November 10, 2004

It Was the Moderates, Stupid

I hope this is the last time I need to post about this. But as obvious as it should be, it hasn’t sunken in yet.

E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post:
About 38 percent of those who thought abortion should be legal in most cases went to Bush. Bush got 22 percent from voters who favored gay marriage and 52 percent among those who favor civil unions. Bush even managed 16 percent among voters who thought the president paid more attention to the interests of large corporations than to those of "ordinary Americans." A third of the voters who favored a government more active in solving problems went to Bush


These numbers do not lend themselves to a facile ideological analysis of what happened. The populist left can fairly ask why so many pro-government, anti-corporate voters backed Bush. The social liberals can ask why so many socially moderate and progressive voters stuck with the president. The centrist crowd can muse over the power of the terrorism issue. The exit polls found that perhaps 10 percent of Al Gore's 2000 voters switched to Bush. Of these, more than eight in 10 thought the war in Iraq was part of the war on terrorism.
Also, if you are a Democrat, please read Marc Cooper.

UPDATE: Bush did better in 2004 than he did in 2000 in all states except Maine, Vermont, and South Dakota. That's because the Democratic Party is less appealing now than it was. Deal with it. Then fix it.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 10, 2004 12:39 AM

Sorry Michael, you'll have to keep writing/ thinking about this, until the Dems learn the right lessons.

Answers to the "why Bush won" (not Kerry lost?) issues imply certain policies. Usually the analyst knows what policy they WANT to imply, so their answer to the question becomes kind of leading.

I don't trust you on this point, either. Of the 60 million or so votes W got, some 23 million or so were from evangelicals. W also won over more Catholics.

I DO believe lots of true liberals, like you, support Bush AND are pro-choice (including pro-late term abortion? You claim it's not practiced but I didn't see a response to my challenge on what the latest late term abortion IS in the US. )

How many evangelical Christians are you friends with? Try the Evangelical Outpost.

Every block of 4 million votes for Bush can claim "they" gave him the election. Insofar as evangelical pro-life folk have been excommunicated from the Dem secular faith, they have nobody much else to be FOR; some 3 million stayed home last time.

Had Kerry been clear and hawkish enough for YOU -- Nader would likely have gotten far more Deaniacs and been a bigger spoiler, like Perot in 92.

The Left has not accepted that booting Saddam was good. Instead they claim Bush is evil, while denying other evil.
America is great, because America tries to be good.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at November 10, 2004 03:28 AM

“Of these, more than eight in 10 thought the war in Iraq was part of the war on terrorism.”

This is the key issue. None of the other ones are of much importance if you are dead. John Kerry is a mealy mouther when it came to terrorism and the war in Iraq. End of story. There’s no sense in overcomplicating the obvious.

Our nation dodged a bullet. John Kerry would have probably done an incredible amount of damage. I have no intention of forgetting that Andrew Sullivan, Daniel Drezner, and Mickey Kaus supported this unqualified individual. Are they elitist snobs? Whatever, their stated reasons did not pass the laugh test.

Posted by: David Thomson at November 10, 2004 04:23 AM

I believe is was the atheist voter's vote which pushed Bush to victory. The atheist vote had increased by 3% since the 2000 elections while the Christian vote remained the same.

Michael Moore needs to change his self-proclaimed "Jesusland" to "Atheistville"

And, The Collective Colony of Self-Righteous Intellectuals will have to change their label Extreme Right-Wing Jewish Neo-con Jesusland Nazis ruling in the White House to Extreme Right-Wing Jewish Neo-con Jesusland Atheist Nazis ruling in the White House.

Posted by: syn at November 10, 2004 04:28 AM

Michael, thoughtful post. I'm linking to Marc also as well as Dean Esmay and John Perry Barlow in my blog. The Dems really need to think this through. We do NOT need to become a one party country.

Posted by: GMRoper at November 10, 2004 05:30 AM

I concur big-time: that moral values swung this election is a gross misinterpretation,a largely self serving interpretation on the part of the left as they write off Red States as Christofascistland thereby indulgint their insulated sense of contempt and superiority. IMHO the paramount issues in this election were security, defense, war. Kerry did not make the case that he could deal with these issues better than Bush. No way: the braggert soldier who treated with the North Vietnamese in Paris and the Sandinistas, who made his bones politically in the antiwar movement and voted against most defense and security issues in the Senate was not the man most Americans wanted to see inaugerated as CIC.

