The sheep win, 51% to 48%.
That, after almost 24 hours of this crap, is how I can most sum up how I feel about the re-election of George W. Bush.
Where to begin? On a personal note, the live play-by-play blog turned out not to be a good idea. Too many distractions. I was watching the coverage with too many people. It needs to be an all-alone-in the-room sort of thing. I had a second entry half-done but knew it sucked, so I decided not to post it. I left the only entry up, since I don't believe in deleting what I write, but it wasn't great. Maybe next time.
Read this lovely piece by Bill Bennett (link from Andrew Sullivan) if you want to feel totally confused. Don't know about you, but I continue to struggle with a man who has confirmed that he has lost millions of dollars gambling in casinos giving me advice on morality. And isn't it nice to see the "Bush has restored decency to the White House" line again?
If I have digested all the info I have seen today correctly, the biggest issue for voters in this race was "moral values", even bigger than the war and terror. Simply unbelievable. The President ignored everything except Iraq and 9/11, and he wins because the majority of the people in this pasture, I mean country, are speaking out against Bob and Ron walking down the aisle together. Again, simply unbelievable. How are the history textbooks going to handle this one? When my yet-unborn children are taking history their junior year of high school, how will they teach that the 2004 election was a referendum on gay marriage? But wait! Wouldn't it be against "moral values" to acknowledge homosexuality in a high school textbook? I'll be happy to wait twenty years or so and report back to you, if I haven't been deported by then.
We just told 10% of the population of this country to go scratch. I am speechless. There are so many other things in this country worth the consideration of a vote. To have it come down to "values" makes no sense. No one can even describe what the damn word means.
God, I haven't felt this sad in a while. If you take what I have written so far as nothing more than a defense of gay people you are sorely missing the point. Someone just needs to explain to me, in a non-red state way (meaning I am not interested in what God thinks about the topic) why we emphasize asinine issues over important ones! If I am coming to terms with Bush's re-election because people said they were concerned about the war, or the economy, or health insurance I would be dealing with it in a much more acceptable way.
In a lot of ways, I must move on.
Here's another great link from Sullivan that explains what groups voted for whom. If you think Bush appealed and got support from moderates, it looks like you are wrong. He played to his base, and they responded. This tells me that we are going to hear a lot more about God these next four years. The point about senior citizens voting in droves to speak out against gay marriage leaves me with this thought: that generational characteristic will be dying off soon.
I watched both Kerry and Bush speak today. I give credit to Kerry for realizing that he was not in a position to extend the election any further. I don't think I would have blamed him if he did if he based it on wanting every vote counted, but it is best to move on. Now the question is what does he do upon his return to the Senate? I say make him minority leader. Why the hell not?
I just looked up the literal meaning of mandate: "A command or an authorization given by a political electorate to its representative." Not surprisingly, I have heard Republicans today confuse this with "majority." Nobody gave Bush a mandate. 51% of the 60% of those who bothered to vote gave him a "majority." Yet the GOP believes that the third of this nation that actually cast a vote speak for all of us.
Note the last Sullivan piece mentions that Bush essentially owes his base his re-election. If they failed to mobilize, Kerry probably wins by a small margin. Knowing this, the President's pledge to reach out to everyone today is laughable. He will do no such thing. He will do what he has done since 2000, focus on the rich and the Christian.
The worst possible scenario for this country is to have one party hold both houses of Congress and the White House at the same time, whether it is the Republicans or the Democrats. I think the most intriguing question will be if Bush makes it through eight full years without vetoing a single bill.
We are, without a doubt, a nation divided. We have been for quite a while. I did some research tonight and found that the last time a majority of the western states went for a democrat in a presidential election was when Johnson won in 1964. Since then, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, both Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma have been colored red on election night. And except for Carter in 1976 Virginia, both Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas have gone red as well. Why? What is in these states that make some so stubbornly Republican? The average margin in these states yesterday was over 60% for Bush.
Take a map of the US, draw a Nike swoosh from Idaho down through the south to the Atlantic coast, and I will bet you every state goes for the Republican candidate in 2008. Don't forget Indiana and Alaska as well. New England, Pennsylvania, and the industrial Midwest (Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota) along with the Pacific coast and Hawaii will be for the Democrat. The 2008 race will be decided by Florida, Ohio, New Mexico and Iowa. Again.
Ah well, my time is running short. When I finish this I am taking a break from all things political until at least until the end of November. I best be wrappin' this up.
I'm not happy about this election, of course. I will say again, I don't hate the President. I hate the direction he has taken this country, and I know he will continue to do so until his term expires. I see his call for unity as lip service. He and his Congress will do as much as they can to push through more tax breaks, more obscene amounts of money for Iraq, and I expect them to try to get the Arctic refuge finally open for drilling. We will be bombarded with faith issues and moral righteousness BS. If he is feeling especially randy, I expect him to try to reinstate the draft.
My message to the Democrats is this: do not, for one second, fall for this "Let's work together" crap. What the President told you today was "either you are for my agenda, or you are against me." He has no intention of compromising. Why should he? He prefers to see you sitting at the back of the bus. In 1994, when the Republicans took control of Congress, they obstructed Bill Clinton's agenda from every possible angle. It cost Bob Dole his chance of being President in 1996, but it made the country as divisive as it ever has been. The seeds of political discontent were sown then, not now, and it is not your legacy to fix it. Fight this President's agenda. Do not allow him to further take this country to the right. He did not receive a mandate. Look, you're nine seats down in the Senate and thirty in the House. Things can't get much worse. You have nothing to lose by keeping the gloves off.
It's time to go to the mattresses. Over the Supreme Court justice appointments that will need to be made, over amendments that deny rights to citizens of this country, over the absence of fiscal restraint, and over the politics of fear and God.
As for me, I am not going anywhere. After my November hiatus I will be continually watching the facts and events. I will praise those who deserve it and slam those who deserve it, regardless if they are red or blue, though realistically I know who will draw most of my ire. This is a dangerous time to be on the sideline. Every single American needs to hold the 536 legislators in Washington accountable. I certainly plan on it!
Bush fooled me in 2000. I gave him trust because he said he'd bring people together, which was especially important in the aftermath of such a close election.
Last night was not a landslide, not a mandate and I will not be fooled again.