President Bush Wins!!!

That’s my prediction. Just because nobody else in the media will definitively call this election, doesn’t mean I can’t. You heard it here first folks.

(Does this qualify me as a prophet?)

Liberals, vent! Conservatives, rejoice! Libertarians, shrug your shoulders?

Aaron B


  1. “It simply shows which moral values are important to a majority of Americans”

    Sheesh John, are you really taking that position? I can’t believe that you think this election reflects some sort of moral victory or defeat….

    I don’t think I’ve said that such moral views or differences (whatever they are, and if they exist) are wrong, nor has Christina. Should the sea of red cause us so much wonder? Perhaps not. The appropriate sentiment is disappointment, and the realization that it is possible to overestimate the intelligence of others.

  2. “they just apparently proceded from a different set of driving principles”

    But you have no proof at all or support for a statement like that! This is what drives me crazy about your comments thus far. You’re pretending that Bush represented some kind of superior moral compass, but there’s no real support for that position.

    As for Bush supporters being informed and thoughtful voters, I’m sure some of them must be. But don’t begrudge me a blanket generalization of calling people stupid when I am upset over a democratic loss, unless you too desire to be lumped into that category. Asking what the Dems will do to regain “relevancy” shows that you just lack the most basic quality of a good debater: a sense of decorum.

  3. Randy: We, as democrats, need to find a way to appeal to more folks who live in the sea of red by appealing to their moral sense of right and wrong.

    As a libertarian, the principle that drives my sense of right and wrong is: I’m not allowed to coerce someone else into doing what I believe is right. That is a dramatically different viewpoint from those who believe that if something is morally repugnant that it must necessarily be legally banned or be made a punishable offense.

    I have no clue as to how one begins to bridge that gap in viewpoints, particularly when, as a “Mormon” having an understanding of the importance that was supposedly place on free agency during the pre-mortal existence, I come in conflict with other members of the Church who find it entirely acceptable to support a President and a foreign policy that results in the killing of over 100,000 citizens of a foreign nation who have not been involved in any offensive moves against us.

    I don’t know that such disparate viewpoints can possibly be resolved.

  4. john fowles says:

    You’re pretending that Bush represented some kind of superior moral compass, but there’s no real support for that position.

    No I am not. I am saying that some principle(s) must have been driving the sea of red (you must admit that it is daunting) to support Bush other than a lack of intelligence. These people know that WMD haven’t been found and that the casualties are mounting in Iraq and yet they still supported Bush. Bigotry and stupidity don’t cut it for an answer. It is widely recognized that those who supported Bush did so for reasons of moral values. Superiority or inferiority is wholly beside the point that I am trying to make: I am observing the naked fact that moral values animated people to vote for Bush to a greater extent than the war or the deficit.

    As to qualities of debaters and sense of decorum: (1) I never claimed to be a good debater or a debater of any kind; (2) questioning the intelligence of people just because they support someone whose views you don’t agree with similarly betrays a lack of decorum, in my view.

    I am not begrudging you any bitterness that Kerry lost the election. But be honest: this election reveals that the dems are at a moment of crisis because, as David noted, they are currently not speaking the same language as the majority–or even the mainstream–of Americans. That is why talk of moral values in relevant in this discussion, not because I am making a claim (for purposes of this discussion) that either side is morally superior. My point is more pragmatic than that.

  5. Aaron E., see this link:

    John Fowles–Steve has provided a link above to the definition of troll (or are you joking?).

  6. Ah, right now there’s a real instinct to glorify the Republicans and their party apparatus, to say they are all geniuses. And there’s also an instinct to say that the Democrats are completely out of touch with America. I guess it’s possible to draw this conclusion from the popular vote to a certain degree but from an electoral college perspective it was merely a difference of … one … single … state.

    The Democrats will be back and rarin’ to go four years. Michael Moore will make another 100 million dollars preaching to the choir. Someone (maybe Hillary) will be the candidate and it’s going to get crazy all over again.

