Friday, November 05, 2004

Take a Political Break

I think almost everyone (whether you were made happy or terribly depressed by the elections on Tuesday) needs a break -- a few days off from the "mandates" and "regrouping" that everyone (including the CNB) keeps throwing at you.

Thus, here is a story everyone can love -- lawyer on lawyer violence. As a lawyer, I now feel free to use this tactic in my own practice.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

To Moderates Who Voted for Bush: Please Respond

I realize that the headline above sounds sarcastic, but it is not. As anyone who has read this (and that number certainly seems to be growing) knows, I did not vote for Bush, and I found it difficult to find any good reason to do so.

However, I want to know what drove people to vote for Bush -- not in some challenging, defend-your-vote way, but in an academic excercise to understand better some portion of the 51% who did vote for Bush. Not all of them can be Evangelical Christians or multi-millionaires (two obvious groups) -- there are people who hold the same general values I hold who decided that voting for Bush was better than whatever alternative Kerry provided.

Thus, I am asking for some feedback from moderates who voted for Bush. This is not some trick to try to refute your reasons. I just kind of feel like it is my civic duty to better understand those who, as this map shows, are my neighbors.

Really. This is not a joke, a trap, or some Jedi-mind trick. Most importantly, this is not a rhetorical question.

As you know, this is not Daily Kos or some other liberal blog -- my posts should show that I play left center. Being center-left, I really want to have some reasoned discussion with the center-right. I know what the extremes think,and you all know what I think (see earliers posts in case you need refreshing) -- what do you think?

Even a Short Distance Brings Clarity

I am now able to articulate a few things that I was able to work through after a few beers and some sleep. I hope that this is more articulate than the recent downtrodden posts.

  • 51% is not a "mandate." LBJ and Reagan won landslides -- THOSE were mandates. 51% means that things are divided. Just because Bush actually won the popular AND electoral vote this time does not create a "mandate"(this is aimed more at the media than Bush, although Cheney is shooting his mouth off, as always). Hell, Clinton won 370-168 in 1992 and 379-159 in 1996, and I don't recall Cheney calling those "mandates".
  • While I did not vote for Bush, I am not bothered by a Republican winning, or with Republicans winning more seats in Congress. What bugs me is that the extreme right agenda will now be front and center. I don't like extremists of either side, because they are never consistent (and then call the other side flip-floppers). Cherry-picking the Bible verses you like and then taking them literally does not make you a good Christian -- it makes you inconsistent and ignorant (the same being true for wholesale criticism of the Bible).
  • Bush is not a traditional conservative, so I don't get why moderate Republicans voted for him, beyond partisan loyalty. (See an upcoming CNB post for more on that.) I have found Bush to be antipodal to the Republican party I grew up with. Reagan, for all his "voodoo economics" and deficit spending (which pissed me off, even in adolescence) at least had the good sense to work as an internationalist in foreign policy (absent his forays into Central America and illegal dealings with Iran). Even the first Pres. Bush formed international coalitions (absent the foray into Panama to get his former buddy Noriega) with our now-former traditional allies. If you don't believe me, check out what some traditional conservatives say about GW Bush.
  • Democrats are not dead, but they need to regroup. As CNB already suggested (along with most of the world), Terry McAuliffe must get his walking papers if this party is to survive. They also need to remain on Bush's case, as being Republicanesque ain't working. Republicans aren't ashamed to be Republicans, so why should Democrats be ashamed? For a better explanation, read Mrs. CNB's post. That broad is all right.
  • More people need to vote than old people and the religious right. While it would seem that this country is generally socially conservative, it sure doesn't seem that way to me -- then again, I live in a major metropolis in a blue state, so maybe I am not objective. I would hope all Americans share common values, but, again, I could be wrong. Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn has some lucid commentary on the "moral values" issue.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Mrs. CNB -- The Day After

Another guest blog from the lovely and talented Mrs. CNB (aka looseygoosey):

I'll be honest, I spent a good portion of the morning trying to decide whether I wanted to move to the East or West coast of Canada. However, after thinking about my two precious little boys in their dump truck jammies, completely oblivious to the electoral maps being flashed across MSNBC, I stopped pouting and started thinking about what it will take to win back the Senate in 2006.

My first thoughts were that the Dems have no chance. The religious right is firmly ensconced in the South, and the Dems have been painted as a bunch of traitorous, French heathens who want to defend the U.S. against Osama Bin Laden with spitballs. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. Why should the right have a monopoly on God? After all, this is the party that gives tax breaks to the wealthy while millions of American children go without health care. Many people on the lefty blogs today have suggested that the only way for the Dems to survive is to move further to the center. But I don't believe that's the answer. What I think is clear though, is that the heart and soul of the Dems message is not reaching the religious right.