Posted by: Zacek at November 10, 2004 05:39 AM


You are wrong about Kerry. You drank the Republican Kool-Aid, you got your guy elected, now please drop the ridiculous Kerry bashing. What purpose does it serve? He would certainly not have been a disaster. Despite ridiculous Republican propaganda the man's life time voting record shows him to be clearly a centrist. The Democrats he would have put in charge at State and the Pentagon showed they were perfectly capable of using force. Kerry is one of the few Senators who actually did anything to fight terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s. He's no Jimmy Carter, he's a actually a fairly vicious guy.

Certainly Bush has certain advantages over Kerry, but we would have been fine with Kerry as well. Have a little more faith in America, we rarely elect complete disasters. Don't fool yourself that things are great now - Bush is going to have to deal with an increasingly restless isolationist wing in his own party. Kerry would not have been able politically to afford to cut and run in Iraq. No way in hell. But with Bush we have the Nixon goes to China syndrome - only a Republican can afford to look weak. The American Conservative types will even tell you that Bush is the better bet to pull out, and they voted for him for that reason. They're probably deluding themselves but there is a certain logic to that position. I think Michael's wasting his breath telling Democrats that moderates carried the election - tell it to the GOP, they're the ones who have been crowing about "values."

Posted by: Vanya at November 10, 2004 06:34 AM


His voting record clearly showed he was anti-defense. He didn't need to condemn soldiers to protest the war.

70% of the people who voted for Kerry said that they voted that way because they didn't like Bush not that loved Kerry. I could see people being liberal minded but can't understand them getting behind Kerry.

Posted by: Barney at November 10, 2004 07:05 AM

Hint: "Moderate" is just a code-word for the stupid, hillbilly, racist, bigoted, low IQ, neanderthal, gun-totin, wife-beaten, beer-swillin, uneducated, trailer-park livin, Bible-thumpin, Jeebus-quotin, pick-up truck riden, KKK-hood wearin, Southern red-neck, Wall Mart-shoppin, warmongerin, uncultured, gay-bashin, 9-5 blue-coller idiot that makes up the majority of Americans.

Posted by: KR at November 10, 2004 07:11 AM

“He would certainly not have been a disaster.”

I am not that confident. Andrew Sullivan and the other pro-war supporters of John Kerry placed far too much importance on influencing him after the election. I reject the idea that a Bishop Thomas Becket is the norm. On the contrary, people rarely change especially if they are already sixty years old. Jane Galt also humorously commented that its unwise to expect a man to change after marriage. Kerry is instinctively an appeaser. It’s too risky to take the far fetched chance that he might grow into the job.

Posted by: David Thomson at November 10, 2004 07:18 AM


Nice effort, but I'd give it a rest if I were you. The far-left Dems who honestly believe that their election was "stolen" from them by the Jesus Freaks will not let something as petty as common sense get in the way of their desperate need to feel relevant and betrayed. It's their only means of idealogical survival.

As far as they're concerned, people like you will always be God-fearing, bible-thumping, Nascar-watching, church-loving, election-stealing atheists. Might as well get used to it...

Posted by: 2Slick at November 10, 2004 07:18 AM

This is not meant as a slam to anyone, just an obbservation.

Dr. Timothy Leary and RA Wilosn often discuss (discussed, in Leary's case) the 8-circuit conciousness model. It's a model of how consciousness develops and what areas of consciousness affect people in specific ways. It's strikingly similar to Jung, Freud and others.

For an iteresting read, check out

Anyway, I think that the recent election and the staggering numbers of people that considered the WoT the MOST Important issue, ties in interestingly with this model.

The first basic system of consciousness they define is the 'Bio-Survival' System.

To quote Wilson "... is the first activated when a human infant is born. It programs perception onto an either-or grid divided into nurturing-helpful Things (which it approaches) and noxious-dangerous Things (which it flees, or attacks). The imprinting of this circuit sets up the basic attitude of trust or suspicion which will ever after trigger approach or avoidance."

The second lebvel of consciousness "The Emotional-Territorial Circuit" concerns itself with basic animal/human territorial thinking. It's the most basic level where a child is no longer simply in 'fight or flee' and actually begins to make demands and have expectations of the outside world.

The fourth also applies in this case "The Socio-Sexual" Circuit, which is where customs, society, morals etc live.

According to Leary and Wilson, the first four circuits of consciousness are the ones that MOST impact the average human being's decisions.