  7. Besides John, you’ve got to realize — you’re posting inflammatory comments about the Right, the day after a narrow election. If you’re not flamebait, then I don’t know what is. Allow us our bitter cup for now; then we can go back to disagreeing about food stamps and health care some other time.

  8. D. Fletcher says:

    Bitter, Pheo?

    But you’re right on on at least one point. Moral issues like abortion and gay marriage seem to be more important than everything else in determining government.

  9. C’mon John, what’s your beef with Hilary? The sea of red is more than unnerving; it makes me wonder if the coasts (and lake regions, sorry, Midwest) can secede. Pheo, well said on all points.

  10. john fowles says:

    Christina and Steve: I don’t see why I need to make a list of the moral values that animate those who voted for Bush or defend those values. That wasn’t the point of my comments. My comments stemmed from your bewilderment at the sea of red. I just wanted to point out that instead of being bewildered or questioning the intelligence of those people, you could try to get inside their heads and figure out for yourselves why abortion and homosexuality seemed to take precedence in this election over the war and the deficit for those who voted for Bush. Mention of the word “bigot” doesn’t cut it for an explanation. (Besides, it’s too easy of a way out for those who do indeed make a claim to moral superiority and yet don’t have a problem with abortion and SSM.) If these people are driven by these issues, and if the reason is not bigotry or lack of intelligence (not everyone, Steve, has an enlightened Ivy-league education like this bunch, but that doesn’t mean that they are stupid), then an analysis of these issues on their own terms (i.e. from the perspective of those who hold to those views) would be valuable. I was sort of going where Randy went: taking these moral priorities (whether you agree with them or not) as a given for the majority of Americans (as expressed yesterday), what is the Democratic Party going to do about it to regain some relevancy in America?

  11. Christina is echoing my point, which John didn’t apparently get — neither candidate has a claim to the “right moral values”. Perhaps on handful of issues the candidates differed mildly on hot-button topics, but neither showed distinct moral superiority in any objective sense.

    You keep talking about how important moral values were in the election, without specifying what those were, or how GW presented a better alternative. Until you can express that idea a little more clearly, can you blame me for not being convinced by your claims?

    You’re right to question my arrogance — it’s arrogant for any person to pretend that their political views are the “right” ones. And yet that’s what you’re doing.

  12. a random John says:


    I think that Hilary is so divisive that she would not only tear the party apart during the primaries but that she has no chance of winning in the general election. Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t see her as a good national candidate.

  13. john fowles says:

    Christina, sorry but I was a little taken back by your thought of secession! Where’s your commitment to democracy? Democracy necessarily produces a loser. If those in the losing party simply seceded rather than reconciling themselves to the back-bench until the next election, then democracy would be meaningless and we would have a tribal society based on political ideologies rather than blood ties.

    Christina and Steve: you might not agree with the views of the “sea of red” but should it really cause you so much wonder? It simply shows which moral values are important to a majority of Americans (yes, with a lead of 3.5 million votes nationwide, Bush won both the popular vote and more than 50% of the vote too). Once again, you might not agree with those moral views in your personal lives, but on what basis are you going to say that they are the wrong views? By what objective standard can you make that determination?

  14. D. Fletcher, I does my opinion offend you? Do I really deserve your scorn?

    But you’re right. I am bitter. But just because I am bitter does not mean that I am wrong.

    It boils down to one issue for me:

    We are fighting this country’s first preemptive war against a country that did not threaten us. We rushed to that war because the timing had to be right both for the midterm elections and this election. Iraq is an utter mess. If democracy flowers through the mideast, I will humbly concede that I am wrong. If we get out of Iraq in the next four years without the country imploding, I will be shocked. Is the world safer now than immediately following 9/11? No way. We are creating the next generation of terrorists. When we kill tens of thousands of civilians, many of them women and children, people who might not otherwise want to fight us will become the next generation of suicide bombers. For every terrorist we have killed so far, we have replaced them with two terrorists. I have three small children, and because of the actions of ideologues in power, their world is going to be worse than mine was. We could have wiped out terrorism with the support of the world, but we had to rush off to fight Saddam based on trumped up evidence that the administration knew was shaky.

