Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

So you want to know why Bush won?

Gosh, I wish I could write as Joshua Muravchik does in this Commentary article about why the Demos keep losing:

The aftermath befitted the morrow of a civil war. Tens of thousands of Americans visited the website of the Canadian immigration service to learn how they could take themselves into exile. A Florida psychotherapist reported treating more than a dozen people for sudden depression. “Hard times, brutish times, lie ahead,” intoned the New Republic. The New York Times turned its op-ed page into a kind of wailing wall, where a procession of mourners poured forth their laments and imprecations. Garry Wills: “We now resemble [Europe] less than we do our putative enemies . . . al Qaeda [and] Saddam Hussein’s Sunni loyalists.” Thomas Friedman: The Bush people “have used . . . religious energy to promote divisions and intolerance at home and abroad.” Maureen Dowd: “jihad in America. . . . One party controls all power. . . . One nation dominates the world.” The proverbial visitor from afar might have been astonished to learn that all of this rhetorical tearing of hair and rending of garments was occasioned by nothing more than the results of a presidential election, and not even the wailers themselves could have doubted that this election would be followed by another four years hence. Clearly something else was going on.
In a series of impressively well organized arguments, Muravchik walks us through the 2004 election. He starts with the problems facing the Republicans going in:
[T]he Republicans won in a year when many things had seemed promising for Democrats. The war in Iraq was proving to be much tougher sledding than originally hoped, and throughout the year Bush was buffeted by unfavorable headlines—a mounting insurgency, intelligence failures about weapons of mass destruction, prisoner abuse, the withdrawal of allies, and more. Although it is supposedly difficult to oust a sitting President in wartime, both Johnson and Harry S. Truman, two incumbents saddled with wars on distant shores that were not going well, declined to seek reelection, presumably in part out of fear they would not win. Nor was the news from the home front particularly good for Bush. The economy was recovering from recession, but the rebound was weak, generating few jobs and no more than guarded optimism.
He elegantly dissects the incredible MSM bias against Bush, concluding that
A study of coverage during two weeks in October by the non-partisan Project for Excellence in Journalism found (according to a report in the trade journal Editor & Publisher) that “59 percent of stories that were mainly about Bush told a mainly negative story, while 25 percent of Kerry stories played out that way. One in three stories about Kerry were positive, one in seven for Bush.”
He points out the fact that the Demos' election loss occurred despite the fact that they dramatically outspent the Republicans, courtesy of the 572s:
This loophole was especially useful to labor unions and to persons of large means, and both of these constituencies turned out to be on the same side. Although Republicans remain the party preferred by the upper class, the Democrats are favored by the super-rich. A number of these extremely wealthy individuals, led by multi-billionaire George Soros, poured millions into 527’s like MoveOn, ACT (Americans Coming Together), and the Media Fund, whose main purpose was to defeat George Bush. Since 2000, according to the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity, Democratic and liberal 527’s spent $292 million while Republican and conservative groups spent $113 million. In addition, labor-affiliated groups spent $192 million compared to a mere $17 million by business-affiliated groups.
He destroys the Democrat's contention that they lost because of Rove's evil scheme to mobilize the equally evil Christian vote in America:
For those subscribing to this analysis, Rove’s master plan was vindicated when the main exit poll revealed that a larger proportion of voters (22 percent) named “moral values” than any other issue as the one that most determined their ballot; these same voters chose Bush over Kerry by a ratio of 80 to 18. But the analysis turns out to be faulty in almost every respect. It is probably true that more evangelicals voted in 2004 than before. But more people in all religious and other demographic categories did, too, and the evidence strongly suggests that evangelicals increased their vote no more than the rest of the population.
Regarding American Christianity's alleged evils, Muravchik has these two choice quotations from NYTimes columnists:
But this, even if true, does not suffice to explain the vituperation aimed at them. For that, the cause seems to be twofold. First, to the liberal pundits, the religiosity of Bush and many of his supporters is in itself disturbing or repugnant: they are seen as utterly close-minded and impervious to reason. “We’re entering another dark age,” worried Maureen Dowd, adding that religious voters were motivated by “the fear of scientific progress.” “It’s scary,” confessed her fellow Times columnist Bob Herbert. “How do you make a rational political pitch to people who have put that part of their brain on hold?”
I don't want to give away this whole great article. I'll wrap up with my favorite paragraph, which describes Kerry's intellectual contortions:
Kerry’s vote against the $87-billion appropriation was hard to square with his prior vote to authorize the war. His explanations only made things worse—like his famous statement that “I actually did vote for the 87 billion before I voted against it,” or his assertion that he had voted to authorize force because he believed it would help avert the use of force. As if this were not confusing enough, Kerry told an interviewer in August that if he had to do it over again, knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he would have supported the war nonetheless; and then he unleashed the campaign slogan that Iraq was “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.” To Kerry, Iraq showed that the U.S. should meet a “global test” before using force, but in 1990, after the elder Bush had passed the global test by winning authorization from the UN Security Council, Kerry voted against the use of force anyway—and then in 2004 he said that, despite that vote, he had actually been in favor of the use of force.
It's a long article -- I'm a fast reader and it took me a good ten minutes -- but sooooo worth the effort, since it ably dissects events in 2004, and wraps up by looking forward to what the Democrats would have to do (and I hope they don't) to prevail in 2008.