About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unread


Post 0

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 2:38amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Hey Chris,

Interesting article. You know I agree with your concerns about the Iraq situation and the consequences for the wider "War on Terror", though I've just heard that elections there have been set for January 30th, so lets see what happens. Perhaps that'll provide some sort of "exit route" for the western forces. I won't comment on the state ballots you referred to because I don't know all of the facts about them.

But I have to ask how likely you think a federal abortion ban or a marriage amendment are to actually happen? Bush was going on about these policies prior to the 2000 election, and for all the talk seems to have done little if anything to actually put them into force. It might be argued that Bush is to large extent just talking platitudes in order to keep the fundamentalists "on side". And sure Christianity has a vocal fundamentalist "wing" in the US (much more so in most if not all other western countries), but I'm sure that there is also a substantial secularised influence who pay "lip service" to the major Christian doctrines, go to church most Sundays etc, nominally observe the birth of Christ at Christmas but participate in mainly secular celebrations and get on with living essentially secular lives the rest of the year. Granted I don't live in the US (though I do experience a lot of US culture through various media), but I just don't see any kind of mounting movement towards fundamentalism.

MH




Post 1

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 8:02amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

I was wrong and you were right, Chris. (How many times have people told you that – or should have?) Back in Feb 17, 2003 on Atlas II (post 8397), I said Kerry can and would win:

 

But how could Kerry win? It's hard to know what he will do but there
is only one hope for his campaign. After the primary, he has to take
his anti-war vote for granted and focus on a pro-defense image. He'll
call it "the right defense." The key is to imply that Bush should have
gone to war with Saudi Arabia without actually saying such a thing.
This is easy, as I'll show.

As we all know, Saudi Arabia is the fountainhead of the Islamist
movement. It funded the educational institutions and operations
(overtly and covertly) for the Talliban, Al Queda, Hamas, etc. Kerry
can attack Bush's hypocrisy for attacking Iraq and not Saudi Arabia.
However, he doesn't have to say how he would have resolved that
hypocrisy: avoid Iraq or attack Saudi Arabia. People will hear what
they want to hear. A large part of the public understands Saudi Arabia
is the heart of Islam and Islamism. They are disappointed by the
administration's defense of the evil Kingdom. Kerry's supporters will
supply the motive (oil industry) and cover-up (those missing pages).

 

Well Kerry did change to a “right defense” campaign (at least one half of Kerry did that) and his supporters picked up on Bush’s weak point via the Michael Moore movie. But Kerry didn’t go the whole way and tar Bush with being weak on Islamism the way John F. Kennedy talked about the Republicans being soft on Communism. He didn’t co-opt the issue.

 

-Jason Pappas

 

Oh, yes, nice link to our little chat and your story.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 2

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 8:18amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks Matthew, for your comments.

Let me be very clear about this:  I have never thought and I do not think that the fundamentalist movement constitutes a dominant cultural tendency in the United States of America.  Thank God.

That said, for all the reasons I've spelled out in my Rapture article concerning the growing economic and cultural power of fundamentalism, I believe it is a growing political force that needs to be reckoned with. I think they are clearly tipping the balance in many state political contests and ballot questions, and are having an effect on federal elections as well.  I don't believe Bush pays "lip service" to this growing movement because I believe that he is sincere in his beliefs, and these beliefs emerge from his faith.  That doesn't mean that every last element of that faith is to be repudiated; what it does mean, however, is that he, like most politicians, is constituted by a very complex set of internal contradictions.

Do I think it will be possible to reverse the more liberal social trends?  If things stay the way they are, probably not because there is enough political gridlock to block even a rising cultural and political reaction.   (To a certain extent, as I have written in a new L&P essay, "Building an Incredible Revolution," I do believe that much of the ferocity of the right wing has emerged as a reaction against a long-term trend toward greater social liberalization; it's the same liberalization that inspires hatred among the Islamic jihadists.)  It is difficult to say, however, what the effect will be of this reaction on the federal judiciary, given that Bush will have much greater latitude with a higher Senate majority, in getting more right-wing religious judges confirmed.

