My husband and I play, "Spot the Dems." The game began during the 1992 Democrat National Convention when the cameras panned the convention delegates. We became anthropologists studying a tribe. In the dozen years since, we have perfected our data base and skills. We can turn down the volume on the TV talking heads shows and identify the Dems. We can see an audience on a C-SPAN lecture or panel and determine topic and bent. We bat a thousand on any given night using time-tested rules for Dem-spotting:
- Gray and braided hair, whether male, female, or transgender: Dem
- Bony magazine editor: Dem
- Hollywood type (sans Charlton Heston, Kurt Russell, and, possibly, Tom Selleck): Dem
- Defense lawyer: Dem
- David Letterman: Dem
A wealthy man in the Phoenix area, upon hearing of our prowess, opined to me, "Your game isn't difficult. Dems are uglier than Republicans." Nay! Republicans have only Bo Derek, and her legendary "10" status cannot counterbalance all of Hollywood's Dem dames.
What gives Dems a different look is their countenance. They look miserable. Have we seen one picture of John Kerry from his 40 years in public life in which he didn't look to be in herniated disc pain? Does permanently imbedded shrapnel or medal-tossing elbow give him a face that looks less upbeat than stewed prunes? Indiscreet youth generally tolerates a smile or two, but Mr. Kerry has always had the facial joy of the Addams Family's Lurch. Buckingham Palace guards look as if they need Ritalin in comparison to Mr. Kerry. Even crossing his legs seems like an effort, perhaps from some union featherbedding rule in Massachusetts.
The Washington, D.C. March for Women's Lives (translation: March for Abortion) offers a veritable training ground for "Spot the Dems" acumen. Head to the official abortion Website, www.marchforwomen.org , and study. Note the men dressed as women, or women dressed as men. Or perhaps they are women transitioning to men or vice versa. There are many angry souls with provocative placards, one in the shape of a nude woman's body upon which "No Trespassing" is engraved. Another sign features a drawing of a talking sperm with the cartoon cloud, "Not every sperm needs a name."
The affable Howard Dean was there, invited for his barbaric yawp and proximity to snapping. Republicans don't scream. They raise money. Half-naked Goths opted not to carry signs, their bodies being already tattooed with messages. They also seem ready to snap.
The "Menopausal Women Nostalgic For Choice" look pretty much as described. Infants in strollers who were dragged along seemed to be saying, "Why me?" How could the carriers of a 6-feet tall uterus emblazoned with "Proud to Own My Own Uterus" look joyful?
The famous who led the cranky broads looked miserable. Susan Sarandon has never found a microphone into which she will not whine. Whoopi Goldberg brandished a coat hanger as she screeched. Gloria Allred, the nation's abortion group lawyer, seems perpetually irritated. Their cause is taking life. Not material that lifts the spirits or produces a smile.
Therein lies the secret to Dem dismay. Angst is their calling card. Psychotherapy their badge of honor. Dems are the no-no party. They spend a great deal of time telling people to shut up: speech codes on campuses, religion banishment (except Muslim studies) from the classroom, and layers of PC rules that have the rest of us quaking in our boots, or pumps, in the case of Republicans and transgenders.
Their activities are negative. They sue so that they can burn flags. They seek ousters for sexual harassment. They halt judicial appointments. They do not create. They are specialists in nay saying. Dems want to take your money away with higher taxes. Dems don't want vouchers and school choice. They don't want you to have your own doctor. They want state medical care.
Happiness is the key to undecided voters and those who cross party lines. When Dems and Republicans cross party lines, it is for happy people. Reagan had Reagan Democrats because he was so positive about everything, from America to complete recovery from cancer and bullet wounds. Kennedy had Republican voters because he looked happy, although we have since learned it largely drug-induced. He was positive about landing on the moon and joked about playing second fiddle to his wife in France. Clinton won in 1996 because Bob Dole seemed like a perpetually grumpy neighbor yelling at us to get off his grass, or, "Get off Bob Dole's grass."
Republicans, with the exception of Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania (and we're not entirely sure he is a Republican), and Bob Barr (former Ga. Rep.), look happy! Specter quite nearly lost the Senate primary in PA and Bob Barr no longer holds office. Sen. Zell Miller (D. Ga.) has lambasted his party in a book, is voting for Mr. Bush, and he looks and sounds happy.
Happiness is not just the key to a long life, it is the consummate clue in "Spot the Dems," and it may well determine the next election. Mrs. Heinz Kerry said it herself in a 20/20 interview, "[Laura Bush] looks fun." Yes, most Republicans do. She should prescribe it for Mr. Kerry.
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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State
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