November 03, 2004


(Election rant. Feel free to leave now and come back in a couple of days...)

Feeling pretty darn depressed about the election. Not just because Kerry lost, but because 'morals' and 'values' turned out to be the pivot point of the whole thing -- not the conduct of the war on terrorism or the war in Iraq, not the economy, the deficit, or taxes, not the environment, not civil liberties, or any number of other urgent, pressing issues affecting the nation; in the end, it was gaybashing and abortion that brought out the evangelicals and brought the election home for Bush. I don't share morals with these people (although I am a Christian) -- but we just gave them the car keys to the country for another four years.

In his victory speech today, the President spoke about how he needs the support of us Kerry voters -- "I will do all I can do to deserve your trust" -- but precedent doesn't give me much hope. Talking heads are already framing Bush's margin of victory (1% of the American population!) as a glorious 'mandate', and the usual suspects, like (more-moral-than-thee compulsive-gambler) Bill Bennett are coming out to proclaim that "President Bush now has a mandate to affect policy that will promote a more decent society, through both politics and law". I'm sure that GOP staff members are already out back warming up the if-you're-not-with-us-you're-against-us steamroller, soon to make a reappearance in use against recalcitrant Dems ...

I don't think that the country is ruined; I still believe that the American people are good at heart; I don't think that this is our Germany-in-the-1930s moment -- or any other ridiculous analogies that people on the paranoid far left like to make. But I'm not feeling very good, either. I guess that I just need time to process -- back to your regularly-scheduled light banter soon.

And fortunately we have a new house to distract me -- did I mention that our new bedroom furniture came today? And that last night we bought a refrigerator and a new range? The range has two ovens -- a normally-sized one in the usual position, and a smaller one where the broiler/warming drawer/useless extra "pot drawer" usually goes. So soon we'll be able to cook a Thanksgiving turkey and bake cookies/a pizza/something long and flat AT THE SAME TIME!

(Today I was hearing lots of GOP people on the radio crowing about how deeply meaningful it was that Bush was the first presidential candidate to win a majority of the popular vote since Bush I in 1988!!!!! Gee, maybe that's because this is the first election since 1988 that didn't have a strong third-party candidate, and not necessarily because Bush is such a swell guy?)

Posted by Kevin at November 3, 2004 08:52 PM

We clearly agree very little on politics. I guess I am astounded that so many people voted for that flip-flopping opportunist and his abulance chasing lawyer crony. As to your quoting of statistics, you are doing a bit of bending yourself. You can't say 3.5 m difference is 1% of the population what is important is that it is 3% of the electorate which really is quite significant. I do agree that the crowing about the size of the vote does not take into account Perot in 92 and 96. However, in 2000 the fringe vote accounted for less than 1% (continued)

Posted by: Martyn at November 4, 2004 10:51 AM

... see
and neither candidate could get over 50% then.
I think in ten years you may change your mind about the importance of this result - when some of that Berkeley, Northern Californian liberalism has dissipated.

Posted by: Martyn at November 4, 2004 10:58 AM

Correction. Fringe candidates in 2000 got 3-4%, it was tabulated strangely on the referenced website.

Posted by: Martyn at November 4, 2004 12:42 PM

Martyn: You and I, disagreeing about something?? I'm shocked -- shocked!

Regarding the abuse of statistics: When talking heads keep on talking about how THE AMERICAN PEOPLE have spoken, I think that it is important to point out what an extremely small segment of The People, in total, we're actually talking about here. But what I say doesn't really matter -- it's what the representatives of the party in power say that's really important, and they're obviously spinning as fast as they can to make the public believe that President Bush has gained a sweeping mandate and mined vast amounts of "political capital" from what was an undeniably close squeaker of an election. (Had Bush given Kerry a 60%-40% walloping like Reagan gave Mondale in 1984, then we could seriously talk about sweeping mandates.)

My new favorite justification for why Democrats have to roll over: "President Bush got more votes in this election than any other presidential candidate in history." What does that have to do with anything, beyond rising population and increasing voter registration? Kerry got the second-largest number of votes than any other presidential candidate in history, and he doesn't get a cookie.

As for your use of the "when you grow up, you'll understand" gambit: I hope that when we look back in ten years, we can laugh about what a nullity President Bush was during his time in office. I fear that we'll remember him all too well -- and not for good reasons, either.

Posted by: Kevin at November 9, 2004 04:18 PM
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