Understand that everything I write here is not about the political loss of freedom as much as it is about the truth of that old adage:  The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.  People who "pooh-pooh" the power of rising threats to that liberty might wake up one day and be shocked by the loss of it.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 3

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 8:23amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Hey, Jason, nice post.  And not just because of the "I was wrong" part. :) 

BTW, I enjoyed your website while surfing it the other day; it's good to see this emphasis on "Liberty and Culture"---you know how much I appreciate that message. 




Post 4

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 10:04amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Chris-

Thank you for an, as usual, wonderful article.

On "God help us," I have some recent experiences that worry me.  I've written before that some of my friends are making contingency plans to leave the country, if Roe if overturned.  Well, I recently attended a party thrown up by an organization related to my profession, which it is the first time I've attended such a function since my health took a crash about a month ago.  The hosts and guests are sex workers, their significant others (yes, prostitutes love like everyone else), and activists for whom sex worker rights is an important issue; politically, they range from libertarians to left-anarchists to pro-sex feminist progressives.

Well, while there, I heard one couple, lesbians, said that they had already decided to leave the country, for Belgium.  Another (heterosexual) couple was making plans to leave for New Zealand, while a third- at the urgings of his mother, if I heard correctly, was considering following them.

Please understand that while, admittedly, sex workers are actors and we tend be be much the overdramatizing type, this is also a setting where honesty within the Life has to be taken very seriously.  And I'm scared.  Perhaps what scared me the most is that there was one person, a libertarian decriminalization activist, who seemed in a very stormy mood particularly because he doesn't share the estimation of the recent election as a political disaster.  I talked to him, and was very vehement not only in warning of the threat of an expanding Islamic culture, but in sounding rather disgusted with many of the rest of us there for leaving, stating adamantly that he would 'stay and fight' and defend everything 'America stands for' from the Chrisitan right, which did not make much sense to me as the way he said it sounded like he was saying honour demanded one fight a severe danger, yet he was at the same time saying the danger was not so severe and secondary to foreign policy issues.

What I felt from his tone and voice and radiating defensive tenseness- things I've never seen in him before- is that all this talk of leaving in the country suddenly was something that deeply alienating to his sense of the world.  And the same thing is true on the other side; not only were there a couple of Bush-bashing t-shirts, but in this venue- sex workers are factually, even if a lot of them have a kind of touching patriotism, at a state of war with the American polity- there was a great sense of a chance to live for a few hours "our kind of world" instead of an outside America; it seemed to hang an a subtle text to the whole gathering.

I see more and more of this.  This makes nine people I've heard so far talk seriously about leaving this country, either definitely or (more conmonly) if certain policies are enacted, and moreover I see more and more of a sense, among leftists and some libertarians, of taking a defensive, circling the wagons position.  I think part of it is that liberal are finally admitting that "the people" aren't basically with them, and for those who care more about their social values than a populist identity, they're finally realizing they are a minority in a hostile culture, and incidentally are becoming a lot more frieddly to libertarians, who seem to be (excepting Objectivists), wecoming more freindly to the left.

I've talked to you about incompatable cultures and the culture war turning ugly before, but I am personally, again, just scared.  I hear my friends and colleagues talk about leaving the country, and I think about it myself, and for the first time I really I don't want to leave this country.  I've finally built a life, a life I want, finally found a place in this society, a city where I can settle down (until I get in trouble as an 'escort') and even friendships, and I have the sinking feeling that unless I'm a fool who can't learn from history, I'm going to just have to leave it all behind.  With the end of abortion as a right, or a looming draft, or a society patriotically mobilized through continuous war- I hear drums rumbling in Iran now- this just is not a place where a perfect social scapegoat can live- citing Bob Jones speech, I am a Pagan.  And if these kind of thing politically happen... I just have trouble believing it's fully real.  I met one woman who fought herself, personally, for abortion rights, in the 70s, who was on the verge of tears saying she just felt numb at the idea of going back to all that- she had lost friends to backstreet and Tijuana abortions in the days before Roe.

