November 03, 2004

Left-wing Blogosphere Reactions

John Kerry’s side of the blogosphere offers a diverse range of views of Bush’s victory.

Marc Cooper: Could there possibly have been an incumbent more easy to knock-off than George W. Bush? A real-life opposition party would have been insulted to be matched with a such an unworthy and frail rival. The Democrats, by contrast, got their lights punched out.

Tbogg: I look at the big map and all of the red in flyover country and I feel like I've been locked in a room with the slow learners.

Andrew Northrup: The national Democratic Party needs to shift to the right, culturally, in order to compete nationally. No choice. Wah wah wah, I'm going to go vote for Nader, wah wah. You should have voted this time.

Jeff Jarvis: Good for you, Kerry, for conceding. Thank you.

Daily Kos: [I]t's clear the Democratic Party as currently constituted is on its deathbed. It needs reforms, and it needs them now. Quite frankly, the status quo simply won't cut it. Howard Dean for DNC Chair.

Oliver Willis: We're telling the world that we endorse the last four years, and give thumbs up to more evil. Sick.

Ezra Klein: I, like most of us, fell for the echo chamber. Daily Kos, MyDD, Steve Soto, Pandagon, and all the other blogs are run by good people with positive intentions, but if they're you're primary source for information, you're outlook is perverted by an overwhelming amount of good news and a general disdain for the factual accuracy of bad news. It perverts your perspective and, because the sample group is so totally different than most of America, it begins to twist your political predictions and assumptions of what works…

Kevin Drum: MOST IMPORTANT EVENT....RECONSIDERED… I'll plump for the Massachusett's Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage. The result was nearly a dozen initiatives across the country to ban gay marriage and a perfect wedge issue for Republicans. For the second election in a row, it looks like the president was chosen by the courts.

Matthew Yglesias: With a majority of the popular vote and expanded margins in the House and Senate, we're going to see Bush Unleashed -- something that will probably be much crazier than what we've seen over the past four years.

Andrew Sullivan: George W. Bush is our president. He deserves a fresh start, a chance to prove himself again, and the constructive criticism of those of us who decided to back his opponent.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 3, 2004 12:42 PM

Kos is right! Howard Dean as DNC Chair will put a stake through the heart of the Democratic Party and make sure it's restless corpse does not shamble around the country in any kind of threatening manner in 2008.

Maybe that's not what he had in mind, though...

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at November 3, 2004 12:52 PM


James Wolcott nails it with a sledgehammer:

"Good, Go Ahead, America, Choke on Your Own Vomit, You Deserve to Die."


Osama Wins!!


I hope the people who voted for Bush get eight legs, ten arms and brain tumors.
The rest of the world should know that we ... will never succomb to the relentless efforts of right-wing extremists who seek to turn the United States of America into a replica of the Third Reich.
welcome back to 1923
What we have been doing isn’t working, it’s time for a new plan. I bet the Jews and Germans thought they could ride Hitler out, too. You see where that got them.
...Chimpy McCokespoon...
[Ohio] is just as full of morons as any other, except more so. Fucking ruined my life and my body - hope to be able to kill a few of them before I leave...
We are on the path to becoming a fascist state--only revolution or a violent coup will stop it.

Posted by: Snake at November 3, 2004 12:53 PM

I hope this is the death knell for the Democratic party as currently constituted; I'd love to see some daylight between the D and R choices in the future. There are large swaths of the populace that are holding noses and voting R, if D can reach out and grab a small number of those they'll become a powerhouse.

I'd like to see a platform for the party that's under a page in length, clear, and talks to the core.

Posted by: Ry Jones at November 3, 2004 01:00 PM

So, is snake being sarcastic or ironic or what?

Posted by: Eric Blair at November 3, 2004 01:04 PM

Mr. Lasswell,

I have often thought and said that while Democrats view the Republican Party as a political rival, Republicans view the Democratic Party as an enemy to be destroyed.

Comments like yours reinforce this belief.

Do you really believe, as your comment seems to imply, that the country would be better served by a two-party system in which one party is electorally unviable? In other words, would the country be better off as a de facto one-party state?

Regardless of how you view the respective parties, I would like to point out that history is replete with examples of what happens to one-party states, and it is never very pretty.

A healthy opposition, with a real possibility of victory, is what keeps our political system healthy, in the same way that competition is what keeps our economy so dynamic and prosperous. Monopolies, whether a party or a firm, are essentially destined to run roughshod over the people.

So, I ask again: do you seriously believe this? Is this is common belief among Republicans?

I'd honestly like to know.

Posted by: Blogtheist at November 3, 2004 01:04 PM

Eric: These were actual posts. For some reason Michael left these off his list.

Posted by: Snake at November 3, 2004 01:07 PM

" In other words, would the country be better off as a de facto one-party state?"

I personally don't. But apparently we will have to make do with just the GOP until the Dems get their shit together and actually put up a platform the American people agree with.

But, to use your nasty pretentious post as an example, I don't see this happening for a while.

Posted by: Snake at November 3, 2004 01:11 PM

Where did Laswell say that was a good thing? Personally, I believe it is a good thing, but not for the stereotypical reasons you might think. The Democrats need a wake up call. Berekly is not main stream America. Until the Dems understand that, they're going to be useless. If this election isn't enough of a wake up call for the Dems, maybe 2008 will be. And it certainly doesn't look like this election was enough if dKos is pushing for Dean to be DNC chair instead of Lieberman.

The far left thinks the Dems aren't nearly left enough so they want someone even further to the left. But that's not going to work. Until they understand that, well, the Dems are on their way to not being a national party but a regional party.

My true hope is that the Dems do disintegrate and out of the ashes comes a far-left party that can be safely ignored and a centrist party that represents me and many other Republicans who would abandon the Reps in favor of a party more in line with us. It's either that, or the Dems wake up and realize that they are out of touch.

Posted by: Court at November 3, 2004 01:12 PM

You forgot some of Kos:

"Second, gut any Bush hopes for legitimacy. Find the places in Florida and Ohio and every other state where a plausible argument for Republican vote fraud can be made. It doesn't matter whether it did happen or not. What matters is if it can be plausibly alleged to marginal Bush supporters and to the media. We also have to let the issue go where it's implausible. Hammering on voter fraud where it's not at least plausible on that level is only going to hurt our credibility. We have to sink our fangs into Republican ankles and hang onto them for dear life on the legitimacy issue. We have to make him "Bush the only American President who was never elected" whether it's true or not. "

Apparently, he's not heard Kerry's call for Unity.

