Saturday, October 30, 2004

Echoes of Bob Dole

Well, this side-by-side has been made several times elsewhere, so I might as well be the next link in the chain:

John Kerry on October 29, 2004: "Wake up, America, wake up...You have a choice." (Patricia Wilson, "Kerry: 'Wake Up America' And Choose Fresh Start.")

Bob Dole on October 29, 1996: "Wake up, America." ("Bob Dole addresses his election struggles," CNN AllPolitics interview with Candy Crowley.) (Courtesy of Kathryn Jean Lopez and The Corner via Powerline.)

They say that "real" (i.e. unscripted) moments are when the inner man reveals himself. Here Kerry diverted from his prepared text and, so it would appear, vented a little frustration, which can only come from what his private, internal campaign polling is telling him. He's worked towards this election for his entire adult life, and now it's a mere 72 hours away, and he feels like he's so close, and yet he's not quite there, and he's having to spend irreplaceable home stretch time darting hither and yon shoring up this demographic and reassuring that constituency. Like the little Dutch boy, as soon as Lurch gets one leak plugged, the dike springs two more just out of his immediate reach, and as he moves to plug them, the first plug starts weakening again. Despite outward appearances, this campaign will have a terminus (even if we don't know exactly when it will be...) and even if Mr. French weren't running out of time, he's running out of fingers.

The lib punditariat is reflecting this. After spending the past few months writing prebituaries on the coming Kerry defeat, now some of these same soothsayers are predicting a coming Kerry triumph fueled by that old chestnut of chimeras, the massive tidal wave of new voters.

Part of this is the "Kerry is a strong closer" angle. Doubtless another part is the "psy-ops" effort of the Left that began with the debates to pre-empt the last month of the campaign by propagandizing that the Boston Balker has the race "in the bag." But I think wishful-thinking is a big part of it as well.

I can relate. Harken back to the aforementioned Dole candidacy eight years ago. I spent most of 1996 keeping up a brave front, predicting that the "plain and honest man" would, on the strength of his 15% tax cut plan, "shock the world" and upset Sick Willie. I comforted myself with the notion that the polls showing Clinton up by double-digits were all "wrong" (as in by ten points or more) due to "liberal bias." And when Dole seemed to finally come alive in the last three weeks and go balls-to-the-wall across the country, and started steadily closing the gap, I chortled to my lib "friends" that the tortoise was overtaking the hare, and they'd better have their crying towels handy.

I was full of crap. Deep down, I knew I was full of crap. I just couldn't bring myself to contemplate, much less speak of, another four years under the domination of the Arkansas Mafia. And neither, obviously, could Bob Dole.

For four years, the entire American Left, not just John Kerry, have been dreaming of November 2nd, 2004 as their day of liberation, when George Bush would be dragged out of the White House and hanged upside down from a lamppost like Mussolini (and not just figuratively, either). The specter of four more years of Dubya has not and does not occur to them because for them, it is simply unthinkable.

And so they think the polls are wrong. They dream of entire armies of new voters swamping the polls and sweeping John Kerry into the presidency by overwhelming acclimation. They chortlingly advise the Bushies to have their crying towels at the ready.

They're full of crap. Only they'll never admit it, even to themselves.

Maybe Kerry will do a header off a stage this weekend. That would be appropo beyond words.