Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Nov. 11, 2002 / 6 Kislev, 5763

Diana West

Diana West
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

No time for gloating | The President has made it known: There will be no gloating in this White House about the amazing Republican victories on Election Day. There will be no shiny-eyed exulting in the GOP's historic gains in the House and Senate, and no breathless enthusing about the president's political courage in having staked all his political capital on this mid-term election -- and won. That's fine and good for a White House in which the president has an innate sense of decorum down to his boot tips. Little wonder he demands from his staff, as spokesman Ari Fleischer put it, "a touch of graciousness." But what about the rest of us? Saying the right thing (sans smirk) to the wronged Democrat may not come easily to someone still giggling over all those unexpected victories.

Tut, tut. It's important to bear in mind that where there are big winners (Erlich, Coleman, Bush), there are big losers (Kennedy Townsend, Mondale, McBride). We need to walk 150 feet without electioneering in their shoes. Empathize with that new minority. Realize they don't color Democratic states blue for nothing. You never know when you might happen upon, say, Richard Gephardt. With just a little no-gloat sensitizing, you would know how to put the House minority leader at ease by congratulating him for being the only member of the Democratic leadership to have retained his job.

Then there's Tom Daschle. The plight of the erstwhile Senate majority leader puts a greater strain on the old tact resources. It's not easy finding the right thing to say to someone assuming the minority position while passing the baton, or gavel, or whatever it is, that - poof -- turns every one of his Democratic committee chairmen, including Patrick Leahy, into a ranking minority member. (This, in the fairy-tale world of Washington, is the political equivalent of a frog.)

Words fail? You bet. In this case, the no-gloat Republican seeks inspiration from someone who speaks Mr. Daschle's lingo, someone like Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic National Committee chairman. The rest is easy. Simply reassure Mr. Daschle that, as Mr. McAuliffe now says, we are in "basically the same place we were after the 2000 election. Fifty-fifty. Parity. Not much has changed." Add that personal touch by asking what's one or two senators among friends? Then ask the new Senate minority leader to pass along the news to Jim Jeffords.

Mr. McAuliffe himself presents a simpler case. Avoid the minority-majority unpleasantnesses altogether by telling him that it's the dream of every Republican that he remain DNC chairman. So long as Mr. McAuliffe stays at the helm, of course, the Democratic Party remains in thrall to Mr. McAuliffe's sponsors, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Judging by this same mid-term election, that's good news for the GOP.

Why? This election was not -- how to put it without gloating? -- a red-letter day for Clinton, Inc. While the Democrats netted four new governorships, the Florida, Massachusetts, New York and even Maryland statehouses went Republican despite the Clintons' frenetic flesh-pressing and fund-raising efforts. While Democrats won in New Jersey and Arkansas, Senate seats in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Georgia, Oregon, Missouri and Minnesota went for the GOP despite -- or because of -- that same Clinton connection.

In the no-gloat spirit, maybe it's best to forget the more poll-challenged among the Clinton-supported candidates and see what worked. Most Americans know what happened when the Democratic Party got together in Minnesota not to bury Paul Wellstone but to resurrect Walter Mondale. Not many realize that Mr. Clinton flew straight from the land of 10,000 frozen lakes to another memorial tribute -- this one a four-rally event in Hawaii for the late Patsy Mink, the Democratic congresswoman who died in September. Bill Clinton may have been the kiss of death for living Democrats -- Mr. Clinton campaigned for Hawaii's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, for example, and the state elected its first Republican governor in 40 years -- but something clicked for Patsy Mink. She posthumously held her seat. (Maybe Mr. Clinton put her over the top when he said he "was a declared dead a dozen times when I ran for president in 1992, and a dozen times after ...") Could it be there's a future for the former president in memorial politics? Call it "mourning in America."

Why not? The man has to do something. Even before Tuesday's vote, there were politicos knocking the Clinton factor. "I'm not sure you'll be able to blame Clinton and Gore for Democratic defeats next week, but you'll certainly be able to say their day has come and gone," Republican strategist Rich Galen told the Washington Times. The morning after the election Newsweek's Howard Fineman was more succinct: "The Clinton era is finally, finally over."

No time to gloat. The Bush era, with its midterm mandate, is well underway.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