Forgive me if I don't stand up and sing with the KoomByYah chours.

Posted by: Bithead at November 3, 2004 01:28 PM


My post wasn't meant to be nasty or pretentious. It does, however, convey what I think is an enormous weariness that I bear today - the same weariness that you might be feeling if your side had lost today.

The Democratic Party is poorly served, I think, not by a bad platform, but by bad spokespeople. I do not mean Michael Moore or the Democratic Underground, anymore than I would point to Pat Buchanan or the commenters at Little Green Footballs as being representative of the Republican Party.

The Democrats are my mom and dad. The Republicans are my neighbors. The vitriol between the two sides serves us all poorly.

The Democrats are frequently portrayed as being un-serious about defense issues. I, a Democrat, literally dedicated my life to defense issues, as my education, career, and home state are all now centered around that issue. Just as there are Democrats who are honestly weak on the issue of national security, so are there Republicans. Just as there are Republicans who are strong on national security, so are there Democrats.

I supported John Kerry and opposed George Bush almost solely because I felt that Kerry would be stronger than Bush on the issue. I honestly feel that the approach towards our enemies taken by Bush is misguided, and is detrimental to our security. I honestly feel that the approach articulated towards Kerry would be more effective in defeating them.

Unfortunately, Kerry articulated it so poorly that he boxed himself into a corner. With his "global test" and the like, he managed to make sure that a slim majority of Americans thought that he was weak, when he wasn't, and that Bush was strong, when the extent of his strength has been to invade Iraq, a questionable endeavor at best when seen from the perspective of fighting terrorism.

While many seem to think the Democrats as a whole have no concern over national security, I argue the opposite: they are just as concerned, but have different ideas. Those ideas might be weaker or stronger, but they are not weaker by warrant of being the ideas of Democrats.

I'm sad because I think we could have won had we simply done a better job at talking, of actually connecting with voters.

What I am trying to do with this, I think, is say: please do not judge the vast majority of Democrats, the tens of millions of people who voted for Kerry, by the rantings of extremists on DU the day of Kerry's defeat. I promise not to judge Republicans by what I read on LGF.

But more importantly, don't dismiss the Democratic Party or the ideas that it articulates simply because they are of that party. I have tried to weigh, in an honest and unbiased way, the state-centric versus the non-state-centric approaches to terrorism, and I find one to be better. I ask the same, but I'm afraid that many have already assumed they know the Democrats stand for surrender and wouldn't give them the time of day because of it.

I assure you, there are more than plenty of us who are deadly serious about national security.

Posted by: Blogtheist at November 3, 2004 01:31 PM

Blogtheist: Then you need to make sure that those who are deadly serious about national security are running (such as Zell Miller) and not those who quote Michael Moore and the DU.

As someone who supports national security, believe me, I would welcome that. I wish you all of my support, because I don't see a lot of it from your comrades today.

Posted by: Snake at November 3, 2004 01:37 PM

Marc Cooper has it right, the rest are mostly carping.

Kerry ran a completely cynical campaign entitled "Anybody But Bush". He didn't champion his beliefs. He too often said "I will do the same, only better". He talked endlessly about having a plan for this and a plan for that, but kept the details secret.

I'm a conservative and while satisfied that Bush won I wouldn't say I am happy and content. There is much that has been done that can be improved, and much to do.

Our nation needs the involvement of two vibrant and engaged political parties. These parties need to make their ideas known and need to make a strong, rational case for them in order for the American people to properly choose among these ideas.

Carping about stupid voters and stolen elections and the evilness of Republicans amounts to violating that old rule about holes: when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Posted by: too many steves at November 3, 2004 01:56 PM

Good post, Blogtheist. I think it would be even more accurate to say that what hurt the Dems was the combination of poor spokespeople (leaders) and the willingness of those leaders to allow the Moores, DU's, etc., to be seen as representative of the party. My hope for 2008 is 1) a charismatic midwestern or western candidate, with 2) no personal history that could be spun to make it look like he/she was ever an anti-American activist, and who 3) is willing to smack down the far lefties, firmly and in public. Damn, I'd join that campaign right now.

Posted by: Gene at November 3, 2004 02:05 PM

You know, it kills me that so many Republicans champion Zell and Lieberman as reasonable Democrats.

Seriously guys, I have no use for Zell since his convention speech and I doubt many others would.

Lieberman is pretty hard to embrace (to me at least) because he's such a scold. His pet issue for years was violent movies and video games!

What would you say if I told you Lincoln Chafee and Olympia Snowe are the only respectable Republicans?

Posted by: bg at November 3, 2004 02:05 PM

bg: What would you say if I told you Lincoln Chafee and Olympia Snowe are the only respectable Republicans?

I would much rather vote for a liberal New England Republican than George W. Bush.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 3, 2004 02:06 PM

Most of the ardent lefties quoted in this post are in no way capable of rebuilding the Democratic party; like Tbogg in high snark mode who thinks he's the only bright boy among retards. They're regurgitating their own contempt and rancor and cynicism; this is evident reading the comments on the lefty blogs. Putting up Howard Dean to run anything larger than the shire of Vermont is asinine. Tom Wolfe was on point recently stating the liberal elites don't have a clue.

Posted by: Zacek at November 3, 2004 02:08 PM


There are almost no liberal New England Republicans left. And soon there will be no conservative Southern Democrats either. Rove has now shown that you can win by playing to your base, i.e. the 30% of Americans on either extreme. That doesn't bode well for the 40% in the middle.

Posted by: vanya at November 3, 2004 02:12 PM

I'm getting the first post-election wave of feverswamping here at work today and it's terribily embarassing. No charm, no grace, no thought, no introspection. Just childish bitterness. Sort of like when Dole could not defeat Clinton despite whipping up the Clinton Derangement Syndrome into a frenzy. It seems that the democrats and left were too smart to study the lessons of 1996 (and for that matter, 2000), and failed the 2004 test miserably. And today they are spending the day blaming the TA, the lecturer, the registrar, the dean, the bartender who poured the last drink the day before the exam, and everyone else but themselves for goofing off and not taking notes.

