horse?

Perhaps a more constructive, useful column is from my favorite conservative (other than my friend Chris), David Brooks - also in today's New York Times. Brooks, whose insightful commentary on PBS's "Newshour with Jim Lehrer" each Friday is much appreciated (and that's two PBS references in one day of blogging, thank you), has an interesting take on those Democrats who feel their platform has to be "ruthless and disciplined," like the Republicans. This is a tactic doomed to failure, according to Brooks, because there are three conservatives to every two liberals in this country. And the Democrats already have those two liberals. There is no more support to rally within the party. Thus, Democrats have to compromise a bit, a la Bill Clinton, to reach those middle-class suburban white families. To achieve that, Brooks says, Democrats "need a leader who will make liberals feel uncomfortable... not someone who will make them feel righteous and good." Ideologically, I'd love to disagree with Brooks. But he might be right, and it's certainly worth considering.