The War on Terror appeals to three out of the four main consciousness circuits. There is the threat to life, which engages the most basic survival instinct, there is the territorial response to an attack within our boarders and finally, a threat to the currently held moral system here in our society.

I may not agree with the war in Iraq, but I'm not surprised that people placed the War on Terror above everything else... it's the natural programming of the human being... maybe.

I could be wrong,

Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 07:26 AM

Whoa, Tosk! Does all that consciousness circuit mumbo jumbo mean that people basically don't want to get killed?

Posted by: Zacek at November 10, 2004 07:32 AM

Tosk is pretty predictable and dogmatic. Expect 1-2 references to Leary, Wilson, Illuminatus, Discordianism, etc. (same shit, different titles) every 2-3 posts.

He has a cult-like obsession with this (or maybe he is RA Wilson in diguise - oooh conspiracy!!!). I think he calls this behaviour "being open minded" and "non-dogmatic."

I call it boring and lamo. Maybe he should open his on Discordian blog instead of trying to pimp "his" ideas on this site?

Posted by: Karl R. at November 10, 2004 07:34 AM

From WaPo: According to surveys of voters leaving the polls, Bush won 79 percent of the 26.5 million evangelical votes and 52 percent of the 31 million Catholic votes. Turnout soared in conservative areas such as Ohio's Warren County, where Bush picked up 18,000 more votes than in 2000, and local activists said churches were the reason.
20+15 million pro-life voters.
And yes, maybe even most of them preferred Bush more on Iraq or thought the War most important.

When the US Catholic Bishops start asking pro-abortion politicians not to go for communion, the Reps could get 80% of the Catholics, too. (10 million more?)

A. Specter, a (lonely) pro-choice Rep could become the chair of Judiciary Committee. H. Hewitt is pushing this; many pro-lifers (NRO) want somebody else (Specter voted AGAINST Bork -- but has been good since. Santorum helped him win his primary.)

The pro-Kerry blues talking succession should consider Federalism, instead -- let states decide on gay marriage, abortion, and maybe lots of other stuff. In theory, conservatives should like it. I'd guess most pro-life folk would support replacing Roe with state by state variation (NorthEast and Left Coast yes, many other places no.)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at November 10, 2004 07:52 AM

Tom Grey -

Agreed about the federalism model. I do not support gay marriage and don't want it for my state. That said, I have no objection to Massachusetts legalizing gay marriage, AS LONG AS THAT IS NOT USED TO FORCE GAY MARRIAGE INTO MY STATE.

I have stated previously that the most offensive aspect of this issue is the subversion of democracy. Major social changes should not be forced by the courts - they should be debated openly then resolved by the legislature. When the courts step in to make law, the winners don't have to convince everyone that their views are right and the losers have nothing but bitterness. I can accept losing a fair fight (i.e. when the legislature goes against me), but I cannot accept losing on the same issue by judicial fiat.

Posted by: Ben at November 10, 2004 08:19 AM

Are these models from the same flawed election polls that predicted Kerry would win?

This sort of hand-wringing about why Bush won or why Kerry lost doesn't interest me in the slightest. I'm a conservative orthodox Catholic, and I want pro-life judges and a strong war on terror. And it'd be nice if there were more tax cuts and spending cuts too, and the "ownership society" sounds awesome...

But I'm not going to obsess over why Bush won or why Kerry lost. That is a job for the losers: the Democrats. Bush won, end of story. I'll continue to fight for policies I believe in, starting with getting Specter knocked off as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Anyone trying to say "WE won this election" is using it as a club to fight for a specific policy. Either Sullivan trying to hype up his victim status, or libetarians trying to knock down pro-lifers, or whatever. Yawn. And don't bore me with moronic discussions about "consciousness." I heard enough of that crap in college and it is complete nonsense.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at November 10, 2004 08:46 AM

KR: if not parody, I do not understand the point of your little rant, except to illustrate exactly what Dionne wrote about, the left salving its wounds by demonizing the opposition. You do not diminish your opponents in this manner, merely degrade yourself.

Posted by: Zacek at November 10, 2004 08:46 AM

Karl R.,

Unless I post these in order to make people like you twinge.

Or maybe I am Bob, or Rev. Dobbs, or Eris, or Hagbard Celine...

Or maybe I'm George Bush.


Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 09:05 AM

Rat: Lame

Posted by: KR at November 10, 2004 09:39 AM


"The pro-Kerry blues talking succession should consider Federalism, instead -- let states decide on gay marriage, abortion, and maybe lots of other stuff. In theory, conservatives should like it. I'd guess most pro-life folk would support replacing Roe with state by state variation"

Hear Hear!