Posted by: Bill at November 3, 2004 02:13 PM

The interesting part about this election is that I think the Democrats would've taken it rather handily had they nominated the right person. I myself would have almost certainly voted for Lieberman had he gotten the nod (of course, maybe in that case some of the far-left folks would've stayed at home and Bush would have won anyway). Instead, the Dems nominate a guy who is, in the words of Mickey Kaus, a "pathetic bullshitter" . . . and Kaus was a Kerry supporter!

Posted by: Michael Hall at November 3, 2004 02:13 PM

vanya: Amazing how the diabolical Rove used mind control to get the middle to vote Bush.

Posted by: Snake at November 3, 2004 02:15 PM

When a Republican shows up at Wine tastings, museums, poetry readings on a future campaign run to win "blue state" votes,the Democrats will win the office back. John Kerry - "Whom among us is not a NASCAR fan".
I'm not a big fan of Howard Dean supporters but I don't know why the Dems didn't purge themselves of their anger this election. It would have been better for them in the long run. Now they have to deal with guys like Daschle being picked off every election untill they can come up with some kind of platform that holds appeal beyond Hollywood, and permanent post grad students.

Posted by: Tom in CT at November 3, 2004 02:18 PM

"War liberals" such as Michael Totten or Roger Simon or even Instapundit (who claims, quite unconvincingly imho, to be a moderate on social issues), have justified their votes for Bush by saying that only one issue mattered, the war, that Bush was so superior in this regard as to make all other issues moot. Now it seems clear that Bush owes his victory to his religious/fundmentalist base. And they're going to come claiming a mandate and asking for compensation -- in fact it only took a few hours for William Bennett to reemerge and do exactly that- And with a senate that moved sharply to the right its not hard to see how such an agenda could be enacted. Given that the differneces between Bush and Kerry on the war were not that great, is there a point where the enactment of conservative legislation and appointments will outweigh your decision to vote Bush based on the war only? My bet, if you truly are socially liberal, is that you'll come to regret your vote dearly.

Posted by: Andrew at November 3, 2004 02:23 PM

Snake writes: Amazing how the diabolical Rove used mind control to get the middle to vote Bush.

At least according to Walter Cronkite, it wasn't so much mind control as it was engineering an "October Surprise" Bin Laden tape scaring the American people into voting for Bush.

Either way, Rove's a talented man.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at November 3, 2004 02:25 PM

Gosh everyone, has anyone heard from Samuel. I know that I was in the doghouse today, but I understand that in his case, it could have been literal.

Posted by: Bill at November 3, 2004 02:27 PM

"Now it seems clear that Bush owes his victory to his religious/fundmentalist base."

So you are saying that there are 59,018,939 fundies out there? Based on what?

You are clearly floating down the largest river in Egypt. This new meme by the Left is really lame.

Posted by: Snake at November 3, 2004 02:27 PM
So you are saying that there are 59,018,939 fundies out there? Based on what?

I object to that, I am a High Church atheist. None of that grape juice rather than wine, Holy "Spirit" rather than Ghost, felt (gahg) Butterfly vestments and and definiitely getting up and walking around the sanctuary during the sharing of the peace of the non-existant Lord.

Posted by: Bill at November 3, 2004 02:33 PM

>>So you are saying that there are 59,018,939
>>fundies out there? Based on what?

Yup Bush owes his victory to the mobilization of his base - the emerging consensus (links too numerous to quote here) is that gay marriage in key states was more important than the war in getting out the vote. He owes them big time - and they know it - Bill Bennett:

Having restored decency to the White House, President Bush now has a mandate to affect policy that will promote a more decent society, through both politics and law. His supporters want that, and have given him a mandate in their popular and electoral votes to see to it. Now is the time to begin our long, national cultural renewal ("The Great Relearning," as novelist Tom Wolfe calls it) — no less in legislation than in federal court appointments. It is, after all, the main reason George W. Bush was reelected.

And Noam Schreiber in TNR:

Not only did Kerry win by an 86-13 margin among self-described liberals, he also won by a 55-45 margin among self-described moderates. So how'd Bush pull it off? He won 84-15 among self-described conservatives, and, more importantly, he made sure conservatives comprised a much bigger chunk of the electorate than they did in 2000. ... Anyone anticipating a conciliatory second Bush term should stop and consider how much Bush owes his base.

The position of "war liberals" is going to become increasingly difficult to justify.

Posted by: Andres at November 3, 2004 02:43 PM

The interesting part about this election is that I think the Democrats would've taken it rather handily had they nominated the right person

That's interesting. If what I heard from the talking heads on TV is true, no incumbent president has ever lost reelection during wartime. A loss by three points to a self-professed war president actually compares pretty favorably to 1972 when McGovern lost everything except Massachusetts.

Yesterday's election, while a clear win for the Republicans, still showed a pretty divided country. Only three states flipped their red or blue status. Two blues went red and one red went blue. It netted out to a gain of about 6 electoral votes for Bush from 2000, not counting the gain due to reapportionment.

Bush also clearly gained in the popular vote, even winning it this time, and Republicans picked up seats in both houses of Congress. Like a said, a clear win for the Republicans, but not a massacre of 1972 or 1984 proportions.

Parties on their death bed don't get 48% of the vote. Once the wailing stops, Democrats will realize that they are not in all that different a position than they were on Monday morning.

Posted by: Pug at November 3, 2004 02:51 PM

In other words, expect Michael Totten et al. to become increasingly apologetic as Bush unleashes his conservative agenda.

Posted by: Andrew at November 3, 2004 02:57 PM

So you are saying that there are 59,018,939 fundies out there?

Of course that's not what he was saying. But I did hear estimates last night that as much as 20% of the voters described themselves as evangelicals. That would mean roughly 23,000,000 votes, about 40% of Bush's total, came from social conservatives.

He owes them big time and the first payback will be due when Rhenquist steps down.

