In February, I was sitting with Terry McAuliffe at the old DNC Headquarters in Washington. The President had just given his State of the Union address and the first statement McAuliffe made was "now that the speech is out of the way, we are going to get George Bush." He went on to talk about the kitchen table issues that are resonating with Americans.
The sad thing is that Terry McAuliffe knows about as much about real Americans as any of the dreaded "top one percent" does. He is a part of the group he so demonizes. He
lives in a world where a $100,000 investment makes millions.
If you were to listen to Terry McAuliffe and that was all you knew about the world, then you would think that Republicans had their own air, water, energy and money supply and wanted to destroy everyone else's. It is Republicans that really want to hurt people in the world where McAuliffe lives.
Most Americans live in a world where our investments are better than when we started, but not as good as they were a couple of years ago. We go to public schools and colleges. It is a world where we raise our families while juggling home and work responsibilities. Finally, it is a world where the overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans support the President and would never suggest that he had anything but the best interest of the country at heart.
To a smaller audience, the drumbeat continues by the Democrats, led today by Terry McAuliffe. After the President's speech on October 7, McAuliffe said, "the threats posed by Iraq are significant, but our nation's economy is just as critical." He just doesn't get it. Without our security, there is no economy. If we have another attack on the magnitude of September 11, it won't matter if we have the best programs for seniors or children. If we are not secure as a nation, our economy will not grow.
The mantra for the month for McAuliffe is about the economy and the alleged inactivity of the President. One needs look no further than the bills passed by the House of Representatives on economic stimulus, tax relief and prescription drugs. The bills are languishing in the Senate under the failed leadership of Tom Daschle. This Senate has no budget and has no desire to bring to a vote the people's agenda. They want issues to campaign on, not action.
The starkest example of this is the heinous animated fundraising video on the DNC website showing an animated version of President Bush pushing old people in wheelchairs over the edge. To Terry McAuliffe, any attack is justified if it is against a Republican and any attack on Democrats is politically motivated.
This Democrat Party is not returning to its roots, it has lost its roots. President Bush quotes Truman and Kennedy for two reasons. First, it reminds Democrats where they came from and second, it reminds Americans that support for a strong defense has been a cornerstone of all good administrations. We must put America's best interest first and we must protect America.
The Terry McAuliffe leadership is reminiscent of heady times of the nineties. It reminds us of the connection with President Clinton. While in the immediate bright light of the Clinton era in 2000, he looked effervescent. However, in the continuously dimming light that is being extinguished by time and revelation, McAuliffe just reminds us of how we were duped by a very "slick" politician for eight years.
Contrast McAuliffe's leadership and rhetoric with that of his counterpart, Governor Marc Racicot, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Racicot always takes the high road, even when he complains about what Democrats are doing, he and the RNC does it in a way that it is a difference of ideas, not personal attacks.
We will settle this conflict on November 5. There are rumblings from Democrats about ensuring fair elections in "every county on Florida." It is interesting that after spending over $30,000,000 on election reform in Florida that the same two counties that had problems in 2000 had problems in 2002.
Maria Cardona, DNC Communications Director, stated last week that the Democrats will take back a majority of the Governorships, win back the majority in the House of Representatives and maintain and extend their majority in the Senate. That is a heady goal. As all the chairmen of political parties before him have been measured, so will Terry McAuliffe. If he delivers, he is in and if he doesn't, he is out. It is as simple at that.
Maynard Jackson stated during his failed run for the position that McAuliffe now holds that the nineties were good for Bill Clinton, but the Party lost elections up and down the ballot. He said that the party needed to go back to its roots, and he was right. The question now will hinge on whether the party under McAuliffe can get back to the roots of Harry Truman and John Kennedy.
Terry McAuliffe is a great fundraiser; there is no doubt about that. He should have stayed in that capacity. Instead of leading the Democrat Party to greatness, he has continued the politics of personal attack and half truths. On November 6, America will see that the Democrat party is weak and poorly led by Terry McAuliffe. We are Americans and until we look for the best in each other instead of engaging in the game of "gotcha," we will not move forward. So Mr. McAuliffe, stop attacking the President and be straight with the American people. We can take it, can you?
Martha Zoller is a daily political talk show each weekday morning on WDUN Newstalk 550 in Gainesville, Georgia. She is also a panelist on Fox5 Atlanta's The Georgia Gang. You can see and hear her around the country on a variety of issues. You can contact her via email at Martha@marthazoller.com.