Federalism is how America is supposed to work. 11 States have adaquately protected themselves with Constitutional Amendments, passed by their own citizens. There is no reason for a federal amendment. The States know how to run their own affairs.

The same should be true for marijuana, abortion, automatic weapons, assisted suicide, etc.

I hope that, if nothing else, a second conservative term will re-establish this ideal. I have my doubts, but I'm hopeful.


Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 09:40 AM


Yep, but you replied.

Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 09:40 AM

Prediction: You have 1-2 more posts before I will read another lame reference to RAW.

Posted by: KR at November 10, 2004 09:45 AM


Don't forget to count the one I just posted in the article about Theo Van Gogh. Oh and this one...

Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 09:48 AM

How anyone can read the current Newsweek articles about Kerry and not think a Kerry presidency would have been a disaster is beyond me (and remember, Newsweek is nothing if not a pro-Kerry rag). The character defects of the man that would have affected any Kerry presidency big time were on full display, particularly the inability to lead even his own entourage, the dithering,the arrogance, the inneffectual strategy. His other character flaws, such as the tiny fact that he is a pathological liar and a consummate narcissist, were on full display in the still-not-discredited Unfit for Command. And then there's his voting record and his non-leadership record in the Senate, and his dangerous foreign policy (global test, UN, possible withdrawal from Iraq, ban nuclear bunker buster development, give fuel to the mullahs of Iran, bilateral talks with N. Korea, initial recommendation of Carter and Baker as envoys to the Middle East).

Maybe the country would have survived Kerry, but I, for one, didn't want to roll the dice and take the chance of finding out. I'm not happy with Bush's domestic policies, and we may have to do some suffering about some of them, but that's the bargain I and countless other lifelong Democrats made to insure that one of the worst presidential candidates ever nominated, Kerry, did not become our president.

Posted by: blogaddict at November 10, 2004 09:53 AM


You know, I just can't resist a good greyface like yourself, so I'm gonna call your hand.

On this blog, I found that I posted once in the discussion of Secularism, five times on the Lib Case of Bush and three times on 'Don't get Cocky', before I found a Discordian rant.

That makes it once out of every 9 posts.

Get your facts straight, or don't... its all the same.


Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 10:00 AM

Correction: Expect 1-2 references to Leary, Wilson, Illuminatus, Discordianism, etc. every 2-3 posts PER THREAD.


Posted by: KR at November 10, 2004 10:07 AM


Nope, Lib case for bush shows 5 Ratatosk posts, and onone of them mention Wilson, Leary, or Eris....

Oh, well hell... of course I didn't need to say anything, there were 5 posts so obviously the law of Fives applies and it was indeed Erisian.

Fucking Eris, she always has to get her digs in.


Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 10:09 AM

KR: ask Tree Rat abotu Madame Blavatsky.


Posted by: Eric Blair at November 10, 2004 10:12 AM


Awww, you remembered. How sweet.


Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 10:19 AM

Rat: You will never get it because I am a Level 10 Demigod Circuit and you are still on Level 1 Anal-Oral- Circuit. I can cast Ray of Sophistry twenty times per day, while you can only 2-3 posts per thread.

Posted by: KR at November 10, 2004 10:21 AM

In honor of the men fighting for us, they could be left,right,or down the middle we don't know but they fight for all of us not Reps or Dems exclusively:

"It is sweet and honorable to die for your country." --Horace {} "We make war that we may live in peace." --Aristotle {} "To be prepared for War is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." --George Washington {} "If ever there was a holy war, it was that which saved our liberties and gave us independence." --Thomas Jefferson {} "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill {} "The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth." --Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson {} "A really great people, proud and high-spirited, would face all the disasters of war rather than purchase that base prosperity which is bought at the price of national honor." --Theodore Roosevelt {} "No man can sit down and withhold his hands from the warfare against wrong and get peace from his acquiescence." --Woodrow Wilson {} "No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." --Calvin Coolidge {} "Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory." --George Patton {} "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." --Sir Winston Churchill {} "[L]et us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain." --Dwight Eisenhower {} "The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war." --Douglas MacArthur

Posted by: Barney at November 10, 2004 10:22 AM


Ohhh, thats nice! I don't have my Ray of Sophistry refined yet, but I can cast 'wall of dogma' and 'Summoning of E-Prime'.

