CNN correspondent: Democrats' 'whining' proved costlygreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
By Ron Hayes, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Tuesday, December 3, 2002
WEST PALM BEACH -- Candy Crowley, CNN's senior political correspondent, got the obligatory 2000 Florida election joke out of the way first.
"All the cameramen I work with would like to thank you for the overtime," she quipped, and when the chuckles had faded, the 300 people in the Sheraton ballroom heard her thoughts on the 2002 midterm election -- why the Republicans won so much, why the Democrats lost so easily and who's likely to run two years from now.
For political analysis, the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches couldn't have invited a more experienced speaker. Since 1976, Crowley has covered all but one of the presidential conventions, as well as the campaigns of Edward Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton, among others.
"George W. Bush was the El Nino of the last election," Crowley began. "Everywhere he went, he changed the temperature. He spent his political capital."
What he got in return, Crowley said, was legitimacy.
Despite popular assumptions, Crowley said, the Sept. 11 terror attacks did not seem to be a major issue among voters.
"If you asked people what they were concerned about, the answer was always 'jobs,' "she said.
But the attacks helped Bush close the gender gap among voters, Crowley said.
"Since Sept. 11, war has become a domestic issue and brought women into the foreign policy debate," she said.
Bush is a savvy politician, Crowley said, who has learned that you don't win by emphasizing what you're against.
"The Democrats have spent a good deal of the past two years doing that, which is why they got clocked," she said.
With the Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, Crowley predicted they would move quickly to ban late-term abortion and promote the president's faith-based initiative and abstinence-based sex education, as well as to make the tax cut permanent.
"But nothing in Congress is permanent," she noted. "It's a symbolic gesture."
Looking ahead to the 2004 presidential election, Crowley said the Democratic Party needs only two things: "Something to say, and someone to say it. Mostly what we've heard is whining."
Calling herself a "contrarian," Crowley predicted that Al Gore will not run in 2004.
"He wants to run, but he doesn't want to lose," she said. "Ah, there's the rub."
Regarding Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Crowley quoted an anonymous Republican operative who told her: "God is not good enough to give us another Massachusetts liberal to run against."
And as for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Not this year," Crowley said. "She has some of her husband's electricity and all of his baggage."
Citing the latest CNN polls, Crowley noted that if the presidential election were held today, President Bush would beat Al Gore by 15 points, Hillary Clinton by 15 points and Richard Gephart by 19 points.
"But glory is fleeting," she warned, "and so are the polls."
-- Anonymous, December 03, 2002