    I agree with you, Aaron, that the foreign policy issue was a winner for Bush. The fact that a majority of Americans support the president’s foreign policy doesn’t mean that it is sound foreign policy.

    From an LDS standpoint: It has utterly shaken my faith to see faithful members of the church be so supportive of this war mongering. The whole world is going to fall apart if we don’t do our home teaching, but if we are ruining a whole region of the world, killing tens of thousands of innocents, endangering our future peace: no big deal. No one in my ward is sweating this war. Hey, we all got our taxes slashed, right?

    It is one thing to believe in Armageddon. It is quite another to see one’s self as the instrument to usher it in. No need to worry about the future because the world will end soon. Isn’t this just another form of eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die?

    I forgot to list the biggest thing that I’ve learned in my first post: This country is so divided because the two groups are working from two conflicting sets of facts. Because of this, it is impossible to persuade anybody of anything. How can I get you to see it my way if the vice president has labeled Iraq “a remarkable success story”? My mother-in-law gets too sad to believe that our leaders would mislead us, so she just chooses to believe them, all evidence to the contrary. In other words, partisanism is the new religion.

  15. Here is the state of the nation:

    If you live in a poor neighborhood and would like to vote, you will need to take a day off work to stand in line for 5 hours or more.

    Our complex democracy can be distilled down to labels like “flip-flopper”. (You can’t be a politician if you feel ambivalence about war or any other issue. If you have ever changed your mind, you cannot be president.)

    Abortion and gay marriage matter way more than equality of opportunity, sound foreign policy, or any other issue, for that matter.

    It is more important to be pro-life than it is to actually have the number of abortions go down.

    It is more important to feel secure than to be secure.

    Our credibility in the world is meaningless. We’ll force the world over to our point of view.

    Issues involving the future really don’t matter because “we’ll all be dead”. (Oil certainly won’t run out before the Rapture.)

    It feels good to punish foreigners for hating us.

    North Korea is not much of a threat because Bill Clinton believed they were, and we don’t like that guy. (Maybe we’re coming around on this one, four years too late.)

    We have the best health care in the world, unless we judge it by infant mortality, life expectancy, cost per capita, and other such pesky facts.

    Facts are biased.

    All men are created equal, except the one’s that don’t have the same religious belief as me.

    George Orwell was off by a mere 20 years.

  16. Last_lemming says:

    Hilary is not divisive within the Democratic party. On the contrary, she is such a rock star that she might be able to deter Obama from running. If she loses, it will be because Bill gets caught with his pants down again.

    The Republicans, on the other hand, have no rock stars other than Arnold. McCain will be too old in 2008. Furthermore, Arnold, Mitt and Rudy, being from blue states, will be perceived as too liberal for the southern Republican base. If we’re lucky, they’ll nominate Tom DeLay.

  17. I hear ya, Steve. But look on the bright side: When you vote against your self-interest, and you lose, you still win, even though you lost!

    (Or something like that.)

  18. i just hate seeing the religious right taking over american politics. everything has gotten so ideological–it feels like there’s less and less room for pragmatic politics on either side of the aisle, especially on the republican side. cnn said that bush is the first president in a long time to win the presidency while losing the independent vote (according to exit polls).

  19. Greg Call says:

    I really think that this election was lost when the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided Goodridge and Gavin Newsom decided to start handing out marriage licenses here in SF. The anti-gay forces were mobilized like never before, and having SSM on the ballot proved to be a significant draw in key states. As Andrew Sullivan wrote today, “I’m not surprised by this. When you put a tiny and despised minority up for a popular vote, the minority usually loses.”

  20. I wonder if Heidi is related to Richard Parry.

  21. Wayne Wells says:

    I would like to see a thread discussing the need for a Mormon Diaspora. “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” I think that we need to mix the leaven (the members) through the lump (not just red and blue states, but the rest of the world).

    This would benefit both the Mormon corridor saints and the gentiles.

