Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Times Reports “Democrats in Serious Trouble”

I watched the Coleman-Mondale debate yesterday but since I am totally biased I felt unable to judge which of the two Minnesotan candidates for Senator prevailed. Rather, I waited for The New York Times to report on the debate. The Times is so fundementally biased that in such circumstances it can be remarkably informative. But you need to understand the lingo.

Based on this morning’s coverage, I would have to say that the Republican candidate, Norm Coleman, spent an hour feeding out great lengths of rope which Mondale dutifully coiled around his shoulders and neck.

According to the Times, Mondale “took control early with pointed partisan attacks that painted his opponent as a right wing tool of the White House.”

As for Coleman, “he refused to get rattled, repeatedly reciting his record as a jobs builder and respectfully observing that Mr. Mondale’s was precisely the kind of tone he hoped to change in Washington.”

During the debate, Mondale “frequently leaned forward in his chair, wagged his finger at his opponent and spoke to him as a scolding father.”

In Timespeak™ this means Mondale came on like a sputtering arm-waving old fool accusing his opponent, a former Democrat, of Ku Klux Klan affiliations and ties to the Austrian Freedom Party while Coleman coolly stuck to the high ground and allowed Mondale to implode on national television.

For all I know, Norm Coleman may be the most vicious, negative, slash-and-burn partisan campaigner in the nation right now, in which case Mondale’s approach may have helped him win the support of knowledgeable Minnesotans.

But the debate was watched by far more people outside the Gopher State and to the rest of us, the debate appeared quite different. It was a stark contest between the exhausted old guard Democrats and the young can-do Republicans. In that sense, the debate may help the Democrats win Minnesota but lose just about everywhere else.

Apparently Coleman, who was born in Brooklyn and retains a slight New York accent, comes off as an obvious out-of-stater up North. I, of course, find Coleman’s demeanor to be perfectly attuned to my stereotype of a leader – a serious, reasonable, meritocrat with little tolerance for bullshit.

That may not play well outside of New York but when the revolution comes, I believe we will all speak like Coleman.

Perhaps the Times recognized this affinity.

Coleman is one of ours. Mondale is from Duluth and ought to stay there.

No comments: