Turning out to Vote
Some may think the Republicans won a mandate, but I would beg to differ. What really happened was that they had a better Get out the Vote Machine with a solid backbone of fervent evangelical Christians. Democratic turnout in important Florida counties was less than when Al Gore ran, particularly in Dade and Broward. On the other hand, The Youth Vote did after all materialize "Now that some of the smoke has cleared and the data has been crunched, it's clear that 2004 was, in fact, an amazing year for young voter participation. Whereas only 42 percent of 18-29 year-olds had voted in 2000, a whopping 51 percent showed up at the polls this year, making for a 9-point increase. The catch? Everyone else came out in record numbers too." .... "According to CIRCLE, youth turnout was especially high – often as high as 64 percent – in some battleground states. In addition, young voters favored Kerry by a 10 percent margin over George Bush nationally, while in many key states it was even higher. In Pennsylvania, for instance, 32 percent more youth voted for John Kerry than did for Bush."
But Dems should not give up - one mustn't forget that it is particulary difficult to upset a sitting president during wartime. It's never been done. How you overcome peoples beliefs on abortion, guns and other conservative issues, without giving up what you believe in, remains a difficult question for the Democratic party.
Tom Friedman in the Times today remarked "We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is.
Is it a country that does not intrude into people's sexual preferences and the marriage unions they want to make? Is it a country that allows a woman to have control over her body? Is it a country where the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate? Is it a country where religion doesn't trump science? And, most important, is it a country whose president mobilizes its deep moral energies to unite us - instead of dividing us from one another and from the world?
At one level this election was about nothing. None of the real problems facing the nation were really discussed. But at another level, without warning, it actually became about everything. Partly that happened because so many Supreme Court seats are at stake, and partly because Mr. Bush's base is pushing so hard to legislate social issues and extend the boundaries of religion that it felt as if we were rewriting the Constitution, not electing a president. I felt as if I registered to vote, but when I showed up the Constitutional Convention broke out."
Maureen Dowd writes : " W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq - drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals, or "values voters," as they call themselves, to the polls by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.
Mr. Bush, whose administration drummed up fake evidence to trick us into war with Iraq, sticking our troops in an immoral position with no exit strategy, won on "moral issues."
The president says he's "humbled" and wants to reach out to the whole country. What humbug. The Bushes are always gracious until they don't get their way. If W. didn't reach out after the last election, which he barely grabbed, why would he reach out now that he has what Dick Cheney calls a "broad, nationwide victory"?
Here are some of our bright and shining new faces in the Congress:
Tom Coburn, the new senator from Oklahoma, has advocated the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions and warned that "the gay agenda" would undermine the country. He also characterized his race as a choice between "good and evil" and said he had heard there was "rampant lesbianism" in Oklahoma schools.
Jim DeMint, the new senator from South Carolina, said during his campaign that he supported a state G.O.P. platform plank banning gays from teaching in public schools. He explained, "I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend should be hired to teach my third-grade children."
John Thune, who toppled Tom Daschle, is an anti-abortion Christian conservative - or "servant leader," as he was hailed in a campaign ad - who supports constitutional amendments banning flag burning and gay marriage.
A German friend of mine wrote me to today offering me space in her small apartment should I wish to move. Now where are those Lederhosen?
Meanwhile the markets are enjoying triple digit gains for the 2nd day in a row. We'll see how long they like George's policies. If he can produce and create jobs and cut down on outsourcing and trim the deficit, I'll take my hat off to him, but I'm not counting on that. So enjoy your profits now.
It will be nice to get these days behind us and I can go back to talking about computers, photography, health issues,etc. :) 2 years of political debate has pooped this boy out.