Democrats dropped ball with letting Bush cruise

Malena Amusa

As a woman of principle, I must give credit where it’s due: Congratulations, Republicans on winning the White House. The Democratic Party can learn something from you.

Across the board, Democrats failed to give a unified and consistent rebuttal to President Bush’s claim of moral clarity. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: Bush’s questionable and at times deceiving actions should have been enough ammo to blast him back to reality Tuesday, right?

As much as it hurts to admit, American society doesn’t function on moral logic; rather, it functions on moral persuasion. And the party with the most persuasive vision of what is right will win.

On every level, the Republican Party — Alan Keyes aside — was able to touch Americans with its paternalistic guardianship of “morality.”

For Bush voters, invading Iraq wasn’t necessarily the most logical plan of action, but it didn’t matter. By the time we realized Iraq’s threat had been exaggerated, many of us were convinced war was the “right” thing to do. And ultimately, so-called rightness trumped common sense.

So it really was up to John Kerry to find a higher moral principle that would have superseded our fear of terrorism. For instance, Kerry could have driven health care home and moved us all by talking about the peril Bush’s negligent health care plans would bring.

But Kerry tried to beat Bush at his own game, and his “building a stronger America” was a vague and cliched solution that failed to motivate.

What seems right may not always be prompted by good. And sadly, Bush’s record is a great metaphor for this philosophical truism.

Bush is the man who used a family friend’s money to buy a share in the Texas Rangers baseball team, only to bully taxpayers into financing a multi-million dollar ballpark. He later sold his stake after the stadium was built, making him the biggest welfare recipient in Texas history.

He is the man who never really addressed the 57,000 Floridians who were disenfranchised four years ago, according to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Bush is father of two who still has run the largest deficit in American history, lost millions of American jobs and invaded two Middle Eastern countries where terrorism only has increased.

He is the first president to declare war, unprovoked, on a sovereign nation — and in doing so, blatantly disregarded Jefferson’s hope for a “decent respect for the opinions of mankind.”

Bush is the president who virtually ignored the genocide in Sudan that draws comparisons to the Holocaust.

Bush is the first president to turn down invites to meet with the NAACP after finding little incentive in between his lavish vacations to talk about domestic inequalities.

It’s clear. Electing Bush was no victory over immorality or wrong. Rather, a force greater than morality also ensured his success at the polls.

To put it simply, Bush had a strategy.

A brief digression: This summer, the gold medal favorite U.S. Olympic basketball team lost not one, but three games. Though America had the better players and coaches, our opponents had a better strategy rooted in group cohesion and communication.

When the team lost its first game to Puerto Rico, coach Larry Brown said: “This is a great opportunity for a group of guys to get together and figure out what it means to truly be a team. I’m anxious to see if we’ll be able to do that.”

Bush’s victory over Kerry reminds me a lot of what happened in Greece. The Republicans played the better game, despite the reality that their leader was not the better player.

Malena Amusa is a Medill junior. She can be reached at [email protected]