Thursday, October 06, 2005

James Carville at Northwestern

Political strategist James Carville, most famous for his work on the Clinton campaign of 1992 and as a consultant during Clinton's time in the White House, was the Northwestern College Democrats' Fall 2005 speaker. They chose the right person at the right time. Carville came out and said a truism of recent years: Republicans have bad policies, Democrats have bad campaigns. As he pointed out, Al Gore may well be the most prescient and most "right" politician Washington has seen in our time, but he barely won an election on a pretty bad campaign.

Why do Democrats lose despite the fact that people are not crazy about Republicans or the Bush administration, Carville asked? His answer: they don't present a narrative, they present a litany. He furthermore pointed out that with all of the indictments and evidence of corruption surrounding the Republican party today--from House Majority Leader, to Senate Majority Leader, to White House on down--Democrats have not stepped forward with any sort of plan for reform of government or any sort of large scale denouncement of Republican corruption. As Carville pointed out, people aren't intent on electing a party to defend the country that can't even defend itself.

One of the things I liked best about Carville though was his genuine nature and his eagerness and candidness. He didn't seem to have somewhere to rush off to, as he fielded many questions. He was very modest and accessible in what he had to say.

Back in 1990s, he had the ear of ostensibly the most powerful man in the world and the most powerful Democrat in the country; I wish he had the ear of a few Democrats in Washington right now.


william t nelson said...

Question #1: "Can Kinky Friedman win..?"
Carville: "...I'd support him...."

Elaine said...

Heh, yup I was there.