For many years, we thought that James Carville, the grand-daddy of Clinton-era Democratic dirty-tricksters, was a snake – cunning, devious, sneaky, and deceitful, the kind of guy who would talk a woman into taking a bite of an apple in return for keeping abortion legal and then turn around call her trailer trash.  Without even batting an eyelash.

We were wrong.  Carville isn’t a snake.  Sure, he’s reptilian but, as it turns out, is a reptile of a much different, much more clever variety.  Consider, if you will, the following story:

A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.

"Do you ever get anywhere?" he asked with a mocking laugh.

"Yes," replied the Tortoise, "and I get there sooner than you think. I'll run you a race and prove it."

The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.

The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.

The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.

The race is not always to the swift.

That’s our old pal Aesop, by the way.  And James Carville is a tortoise.  Perhaps, he is even Aesop’s tortoise, given how long tortoises are known to live.

This stunning herpetological revelation came to us yesterday, as we read Carville’s comments on Tuesday’s Virginia election results and various conservative commentators’ reactions to those comments.

Democratic political strategist James Carville blamed his party's recent losses and weak performance in state elections on "stupid wokeness" on Wednesday.

"PBS NewsHour" host Judy Woodruff asked Carville what went wrong for the Democratic Party in the Virginia gubernatorial race in which Republican Glenn Youngkin beat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

"What went wrong is just stupid wokeness. Don't just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Wash. I mean, this 'defund the police' lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln's name off of schools. I mean that — people see that," Carville said.

"It's just really — has a suppressive effect all across the country on Democrats. Some of these people need to go to a 'woke' detox center or something," he added. "They're expressing a language that people just don't use, and there's backlash and a frustration at that."

In response, Twitter-conservatives responded en masse, “this guy gets it!”

Indeed he does.

Note Carville’s words: “they’re expressing a language that people just don’t use.”  “We got to change this and not be about changing dictionaries and change laws."  He’s not unhappy with the policies or the ideas that underlie them.  He’s upset about the messaging, the way the Democrats are presenting their ideas, not the ideas themselves.

On Wednesday, you may recall, we noted that The Lincoln Project’s tiki torch stunt was probably the breaking point for many Virginia voters, who’d had enough of the deception, lies, and obsession with race.  And what did Carville think of the stunt?

Democratic strategist James Carville defended the Lincoln Project’s attempt to tie Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin to the 2017 white nationalist march in Charlottesville, in an appearance on CNN on Friday with Lincoln Project member Stuart Stevens.

Stevens called the demonstration an example of playing “hardball” to win elections, adding that “the question here is not about some guys who showed up at a rally, it’s why hasn’t Glenn Youngkin denounced Donald Trump for saying that there are good people on both sides?”

Carville concurred with Stevens’s remarks.

“I…agree with what Stuart said: it was to illustrate a point that Youngkin has not denounced Trump saying there were ‘fine people on both sides’ in Charlottesville,” Carville said.

Ah. We see.  But that’s before it backfired.

Some of you may recall that this is not the first time Carville has blamed the “woke” for his party’s woes.  Back in April, he did much the same, to which we responded:

“Who is James Carville?”  If you answered the “granddaddy of woke politics,” then give yourself a gold star.  Carville was the guy who figured out in 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that there wasn’t a hair’s breadth of difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party on economic OR foreign policy matters.  He also figured out that that meant that the way for Democrats to win an election was to appeal to their Baby Boomer compatriots on cultural matters.  When Carville famously said “It’s the economy, stupid,” he wasn’t promising that Bill Clinton would handle the economy differently.  He was doing precisely the opposite.  He was promising that Clinton would handle it the same, only better.  Clinton wasn’t an economic threat the way Dukakis was or Mondale was.  He was, after all, a self-proclaimed “new” Democrat.

We know that the conventional wisdom has it that the brief and mild recession cost George H.W. Bush reelection that year, but that’s mostly nonsense.  Clinton beat Bush because it was “the year of the woman.”  And because Clinton was going to protect and expand abortion rights and appoint Supreme Court justices who loved Roe v. Wade more than life itself.  And because Clinton, who grew up in Little Rock and was pals with Ernie Green, could “heal” the racial wounds of the LA riots and the OJ Simpson trial empathetically and compassionately.  And because Bush was an old fuddy-duddy who didn’t know about super-market scanners, while Clinton played the saxamaphone on the Arsenio Hall show, had smoked pot, and was willing to tell MTV-watchers all about his skivvies.

James Carville made all of that happen, which means that he is, more than any other person alive or dead, the guy who turned American politics into a culture war.

Carville does indeed get it.  He knows that to get what he and his fellow Democrats ALL want, they have to be careful.  They have to watch what they say.  They have to play the long game.  They can’t just race out of the proverbial gates and start bragging about what they’re going to do.  They have to be slow, methodical, and deliberate.  If they’re patient and consistent, they’ll get what they want.  But being brash, bold, and braggadocious will leave them behind, scratching and clawing just to keep up.

In James Carville’s ideal political world, the Democrat will be slow, methodical, and victorious, while the rest of us fall asleep and don’t awaken until it’s too late to do anything about it.

He gets it, alright.  It’s people like him who make it absolutely necessary that conservatives not grow complacent.

Damned tortoise.


Comments coming soon