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Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 2002 / 10 Kislev 5763

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports

Can the Dems learn from Lincoln's failures?

They Already Have The Failure Part Down Pat | Lincoln's Road To The White House

  • Failed in business in 1831.

  • Defeated for Legislature in 1832.

  • Second business failure in 1833.

  • Suffered nervous breakdown in 1836.

  • Defeated for Speaker in 1838.

  • Defeated for Elector in 1840.

  • Defeated for Congress in 1843.

  • Defeated for Congress in 1848.

  • Defeated for Senate in 1855.

  • Defeated for Vice-President in 1856.

  • Defeated for Senate in 1858.


Okay, he was a Republican, but there's a great lesson there for the Democratic Party. Failure is truly a stepping stone to success, and if that is so, the Democratic Party is well on their way to prosperity. Of course, before they break open the champagne, they have to realize there's one major hitch to getting on that victory bus. Before you can actually move forward you have to first learn from your failures. Perseverance alone is not enough to triumph.

Failure is one of mankind's most neglected resources. Within each misstep is the next indicated step. Einstein said that with in every great difficulty lies a great opportunity. If you keep failing you might want to take a look at what you're opponent is doing right. Will Dems seize the opportunity and learn what the Republicans already know or will they just wait for another election day debacle? Just how do the Democrats learn to keep our political structure from becoming a one-party political system? Here's a few suggestions...

GET A HAMMER: Gephardt and Daschle were softer than Jello and still the Republicans were able to demonize them. You might as well Tom Delay it already. Forget liberal. Pelosi's got to be mean. What have you got to lose?

IGNORE THE DEFICIT: The public already does, why shouldn't the Dems.

GET RID OF HOLLYWOOD: Sure they've got money but unfortunately they also have the tendency to speak their minds. Not good.

TALK RADIO: Get a radio show. Short of getting Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity pulling a Jim Jeffries, find some passionate voices for your cause...whatever that is. (Note: Pays to have a cause or any message for that matter). And I don't want to hear, "but what about National Public Radio?" Talk about boring. You could fall asleep before you get to the P in NPR.

SCAPEGOATING: Blame everything wrong on Clinton...either of them.

TAX CUTS: Push for one...make it bigger than the Republicans'. And stop calling them tax breaks.

"BUT...": Stop using the word, "but." As in, "Saddam is evil but..,." or "Of course 'G-d' should be kept in the Pledge of Allegiance, but..." the drop of any anti-American rally, in this country or Berkeley, wrap yourself in the flag before your opponent does. Not buts about it.

ONE UPMANSHIP: Be more fair and balanced than your opposition. Label the Fox News Channel as too liberal. Then bad mouth Dan Rather and the rest of the mainstream media, not for being too liberal, but for being terrorists who have worked hand in hand with Al Quaeda to destroy America..

LABOR UNIONS: Screw 'em. The Republicans do and you still have plenty members voting for them.

MINORITIES: Unless they start voting, publicize that the Party believes the only person who deserves reparations is David Horowitz and perhaps the Cincinnati Bengals.

BORDERS: Offer to have Terry McAuliffe or whomever is running the DNC to personally guard the Mexican border.

THE CHUCK HESTON FELLOWSHIP: Have membership into the Democratic Party automatically register you as a member of the NRA.


GET A DECENT CANDIDATE : Make it one of Bush I's sons who has yet to serve as president. Have him switch parties, then run 'im. Sooner or later they're all going to be elected. It might as well be for your party.

As Abraham Lincoln and so many others have learned from their own adversity, mistakes and failures, it's time for the Democratic Party to look deeply at their faults, then examine, review and reassess...of course they can stay status quo...just like those darn Whigs. They never learned.

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," . the director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz," and opens car doors for students at his very young kids' school. His website is Comment by clicking here.

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© 2002, Steve Young