Like (I believe) most liberals (and yes, unlike John Kerry, I am proud to call myself a liberal), I came to my lefty beliefs through my faith. Through a combination of middle class Midwestern parents (both Republican), Midwestern values, and a cafeteria catholic (take what you want and leave the rest) upbringing, I came to find that my values were best represented by the Democratic party. I believe that it is wrong to give tax cuts to the rich rather than the poor. I believe that earth is God's creation and that we should do our best to preserve and cherish it. I believe that the US Constitution reflects God-given rights to the citizens of the world and should serve to limit the rights of the government rather than those of the people. I believe that a country should never go to war unless its hand is forced. I believe that it's wrong to lie. I believe that, as a nation, we should be saddened that 100,000 Iraqi civilians are dead.

Are these "liberal" values? Maybe. But I think that they are common values to all those who call themselves "Christians." The Dems would, I think, make great strides in the South if they simply reframed the way they talk about these issues. Although John Kerry's debate performances were impressive, I doubt they played as well in the South as they did with me. I've always been a fan of facts and statistics, but the Bush supporters seem to go more for a good old-fashioned tug-on-the-heartstrings tale than all the facts that Kerry threw out at them. I'm not sure why Kerry never mentioned all the civilian dead in Iraq--perhaps he didn't want to look as if he was criticizing our soldiers. But I think he missed a golden opportunity to turn the attention of the religious right from a petty issue like gay marriage to something much more profound.

100,000 innocent lives lost in Iraq. Abortions tripled since Bush took office. Snowmobile fumes so thick the rangers at Yellowstone National Park have to wear gas masks to work. I would think these issues would resonate with even the most staunchly religious Republicans.

I don't know who the Democrats will chose to run in 2008. I can only hope that it will be someone who proudly talks about the traditional values of the Democratic party in such a way as to show our pride and our faith. How long do we think Barack Obama needs?

Something to Think About

CNB notes the post at the "Winning Argument" blog that put forth a thought for the anti-Bush crowd: LBJ handed Goldwater's ass to him in 1964, and the Republicans not only came back hard, they won back the presidency in 1968.

CNB also notes that it was the beginning of the Republican party moving ever-so-further to the right, even though his widow stated that Goldwater was a social liberal, and in 1992 he backed a Democrat for Congress (coincidentally, the Republican candidate was the first Pres. Bush's liaison to religious groups).

It's Over

As you can read on any number of liberal blogs (should they be sober) or conservative blogs (should they be sober, as well), it is over. Kerry called Bush to concede the election.

My thoughts on this (please forgive the lack of objective reasoning or flurry of citations -- I am just not in the mood right now):

  1. Why does Terry McAuliffe continue to be head of the DNC? He lost the 2002 midterm elections in startling fashion, yet kept his job for (what both sides termed) the most important election of this generation -- and then lost that one on pretty much every level (President, Congress, governors), except Obama's cakewalk, for which he had no relation.
  2. Speaking of "this generation" -- where the hell was it? Voting rates for youth were the same as in 2000. I guess the Past won this one, dumbass Future. (if that makes no sense, see this prior CNB post).
  3. I wouldn't be so distressed by this if all of the following had not come true: (a) Bush won both the electoral and popular votes; (b) the most crazy-ass conservative wackjobs (Coburn in Oklahoma, Bunning in Kentucky) got voted/reelected to Congress; (c) it came down to a "moral vote".
  4. Exit polls are useless (just ask John Kerry), as are most polls. My addiction to them is now cured.
  5. Because Bush got the popular vote, he has an official mandate as far as he is concerned. Look what he did for 4 years after losing the popular vote!!
  6. With Rehnquist sick and the rest old, get ready for some old time religion on the Supreme Court.
  7. Let's see if the Democrats try to go Republican-lite (if they were not already) or if they get a backbone. I think many are now ready for Howard Dean, seeing that John Kerry did not do the trick. Might as well be intellectually honest, since trying to be centrist (unless your name is Bill Clinton) does not appear to work
  8. Do I have do become Evangelical now? Will that be a law passed by the ever-increasing Republican Congress?
  9. Why does the South get to decide every election? They began voting Republican because of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act -- doesn't that mean we should count their votes less?
  10. If Tony Blair gets voted out in the UK, are we left without a friend in the world? I know, I know, POLAND!! (I saw Bush say this in the debate also) -- but are we left without an official friend who can actually help us?
  11. If the UN does the right thing and gets involved in Iraq so our soldiers are not carrying the entire load, does that mean Bush will think he was right and can bully anyone into anything? Do what you want and they'll eventually come around!

Sad thing is, I am no Democrat, and look how much this bugs me. Sure, I lean left, but I have voted Republican many times in my life. I just don't understand why the social conservatives are winning out. Fiscal conservatism is fine -- I wish that Bush would employ some of that.


Thoughts on the Election (still going. . . )

Generally, the CNB is a mostly non-partisan (you have to admit that Bush, like him or not, gives so much material) blog. However, this election raises some questions that really bother me.

