Wednesday, November 24, 2004
A large part of the pro-Bush vote - especially among blue state residents - was a vote against the left elite and the cultural attitudes it represents in the public imagination. It was a vote not so much for Bush or his often religious policies (or even the war on terror), but against the post 9/11 left, against Michael Moore and political correctness and Susan Sontag and CBS News, among a host of others.
I agreed with this when he wrote it, but Sullivan has published an email from one of his readers that is unusually, er, clear in its framing of the problem for Democrats:
You nailed it, dude. You just fucking nailed it. I grew up in redneck America - John Ashcroft's hometown, no less - but I've been a chai latte-drinking, Times-reading, wine-scrutinizing-metro-scum pig living in the northeast ever since I got my law degree ten years ago. So I think I know "both sides" of this country pretty darned well. The Democrats didn't lose this election because of the GOP's gay bashing - the polls bear that out. And they didn't lose because 51% of Americans are cross-wielding bigots who want to roll back our civilization to the fourteenth century. Follow the principle of Occam's Razor - all things equal, the simplest explanation is the best. As applied here, that means the Democrats were not entrusted with the keys to the White House because there were just too many Americans who don't like and don't trust the Democratic Party. That's why they lost this election. That's why GOP voter id equaled - for the first time ever - Democratic voter id. That's why Daschle lost his Senate race. That's why the GOP has six more Senate seats than it did 25 months ago.
Let me say it again - the Democrats lost because they are not liked and they are not trusted. That, and really nothing else, was the verdict of this election. And for what it's worth, shitting all over the 61 million pitchfork-wielding imbeciles who didn't vote for them probably isn't their path back out of the wilderness, emotionally gratifying though it may be.
The Republicans have been excellent at setting up Strawmen to represent their chosen interpretation of liberal thought. The picture of the wild-eyed, pro-abortion, vegan, volvo-driving, latte-drinking, pro-terrorist liberal has become all too prevalent.
In my conversations with my liberal cohorts, some have laughingly referred to the right wing as ignorant yokels, but there is an acknowledgement that this is a stereotype that doesn't even begin to meet the complex reality. More often we discuss how Bush has appealed to voters on fear-based issues and on two big values issues (you know...the big two...).
As often as Dem-fearing Bush voters casted their ballots out of protest against Michael Moore, Repub-fearing Kerry voters cast their ballots out of protest against Neoconservatism and the lies of BushCo.
There was some serious voting against the greater of two perceived evils in this election.
I say: "enough strawmen". Let's talk about what's really going on.