  22. I’d agree that John F. has some good points, but he is trolling.

  23. John,

    I am going to back you on this one for a change–I don’t think you are trolling and I think many of your points are relevant and will be well taken in a few more days. But you are wrong about at least one thing–a poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had WMD. So apparently many of the people who voted for Bush didn’t know this.

  24. John,
    If you want to talk about “moral” values, why have abortion and gay marriage taken precedence in American political discourse over other “moral” values, like valuing life (that is, not starting a hawkish war against a country that never antagonized us) and equality between the sexes and the races (isn’t this something the apostle Paul preached and therefore a fairly mainstream “Christian” moral value)?

  25. John, I know…. you’re a sincere guy. You do have a knack for provocation, however. Don’t worry too much about it — you have yet to cross over into the Lyle zone.

  26. John, of course I can sense the arrogance of those sentiments. The article itself acknowledges such (though you didn’t quote those parts). What gives New Yorkers their superiority? That’s a stale old debate, unfortunately.

    I’m losing interest, but I’d like to just add that I didn’t say that the sea of red was stupid. Stop misquoting me, please.

    Perhaps you should perform some “introspection”, and think about what I’ve been trying to hammer into you: right now, I don’t care if your points are valid. You’ve come onto a blog for liberal-minded mormons the day after an extremely narrow election, to tell us how dems are morally out of touch with the rest of the nation. Is it really so strange that I accuse you of trolling? Think about it.

    I don’t want to dissuade you from posting, because I think you’re fairly smart and interesting. BCC isn’t just an echo chamber, nor should it be. But please, get a sense of timing, for crying out loud. Don’t come to our funeral and criticize the deceased.

  27. Let me chime in on the abortion issue.

    I’m really trying not to toe the party line, but I liked John Kerry’s explanation during the debate about what he would say to a person who is pro-life and considers abortion to be murder. In effect, he said that no one is pro-abortion. But the nature of fetal life is ultimately a religious question. Our religion tells us that the fetus is not just a lump of tissue. Can we force that view on other people?

    I also think that the fiercity of the debate results in more abortions. When people feel defensive about their rights, I think they get so committed socially to an issue that when it applies to them, they make the wrong decision on principle. I think there was a component of this during Clinton’s presidency. Abortions went down. Most of this was due to the fact that women felt like they could afford their babies and people were in general more hopeful and less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior. But the fact that abortion was off the table, I think, may have been significant.

    This administration, on the other hand, talks tough on abortion, but puts policies into play (mostly economic) that will ultimately result in more abortions. Additionally, I think Republicans aren’t in a hurry to get rid of abortion because it will erode their power. Not that the pro-life people aren’t sincere, but there are plenty of politicians who are pro-life because it makes strategic sense and not because they would ever do away with abortion.

    The solution, as many of you have suggested, is for the Democrats to learn how to frame the issue better. (For example, why do we say “tax relief” like it’s arthritis or some other affliction. Our system of taxation has helped to make this country great.) I think the Democrats could put forth ideas that are more broadly affirming of the sanctity of life, while preserving the sanctity of choice and freedom of religion. Of course, the first politician that tries to explain that he is personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice will be branded as a panderer.

    Come to think of it, maybe we are all just collectively too dumb to have such complex thoughts and maybe we deserve the president we have.

  28. Mark — I don’t think that those days totally disappeared with OT prophets. Today, instead of stoning the prophet, we just simply ignore him. Spencer W. Kimball’s “The False God’s We Worship” comes to mind.

  29. john fowles says:

    Mark, be careful in wistfully looking at the days of OT prophets. For one thing, they were far less tolerant of homosexuality than our Church leaders today. Also, disobedience of their words often brought literal, physical destruction.

  30. Mat, can you point us toward your source for the WMD stat? I’m not doubting it I’m just interested in reading about this and other related stats.

  31. john fowles says:

    Mat, I didn’t see Steve’s link or I wouldn’t have asked. No, I wasn’t joking.

    The Wikipedia definition included this gloss: Sincere but controversial or naive posters are often labeled as trolls, but the term is generally considered to be correctly applied only to those looking to provoke outrage or discord.

    I guess Steve meant the second clause of this sentence to apply to me but I think that the first phrase is more accurate. I’m just sincere but controversial or naive, probably more the latter than the former, and unfortunately so. Some of us never learn. But I can assure you that I have never yet trolled on any blog.

  32. p.p.s. John F., this article more or less sums up the prevailing feeling in these parts.

  33. p.s. I’ve modified the style of the comments so that all links show up as underlined.

  34. Pheo,

    I agree with your sentiments expressed at the outset. I voted for Kerry, and am upset that he lost (and that the republican monolith has increased its control of the legislative branch).

    I do think, though, that there is a misperception that democrats are secular and anti-religious. It has been a while (if ever) when the clergy of a major denomination has suggested that one who voted for a particular member of their own denomination might not be worthy to take communion.

    I consider myself as fully committed to the gospel as those who espouse conservative republicanism as God’s truth. Yet I feel that the fundamental values and history of the democratic party are more consistent with core gospel principles than those of the republican party. I understand that reasonable and devout people can disagree, and I do not quarrel (much) with those who reach another conclusion.

    In my view, the current position of the democratic party on abortion is out-of-sinc with its historical dedication to the protection of the oppressed. While I do not expect the platform to change any time soon (it already has language admitting that democrats may differ on this issue), I hope that the party reaches out and becomes more welcoming to pro-lifers. Perhaps Senator Reid’s potential ascension to majority leader can help change the perception.

  35. a random John says:


    You haven’t been here reading here long if you took D’s comment in that way. :)

    It would have been interesting to see which way the country would have voted it the gay marriage debate hadn’t been an issue. I don’t think that any liberals thought that the issue would cost Kerry the presidency since the war in Iraq loomed so large in everyone’s mind. That said, exits polls seem to indicate that it might have done just that.

    Hopefully there will be better candidates in 2008. I would guess that Kerry’s political capital is spent and obviously Bush can’t run againt. Hopefully Orrin’s nutjob ammendment doesn’t pass and we won’t have to worry about Arnold. So it might be Hilary vs Obama vs Edwars for the Democrats. I am sure I am forgetting someone there. Maybe McCain vs Rudy vs Mitt for the Republicans? With the exception of Hilary they all look like better choices to me than Kerry or Bush.

  36. Pheo, in Priesthood Meeting last Sunday, we got the “budget your money wisely; learn to distinguish your needs from your wants; don’t go into debt” lesson. Of course, it was all good advice from the General Authorities to the individual members.

    I then asked the question: if this is good advice for families, shouldn’t it also apply to governments and nations? The response, basically, was “There are no people in government leadership positions that care anything for budgeting the taxpayers’ money wisely”, and that it was futile to expect otherwise.

    Whatever happened to prophets that would denounce the wicked ways of war-mongering, deficit-spending national leaders? I guess those days disappeared with the Old Testament prophets.

  37. john fowles says:

    Randy, I didn’t mean to suggest that you were saying that the dems had to surrender to Bush-supporters moral views when I said “taking as given.” Rather, I meant exactly what you said in your comment: “debate over morals on the same footing as republicans.” This seems like a more sensible approach that thoughts of secession. It also seems more productive than just dismissing anyone who could support Bush as stupid.

    Anyway, to Steve’s bewilderment at the sea of red, I think that many of the comments to this post over at Gordon Smith’s blog are a good cross-section of reasons why so many people were still resolved to vote for Bush despite the war. The comments to Gordon’s post do not create an exhaustive list that explains the sea of red, but I hope that many of them will convince you that many people who voted for Bush were indeed informed and thoughtful voters. They just apparently proceded from a different set of driving principles than Steve does (hence questioning the very intelligence of those in the sea of red).

  38. Randy, you wuss! Stand your ground!!

    No, of course there’s much to be said for what you’re saying, and even for what John F.’s saying, but I’m not in the mood to admit such right now.

