Irrational Election Exuberance

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.


10 thoughts on “Irrational Election Exuberance

  1. Sorry, but you don’t get 49% of the popular vote by being “out of touch”. 50 million people seem plenty in touch with the Democrats. The simple hard truth is:

    1) Rural Americans hate gays.
    2) Rural Americans hate abortions.
    3) Republicans have capitalized on this and completely radicalized rural Americans.

    BTW, you know we’re in the middle of a war? Somewhere in the Middle East I think. 1 or 2 American soldiers dying each day, I think. Perhaps Bush might want to work on that.

  2. I mentioned the “out of touch” nature of the national Democratic party NOT to comment on Kerry’s candidacy, but rather to suggest a reason why the Republican party added seats in Congress. I think that continued shift can’t be credited to Bush, and think it has more to do with the liberalization of the Democratic party.

    Your comment is further evidence of this. No matter how hard the Democrats try, trying to ram issues like abortion and gay marriage down the throats of rural America is a futile effort. Your refusal to accept their opposition on these issues as a reasonable position, and instead casting it as hatred is, in fact, part of the problem. I see this same attitude on Slashdot – all people who voted for Bush are dumb, ignorant, or hateful. This characterization is, in fact, ignorant. Some of us are actually capable of holding a differing opinion without slandering anyone who disagrees.

    As for the war – yes, I think I’m aware of that. If you haven’t noticed, Bush IS working on it. Now that we’re engaged there, a fast withdrawal is the quickest way to ensure that the whole effort was a waste. The “insurgents” there are not rational, and must be defeated. All of the major groups want the installation of a minority, highly partisan government that will systematically oppress those not in its ethnic or religious group. Show me a major resistance group there that has noble intentions.

  3. So you think all of the aggressively anti-gay initiatives that were passed are a “reasonable position”? What about all the people who were against interracial marriage? That another “reasonable position”.

    This isn’t about gay marriage at all. Tell me, have you ever heard of a single Democrat ever, anywhere, campaign FOR gay marriage? Who is trying to ram it down anybody’s throat? Please. The people who voted weren’t voting against gay marriage, they were voting against gays. Plain and simple.

    Let’s be honest and call a spade a spade. There’s nothing rational about it and the Republicans know this. Rural America has been successfully and totally radicalized. As long as this is the case, Republicans will get their votes for “free” and **everybody** will get screwed.

    (Unless you think Bush was serious about the Constitutional Amendment? Or that he’ll actually try to overturn RvW?)

    This has nothing to do with trying to typecast anybody. The facts are as I stated them above. I didn’t call anybody dumb or ignorant but they are hateful. There’s no doubt about that.

  4. Reasonable position? Is killing innocent, unborn babies reasonable? It isn’t reasonable to me. Is gay people getting married reasonable? It is reasonable to me.

    Just because you don’t believe in it doesn’t mean it’s unreasonable. In the states where gay marriage was made illegal, it was reasonable to a majority of those people. Sorry, that’s the way it is in a democracy.

  5. Yeah and it used to be reasonable to the majority of the people that it was ok to hold slaves.

    Your definition of reasonable needs work. And like I pointed out before, gay marriage was and will continue to be a codeword for homosexuality. Nobody remembers it, but we’ve been through this before with interracial marriage. And if you’re not willing to see the hatred (or at least deeply ingrained cultural prejudice) behind all of the anti-gay initiatives than you’re **trying** not to see it. Go check out all the groups that pushed these initiatives. Read their websites. See what they have to say about homosexuality in general.

    As for the rationality of abortion that, I agree, is entirely up for debate. But that doesn’t change the simple facts:

    1) Rural Americans hate gays.
    2) Rural Americans hate abortions.
    3) Republicans have capitalized on this and completely radicalized rural Americans.

    As long as rural Americans are single-“moral”-issue voters they will be in the pockets of Republicans and it’ll be bad for the entire country.

  6. You can’t judge the actions of people in the past with the values of today. That just doesn’t hold water at all.

    Again, it really doesn’t matter at this point. A majority of people voted to make gay marriage illegal in certain states. It doesn’t matter that you have an issue with rual americans and republicans.

    As long as more than 1/2 the population has a certain view, they can get laws changed. That’s a democracy. It sounds like your issue is with democracy. Either convince enough people that your views are right instead of theirs, live with things the way they are or leave. Those are your choices.

  7. Your criticisms of rural voters as free votes could be just as easily leveled at the black community. In spite of the fact that Republicans supported the Civil Rights Act more than the Democrats (percentage-wise), black voters have a recent tradition of voting Democrat, even when taken for granted by the party. The difference is, I don’t villify them or over-simplify them. I actually make efforts to try and educate them as intelligent individuals on what the conservative movement in America has to offer them (for instance, Social Security, left unreformed, is disadvantageous for black males).

    As for examples of Democrats forcing gay marriage and civil unions, reference Gavin Newsom and Howard Dean (and the VT legislature), for starters. The very real possibility exists that a U.S. District court (such as the 9th Court of Appeals) or state courts could mis-apply the equal protection clause to gay marriage and rule that all in that region/state MUST sanction gay marriages. The people don’t want that, and are talking about how best to prevent it. People are not voting against gays, and unlike the Civil Rights movement, nobody is challenging their ability to work, to receive an education, or to be treated with the utmost and equal respect as individuals. Further, if nobody is pushing gay marriage, what is the harm in codifying in constitutions actions which are already illegal? The only difference is that now that law is beyond the reach of the courts.

    As for overturning RvW, I think Bush wouldn’t mind seeing it changed, and isn’t the only one. The whole discussion is a muddled, complex issue, and I think a significant case can be made for either view on the issue. The difference is clear – Bush said he would apply a litmus test on abortion to his judicial appointees, Kerry said that he would. Funny, I keep hearing that conservatives aren’t open-minded….

  8. The problem I have with Bush is that he says one thing then does another. Like most politicians. I didn’t really believe Kerry when he said he would balance the budget, pay for health care, yada yada yada. While only raising taxes for the rich. Just because he Bush doesn’t apply a litmus test to one issue, doesn’t mean he won’t appoint an ultra-conservative judge. I guarantee that he will.

  9. Can someone explain why all liberals believe that they have an intellectual high ground?

    All I’ve heard this week is ‘everyone else in the country is stupid for not supporting the DNC ticket;’ I look forward to the day that african-americans take advantage of their educational opportunities and apprise themselves of the means to escape the DNC mis-education.

    Without the poor and uneducated, the DNC ceases to be a factor in politics, they’re already irrelevant to everyday life.

    Liberalism: a method by which economically advantaged caucasian college graduates atone for their consuming guilt at being born better off than someone else

    Don’t give me a handout, give me a hand up.

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