I hope that someone will be able to shine some light on why the youth, faced with innumerable issues (not the least of which is a foreign war that may soon require their presence), did not come out and vote in significant numbers, as was expected. Rather, the "moral values" vote, a term I find particularly presumptive in its arrogance, won out. Evidently, Rove's plan to work those Evangelical voters worked.

I ask for your help, because I just cannot figure it out. I don't understand how half the country can be really upset about so many things about this President, and yet he (apparently) is headed for re-election. I don't understand how failure to admit mistakes is a positive quality. I don't understand how deficit spending in wartime is fiscally sound. I don't understand how going it alone in the world is a way to ensure the country's safety.

At this point, I don't know if I understand anything.

Not Looking Good for Kerry // "Moral Values"

This appears to be the post before the post where it says "Bush wins." Fox and NBC are both calling Ohio (a.k.a. "Florida 2004"), although ABC, CNN, and CBS have not called it. The Ohio Secretary of State keeps going on TV to say that every vote will be counted, although that could take some time. Essentially, the conventional wisdom is that Bush will win Ohio, giving him the election. As of 12:41pm CST, the count is 249 Bush - 217 Kerry (unless you watch Fox or NBC).

The buzzword for this election has been "moral values", which, contrary to the thoughts of Mrs. CNB and others, evidently explains the long lines of voters. Apparently people did want to go vote for the conservative social values (votes on state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage were on the ballots in 11 states).

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Obama wins in Illinois -- The Keyes Voters (both of them) are shocked

As expected by everyone, even Alan Keyes, the AP has called the Senate race in Illinois (where CNB is located) in favor of Barack Obama. The only surprising thing is that this race was not officially called sometime last week. Hell, this race was effectively called once Jack "crying isn't a turn-on" Ryan got run out of this race and the Illinois Republican Party figuratively (and possibly literally) threw up its arms and put Alan Keyes on the ballot (after everyone and their dog turned them down).

Keyes' best line (and there are plenty) was his famous quote about Hillary Rodham Clinton moving to New York to run for Senate in 2000: "I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it." Yet Sen. Clinton, unlike Alan Keyes, won a primary where the voters of a state chose to give her the nomination. Keyes, on the other hand, was the unelected candidate of last resort for the hobbled Illinois Republican party. Essentially, Keyes destroyed federalism more than Clinton.

Congratulations, Senator-elect Obama.

Mid-Day Election Thought (or wishful thinking) from Mrs. CNB

heavy turnout all around---I don't think it's people standing in the rain to tell W to keep up the good work. . .

Poll results (CNB polls, not the good ones)

Who will get your vote for president?
Kerry: 86%
Nader: 14%
Bush: 0%
7 votes total - a better turnout is hoped for the general election

Will the terror alert level be raised before election day?
Yes, but for no legitimate reason: 86%
Yes, for a legitimate reason: 14%
No: 0%

7 votes total -- seems like a bunch of skeptical voters

A new poll is up -- vote on it (let's get more than seven this time, for crying out loud) and go vote in the real election. It doesn't matter who you vote for (like anyone believes THAT line) - just that you vote.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Election 2004: The Past vs. The Future

There has been a great deal of commentary upon whether the get out the vote movements of Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/P.D. McRappy and Rock the Vote would get the 18-25 year-olds to vote. The presumption is that the majority of them would vote for Kerry.

However, an interesting article by Chris Suellentrop states that Bush adviser Karl Rove's plan for the 2004 election was to appeal to the approximately 4 million Evangelical Christians who didn't vote in 2000, with the idea that it would bring President Bush a decisive re-election victory. This would explain the Bush Administration's campaigning on gay marriage, abortion, and other issues aimed at riling the conservative Christian vote.

It sort of seems that the two prevailing theories boil down to this: the past (conservatives wishing to return, or keep the process of returning, to a "simpler time") versus the future (college students and recent college grads).

Why does this sound like a summary of the election(s) of 1968 and/or 1972?

Rehnquist "Works from Home" -- Democrats in "Freak-Out" Mode

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist was to return to work today after having surgery for throat cancer, but indicated that he would be "work from home". There are two possibilities here:

  1. Rehnquist is sicker than he let on before, which makes many Democrats (and non-party-affiliated freethinkers) even more nervous about tomorrow's election.
  2. Rehnquist really got into daytime TV, and is calling in sick so he can watch Days of Our Lives.

UPDATE - 12:21PM CST: CJ Rehnquist is evidently receiving receiving radiation and chemotherapy for his thyroid cancer, which, (according to Herman Kattlove, an oncologist and medical editor for the American Cancer Society), suggests that Rehnquist is suffering from anaplastic thyroid cancer, a rare and aggressive form of the disease -- it is the only type of thyroid cancer that is treated with chemotherapy.

"It's not treatable by surgery, only by chemotherapy and radiation,'' said Kattlove. "It's rarely, if ever, curable, and most patients die within a few months.''