Of course, I also had training with the Knights of The Five Sided Temple, so there are a few skills that are secret to that particular cabal... I'm sure you understand.


Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 10:41 AM

MJT, I know you're a fan of Chrisotpher Hitchens so it's quite possible you've already read this.

I thought it might be worth directing people's attention to though, Hitchens is and has been refreshingly free of the kind of self-congradulatory fantasies you've been pointing out in your posts.

Posted by: Leathan Lund at November 10, 2004 12:34 PM

I just don't get it, why so many democrats absolutely refuse to see reality here. I've been posting here for months and have always tried to have low key, polite back and forths even when my beliefs have been furiously attacked. Well, too hell with it!

I voted for George Bush because not only did I not trust Kerry to keep us, as a country safe, but I also didn't want my son serving one day under the man who for 30 plus years has trashed our Military..You run an asshole for a candidate and then bitch because we didn't elect him...The man lied every time he opened his mouth, flopped on every vote he ever cast,(except the 6 times he voted for late term abortion) Came across as a complete phony, would not have effectively ran this country or lead our troops to victory, he is married to a moron and had a vice Presidential candidate so hated that he couldn't even carry his own state.

Try running an acceptable candidate in 2008..

Posted by: cathy at November 10, 2004 01:01 PM


ROFL, I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read your post. The sentiment is good, even if it leans slightly toward hyberbole. Well stated.


Posted by: Ratatosk at November 10, 2004 02:07 PM

The RealClearPolitics page to which you linked shows Bush having gained in Maine. I'm guessing that it's been updated since you linked to it. Right now, only South Dakota (Bush -0.4%) and Vermont (Bush -1.8%) show Bush with a lower percentage than in 2000.

Posted by: Silicon Valley Jim at November 10, 2004 03:06 PM


OK, there's that, but you're obviously missing the point.

This election wasn't about yet another shitty presidential candidate from Massachusetts fronting for a confused, divided and embittered party dominated by reactionaries, the intellectual bankrupt and hordes of delusionals.

This election was really all about capitalistic corporate cronyism, Zionist zealotry, Christian theocrats, military adventurism in aid of Imperialism (can't forget that one), rape of the environment, repression of alternatives to reproduction and massive vote fraud. Oh, and the bashing gays thingee (can't forget that one, either).

Let's face it, when you have a laundry list of stuff like that on your plate, saving the world before bedtime requires you sacrifice certain taking the time to nominate a decent candidate with a decent record and putting forth a coherent and meaningful set of policy positions.

Let's face it're just too damn demanding in these truly demanding times. The problem is you.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 10, 2004 03:15 PM

MJT, et al:

There's an important point being missed in this discussion, I think. Among the "liberal" chattering classes/bloggers/etc. there has been a growing sense of realization that it wasn't the "Values" voters that tilted the election, in the end. Grappling with what that means is still in an inchoate stage, but this argument that liberals are blaming it all on the religious right is quickly becoming obsolete - and a trifle strawman-ish.

What's also clear, though, is that the actual members of the religious right are STILL convinced that it was all them:

"So what happened? After more than 25 years since I formed the Moral Majority and began mobilizing evangelicals to participate in the political process, I actually realized the fruit of my labors nationwide as Macel and I watched the election returns into the early hours of Wednesday. I could not hold back the tears of joy. Hour by hour, we observed a "slam dunk" as the Church of Jesus Christ made the difference in initiating the return of this nation to moral sanity and the Judeo-Christian ethic."

--Rev. Jerry Falwell

I know it would steal precious "beating up on silly wrong-headed liberals" time from your no doubt busy schedules, but perhaps you should consider the implications of the "values" crowd's over inflated sense of self importance. After all, it really doesn't matter much what "liberals" think for the time being - their actionable political clout at this point is nil. Religious right-wingers, on the other hand - who you so vigorously distance yourself from - are already busily planning how they can cash their political chits.

If you value your socially liberal beliefs, rather than just pay lip-service to them, you'd be better served projecting your views in their direction.....

Posted by: Jules at November 10, 2004 04:26 PM

Jules, I beg to differ. Firstly, although it's true that some rational Democrats are rejecting the "it was all the evangelicals, stupid" meme, many others, less rational, are still embracing it. So, it remains a very current explanation of the election results for many who are in a sort of simplistic denial of reality.

