Many Democrats think that our patience and understanding are our weakness. "We don't know how to fight like the Republicans," we all told ourselves after Florida 2000. "We have to be more like them: tougher, meaner." "We have to energize our base more."
Actually, no. Our error is that we Democrats are far less understanding than we think we are. Our version of understanding the other side is to look at them from a psychological point of view while being completely unwilling to take their arguments seriously.
I have no emotional investment in George Bush. If anything, the guy turns me off a little bit for his unwillingness to concede imperfection. Only a little bit, however, not nearly enough to build up into an automatic grimace of distate if his name should come up. That is why I was not persuaded by any of the "arguments" put forward by John Kerry and his Democratic backers. The bulk of their arguments was that anything would be better than Bush, and I didn't agree with that, so what did they have to follow up? Nothing.
Everything that Bush did was held up as being wrong in anyway anyone might find it to be wrong, and very little else was said. This failed in two ways. First, it failed to establish that Kerry's way, whatever it would be, would be better. Second, the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach told me nothing about what Kerry valued. The everything is wrong approach creates the appearance that Kerry was everything Bush was not. It would have worked if there was only one option for being not-Bush, but there are near infinite variations of not-something. Kerry failed to define his values, and thus himself, as anything positive. He counted on enough voters filling in the blanks for him, or not caring what he was so long as it was not-Bush, to carry him into the White House. And it almost worked.
An aside to Bush and the Republican Party: you don't have much to hang your hat on in this election either. Bush is the incumbent, and yet he had practically nothing positive to say about his four years thus far. You have really hurt yourselves by only being conservative in ways that limit freedom and choice. Stop spending our money like sailors on shore leave. On second thought, I take that back, I'm familiar at least one sailor, and I wouldn't want to impugn his thrift. Anyway, the Republican President and the Republican Congress have done very little to inspire my faith. The only reason I didn't vote for the other guy was that he failed to show me that he would be better.
I voted Libertarian, for Badnarik. When the world is crazy, vote for the wacko closest to your opinion.