Look, I’m as pleased as the next conservative that Bush won reelection, but the talking head pundits need to quit drinking the Kool-aid on this one. Most of the “records” being touted are just absurd and irrelevant.
The most touted record is that Bush received more votes than any presidential candidate in history, as though this makes him the president most in demand in our nation’s history. This failure to incoporate voter turnout and population growth in the claim is especially intellectually dishonest coming from people who dismiss the “highest oil prices ever” (correctly) with inflation-adjusted numbers. John Kerry received the 2nd most votes of any candidate in U.S. history – does that give him a mandate too?
Another popular “record” is that Bush is the first president elected with a majority of the popular vote since 1988. Gore probably would have achieved this in Nader’s absence in 2000. In the absence of Perot, Clinton would have earned this in 1996, but never would have been running, since Bush probably would have beat Clinton with 50+% in 1992 in the absence of Perot grabbing 19% of the popular vote. It’s not meaningful because the stat seems more dependent on the strength of 3rd party candidates than the strength of the winner (Reagan’s dominating win in 1984 was far more decisive).
Lastly, you have the first president since FDR to win re-election and gain seats in both houses of Congress. This is a more notable historical achievement, probably not completely devoid of significance, but I think an honest assessment of the situation has to conclude that the winners didn’t ride the wave of Bush popularity to victory. In fact, large numbers of Kerry voters must have crossed over to support (such as PA, where 12 of 19 Congressmen elected were Republican, yet Kerry won the state). Rather, it seems, the liberalization of the national Democratic party has become something out of touch with much of America. It’s to the point where in many places, it’s becoming unthinkable for a Democrat to win anything other than an urban district – the rural voters can’t relate to the national party.
As I said, I’m pleased and excited that Bush won. I’m hoping he’ll tackle the 3 biggest domestic issues, so wisely selected by former Georgia Senate candidate Herman Cain – the tax code, Social Security, and Medicare. All 3 are broken systems, certain to divide and harm our country if left untouched. I hope that opponents of the Fair Tax will stop demagoguing the “people will pay more tax” line, and consider that they will actually improve their buying power, regardless of tax paid. I hope for a privatization of Social Security that deprives nobody of their expected benefits, while also making the system sustainable for the future. As for Medicare/Medicaid, I honestly don’t know enough about them to know what is needed, I simply know that by most accounts, it needs some serious reexamination.