Posted by: Pug at November 3, 2004 03:01 PM

What I'm saying is that from a strictly utilitarian point of view the "war liberal" position has suddenly become a lot harder to justify. How much of the social conservative agenda are you willing to accept in exchange for Bush's leadership in the war? Keep in mind that Bush's leadership is only marginally better than Kerry's (how much better, if at all, is a matter of opinion).

Posted by: Andrew at November 3, 2004 03:10 PM

I'm sure you would Michael and if those were the choices, so would I, which is kind of my point.

I was positing the question to Republicans who seem to think the only Democrats worth voting for are the ones Democrats don't like.

Posted by: bg at November 3, 2004 03:16 PM

Boy, Bill Bennet sure put the fear of God in some people, didn't he?

In other news, James Lileks, who also supported Bush, published today a gallery of 1970s interior decoration examples. Government policy will surely mandate plush orange carpet and psychedelic posters in all homes by June.

Posted by: Mark Poling at November 3, 2004 04:25 PM

But I did hear estimates last night that as much as 20% of the voters described themselves as evangelicals. That would mean roughly 23,000,000 votes, about 40% of Bush's total, came from social conservatives

Which is exactlly the same as he got in 2000. Face upto evangelicals an important group of people. Talking about them like they are slime is a lame thing to do.


Posted by: Derek at November 3, 2004 04:30 PM

Everytime the Dems lose an election the complaint from within is that they didn't go far enough Left, failing to realize that the reason they lost is because they didn't go far enough Right.

Clinton ran Right, Kerry didn't, that's why he lost.

Posted by: David at November 3, 2004 04:31 PM

RIght is right and you all know it, but just won't admit it. Now all you libs need to hunker down and give the President nothing but a hard time for the next four years. Then go further left in 08 so we can stay right for another 8 years.

Taking responsibility for yourself isn't hard and you will even feel freer. The president has a lot less power than congress so get over yourself. Remember all politics is local.

Posted by: barney at November 3, 2004 04:42 PM

I'm a little late back here. But to reply to Snake - Rove only got a little over half the middle. I assume you are numerically literate - Bush got 51% of the vote, not 60% or 70%. On top of that Bush failed to carry a single West Coast or North-Eastern state so there is still a significant portion of America that doesn't like him. Both Bush and Kerry carried their respective bases by over 80%, Bush was more sucessful at carrying the middle but not by a huge margin. Most of that middle were not very happy with either Bush or Kerry.

Posted by: vanya at November 3, 2004 05:10 PM

Pug, good wise words.

Barney, whatever. You guys beat us fair and square this time. Now, we are going to retool, and someday we'll kick your ass again. I'm not a democrat and a liberal because I like to win elections, or because I want to accumulate power -- I'm a liberal for the same fucking reason you're a conservative: cause I believe it is good public policy. Got it?

I do share your view of the importance of emphasizing responsibility, which is the subject of the excellent current cover article in Slate by Saletin, who is rapidly becoming my favorite political writer. Here's the best part in my opinion, intended as advice to Democrats:

"Start by changing the way you talk about pocketbook issues. Remember Bill Clinton's commitment to help people who "work hard and play by the rules"? Your positions on taxes and labor would be assets instead of liabilities if you explained them in moral terms. The minimum wage rewards work. Repealing the estate tax helps rich people get richer without risk or effort. Lax corporate oversight allows big businesses to evade taxes, deceive small investors, and raid pension funds...

Some of you are dismayed by the emergence of a huge voting bloc of churchgoers. Stop viewing this as a threat, and start viewing it as an opportunity. Socially conservative blue-collar workers don't believe in the free market. They believe in the work ethic. Bush wins their votes by equating the free market with the work ethic. Show them where the free market betrays the work ethic, and they'll vote for the party of the work ethic—you—against the party of the free market."

Posted by: Markus rose at November 3, 2004 05:12 PM

Work is the missing factor. Regardless of his positions, Kerry brought no record of accomplishment to his campaign. The Democrats need to bring to the table a record of and enthusiasm for work to the table. Kerry had nothing like that to offer. Kerry did stand on his record in this campaign because he stood for nothing.

The position of the Democratic Party needs to become the drive to meaningful accomplishment. Until they have a plan to accomplish something more meaningful than a shift and expansion in patronage, they organization is a shambling corpse, staggering around the country without direction. Dean would put a stake through the heart of the organization by forwarding an unsupportable policy based on image instead of necessary work.

One of the problems the Democratic Party faces right now is a vision impediment that confuses political correctness with political accomplishment. Funding for AIDS in Africa is sent instead of correcting the corruption that allows the disease to run rampant while bureaucrats line their pockets with the money sent by concerned people around the world. If the Democrats could field a candidate who accomplished the work necessary to get significant treatment to AIDS sufferers in Africa, they would have somebody electable.

If the Democrats could field a candidate who could get the NEA and other teacher's unions to concentrate on educational accomplishment more than educator's entitlements, they would have somebody electable.

If the Democrats could field somebody who could help the US military transform itself to match the changing threat it faces instead of merely preserve the contract schema of defense industries, they would have an electable candidate.

If the Democrats could field somebody who could restructure our intelligence apparatus from the 1970s corporate model it is frozen in to something capable of discovering threats before they fly into our skyscrapers, they would have an electable candidate.

Hand wringing, obfuscation, and screaming from the sidelines are not meaningful qualifications for somebody we need to get the job done. Until the Democrats can field a candidate who can get work done, they are propping up the shambling corpse of a once great party that helped build this country.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at November 3, 2004 05:29 PM

The Washington Monthly's webblog has a post from Amy Sullivan with a job dropping factoid: the per capita abortion rate, after years of steady decline under Clinton, has been increasing under Bush.

Hmmm...wonder if Kerry could have done a little better than 45-55 among Ohio Catholics if he had mentioned that a bunch of times. OR HOW ABOUT EVEN ONCE!!!

