04/06/2008 08:59 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

100 (or more) Reasons Dems Have to Kiss and Make Up

We just hate each other. Clinton supporters are screaming "I'd rather eat glass than vote for Obama!" Obama supporters are hollering "I'd rather hop right into that hell-bound hand-basket than vote for Hillary!" There are rabid supporters on both sides who threaten to vote Republican if they don't get their way. Or, they say, they won't vote at all.

We're going to have to declare peace, folks. Even if we don't want to do it.

According to the most recent George Mason University/HNN poll, in which 109 historians were surveyed over a three week period, 98.2% of the respondents agreed that the George W. Bush administration is a failure. 61% of them rate W's presidency as the worst in U.S. history. In 2004 GMU/HNN surveyed 415 historians. At that time, 81% of them rated the Bush White House an "overall failure." Clearly, the number of presidential scholars who recognize the Bush years as disastrous is growing.

Repeatedly, historians have cited the same reasons for their low opinion of the current president's policies: "...a doctrine of pre-emptive war, crony capitalism, bankruptcy/fiscal irresponsibility, military adventurism, trampling of civil liberties and anti-environmental policies." And, as for the singular argument that George W. Bush is the worst president in history: "Although previous presidents have led the nation into ill-advised wars, no predecessor managed to turn America into an unprovoked aggressor. No predecessor so thoroughly managed to confirm the impressions of those who already hated America. No predecessor so effectively convinced such a wide range of world opinion that America is an imperialist threat to world peace."

We cannot afford a "throw-away" vote come November because we're pissed off at Clinton or Obama. There's too much at stake. John McCain has fully embraced the Bush Doctrine, adopting his hyper-aggressive militaristic approach to foreign policy in the Middle East. Trading a swaggering Jesse James Six-Shooter School of Diplomacy administration for a gamble on Bart Maverick's "I'll call your anti-American attitude and raise you one pre-emptive strike!" notion of sound policy in a volatile region is Wild Western lunacy.

Senator McCain has embraced the Bush financial scam--a Darwinian economic policy ensuring survival of the richest and taxes weighted at the wrong end of the economic scale. In the Bush economy the more you make, the more you take. A McCain presidency promises four more years of the same disastrous policies that have us stampeding like a herd of spooked, mindless cattle toward the edge of a cliff. The impetus, if we make another mistake, could result in a lethal plunge from the precipice.

Not so long ago we thought we had a little wiggle-room. We were on firmer ground both economically and in our relationships to one another and the rest of the world. We were a strong enough nation, many of us believed, to survive a sizable political misstep.

I got a sympathy card from a friend in D.C. after the Supremes handed Dubya the White House in 2000. She was well-connected, a former press secretary to a member of the House, her husband a former Capitol Hill producer for C-SPAN and past president of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association. She wanted to make me feel better. Her message?

"You're being hysterical about a 'dangerous buffoon in the Oval Office'. Stop. Calm down. Stop. This is America. Stop. Really. Stop. How much damage can one man do? Stop."

Seven terrible years later, we know how much damage one man can do. We don't need hundreds of presidential scholars to tell us how high a price we've paid for bad leadership. 81% of us--ordinary Americans--have joined the ranks of the "I'm Worried Sick, Man!" Club. We know this nation is badly off-course. We've come to realize that the United States of America is not the inevitable, immutable, invincible force we've always believed it to be. We are not impervious to economic ruin, to defeat. We are not invulnerable to the consequences of poor judgment and poor policies. One man can, when we are already staggering, take us down for the count.

Unless we're willing to risk everything we hold dear, everything we believe in, we Democrats are going to have to make peace with one another and support either Candidate Obama or Candidate Clinton when the time comes. Whether we like it or not. The tantrum vote or non-vote is not an option. The alternative to the lesser Democratic candidate, the one whose tactics offended us, the one we don't want or never liked, is the Bush Doctrine, "100-Year-War" McCain style. And that's too high a price to pay to get even.