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11/07/2004 Archived Entry: ""

The theme of today's blogging is definitely election results, probably because I already know everything that happened on our Eastern Europe vacation but I'm hungry for news from the States. (the core dump on Eastern Europe that I'll be doing over the next several days will be mostly to preserve the memories while they are still somewhat fresh.) Back to election results: Here is a breakdown of data on the exit polls. (Thanks to Hugh B. for the URL)

And here are interesting -- and justifiably cynical -- postings at the discussion board provided at MSNBC and moderated by Eric Alterman. (Thanks to Lee K. for bringing this to my attention.) I am reprinting the salient posts in full as they may become buried under other messages.

(Still) A Land of Hopes and Dreams

Let's face it. It's not Kerry's fault. It's not Nader's fault (this time). It's not the media's fault (though they do bear a heavy responsibility for much of what ails our political system). It's not "our" fault either. The problem is just this: Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the "reality-based community" say or believe about anything. They don't care that Iraq is turning into murderous quicksand and a killing field for our children. They don't care that the Bush presidency has made us less safe by creating more terrorists, inspiring more anti-American hatred and refusing to engage in the hard work that would be necessary to make a meaningful dent in our myriad vulnerabilities at home. They don't care that he has mortgaged our children's future to give trillions to the wealthiest among us. They don't care that the economy continues to hemorrhage well-paying jobs and replace them with Wal-Mart; that the number without health insurance is over forty million and rising. They don't care that Medicare premiums are rising to fund the coffers of pharmaceutical companies. They don't care that the air they breathe and the water they drink is being slowly poisoned and though they call themselves conservatives, they even don't care that the size of the government and its share of our national income has increased by roughly a quarter in just four years. This is not a world of rational debate and issue preference.

It's one of "them" and "us." He's one of "them" and not one of "us" and that's all they care about. True it's an illusion. After all, Bush is a millionaire's son who went to Yale and Harvard and sat out Vietnam, not even bothering to show up for his cushy National Guard duty, and succeeded only in trading on his father's name and connections in adult life. But somehow, they feel he understands them. He speaks their language. Our guys don't. And unless they learn it, we will continue to condemn this country and those parts of the world it affects to a regime of malign neglect at best--malignant and malicious assault at worse.

Given the media's talent for pandering to their lowest common denominator, the things that have driven us crazy about their past pathetic performance are bound to get a lot worse. Most of us--readers and writers of this web log and people like us-- derive an awful lot of benefit from being Americans. We owe it to our better selves, and though it sounds horribly cliched, to our children-- not to walk away from this battle. I will admit, however, it's pretty damn hard to see through this fog just where to turn before we march.

A final word to readers while we all try to take in the news. I deeply appreciated all the warmth and gratitude sent in yesterday, and I send it back. Everybody should understand, however, that I get paid to do this. Everybody else who contributes of their time and expertise does it because they just happen to care so damn much they can't help themselves. No one, as all my readers know, is more important to the flavor and voice of this site than the great Charles Pierce. I know he's done much to keep my spirits up this past year and illuminate the corners of the media that would go unseen and unreported save for his proverbial eagle eye and
rapier wit. As you can see below, Charles is particularly moving and brilliant today and I just want to say how lucky I feel that he chose Altercation as his home away from home. Go Sox.

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA
Hey Doc -- As Mo Udall once put it, the people have spoken, goddamn them. They showed up. The Republican base, that is. The people who believe that their marriages are threatened by those of gay people, the people who believe there were WMD in Iraq and that Saddam waved a hankie at Mohammed Atta, the people who believe His eye is on every embryo. They all showed up, and there are more of them than there are of us. This was a faith-based electorate and, for whatever reason, their belief was stronger than our reality. This is a country I do not recognize any more.

The kids didn't vote. African-American turnout seems to have stayed pretty much the same as it was in 2000, despite all the talk. We lost seats in the Senate and in the House. (Daschle is a pretty momentous beat, despite the fact that he's not a wartime consigliore and never was.) They elected a polite David Duke in Louisiana, and someone who doesn't believe gay people should teach school in South Carolina, and a creep in Oklahoma, and somebody who's fairly obviously drifting into the fog in Kentucky. The pretty clearly indictable DeLay tactics in Texas worked like a charm. These are all victories won on grounds on which we cannot compete. When gay marriage trumps dead soldiers in Iraq, how do you run a race without dissolving into fantasy?

I don't know this country's mind any more, let alone its heart.

I started getting worried when my friend inside the Kerry bunker stopped calling, and then the nets were so damned slow about calling anything. (And NBC was precipitate in calling Ohio, no matter how it turns out, so little Russ and Jack Welch can congratulate each other this summer on Nantucket.) They had to know about New Hampshire sooner than they called it, and Minnesota and Michigan, neither of which was very close. So, truly, no concession, no matter how much Russert wants one. Lawyer it up in Ohio to the very last second. Make them sweat. Make them bleed. But know that you ran this time for the president of a very different United

Later, that same day... Hey Doc --

OK, now I'm starting to feel the gorge rise. Let us content ourselves with this. The country voted for these guys with its eyes open. Let us hear no complaining about "bait and switch," and a "uniter, not a divider," and on and on and on. It even returned a national legislature consonant with the incumbent's agenda. There will be permanent tax cuts that will institutionalize a national debt that will force some sort of evisceration of Social Security and Medicare. There will be continued military adventurism in the Middle East. There will be Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Chief Justice Antonin Scalia. There will be more lying and more vengeance.

So let there be no whining when your husband's National Guard obligation leaves him under fire for six extra months, or when Granny and Gramps are eating cat food, or when it become increasingly impossible to meet the economic needs of the middle-class family. No complaining. None of it. You wanted this guy. Now you have him, unleashed.

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