Posted by: Markus Rose at November 3, 2004 05:50 PM

Perhaps a good starting point for Democrats would be to stop referring to 20 percent or so of the electorate as evil incarnate and start acknolwedging that social conservatives have different but legitimate beliefs. Someone who opposes abortion (I support choice incidentally) does so because they believe it is a moral evil not because they have an insidious plan to hurt women. Evangelicals vote Republican, not because they want to forcibly convert everyone but because they see the liberal establishment as openly hostile to them, properly so I might add. There are maniacs on all sides but truth be told I fear the social "left" a good deal more than the social right. I honestly believe the extreme left, represented by people like Moore, Chomsky etc. have no regard for the free and open exchange of ideas. They scare me. As for "mainstream" Democrats, it's about time for them to start deciding whether they are leftists or liberals or nothing at all. Because this ain't working.
Finally, it is so wrong to say Bush won because evangelicals hate gays. I will not even get into the merits of opposing gay marriage. While Bush may have carried Ohio and some other key areas with evangelical support, there can be no question that much of his support came from people like us who acknowledge and are grateful for his war leadership. Compare his totals in the blue states between 2000 and now. See the closeness of these races. This is why he won 51 percent of the vote. Democrats need to understand what real coalition building is. It is not mega pandering to every possible consituency. Bush understands it. So did Clinton. As a final point, I am convinced to the bottom of my bones that relentlessly hostile coverage of the war in Iraq and the war on terror depressed Bush's support among moderate Democrats by at least 2-5 percent. This probably cost him several states. Bush deserves blame for failing to counter this effectively but I will have a hard time forgiving the expedient Democratic party I belong to for destroying a consensus on such an important issue.

Posted by: Doug at November 3, 2004 07:00 PM

Markus Rose,

You do not get it. Americans are not socialists. They believe in the free market. Blue collar workers will not vote for a candidate that denigrates the very economy that provides them with jobs and the greatest standard of living in the history of man. It turns them off. Clinton understood that. The rest of the party does not. To quote Churchill "Capitalism's great vice is the unequal sharing of happiness. Socialism's great virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

Posted by: Doug at November 3, 2004 07:03 PM

A nation divided.

All media representations revealed a nation divided near down the center. Few states had overwhelming majority one way or another. The majority of this country is split right down the middle.

As such I will continue to do my best to protect the freedoms our Constitution and Bill of Rights afford us by ridiculing and making fun of Bush and his administration every chance that I get.

Hecklers Of Bush Online. Become a HOBO today.

Good grouping of web thought by the way.

Posted by: IXLNXS at November 3, 2004 07:49 PM
In other news, James Lileks, who also supported Bush, published today a gallery of 1970s interior decoration examples. Government policy will
surely mandate plush orange carpet and psychedelic posters in all
homes by June.

If they mandate the dual-headed super plush white shag 2001: A Groovy Odyssey bathroom on pages 80-81, hell, I'm moving to Candada.

Posted by: Bill at November 3, 2004 07:52 PM

... or Canada... or anywhere Crate and Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond and all the rest ship...

Posted by: Bill at November 3, 2004 07:54 PM

To bg, who asked what Republicans would think of being told that was the only reasonable Republican:

I'm not Republican. But if I were, and if the Republicans were proving themselves incapable of winning the White House and losing ground in Congress, I'd be listening very closely.

I'm not a Democrat, either, but I think I know what I'd be doing with the similar advice being posted here.

Posted by: Jeff Licquia at November 3, 2004 08:30 PM

Great comments here.

Anyone watching the Daily Show right now? My husband's got it on in the other room and I just heard Colbert - or maybe Stewart - say (this is almost a direct quote, I'm pretty sure) "By the way, if you're thinking of having gay sex or visiting a library, um, today may be your last chance." Got that? All the sodomy laws will be reenacted on Monday, they'll start locking up gay people on Tuesday, the libraries will be closed and the libraries' contents, needless to say, will be burned. This will be problematic for me - a librarian - but oh well, I should've thought of that before I voted for Bush, right? Besides, since the fundies are running things now, I won't be able to go to work anymore anyway. I'll have to stay home and keep myself covered - Taliban wing of the Republican party, you know.

I'm so sick of this. I was a one issue voter this time around - terrorism/war, period. I voted for Bush solely on the basis of national defense. I'm actually one of the people Vanya describes in the middle - not happy with either candidate. I am a Security Mom. Oh, wait - security moms don't exist - Media Matters said so! I'm also a Christian in favor of civil unions, or whatever term we settle on, and completely opposed to any Constitutional amendment or any state law banning civil unions. Oh wait - all Christians hate gays. Damn. I guess I don't exist. I wish I'd paid more attention in philosphy class cos I'm pretty sure this is an existential problem. Oh wait. I voted for Bush. I can't use words like existential...

Feh. What Doug said.

Posted by: Holly at November 3, 2004 08:45 PM

I voted for Kerry, and am really bummed out he lost - - - but I understand, from what you said, why you voted for Bush and can respect that. I really can. What really bothers me, though, are exit numbers indicating that "values" (i.e guys kissing) was the NUMBER ONE reason most people voted for Bush. Terrorism, or even the ecomony I could totally understand (and briefly flirted with voting for W). But excuse some of us for being more than a bit upset and dismayed that "values" trumped terrorism after 9-11 and when we are in the middle of a war. I think that's insane, and at the risk of sounding like Sean Penn, more than a little dangerous.

Posted by: chopperdave at November 3, 2004 09:11 PM

Dave: you bring up a good point, and one I've been wondering about. Are we certain that the "values" so many Bush voters cited are necessarily the guys kissing guys values? I mean, "values" can refer to more issues than just the Dread Homosexual Agenda.

Posted by: Holly at November 3, 2004 09:16 PM

People, look more carefully at the meaning of "values". It is not a code word for gay bashing. People are really and rightly concerned that much of the elite establishment is OPENLY hostile to their beliefs and their way of life. And that this elite is BECOMING the Democratic party. Think a raving Whoopie Goldberg. Think Michael Moore. Head over to Daily Kos or Democratic Underground and check out the comments. Not all conservative voters are "movement conservatives." GW Bush is obviously not one. Conservatives have come to believe that liberals have hostile disdain for them and they are quite obviously right. They have greater cause to be concerned that the left will marginalize religion and religious values in American life than the left does to be concerned that the right will pound religious values down their throats. Not all "values" conservatives are holy rollers. It is myopic and foolish to believe so. There is a reason Orthodox Jews voted 75 percent for Bush and it is not his support for Israel. So long as the Jon Stewarts of the world can make fun of the causes and concerns of a major part of the electorate, so long shall the Democratic party continue to tank. And I myself am not in any way a social or religious conservative. I tend liberterian on these sorts of issues. But I appreciate and respect the concerns. I really do. So did Clinton and Reagan. Kerry came across as an alien to them and a phony hypocrite. The people around him even worse. They don't want to destroy gays. (some might but that's not what tipped the election) Where is the reason? The capacity to reach out and understand those different than ourselves? The Democratic hero is Jack Kennedy. He connected with people of all shapes and sizes even though he was nothing like them and never pretended to be. He didn't have to. Neither did Roosevelt. Democrats, go back and study history. Study your own heroes. And learn. Or perish.

