Sunday, November 27, 2011

Learning from the recent history of the 2000 election

Today Nicholas Kristof has an interesting column basically directed to those on the left who are disgruntled with President Obama.

But as we approach an election year, it is important to acknowledge the larger context: Obama has done better than many critics on the left or the right give him credit for.

He then goes on to list the President's accomplishments and ends with this.

But think back to 2000. Many Democrats and journalists alike, feeling grouchy, were dismissive of Al Gore and magnified his shortcomings. We forgot the context, prided ourselves on our disdainful superiority — and won eight years of George W. Bush.

This time, let’s do a better job of retaining perspective.

That one really resonated with me. Just a couple of weeks ago I finally watched the movie Recount. Yeah, I know I'm late to that party. But in some ways my timing was interesting. As I watched the story unfold I got enraged. And I kept asking myself "Where were you at the time? Why weren't you fighting back with everything you had?" It all came home to me that we were inches away from averting the disaster that was to come. And then I realized why I didn't fight back...complacency. I was dismissive of Al Gore at the time. It's also true that I knew George W. was an idiot and would NEVER support him. But, like most folks, I was Clinton-scandal weary and had forgotten just how bad things could get. After 4 years of watching our country go crazy, I was MUCH more affected by the loss of John Kerry in 2004 - even though I'd never been a big supporter of his either. By that time I'd been reminded of just how bad things could get.

That's why I get so crazy when the left gets complacent about President Obama. I can live with the fact that some people don't support his policies and/or process as strongly as I do. I know just how that feels from my experience with candidates like Gore and Kerry. But the Bush/Cheney years as an alternative are NOT ancient history. Living through that nightmare is something I never want to do again. And this crop of Republicans looks even worse to me.

I learned my lesson in 2000. When it comes to Presidential politics - we have a choice between a Democrat and a Republican. That's it! One of those will take us toward incremental change for the better and the other will mean disaster. Its time we all grew up and faced that reality. Those who can't learn from recent history are doomed to repeat it. And NONE of us should be willing to live with that.


  1. A hearty co-sign and amen, Ms. Pants!

  2. Heck, we don't even have to go back to 2000. 2010 is a good lesson, too. Sadly, it's apparent that some on the Left don't seem to have retention skills.

  3. I am so suspicious of "those on the Left" who are disappointed with PBO or otherwise disenchanted. I feel such a strong strand of racism, the "he is my boy thing"! They have no legitimacy whatsoever! Of course, we cannot know what "could have been"! But that just doesn't seem to be sufficient does it? I do not trust them beyond the door.

  4. Great post--definitely covers the bases.

    Milt Shook at the PCTC blog has discussed this as well:


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