Democrats need a good loser
Anyone can be president -- Gerald Ford proved it. If this axiom is true, though, then why are the Democrats having so much trouble finding a credible candidate for the '92 race? Just because the election looks like a solid re-election victory for George Bush, that doesn't mean the Democrats shouldn't try, does it?
Any John Doe Democrat who runs in 1992 and manages to pull off a decent campaign may be a shoe-in for the 1996 Dan Quayle-John Doe presidential election. A Democrat who now stands as a credible alternative to George Bush will remain in the voters' memory when Bush's time is through. Unfortunately, no one likes contributing money to sure losers, and any Democrat in the '92 elections may be forced to Xerox his campaign posters in the public library.
It's a sad thing, too. The United States is supposed to maintain a two-party system, and, -- believe it or not -- the United States could use a little donkey-thinking right about now. Sure, the current Democratic party is hardly mainstream. It's full of Jesse Jacksonite, quasi-socialist, special-interest-mongering, over-taxing, isolationist, no-nuking, welfare-loving pacifist muffinheads, but it is also America's ideological stronghold for legislation in science, health, education and civil rights and liberties. If the Democratic Party can re-orient itself into a marketable political force, it could, maybe, even win a presidential election now and then.
When the the '92 election rolls around, the US economy will probably be on the upswing, and Bush's foreign policy will be continuing on its string of incredibly good luck. Education and the environment will probably show little or no improvement, and law enforcement and civil issues will probably have drooped even further backwards. If Bush fails to pledge to correct these faults, he may leave the Democrats with a platform. The platform, though, won't be big enough to stand on. The Democrats will never win an election with only a domestic agenda -- their foreign policy views must be credible. Michael Dukakis lost in 1988, not only due to bad advertising, but to a reputation for cluelessness in defense and foreign policy issues.
This opinion has been shuffled around in the news quite a bit, but it's hardly achieved universal acceptance. Just the other day, I heard George McGovern saying a presidential candidate could win with only a domestic agenda. No wonder the Democrats are so confused.
What should the Democrats do? First, get their act together. Then, unify behind a over-confident candidate with a strong TV presence, a clean record, foreign policy experience and a rogue demeanor. War wounds, Greek parents, experience as a governor and other traits are optional. The candidate should plan a cheapo campaign, attempting to achieve most of his advertisement through debates and public statements. He (or she) should, in effect, become Robert Redford's character in the 1972 film The Candidate, a character who says and does anything he wants because he knows he will lose. When our candidate does lose, he'll be ready for the next election, at which time he will want to mellow his image and become a serious contender.
Where can the Democrats find such an individual?
I don't know, but I'll be in the Tech office if anyone wants to get in touch with me.
Matthew H. Hersch, a sophomore in the Department of Physics, is an opinion editor of The Tech.