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Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Josh Legere

I work in the music biz and have gotten almost 100 e-mails from collegues crying about the oppression they have to live with under Bush. It has worn me out. Especially since most of these folks live a good life on the West side and Silverlake. They have a pretty silly idea of oppression.

Liberals/lefties need to put the energy into framing the debate. Build up institutions and help remake the Democratic Party or some sort of party that will stand for something.

The conspiracy theories are equally depressing. I saw Susan Sarandon pawning conspiracy theories on Real Time on Friday night. Depressing. It is only going to get worse.

The Left is coming off as a bunch of sore losers.

John  y Moore

I think there is no simple answer. There were many issues, and only some single issue voters.

In the same way, Bush is not as simple as the caricatures. His Medicare Prescription Drug benefit is hardly conservative. Likewise his education initiative. In fact, as a reader of conservative publications, I saw a lot of criticisms. I suspect these programs may have grabbed some votes from the Democrats.

The War on Terror should not have been a partisan issue. In any case, some people voted for bush strictly on the WOT issue. Many of us felt that the Democrats do not have a deep enough pool to form a competent war cabinet, and that Kerry considered the issue a police problem, as opposed to a global war. Again, this got Bush a bunch of votes. I have found many who consider the WOT as their single issue, holding their nose against other Bush isses and voting for him to be the war leader. Roger Simon's blog http://rogerlsimon.com/ has many commenters with that viewpoint.

The likely opportunity for the President to appoint Supreme Court justices energized the morals people - the religious ones and others who cared about the issue without religion (yes, there are a bunch of non-religious pro-lifers). The gay marriage movement likewise attracted this same group.

Many veterans, especially Vietnam Veterans, were galvanized to vote against Kerry. As a Vietnam veteran, I felt that way, and actively worked with VVFT and the Swift Boat organization.

I have no idea where economic issues took people. I do read of people getting tired of the soak-the-rich (which always means middle class) coming from the Democrats, a party supported by wealthy Hollywood people and billionaires like Soros. One thing that the Democrats could do would be to drop the opposition to the death. People are realizing that it hits the middle class, forcing the sale of farms and small businesses. How many votes that moved I don't know.

Depending on how far left you are, you may be able to move into the electable range. Few of the populace are as far left as socialism.

Overall, it's pretty complicated. Many people were terrified of another 4 years of Bush (I don't know wny).

Finally, I'm not trying to start a food fight. There are lots of things above that many here won't agree with. To nit pick them is to miss the point.


Excellent post Marc. The Democrats that are enjoying the mental masturbation parlor games of move away / secede are doing just that masturbating. If their allegiance to progressive ideals is so shallow that they contemplate immigrating to another country, or perhaps making another attempt at secession (notice how well the first attempt went?) are not serious about policy change.

You are right regarding the struggle to come up with saleable ideas; I'm glad you and your comrades were able to do so in Chile. I remember the agony over the defeat of Goldwater and the need to re-think not the message, but the presentation of the message - make it understandable to all and sundry.

Liberals/Progressives will do themselves and this country a great disservice unless they, as you say, "knock it off already and grow up..." They need to stick with their ideals and stay to be able to implement those ideals.

P.S. Thanks for the plug of my new blog http://gmscorner.blogspot.com the seat belt is fastened so securely, that if I had it any tighter I'd get gangrene. I hope visitors there have as much fun as I do here. God Bless young man, God Bless!

Brian Siano

Good comments. I haven't been doing much Internet chat on the election-- and with several websites, bogs, and local email lists on my daily loop-- there's a lot of opportunity. The main reason is that there's not much I can say that's terribly original. The _second_ reason is that I'm sick of wading through lakes of liberal melodramatics.

If there is any indication that liberals can be every bit as moronic as right-wingers, it's hearing the "time to move to Canada" mantra milled out like a fresh witticism.

Believe me, folks, tis ain't going to be like Germany losing the likes of Brecht and Mann and Szilard and Einstein.

But, since we're telling ourselves that it ain't gonna be _that_ bad, there's a ray of hope by way of Hitchens. On Nov. 3rd, he told _Lateline_ that he'd been told that Ashcroft wasn't going to last much longer in the Cabinet. And lo and behold, Ashcroft resigns.

John  y Moore

I suggest that those who will seriously consider moving to Canada are not Americans heart. Part of citizenship is putting up with adversity with your country, and helping it out - in the extreme going to war for it. Those folks look pretty crappy in comparison.

I also suspect there will be very few of them who actually leave, which is unfortunate.


"Few of the populace are as far left as socialism."

The polls say otherwise, they're actually quite to the left of the politicians, be it on questions of health care, social security, labor unionising rights, war,...

too many steves

Great follow-up Marc.

There are two mistakes some liberals are making that I see in my travels around the various blogs.

The first, as you point out, is this self-pleasuring whining about an ignorant electorate, voting unfairness, etc.