Posted by: Doug at November 3, 2004 09:24 PM

"Moral Values" was the heading, so of the hot-button issues, that could include abortion also. Given that gay marriage/civil unions was on the ballot in 11 states, though, is their really any question how people interpreted this? The largest single group of Bush voters clearly saw "values" as meaning "gay rights" - - - and gave a clear answer what they thought. I think that's incredibly sad.

Posted by: chopperdave at November 3, 2004 09:35 PM

"Conservatives ...have greater cause to be concerned that the left will marginalize religion and religious values in American life than the left does to be concerned that the right will pound religious values down their throats."

Doug, this works if you equate "marginalize" with not allowing mandatory school prayer. The left has no legit fear??? Bush will have at least two Supreme Court appointments soon, including the chief justice. Do you think there is any chance those folks won't be anti-Roe and gay marriage? If you exclude abortion and gay rights as areas the left won't have religion pounded down their throats, you're right.

Posted by: chopperdave at November 3, 2004 09:50 PM

I'm a person who lives and works with people who voted because of values, and I'm here to tell you something: If you're going to equate "values" with "hates homosexuals," well, thanks. Welcome to another loss of seats at the mid-terms, most likely a Republican in 2008, and a reformation that consists of the Republicans splitting while the Democrats die of irrelevance.

Christians, especially conservative Christians and most especially evangelicals, feel that their lifestyles and beliefs are under attack -- not socially, which they would feel themselves able to combat, but physically, through teachers required by law to teach things they find repugnant and to simultaneously treat Christian beliefs as not merely wrong but evil, vile, to be suppressed by force; and by the use of force and violence, expressed in the Law, to suppress expression of their beliefs.

Hollywoodites can expect to be paid tens of thousands of dollars to stand before crowds of thousands and complain that their free speech is being suppressed; evangelical Christians are starting to think they may be jailed for passing out tracts. Whether that is realistic or not is irrelevant, politically -- they do really fear it, and they do really act accordingly, including voting. Consider the more extreme ones to be the mirror image of Democratic Underground, except that they don't feel they can safely say the things they want to say in public whereas the DU and Daily Kos moonbats can emote safely for all to see, which itself adds to the paranoia.

Yeah, homosexuals are a big part of that, but not a fundamental part. It's more a case of the straw that broke the camel's back. After years of feeling themselves increasingly under attack, this is more than they can stand. Note that after a good deal of debate the part of the Christian community I'm familiar with would have accepted, with some reluctance, a civil unions deal; it's the specific word "marriage" that sticks in their craw, and it's not going to get swallowed soon. Nevertheless, gays are carrying the can for the sum total of creche bans, abortion on demand, sneering insults over school vouchers, and a lot of other policies seen as attacks, rather than being the base of the controversy.

So if you're going to simplify the whole issue down to "Christians are homophobes," welcome to irrelevancy. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

Ric Locke

Posted by: Ric Locke at November 3, 2004 10:00 PM

Fair to say that a true Christian is not a homophobe?
Which group is destined for irrelevancy?

Posted by: chopperdave at November 3, 2004 10:26 PM

"Howard Dean for DNC Chair"

Okay, it's official. Karl Rove has taken over Daily Kos.

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at November 3, 2004 11:26 PM

Please remember that Abortion was legalized by the Court. I do NOT believe a Federal Abortion Amendment would have passed then, and am certain it would NOT pass now.

The pro-life folk, those who go to Church and try to be good, moral people (knowing humans have Original Sin, are fallible, AND FAIL all too often) -- these folk do NOT want an elitist Court creating law instead of directly elected lawmakers.

Any Leftists who want to talk to, and understand your "neighbors" -- try going to Church for a month of Sundays, or more.

Finally, it is obvious that a black man / white woman can have children; many do. Insofar as "marriage" is about pro-Creation, the pro-life folk will never be happy with the radical secular fundamentalists stealing that word for their pleasure-based sexual couplings.

(And the Libertarian that I used to be would say "nothing wrong with those" -- but the Conservative I've become now says no. There is too much AIDS, too much divorce, too many abortions, too much hook-up sex without caring for the other person.)

Gay unions are not now, and never will be the same as most heterosexual unions. The "union" is not equal. If the choice is total marriage equality or no recognition whatsoever, a lot of folk accept no recognition. But limited Civil Unions, less than marriage (no right to adopt non-bio related kids, for instance), is one likely "resting place".

Another one is explicit State differences, so the Blue Coasts can have it and the Red Heartland doesn't have to.
(This might also be a resting point for abortion, but I doubt it.)

And yes, the gay marriage issues got the pro-life folk to vote FOR Bush, and won it. As I said in my post that Sully won it for Bush, and look at the FMA.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at November 4, 2004 01:36 AM

Historically when a party loses an election narrowly (and Democrats will continue to believe they lost this one narrowly), they come back angry with a candidate from their wings. The Republicans did this following their narrow losses in 1960 and 1976, while the Democrats did it after 1968. This was why I was sure that Dean would be the nominee of the Democrats a year ago. However, they did not exactly go with one of their moderates.

Anyway, Hillary is the obvious frontrunner for 2008 on the Dems' side.

Posted by: Brainster at November 4, 2004 08:09 AM

Part of the problem is the way that the Left goes about fighting for its issues. Rather than entering the arena of ideas and trying to win through the electoral process, the Left has largely chosen to go to the courts. Gay Marriage is a case in point. I am opposed to gay marriage (I don't really want to debate the issue here and now, but my reasons have nothing to do with homophobia). Nevertheless, I could live with legalized gay marriage if the issue were fought in the political arena and the vote went against my position. If proponents of gay marriage make an end run around the democratic process by going to the courts to ram something down my throat that I am against, I will be incensed.

