Until Democrats promote someone who barks out something like, “We can and will win in Iraq,” or, “Let the word go out: An attack on the United States originating from a rogue state is synonymous with its own destruction,” or some such unguarded and perhaps slightly over-the-top statement, I don’t think that the American people will entrust their safety to the party. John Kerry, to be frank, is no Harry Truman, and time is running out for Hillary Clinton to morph into Scoop Jackson.
Philosophically, two grand themes explain the Democratic dilemma. One, the United States does not suffer from the sort of oppression, poverty, or Vietnam nightmares of the 1950s and 1960s that created the present Democratic ideology. Thus calcified solutions of big government entitlements, race-based largess, and knee-jerk suspicion of U.S. power abroad come off as either impractical or hysterical.
Second, there is the widening gulf between word and deed — and Americans hate hypocrites most of all. When you meet a guy from the Chamber of Commerce or insurance association, you pretty much know that what you see is what you get: comfort with American culture and values, an upscale lifestyle that reflects his ideology and work, and no apologies for success or excuses for lack of same.