The Counterpoint

November 05, 2004

The Weekly Standard

The Weekly Standard has some great articles out this week. You should go read them all, but here are my three favorites.

The first is from Hugh Hewitt, who writes on the end of an era in politics, and what direction the left is heading in:

THE BEST PART of the Democratic smash-up is the credentialing of a couple of new Democratic leaders who are completely untethered to the old guard. Ken Salazar beat Pete Coors in Colorado because it was hard not to like this genial rancher. Salazar's Mexican-American ethnicity was just part of the appeal he made, and not an angry part at all. Coors, ever the gentleman, couldn't disguise the fact that he, and most Coloradoans, thought Salazar a pretty decent guy. Salazar will be a new force in the Democratic party, a genuinely Western voice in a club too long dominated by Yalies and their Hollywood buddies.

The same can be said for Barak Obama. Goodbye tired old leadership elites that stridently grind and condemn. Obama comes to the table armed with smarts, charisma, and youth. John Kerry lost on Tuesday, but so did Sharpton, Jesse, Julian, and the rest of the old school. Obama will never say so, but the '60s era civil rights tactics are long past their prime. Salazar and Obama send a message to the GOP that cannot be missed either: Persuade the ethnic middle class that the policies of economic growth do genuinely work for them and not just their bankers, or understand that the next few years as a majoritarian party will be your last.
I especially like the notes on Obama and Salazar, because these men are indeed the future. Youth and charisma is what attracts voters, not tired, dull, elitists. If you want to energize a base, you look for a leader. How many leaders fit the description of old Democrats like Kerry vs. the description of new guys like Obama? That's all you need to think about when you consider the future of the Democratic party.

NEXT, Fred Barnes has a column outlining what will make for a successful second term for President Bush:

WHY DO PRESIDENTS stumble in their second terms? Four reasons. They try to govern without a real agenda, having exhausted their policy initiatives in the first term. Their wisest and most competent aides and advisers leave and are replaced by less talented people. They suffer from bad relations with Congress as a result of past scuffles and disagreements. Or they are brought down by a scandal.

President Bush need not suffer from any of these in his second term. He has an agenda, a combination of leftover issues--such as making his tax cuts permanent--and the reformed entitlements of his new "ownership society." If he acts quickly, Bush can cajole his best advisers into staying another year or two. He can smooth relations with Congress by strategizing with Republican leaders, while also warming to a few Democrats. And he can pray for no scandal.
Will things go according to the plan as laid out by Barnes? Probably not (and in Bush's shoes, I would hope for the scandals to be minor because they are going to happen), but it'd be smart of Bush to take note.

Finally, Stephen F. Hayes writes on some of the other losers in the election, specifically members of the mainstream media:

"WE'D RATHER be last than wrong." So said Dan Rather anchoring election night coverage for CBS. He was apparently serious. That he could say this with a straight face only weeks after presenting the world with forged documents to bring down the president should cement his reputation as the least trusted man in America.

Dan Rather is just a small part of a much bigger story. His careless reporting and, later, dogmatic defense of his errors were but one episode in the media's long offensive against George W. Bush.

The assault began in July 2003, when Joseph Wilson accused the president of lying. Wilson's charges have since been thoroughly discredited and the author of The Politics of Truth revealed as unreliable. But the damage was done. Wilson's claim that the Bush administration had knowingly cooked intelligence provided the prism through which many reporters viewed the election.
He has a pretty good recap of a few of the major media scandals from the past year or so. While I would agree that the MSM took a credibility blow during this election, I am also not convinced that it was entirely damaging. People that read the blogs and listen to talk radio will argue, but that is still only a small portion of the population. I suspect that most people will still read the papers and watch the major news shows without giving much thought to what they hear.

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