Furthermore--and this part connects to your second point--the more the Democrats trumpet this meme, the more the far right religious wing of the Republican Party (which most definitely does not include all or even most evangelicals, but nevertheless most definitely exists and has an agenda) will be convinced that they were the ones responsible for the Bush win, and that they are the ones who are owed, big time.

So, the two phenomena are joined, and the former feeds into the latter.

Posted by: blogaddict at November 10, 2004 04:37 PM


Also understand that some of the 'evangelical' leadership, such as Falwell, Bennett and Reed, are more than happy to foster the 'Jesus Vote' meme that started with the Democrats. They are battling for more power within the Republican Party, and it would behoove everyone to understand that before taking someone like Falwell at face value.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 10, 2004 04:46 PM

There was a point, early in the primary before the prison scandal when 75% of the country was supporting the war in Iraq and yet the democratic party faithful were making sure that our slate included only antiwar candidates (Leiberman's personality is such a handicap that he had no chance anyway).

We should have known at that point that the Democrats were doomed - when the party base, a minority of voters, is voting single issue against 75% of the country things don't look good.

Then they sealed their fate by choosing a candidate congenitally incapable of triangulation - John Kerry who can't open his mouth without smug, sanctomonious, moralistic rhetorical overkill that permanently alienates everyone who doesn't agree with him and insures that no one believes a word he says when he switches sides and then uses smug, sanctomonious, moralistic rhetorical overkill from the opposite side of the arguement.

Let's face it John Kerry is a twit.

An intelligent man doesn't stake out the most extremely offensive stance on an issue that he already knows he's going to have to triangulate!!!

Can you imagine Clinton giving a foreign policy speech and posting the video to his web site where he severly scolds that a policy which has a 75% approval rating at that point is "a betrayal of every principle America stands for".

To get the nomination Kerry told the country, in no uncertain terms, that we're all immoral bastards, and he made no deep attempt to understand the war on terror either...

Sigh. How did that twit get a reputation for being a genius anyway, he's certainly no talented politician.

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at November 10, 2004 05:14 PM

Anyway all of this stupid "blame the evengelicals" stuff, is just idiocy and and buck passing you expect from the remains of the Kerry organization. You can't expect intellgent analysis from the sort of losers who would be attracted to a twit like Kerry. Hopefully that organization will have compltely faded away and lost all of its influence long before the next election.

If it doesn't, we're doomed.

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at November 10, 2004 05:21 PM

Joshua: If it doesn't, we're doomed.i>

You're not doomed if you lose an election. Come on. You're gonna sound like today's silly lefties in four years if a Democrat wins the election. Ask yourself if that's the guy you really want to be.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 10, 2004 06:00 PM

I am one of those moderates. I switched parties for the first time this election. Besides the fact that I found Kerry to be a cypher who I would not consider trusting the GWOT to, I had other reasons as well. I genuinely like and admire President Bush. After Bush I and Clinton, I am happy to have a plain spoken guy who I can trust to do what he says he will do. In this time especially it is something we need. I remember during the six month build up to the Iraq War many were questioning whether we would go ahead or not given the difficulties with the UN. I remember thinking that I KNEW Bush would go ahead but if Clinton were president I could not be sure he wouldn't change the subject and back off. My final reason? From the beginning of the primary season I became genuinely sickened by the propaganda, bullshit and outright falsehoods eminating from every element of the left. The embracing of Michael Moore, a leftist propagandist worthy of Goebbels, was the straw that broke the camel's back. I suspect a lot of Bush voters were energized by the remarkable unfairness of the attacks on Bush Ashcroft and the whole administration who have done nothing but try to keep us safe for the last three years. Someone will have to recap the surreal past 18 months of constant anti-Bush books, overblown headlines etc. The party had better look in the mirror.

Posted by: Doug at November 10, 2004 06:32 PM

Matt Welch: "Everyone has their pet interpretation of the election, usually bearing an eerie resemblance to their own personal worldview."

Posted by: Mork at November 10, 2004 06:53 PM

I'm just depressed and bitter at the prospect of having to vote Republican for the rest of my life... Except for the war with the Islamists I'm actually to the left of the Democratic party. I was registered Green before this election.

Somehow I'd missed the fact that left is populated by idiots. I had to stop listening to Pacifica because the current cropt of "pacifists" seem to determined to prove Orwell right in his observation about them being objectively pro-facist. I put the word pacifist in quotes because the support for Palestinian terrorist seems to prove the pacifism lie.