I believe that by relying on legislation from the bench the Left has seriously damaged its future electoral prospects. The following messages, among others, are communicated loudly and clearly: (1) It doesn't matter what you think, because I'm going to win by cheating, if necessary; (2) I'm obviously right and feel no need to justify my position; (3) You are a stupid rube who doesn't deserve any input into important decisions; (4) I have nothing but contempt for you and your positions.

Democrats and Leftists are not winning elections because they are disconnected from and appear to have contempt for "the people."

Posted by: Ben at November 4, 2004 08:28 AM

Tom Grey -- I appreciate your writing for it encapsulates so well a view of the world and a set of values that I find utterly reprehensible.

We disagree on so much. Marriage is not necessarily about procreation. There was no virgin birth. Dinosaurs did not walk the earth 5,000 years ago.

I loved anthropology in college, and I do want to understand you better: you are even more fascinating than the pygmies of New Guinea or the Bushmen of south africa.

I also wish that you would want to understand me. But why bother? After all, you're in the majority, and besides, it's not right vs. left, it's right vs. wrong.

I don't see how we can or why we should live under the same flag.

So I have a question for you, for spc67, and for other real conservatives: are there any circumstances under which you would consider allowing a contiguous set of blue, secular American states to secede? It would allow your view of reality to be more wholly implemented...and we could both live in peace. You could pursue your rugged individuality and personal relationship with God in peace, have your low flat tax, your prohibitions against divorce, and your other moral improvements written into law.

We could use our tax dollars to improve public education and cover the uninsured, instead of using it to pay for all of the highways and Medicare and agriculture price supports and defense spending that you freeloaders always seem to be demanding. (just check out which states are donor states vis-a-vis taxes paid -- services received, and which are recipients: the donors are almost all Kerry states)

Orderly, mutually agreed upon seccession. I'm almost serious.

Posted by: markus rose at November 4, 2004 11:31 AM


"There are maniacs on all sides but truth be told I fear the social "left" a good deal more than the social right. I honestly believe the extreme left, represented by people like Moore, Chomsky etc. have no regard for the free and open exchange of ideas. They scare me."

Exactly. This is the thing I fear avbout the left above all others, and I say this as a Republican moderate.

Posted by: David at November 4, 2004 11:46 AM


Take a chill pill. The US is not cracking up because we had an election where the victor didn't win all 50 states.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 4, 2004 12:22 PM

As an intellectual matter, Markus, my answer is that no, you cannot secede. To allow it would be anti-democratic. You cannot quit the game after you have already lost.

Posted by: Ben at November 4, 2004 03:13 PM


Do you not understand that Gay Marriage is opposed by some 70 percent of the population? At the same time the same number supports tolerance and even civil unions. Do you think that prayer in schools is what social conservatives clamor for? They are more concerned with keeping social studies textbooks from teaching that America is a rascist fascist blight on humanity. And keeping the schools from teaching their kids how to have sex. I am not saying I support their agenda. But you need to understand what it is before you can criticize it. Believe me, the right has good reason to fear the left. Good reason indeed. It has been a long time since the American left stood for anything resembling a live and let live ethos. The right is not going to force through anything against the American consensus. If Roe is somehow overturned, Abortion will remain legal in most states because its citizens want it to be. If holy rollers ban it anyway, they will be voted out. That's our system.

Posted by: Doug at November 4, 2004 07:41 PM


You're so cute when you're being dense.


Guess what? I'm the most important citizen of these United States on this day. Yes, sir. You see, I am a Middle-Aged, Middle-Class white Anglo-Saxon Protestant living in the environs of Central Ohio. I chose the President of the United States for the next four years. Had I decided to vote for John F. Kerry, Markus would reminding spc67 that it was his patriotic duty to support his President.

But I didn't vote for John F. Kerry. There were a lot of reasons for it. Part of it is that I am a partisan Republican, and have been since I was shown the light by St. Ronald of Reagan. Part of it was, like you, I found John Kerry far too feckless with regards to all aspects of national security, the War on Terror and Iraq. But those are only parts of the complete story.

I also voted for George W. Bush because John Kerry offered no unique vision or meaningful differences in other matters of substance. I voted against Issue 1 (to ban gay marriage), and while it isn't a huge issue with me, I would have at least considered it a plus if Kerry had had the balls to truthfully air his convictions on the matter.

Then there is the economy. You know, every election for the last 24 years we Ohioans have watched every politician with the idea of becoming President march into our state and head straight to Cuyahoga, Mahoning, Lucas and Summit counties and start in with the bullshit about bringing back those high paying union auto and steel jobs that vanished 30+ years ago.

I know it'd shock all the sophisticates on the coasts, but somewhere along the way, the majority of us figured out that there wasn't any way to dial back the clock to 1965. We know those jobs are gone for good, and when John Kerry came in here bleating about "jobs, jobs, jobs" well, it was the same steaming pile we heard out of Mondale, Bush 41, Harold Stassen and every other bozo who wanted to sell nights in the Lincoln Bedroom. We're supposed to buy into the 2004 version of "I have a plan!"? Right.

I also voted for George W. Bush because he was, and very much is, truly repellent to the likes of Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Ted Kennedy, not to mention the litany of minor Dimwits such as KOS, Cooper, Ygelsias and Drum. You don't measure a man by his friends, because they may desert you. You measure a man by his enemies...they are forever. And what none, and I do mean none, of these Dimwits understand is that they will not be part of any solution to the woes of the Democratic Party. They are the problem with the Democratic Party.

If any of those Boobs, or any of the Boobs of the MSM had the time, training or knowledge to interpret election results on a county by county basis in the great state of Ohio, they would have to face the uncomfortable fact that it was NOT the uneducated beer-swilling pig farmer who elected G.W. Bush, it was the educated suburbanite living close to Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Akron.

The rural counties went big for Bush (usually 2-1), and thereby nullified the heavily Democratic environs in the Northeast portion of the state. What the winner of the state had to win were places like Warren, Butler, Delaware, Licking and Wayne counties...counties that housed the denizens of suburban Cincinnati, Columbus and Akron, who are middle class WASPs just like yours truly. Kerry didn't move us, so now he's returning to backbenching for Teddy because he couldn't.

