Upon losing a game at the 1925 Baden-Baden tournament, Aaron Nimzowitsch, the great chess theoretician and a superb player, knocked the pieces off the board, jumped on the table and screamed, "How can I lose to this idiot?"
Nimzowitsch may have lived decades ago in Denmark, but he had the soul of a modern American Democrat. After all, Democrats have been saying much the same — with similar body language — ever since the erudite Adlai Stevenson lost to the syntactically challenged Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. They said it again when they lost to that supposed simpleton Ronald Reagan. Twice, would you believe? With George W. Bush, they are at it again, and equally apoplectic.
Actually, this time around, even more apoplectic. The Democrats' current disdain for George Bush reminds me of another chess master, Efim Bogoljubov, who once said, "When I am White, I win because I am White" — White moves first and therefore has a distinct advantage — "when I am Black, I win because I am Bogoljubov." John Kerry is a man of similar vanity — intellectual and moral — and that spirit thoroughly permeates the Democratic Party.
Democrats feel a mixture of horror and contempt for the huddled masses — so bovine, so benighted, so besotted with talk radio — who made a king of an empty-headed movie star (Reagan, long before Arnold) and inexplicably want the Republicans' current nitwit leader to have a second term.
(Read the whole column, when you have the time--it's a classic.)
Don't look now, but it's happening again. Slate editor Jacob Weisberg writes:
What with the Bush legacy of reckless war and economic mismanagement, 2008 is a year that favors the generic Democratic candidate over the generic Republican one. Yet Barack Obama, with every natural and structural advantage in the presidential race, is running only neck-and-neck against John McCain, a sub-par Republican nominee with a list of liabilities longer than a Joe Biden monologue. Obama has built a crack political operation, raised record sums, and inspired millions with his eloquence and vision. McCain has struggled with a fractious campaign team, lacks clarity and discipline, and remains a stranger to charisma. Yet at the moment, the two of them appear to be tied. What gives?
What gives, indeed? If you need a hint, here's the title of Weisberg's piece: Racism is the only reason Obama might lose
Yep, they're panicking.