The second is the forward looking strategy of dashing off to the right - suggested, in a sense, in Bill Clinton's election post mortem. But this was tried already, by Kerry, during the campaign. He would do as Bush did in Iraq only better. He was against gay marriage but also against amending the Constitution. His campaign came down, in many parts, to distincitions without a difference.

They won't win by adopting the positions of their opponents, most simply because it will be understood as disingenuous and nothing more than the cynical calculations of someone who stands for nothing but winning.

I'm a conservative who believes we need two vibrant political parties (at least) in order for our society to thrive and progress. Liberals need to purge their ranks of the cynics while allowing the people with ideas and principles (too early to say definitively but Obama seems to fit the bill) to set the party on a principled path.

Interestingly enough, I think that would be the easiest and most expedient path to winning. The election was, after all, very close.

Tom Grey

First, Dems had problems with Iraq/defense -- too many Peace Now appeasers needed to be appeased by Kerry. Hitchens and Totten should be Dems. [Now I'm afraid the Dems go the other way -- export Democracy! To Sudan, to Iran, to Syria. (all I favor) and then the Reps start complaining ... of the cost! $200 billion, $400 bill, $800 bill. But 2008 / 2012 is still far]

On the economy, many thought the economy is bad, and supported Kerry. Can I suggest something? Objective facts. Focusing on them, measuring them, complaining that Reps don't do enough.

Unemployment. At 5.4%, pretty darn good -- better than Clinton's 5.6 in 96.
Inflation. At 3% or less, pretty darn good.
Interest rates. Great, near their lows.
Deficit. 4% of GDP, too high. But less deficit means more unemployment.

Follow these numbers -- or choose some others, but stick with them. And when Reps are good, say -- OK, good there, but not enough somewhere else.

Inner city literacy rates! I think Bush is gonna look much better in 4 years -- but if not, he should be nailed. By measurements.


"First, Dems had problems with Iraq/defense -- too many Peace Now appeasers needed to be appeased by Kerry."

Yet the numbers tell a different story, namely that as Kerry sharpened his criticisms of the war his poll numbers improved quickly.


I still don't see this widespread attachment to the 'election was stolen' business. That elections have real problems is self-evident, especially for such a wealthy and technologically advanced country, but the idea of a widespread push of the 'stolen election' take on the left seems mythological at best.

Mavis Beacon

John Moore, it’s not fair to make a lot of provocative statements and tell me that to disagree is to miss the point. The point you seem to be making is that Bush ran on a number of different issues that are popular with different groups. I agree. But some of those voters are less loyal than others and can be won using the right strategy.

The other point you illustrate rather clearly is that Democrats have a message problem. You’re concerned about the military competence of the Kerry team when the Bush team’s incompetence has been a major theme for Dem and Repub pundits alike. You inexplicably single out the Democratic Party for its wealthy benefactors. And you imagine that Kerry and the mainstream Democratic Party are advocating socialism (I think you’ve said that before?).
Until it’s once again considered laughable that the Democratic Party is the party of the rich and the Republican Party is that of the poor, we’re not going to win anything.

The RP uses the church and talk radio to bypass the media and speak to its constituents. In a past life, the DP got the message out through unions. What can the left use as an institutional mediator in today’s unionless America?

Eric Blair

Hmmmm....sounds like the whole "Pauline Kael" anecdote from 1972.

People live in such echo chambers now. I know lots of people who didn't vote for Bush, including some who didn't vote.

Anecdotal evidence is always suspect.

Eric Blair

Mavis, 3 points:

1)WTF do think the MSM was doing for Kerry? You even mention it by saying the RP 'bypassed' it.

2)What was John Kerry doing speaking at the pulpits of 'black' churches on Sundays in the last weeks of the campaign? Sounds like his campaign was trying the same thing.

3)While some churches have candidate preferences and may have even pushed them, I pretty much defy you to demonstrate that the RP is "using" churches (which ones?) to get their message out.


And what would we be saying about Bush, had 100,000 votes flipped in Ohio?

The rank condensation comes from both sides -- no one has clean hands. It serves the partisans well to divide the population, pit brother against brother. This division does not serve the country, yielding weak leaders.

I frankly think the only solution is a visionary, major third party emerging from the center. The politics of personal destruction are less effective when you have 2 viable opponents.

Mavis Beacon

Eric, you response has nothing to do with what I'm saying. I'm only posting this assuming that others may also share your confusion.

1. I naturally disagree on the liberal media point. I do think both parties, to be effective, need to get their message past the various media unfiltered.

2. Yes. And rightly so.

3. I don't mean "using" in the sense of exploiting. I don't have a problem with the RP advocating through the church (though if I were a relgious man I sure as hell would).