    Right now, I’d prefer to look at it as a massive evil brainwashing from Karl Rove, which has apparently also affected those at the dark cavern of the bloggernacle.

  39. Somthing not well addressed above is that Michael Moore and Dan Rather won the election for Bush by causing many people with concerns to dismiss the related issues as overblown or unbelieveable.

    In a very real way, overblown or improperly foundationed attacks immunized large parts of the electorate.

    The same thing happened with President Clinton and those who demonized him. The hatred and demonization drowned out the legitimate criticisms and issues.

    One of Hilary’s greatests strengths is those who demonize her and pre-empt rational discussion and thereby take themselves and related issues out of the discussion.

    It is a facinating trend in American politics — the manner in which rhetorical excess rebounds to protect a candidate from criticism in the area of attack.

  40. Sorry Steve, you are just too thin skinned. John’s comments aren’t there to incite anger etc.

  41. D. Fletcher says:

    Sorry to have made you think I was offended. On the contrary, my “bitter” line was meant to be taken sarcastically — I’m a Kerry supporter, though I really wasn’t happy with either.

  42. john fowles says:

    Steve wrote, The appropriate sentiment is disappointment, and the realization that it is possible to overestimate the intelligence of others.

    This is what I meant with my comment about moral values. The fact that there is the sea of red out there could, instead of prompting this comment from you, cause you to reflect on your own opposing views and evaluate them to see if there isn’t something that this “sea of red” is seeing that you aren’t seeing. That would be more productive than questioning the intelligence of people that voted for Bush. In voting for Bush this time, these people were not necessarily signaling that they are completely complacent with his prosecution of the war or the issue of WMD; rather, what they are showing is that moral values matter to them, and not just any moral values, but the right moral values (that is, what they consider to be the right moral values). Moral values turned out to be more important in this election than the war. Even if you do not agree with their moral values, questioning their intelligence for holding to them (and thus voting for someone who represents them) seems completely arrogant. Maybe a new analysis is in order in which the starting premise is not that people who voted “red” are stupid but that there is a legitimate reason they are voting this way and how to talk to them about it in terms that seem reasonable to them, rather than calling them stupid.

  43. Steve, I’m drinking from the same bitter cup you are, but John makes an important point. We, as democrats, need to find a way to appeal to more folks who live in the sea of red by appealing to their moral sense of right and wrong. I’m not opposed to rethinking our current positions as John suggests (introspection is always good), but I think far more could be done in reframing our existing positions. There are millions of people in this country who, despite their very best efforts, do not have access to adequate medical care. I think that is a moral tragedy. But democrats, as a general rule, don’t talk in those terms.

    Perhaps we should.

    I worry a great deal about this religious divide and how it seems to translate into politics (church going people vote republican; non-church goers vote democrat). We need to somehow breach this divide. If we don’t, no amount of debate over the relative merits of food stamps is going to change their minds.

  44. john fowles says:

    Steve, that article provided a very good explanation of what you and Christina are feeling.

    The article is disturbing, however. Take two quotes from the article, for example:

    (1) His friend, Ms. Cohn, a native of Wisconsin who deals in art, contended that New Yorkers were not as fooled by Mr. Bush’s statements as other Americans might be. “New Yorkers are savvy,” she said. “We have street smarts. Whereas people in the Midwest are more influenced by what their friends say.”

    (2) Ms. Camhe explained the habits and beliefs of those dwelling in the heartland like an anthropologist.

    “What’s different about New York City is it tends to bring people together and so we can’t ignore each others’ dreams and values and it creates a much more inclusive consciousness,” she said. “When you’re in a more isolated environment, you’re more susceptible to some ideology that’s imposed on you.”

    I’m not sure if you can sense the arrogance of these sentiments. (I suppose it’s only natural if you can’t really see it since you are immersed in this mentality–that is, since you live in NYC and share this perspective.) Try to put yourself in the shoes of those in the sea of red and read these statements.

    If you agree with these quotes, tell me, what is it that gives NYC values their superiority? Who is it that made the determinative declaration that those values are superior to the “heartland” values that put Bush back into office?