11/04/02: What's in a name when the name is Muhammad?
10/28/02: Jihad as a First Amendment right
10/21/02: When speaking out isn't allowed
10/14/02: Terrorism in Maryland and abroad
09/30/02: So long urgency, hello indulgence
09/24/02: That one, sturdy, missing word
09/17/02: Fingerprinting, finally
09/09/02: When 'healing' overshadows reality
09/04/02: Tales from the Techno Valley and Forest
08/16/02: Elvis shall rise again
08/14/02: War with Iraq won't harm war on terror
08/06/02: Clinton snaps over Somalia
08/01/02: 9-11 anniversary shouldn't come with apology
07/27/02: An unstable common ground
07/25/02: Hillary fights hard for soft money
07/12/02: Goretheus unbound
07/10/02: Rosie takes a shine to Republicans
07/08/02: Are you still shocked, Sami?
07/02/02: Can Britney win hearts of the Middle East?
06/28/02: A war on terror or Islamists?
06/25/02: Blame the murderer, and the messenger
06/21/02: Up front and personal with Atta
06/18/02: Terrorism at the United Nations
06/11/02: Who's policing the INS?
06/07/02: Spa Gitmo
06/04/02: Can rock gods save the queen?
05/31/02: Hillary's war
05/29/02: Have you forgotten we're at war?
05/24/02: An antiquated luxury of the past
05/21/02: From terrorists to tourists
05/19/02: Hate U.
05/07/02: Western self-loathing numbs us to violence
05/03/02: Pioneering television
05/01/02: Western self-loathing numbs us to violence
04/29/02: It's the misconduct, stupid
04/24/02: Medal of diss-honor
04/17/02: Holy sanctuary or terrorist shield?
04/12/02: Egyptian clerics solicit martyrs for murder
04/09/02: Defining terrorism down
04/05/02: The Wilder life
04/02/02: Acting, equality and the Academy
03/31/02: Speeding to conclusions
03/25/02: Hard to remove blood (libel) stains
03/21/02: The tale of Nixon's tapes --- again
03/19/02: The Big Lie lives on
03/15/02: The tunnel vision of '9/11'
03/13/02: The American Auschwitz?
03/08/02: Hating the indoctrination of hate
03/05/02: Clinton and Enron: Old friends
03/01/02: Pickering doesn't polarize, the process does
02/26/02: Destiny's prefabricated child
02/22/02: The White House heist
02/20/02: Making the grade
02/11/02: Studying student visas
02/06/02: Understanding arrogance
02/04/02: The professor's war
01/29/02: Disconnected dialogue
01/23/02: Anti-Indiscrimination
01/18/02: How much is enough?
01/15/02: Oh brothers, where art thou?
01/10/02: Air on the side of caution
01/04/02: Blacks seeing red at Harvard
01/02/02: Clinton's campaign continues
12/26/01: A tale of two exhibitions
12/24/01: Taliban Idyll
12/19/01: Right is right
12/17/01: Hillary strikes out
12/13/01: Lost files, lost presidency
12/10/01: Revolutionaries never grow up
12/05/01: Immigration reform talk is not just for 'haters' anymore
12/03/01: A new symbol of justice
11/30/01: Beyond morality
11/26/01: Can't keep a good man down
11/20/01: Tough talk at the United Nations
11/19/01: Hollywood's other battle
11/14/01: What's the matter with Sara Jane?
11/09/01: A beef with bin Laden's Beef Noodles
11/07/01: Facing up to the FBI's past mistakes
11/02/01: A school that teaches patriots to shutup
10/30/01: The gap between Islam and peace
10/26/01: The ties that bind (and gag)
10/24/01: This war is more than Afghanistan
10/22/01: The fatuous fatwa
10/19/01: Left out
10/16/01: Whose definition of terrorism?
10/11/01: Post-stress disorder
10/08/01: How the West has won
10/01/01: Good, bad or ... diplomacy
09/28/01: Drawing a line in stone
09/21/01: Prejudice or prudence?
09/14/01: When our dead will finally rest in hallowed ground
09/07/01: We want our #$%^&*() audience back!
08/24/01: The transformation from Green Mountain State to Green Activist State is all but complete
08/17/01: Enlightenment at Yale
08/10/01: From oppressors to victims, a metamorphosis
08/03/01: Opening the dormitory door: College romance in the New Century
08/01/01: How-To Hackdom: The dubious art of writing books about writing books
07/20/01: Hemming about Hemmings
07/13/01: Justice has not been served in the Loiuma police brutality case
06/22/01: When PC parades are too 'mainstream'
06/22/01: When "viewpoint discrimination" in our schools was not nearly so gnarly a notion
06/15/01: Lieberman flaunts mantle of perpetual aggrievement
06/07/01: Is graciousness the culprit?
06/01/01: The bright side of the Jeffords defection
05/29/01: Campus liberals should be more careful
05/18/01: 'Honest Bill' Clinton and other Ratheresian Logic
05/11/01: Dodging balls, Bugs, and 'brilliance'
05/04/01: Foot in mouth disease and little lost Tories
04/20/01:The last classic Clinton cover-up
04/20/01: D-Day, Schmee-Day
04/06/01: For heaven's sake, a little decency!
03/30/01: The sweet sound of slamming doors and clucking feminists
03/23/01: America's magazines and the 'ick-factor'
03/09/01: Felony neglect
03/02/01: Who's sorry now?
02/23/01: 'Ecumenical niceness' and other latter-day American gifts to the world
02/16/01: Elton and Eminem: Royal dirge-icist meets violent fantasist
02/12/01: If only ...

© 2001, Diana West