Those of us who actually put Bush in the White House, while mostly white and WASPy, are a mixed bag. A lot of us opposed gay marriage, but a lot of us didn't. A lot of us think stem cell research is important. A lot of us are uncomfortable with the idea of re-criminalizing abortion. So when we hear the kind of uninformed, condescending prattle we have been subjected to for the last year by the likes of the 'pundits' and 'thinkers' you list, well it just seems to seal the deal. We may not be completely comfortable with everything George Bush does, but we know we'd be completely uncomfortable with anything dreamt up for the Greater Good of the Republic by fools like Cooper and Ygelsias.

So post these guys to the extent you feel necessary, but please come to the understanding that these men are the problem. Listening to them with the idea you are going to hear the solution is a doubtful enterprise at best. At least it is here in Ohio. And I'm the one who counts these days, not them.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 4, 2004 08:21 PM

So I have a question for you, for spc67, and for other real conservatives: are there any circumstances under which you would consider allowing a contiguous set of blue, secular American states to secede?

I've suggested we swap some blue states (esp. CA and Mass) for equally populous and less leftist portions of the EU - starting with Poland, the Baltics, Czechia, and Slovakia :-)

Seriously, what will unite the country is more decentralization. That first requires a period of even more polarization, the unavoidable result of taking on the statists who want the government to support vast welfare states, micromanage business, tax the stuffing out of people, force the same narrow school curricula on everybody, and the like.

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at November 4, 2004 11:32 PM

Dennis and Alan (and Michael) -- I wouldn't say I was being dense, just a bit deranged. While I might have been encouraging you guys to accept Kerry and give him a chance had he won, one difference with the present situation is that he undoubtedly would have been reaching out to his opponents aggresively, working overtime to prove that he wasn't as liberal as you feared.

Alan echoes Andrew Sullivan's point how federalism, rather than succession, is the cure for our divisions. Hope so.

It appears that, particularly if there are no major wars or terrorist attacks, President Bush will use his political capital to implement his tax, regulatory and social security agenda. Populist social darwinism mixed with "laissez-faire" cronyism. I think he'll end up getting a lot of it enacted, and we'll finally get to see what really happens. My experience with most conservative Republicans in Congress is that they hate the idea of government programs but love what they do.

Posted by: Markus Rose at November 5, 2004 08:25 AM

Dennis and Alan (and Michael) -- I wouldn't say I was being dense, just a bit deranged. While I might have been encouraging you guys to accept Kerry and give him a chance had he won, one difference with the present situation is that he undoubtedly would have been reaching out to his opponents aggresively, working overtime to prove that he wasn't as liberal as you feared.

Bwahahahahahaha....Gee, ya think so, Markus?

That is exactly the kind of patronizing bullshit that cost Kerry credibility with Centerists and Moderates in the first place.

Based on the above, I've got to go with dense and deranged.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 5, 2004 10:27 AM

Dennis the Peasant -- Of course would have been trying to minimize his liberalism after the election, just like he did before it. Why wouldn't he, particularly with a Republican Congress? Kerry had to reach out to cetnrists, moderates and Republicans: the democratic base is much smaller than the republican base. As a result, if he had gotten enough to go over, he would have owed the swing voters. Bush has no such qualms.

I made a reasonable comment here, after a humorous apology for an unreasonable but certainly not offensive one that I made yesterday. Why do you have to be so condescending and obnoxious in response? This is like the third or fourth time you've done this to me. What's wrong with you? Didn't your parents send you to a shrink when you were a kid they found you in the backyard torturing animals?

Posted by: markus rose at November 5, 2004 01:36 PM

Excuse me, but from my perspective, the time for any president who wants my support to stop being liberal is about 20 years before they become president.

Actually, had you paid attention to any number of my posts directed to you regarding your opinions on any number of subjects, but especially those opinions relating to Jews (and your characterization of them, as well), you would know that I neither like nor respect you and you would know why. If it comforts you to think my expressed distain for you is more about my defects then yours, you run with it, Spanky.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 5, 2004 08:45 PM

Alan echoes Andrew Sullivan's point how federalism, rather than succession, is the cure for our divisions.

Uh, federalism (way too much of it) is the problem. "Taking on the statists" means shifting a lot of political power from Washington DC to the states and localities. I hate the term "states' rights." States dont' have rights; they have jurisdictions - and there's way too much federal encvroachment on them.

We're polarized because a lot of factions expect the entire country to live under the same system - same education, same cultural expectations, same tax structure, same involuntary "charity" subsidies, etc. On any specific policy, only one side can win, and the policy is nationwide. As more of these issues get kidnapped by Washington, the people get less and less of a choice over the kind of America they want to live in.

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at November 7, 2004 11:12 PM

Dennis -- for someone who appears to be a major league Adam Clymer, i gotta admit that you do have a cool handle.

Fortunately, the internet permits a high level of detachment in arguing disputes, so that your opinion of "me" and my opinion of "you" is irrelevant and not a big deal.

Regarding the Jews, I've had long, informative and mutally respectful dialoges with lots of israeli hardliners, steve sharkansky on shark's blog for example, plus a whole bunch of friends and relatives. Alas, not you. If using the phrase "tribal supremacist" to refer to some Jews is in fact inappropriate, a substantive explanation why this is so was called for, and would have actually have been much appreciated by me had it been persuasive. I understand that a standard antisemitic canard is the allegation that ALL jews are somehow bred to be supremely loyal only to their own chosen "race". I don't see how it follows that accusing a distinct sub-group of Jews of a much milder sort of parochialism is inappropriate or off-limits. Lots of tribes are parochial, it's not a Jewish thing. So hey D., chill. It's like saying you can't criticize black crime or black birthrates, because it might give ammunition to racists.

Posted by: markus rose at November 8, 2004 08:33 AM

Yeah, some of your best friends are 'of that parochial tribe'.


And it really is typical that in attempting to call me an asshole in a manner you deem clever, you associate me with exactly the obviously wrong type of asshole. Surely there are enough prominent Republican assholes in your universe that you could have come up with one and tagged me appropriately.

I'm not quite sure how you do it, but you always manage to get it completely bass-ackwards.

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