Thursday, November 04, 2004


Thought I was going to go away and sulk? Fat chance! There’s a lot of work to do. Over the next few weeks you’ll be hearing a lot of nonsense about what this election "meant" and about a Bush "mandate." Don’t you believe it. George Bush has now run two presidential elections. The way I slice the numbers, half the nation hates his guts, about 40% of the nation loves him, and the final 10% think he’s a disaster but votes for him anyway because they viscerally dislike our Democratic candidates. Folks, that’s not a mandate to do anything.

The blog dispels some of the myths already circulating about this election: for instance, the one about young people not turning out to vote in the expected record numbers -- they did turn out in record numbers, it’s just that so did every other age group so the *percentage* of the total turnout didn’t seem remarkable. The point is that groups like MoveOn and blogs like DailyKos did have an appreciable effect, most noticeably in places like Philadelphia. The battle shifts for a while now to Congress and we’ll start rallying against rightwing extremists like Senator Rick Santorum NOW -- he’s up for reelection in 2006 and the numbers and trends in Pennsylvania clearly spell his demise. See, I told you there was work to do! In 2000, Gore lost and we all went into hibernation for a while, exhausted. Not this time. I am continuing BushWatch as a blog. And I’m soliciting names which suggest both liberal and tough. My choice at the moment is "The Liberal Fist" – I like it ‘cause it sounds kinda crazy. But I’m holding off on deciding until I hear other suggestions. I’ll also continue emailing my posts – as always, if you want off the list just let me know. And feel free to sign others up.

The story of Bush’s win? Karl Rove turned out his evangelicals, period. This is a group of voters who steadfastly, willingly, even knowingly, vote against their economic self-interest. "Bush cost you your job" means almost nothing to them. We need to absorb this fact and plan accordingly.

Last night John Stewart gave to Sen. Schumer a litany of things that Bush has done to hurt "average Americans" -- and then he said, "Apparently this was all trumped by the idea of dudes kissing other dudes."


Wes Clark began this process with his excellent stump speech about "Family Values" which pointed out, without spite or rancor but with plenty of indignation, the myriad evidence that Bush and the Republican party *despise* families. "Health Care is a family value" should be a bumper sticker on 50 million cars (in contrast Kerry’s "Health Care is a right" spoke only to his own

That being said, 55.5 million people voted for Kerry. We came within a hair's breath (about 75,000 votes in Ohio when all’s said and done) of electing the most liberal senator in the country (the Bushies were right about that) President. I admire many things about Kerry but his flaws as a national candidate were obvious, notably his undeniable patrician/northeastern/European vibe and the coincidence of the Gay Marriage legal fight being waged in his state in an election year. If we had run a Governor from a swing state with political skill we would have won the election with the exact same platform on which Kerry ran. I'm not endorsing that platform 100% mind you (especially his hedging on Iraq) but this seems to me a political fact. How y'all feeling about Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell these days?

In 1851, Emerson complained, "Slavery reads the Constitution with a shrewd and daring and innovative eye; Liberty is satisfied with the literal construction." He was berating abolitionists for not taking control of the debate about what was "American" what was "patriotic" what was "Christian" and what was not.

Well, I say, Karl Rove is very shrewd and daring and innovative -- and to hell with us if we don't start fighting back.


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