I'll never get over listening to some communist conspiracy theory lecturer give a speech where he called Osama Bin Ladin a hero of the downtrodden masses. The Pacifica moderator reacted to this with what I can only describe as sexual excitement - I thought they were going to fuck on air.

So Pacifica, which had gotten a thousand dollars or so of donations from me over the year is off my list.

Sorry for venting. I'm just not happy about what's happened to the left. Michael Moore really ISN'T even slightly better than Rush Limbau...

My home town of San Francisco feels like a satire, not a real place. You know the novel "A Confederacy of Idiots?"

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at November 10, 2004 06:55 PM

No wait I meant "A Confederacy of Dunces"

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at November 10, 2004 06:59 PM

addict & dennis:

the relative primacy of the "blame evangelicals" strategy among liberals is, i suppose, open for debate. and clearly, "falwell, bennett, reed" etc. are more than happy to co-opt this meme in service of their own struggles for power within the republican apparatus.

but the fact remains - and i think that it's important for "moderate" or "one issue" (WOT) voters like MJT & others around here to be clear-eyed about it - that a resurgence of the power of religious right/social conservatives may be an unintended consequence of their vote. either you can live with this or you can do something about it. all i'm saying is: arguing about the value of your votes vis-à-vis evangelical votes in a rhetorical pillow fight with vanquished liberals is a pretty useless activity. raw votes, in the end, are fungible. assert your views and value as a voting bloc to those you've elected - they can do something with the input. as it stands: if a million, moderate, but politically fractured MJT's write the white house with passionate suggestions on war strategy and a million, well organized and disciplined christian coalition members write in imploring the white house to nominate pro-life judges (or whatever), i suspect their chorus will drown out yours.

if i had voted as you did, i'd protect my interests. Especially since they only narrowly align with the expressed interests of the Bush administration.

Posted by: jules at November 10, 2004 07:26 PM

UPDATE: Bush did better in 2004 than he did in 2000 in all states except Maine, Vermont, and South Dakota. That's because the Democratic Party is less appealing now than it was.

That's because regular folks can't stand the insufferable Liberals (and Libs can't stand them).

Posted by: David in Jesusland at November 10, 2004 08:14 PM

Someone named Hope asked about civility a few threads back. MJT, can you write on that? See:


Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at November 10, 2004 08:26 PM

OTOH, There's this:

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at November 10, 2004 08:50 PM

“Of these, more than eight in 10 thought the war in Iraq was part of the war on terrorism.”

And they were correct. Despite all the fevered Democrat assertions about why we went into Iraq, the primary reason was as part of the war on terror. First, recognize that the greatest threat facing our nation is terrorists armed with WMDs - contagious bioweapons or nuclear weapons.

1) Prevent Iraq from giving WMDs to terrorists. This remains valid in the absence of stockpiles, because of the capacity that existed and the small amount of chemical weapons needed. Note that this also stopped whatever nuclear program Iraq would have had had we left them alone. We could not maintain the force posture to compell the admittance of inspectors for long.

2) Show the Islamofascist world that we have the cojones to wage pre-emptive war, defeat any bad guys, and leave the country in a state unfriendly to terrorists (i.e. with a reasonable amount of freedom and democracy).

3) Position a lot of force next to Iran and Syria, both of which are major supporters of terrorism.

Many Americans supported this. Kerry put out a contradictory message: terrorism is a police nuisance, and we will stay in Iraq as long as needed.

Posted by: John Moor)e ( Useful Fools blog at November 10, 2004 09:07 PM

Mork, channelling my friend Matt Welch: "Everyone has their pet interpretation of the election, usually bearing an eerie resemblance to their own personal worldview."

Yes, I've noticed that. And, yes, I've thought about how that relates to me. (I plead guilty.) But today I quoted EJ Dionne who voted differently than I did.

So, if EJ comes to the same conclusions I did, you can't blame his personal worldview for what he said in his column.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 10, 2004 09:10 PM

I have discovered a reason for the defeat of Kerry by Bush that is truly unique and proves that there exist people on the Democratic Party's fringe even stranger than the Democrtic Underground

I kid you not, it is IMPOSSIBLE to make this stuff up!

Got this on a netscape message board and just HAD to save it. Turns out it was not the WAR, nor Gay Marriage, nor Stem Cells, nor the Economy, Jobs the Deficit or even Ingnorant Red State Voters along with Evangelical Christian Moral Rightists that decided the election for Bush,

INSTEAD it was Evil Republican Magi with Hell Hounds sending out telepathic messages to vote Bush not Kerry. ;-)

Now what I would really like to know is WHERE and HOW do I sign up?