Also, you can't "pretty much defy" some one. Either you defy them, or you don't. If you're still confused/disagree, e-mail me.


marc, your example of the chilean vote doesn't do anything to support your point. quite the contrary. in your example, the people WON against the entrenched, corrupt power structure. in the present case, the people LOST. notice the difference? it's fine for you to suggest that everyone stop whining, but i don't see you, or the superficial analyses at slate, taking a clear look at the reality of this situation. the voting machines are made by companies owned by republican operatives. the software is not open to independent analysis. there is no system by which the results can be confirmed independently. this is not a minor matter, this is shameful and obviously corrupt. to compare the stolen election of '04 to the miraculous ousting of Pinochet in '88 is, to my mind, non-sensical at best. for a clear summary of the argument (not whining), take a look here:

Michael J. Totten

cpr: "in your example, the people WON against the entrenched, corrupt power structure. in the present case, the people LOST."

Hello. The Republican Party is not a military dictatorship. It's the larger of the two democratic political parties.

The people of the United States elected the Republicans. So the people won. Deal with it.

Brian Siano

Michael J. Totten wrote:
"The people of the United States elected the Republicans. So the people won. Deal with it."

Or, to draw an analogy:

"The people of the village gave the faith healer lots of money. So the people got healed. Deal with it."

too many steves

Well Marc, it continues:


Hopefully the more he speaks, writes, and publishes cartoons the sooner this bigoted mindset will be purged and replaced by intelligent, principled arguments from Democrats.

Does anyone remember if there are 3 or 5 stages of dealing with death?

Michael J. Totten

Brian Siano: The people of the village gave the faith healer lots of money. So the people got healed. Deal with it.

What would you think of a Republican who said something like that if Kerry had won the election?

Steve Smith

BoiFromTroi got his numbers reversed. According to the Secretary of State, Bush gained about 240,000 votes statewide from his 2000 performance, not 150,000 in arrears. His increase in LA County was about 140,000 votes, but Kerry also picked up 40,000 new votes in the county (even though he got about the same number of votes that Gore received statewide). Considering that Kerry won the state by over a million votes out of over 10 million cast, we're really only talking about a marginal difference between elections.

I don't think California is going to be in play at the Presidential level any time soon. What has to be more discouraging for Democrats is that in both 2002 and 2004, the party nominated moderate-to-conservative candidates for the Senate in the "Red States", and lost almost all of them. Ironically, the party is probably in better shape as far as national elections are concerned, largely because its base, although smaller, has become consolidated in a number of large states. The GOP has pretty much wrapped up control of Congress for the next 20 years, and unless the Democrats intend to sell out gays and African-Americans, it is unlikely that the Democrats can even compete in many areas of the country. That's simply a sad fact of life for liberals, and it is to the credit of John Kerry that he came so close to winning in spite of the political arithmetic.

John  y Moore

Mavis writes:

I cannot prohibit you from posting - it was a suggestion. I would be glad to argue the fine points, but not here - Marc has made it clear that he doesn't like that.

You say "And you imagine that Kerry and the mainstream Democratic Party are advocating socialism (I think you’ve said that before?).>"

I did not say that Kerry or the DP are advocating socialism, and in fact, they were and are not.

"Until it’s once again considered laughable that the Democratic Party is the party of the rich and the Republican Party is that of the poor, we’re not going to win anything."

You could start by ditching your rich benefactors (especially those from Hollywood). The road to recovery starts with butal self examination. The Democrat party used to be for the little guy. Many individujal democrats still are. But look at who contributes and ask yourself why. George Soros? Barbara Streisand? These are not little guys. They are the mega-wealthy. In fact, the Democrat has long been a favorite of "limousine liberals" and corrupt union bosses, and against tort reform (thereby enriching a very wealthy set of Democrat donors - predatory lawyers). It is no longer the party of the little guy and people know it. Whether it is possible to chage depends on money.

"What can the left use as an institutional mediator in today’s unionless America?"

The mainstream media is well to the left of center (see the Yale study), which is why conservatives had to find alternate media. Unless you are too far left, the MSM will happily carry your message. If you are too far left for the MSM, you are too far left for the American people.

The Democratic party has ABC,CBS,NBC,PBS,CNN,NYT, WP (to a lesser extend), BG, LAT, and many Hollywood movies and TV shows to spread the word. I was active in Vietnam Veterans movements against Kerry this year, and did a little analysis for the Swift Boat guys. We had ample experience with the pro-Kerry MSM.

So I think you need to recognize your assets (which also include a good blogging network). You have fine messengers, maybe the probem is the message. I would suggest that Americans knew enough about the Democrats and Republicans to make up their minds.

Stephen Silver

Good post; Bush actually won 31 states, not 28 like you said.

I'm a liberal Kerry voter, but no, I'm not leaving the country. And I can't imagine many people actually will.


Marc, can I post this on my local indymedia? Lots of conspiracism floating around in Arkansas.


"The people of the United States elected the Republicans. So the people won. Deal with it."

The thing I'm glad about, very glad about, is that Bush is now sole owner of the US defeat in Iraq. I doubt Kerry would have done much differently, at least there's little evidence for that aside from different styles. But he would surely have been charged with ownership of the US defeat in Iraq. Now it's entirely on Bush's shoulders and the Repubs.

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