    And so the point of my comments on this thread has been to ask why such an election turnout isn’t prompting some introspection for those who hold to this NYC mentality. A reconsideration, if you will, of whether those in the sea of red really are stupid (your suggestion), uncaring or “susceptible to some ideology that’s imposed on you” (Ms. Camhe’s suggestion), or gullible or easily “influenced by what their friends say” (Ms. Cohn’s suggestion), or whether something else, something more legitimate than the condescending reasons imagined by those in the article, could be behind Bush’s victory.

  45. john fowles says:

    Steve, your comments reveal that you have made certain assumptions about my votes in this election. In the interest of fairness, let me disclose that I voted for four dems, three Republicans, and four libertarians (spread out over the whole spectrum of natioinal, state, and local ballots).

    Sorry that my timing has been inconvenient.

  46. That sea of red is important to recognize but this was still a very close election, when one considers that Ohio’s votes are determining the winner.

    The Republicans were holding their breath for quite awhile yesterday and the Democrats were feeling confident. And then in the space of a few hours all of that changed.

  47. There’s nothing more weird than looking at the electoral map and seeing a sea of red. What is going on??? How come so many people like GW? I am amazed. I mean, I didn’t vote or nuthin’, but still….

  48. To be clear, I don’t think democrats have to take Bush’s moral priorities as a given in order for the party to become relevant. Rather, democrats must be willing to engage the debate over morals on the same footing as republicans.

  49. Well, I am mostly just a lurker here, but I have a few thoughts on the “moral values” issue.

    Surprisingly (for me), I find myself agreeing with John Fowles on this one.

    The “moral values” issue was discussed on NPR today due to the importance voters apparently placed on that issue (as indicated by the exit polls). One of the commenters made the point that many voters with strong concerns over certain issues that they viewed as presenting “moral” quandries (e.g. stem cells, abortion, gay marriage) may have voted for Bush in part because they felt that he recognized the moral quandry presented by these issues, while Kerry did not. I myself noted this problem in the third debate. Whenever one of these controversial issues was brought up, it seemed like Kerry glossed over the real moral dilemmas they present for many people. It was almost as if he didn’t get what was bothering people. (Why can’t they just rely on science/support civil rights, etc.?) So even if people don’t fully agree with Bush’s ultimate stance on the issues, they may have felt more comfortable voting for him simply because they knew that he acknowledged their concerns.

    I haven’t fully done justice to the commenter’s analysis here, but I do remember that her comments were about the only thing that gave me comfort today (an otherwise very depressing day for me due to the election results). I really could empathize with people who were highly concerned about these “moral” issues and voted for someone they thought could relate to them.

    To me, Bush’s stance on practically everything is so wrong-headed that the above analysis hadn’t even occurred to me. But maybe because I have encountered so many moral quandries of my own (as a liberal Mormon feminist–yikes! that sounds scary), that I can recognize the desire to find someone who at least understands the dilemma instead of simply dismissing it out of hand.

  50. Well, there you go! Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every commenter be established.

  51. What didn’t happen: No terrorist incidents. No bombs or even bomb threats. No Florida snafus. No electronic voting nightmares (yet). Despite another terribly close election, things are going pretty smoothly. Let’s give Kerry some credit: He’s no Al Gore.

    What did happen: Provisional ballots? These are “we’ll count these if we really need them” votes? Do we now have full-spectrum voting, from real votes, to absentee votes (too busy to show up in person), to provisional votes (maybe a legitimate voter, maybe not), to frankly illegitimate votes (think illegal aliens or, for that matter, legal ones, who somehow manage to register to vote–see provisional votes).

    Enough close elections–let’s have a landslide in 2008.

  52. john fowles says:

    What is trolling? (I get accused of it a lot on numerous blogs.)

  53. Aaron Brown says:

    Yes, abortion and gay marriage are major issues, but so is foreign policy. And notwithstanding Pheo’s conclusory claims to the contrary, I’m quite sure Bush’s foreign policy played a major role in his reelection.

    Aaron B