I mean to tell you, black Mercedes and Lincolns with the tinted windows? the mansions with the hell-hounds in the yard and the 7-foot tall hairless black doormen?

Think the Democrats can match THAT?

Not a chance Man, I WANT IN? LOL

Enter the Twilight Zone Here

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at November 10, 2004 10:16 PM


First, the more reliable exit polls (Pew, etc.) are showing no appreciable increase in voting by 'evangelicals' in 2004 over 2000. What they are showing is that Bush increased his percentage amongst them in 2004 vs. 2000.

Second, you assume that 'evangelical' voters are one issue voters, and the one issue is religion. There is no polling or research that I know of that supports this contention. It is, on its face, a gross oversimplification.

Third, I don't know how old you are, but if you're close to my age (47) you went through this during the Reagan years. You know, warnings that the Reagan Administration was going to ship Massachusetts to newly created re-education camps in the Mojave Desert that would be run by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

Beyond that, it appears to me that MJT and his ilk have been sufficiently clear-eyed about the crowd they were aligning with. In fact, to my own tastes, most of them were way beyond sufficient...I'm told Totten had to hire a crew of six to shovel all the angst out of this site in mid-October! Somehow I don't think the 'evangelicals' will run off with the chicken coop without MJT noticing the attempt.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 11, 2004 04:42 AM


I mean to tell you, black Mercedes and Lincolns with the tinted windows? the mansions with the hell-hounds in the yard and the 7-foot tall hairless black doormen?

We Republican give great dinner parties, let me tell you.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 11, 2004 04:50 AM


FYI: This year 59.6 million voted for a Democrat for Senate, 57.6 voted for a Republican.

Posted by: Randy Paul at November 11, 2004 10:22 AM

Michael, I think that it is also an interesting anecdote to look at these election results:

Specifically, the Presidential and state elections are heavily Republican. But on County Question 3 (last item on the page), Churchill county was the only place in the country that could vote on whether to ban prostitution. Overwhelmingly, it went for keeping it legal.

"Moral values" voters? Possibly, but not that kind of moral value.

Posted by: gek at November 11, 2004 10:33 AM

I think the blame the evangelicals impulse, at least in myself, was an immediate reaction to the shock of Bush's margin of victory, the loss of the Senate seats, and the color of the maps on election night. The first piece of info. that came out was the 22% exit poll and the passage of the state referendums, so that was what we latched onto. Further reporting and reflection reveals a more complicated picture of what happened.

I think Kerry got beat because he was up against a formidable foe who is liked and respected by many, with a clear, compelling, attractive message and an excellent campaign organization. He on the other hand was a less likable candidate, was easily pegged as either insincere or elitist, and had a muddled message and an inadequate campaign organization.

I still feel that the better man lost last week, and I'd remind you all that 56 million Americans agree with me. Because of institutional anomalies in the Congress (the minority party in the House has no power, the equal representation of states in the Senate), this huge minority of voters will have very little institutional power to affect anything in the near future. This provides an incredibile political opportunity for Republicans.

Democrats will probably put forward a more moderate, more middle american face and attitude next time, in order to expand on our 56 million. But just as 2004 was mostly a referendum on Bush, not Kerry, 2006 and 2008 will be even more so. Either his policies lead the nation toward peace and prosperity in the coming years, or they don't.

Posted by: Markus Rose at November 12, 2004 10:22 AM


Actually Democrats received 3,184,943 more votes for their Senate candidates than Republicans did.

Posted by: Randy Paul at November 13, 2004 07:18 PM

George Bush owns the GWOT. Dems know this. Even if they wish it were not so, their performance, particularly in the primaries, made them look silly. Kerry didn't help, either by his statements or his record. And, given their curent makeup, they're not likely to fix it any time soon.
However, if dems admit this, they admit a lot they'd prefer not to.
Better to glom on to the red(neck) state values thing. It allows them to wallow in their unappreciated superiority. That it's false is, for now, unimportant. We'll see if they have the guts to get onto more important things.
For the record, I am speaking of what I know of how the vote(s) turned out.
For my own part, and speaking of others I've talked to, values was immensely important.
Among other things, you can't tell what's coming up next. How you judge a man's adequacy to handle the unknown is basically to look at his character. Which is to say, his values.
Then there's the esthetic factor which should not be overlooked.

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