Chris, tell me this really won't happen.  Do you think there is any will left in this country to fight for freedom- freedom when it's not freedom for the respectable and the mainstream who personally won't be touched (today) by the destruction of freedom for 'different people'?  I personally get the feeling that those on the cultural 'pro-America' side are disgusted with the cultural left and don;t consider our freedom a priority, even if they are libertarians.  There is just such a shocking cultural war, though the sad thing is that the best of each side really aren't that different- but I've hear cultural rightists libertarians say over and over somethign like 'to fight Islamic extremism, social freedom for irresponsible hedonists can take a back seat', while I hear cultural-left grocery store clerks on the other side just say they've given up on this country.

Is this real?  My sense of history says this is all bad, very bad, very bad news, but even I, who have reasons to hate this country which you know, but most here don't, can't fully believe that the nation of the Bill of Rights is so hopelessly divided that the losing side is really starting to think about getting out.  Yet it is really happening- one person at the party said the metaphor that's been running through my mind- that if you were in Germany in the 30s, there was a time you could see what was coming and you could get out, and you'd better, because there might be a time later that you couldn't.  I know that's farfetched for most Americans, but it's not farfetched for a sex worker, or for a GLBT in say, Mississippi, where I was told 89% of the people approved a gay marriage ban.

Again, Chris, is this real?  I hate to act the proverbial blind question, but, at least for those who are already marginalized and just tolerated, can it really happen here?

my troubled regards,

Jeanie Ring

(Edited by Jeanine Ring on 11/21, 11:37am)




Post 5

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 11:24amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Chris,

Let me be very clear about this:  I have never thought and I do not think that the fundamentalist movement constitutes a dominant cultural tendency in the United States of America.  Thank God.

Ok, I misunderstood slightly. Thanks for clarifying :-) I fully agree the fundamentalist movement such as it is has to be reckoned with. I also believe that Bush is sincere in his beliefs. Therefore I presume that he was sincere in the 2000 election campaign when he said that abortion rights "will not be overturned until the hearts (of the people) are changed. Until then we should focus on ways to reduce abortion."

As for the supreme court, isn't pro-choice Republican Arlen Specter expected to be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary committee? I gather he's already warning Bush off the idea of trying to load the Supreme Court with anti-abortion judges.

Jeanine,

Your post wasn't directed at me, and I don't presume to be able to relate to your personal situation, but I think I can relate to that libertarian activist who told you he would stand and fight the religious right. I'm one of very few in the UK who are glad that Bush won the presidency, but he was at best "the least worst candidate". The Islamist terrorists are a tremendous threat, and Bush deserves support in his efforts to combat them. But supporting Bush over the "War on Terror" doesn't mean writing him a blank cheque. Many aspects of how that "war" has been carried out are open to criticism, and much of Bush's domestic agenda does have to be opposed outright, regardless of the fact that Bush is fighting terrorism - and indeed as I pointed out above, even some elected Republicans oppose various elements of that domestic agenda.

Regards,
MH




Post 6

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 11:45amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jeanine writes:
>Again, Chris, is this real? 

Yes, Jeanine, it is. And reality seems to be the major problem here. I think the most indicative issue of Bush's administration is not Iraq, but the budget deficit. Why? Well, here the real seriousness of the long-term problem was perfectly visible - in advance even of the 2000 election - to anyone who could add up and was prepared to be honest about the situation. But it seemed that few were prepared to do either, instead opting for the many highly imaginative rationalisations of how this supposedly was sound policy. Now, 4 years later, look at the US dollar.

Now you can pretty much take that modus operandi and apply it to Iraq, or any other major policy of this administration so far. It's disconnected, operating by ideology and ever more reliant on emotions like patriotism and fear for public support rather than, y'know, evidence and math. Bush's alleged "decisiveness" seems to me to be a merely stubborn determination *not* to face up to reality. He is a man of iron whim. So yes, I think that now he has a narrow margin of legitmacy, we can expect this whimsicality to get worse, not better.

- Daniel





Post 7

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 12:37pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Chris,

I'm afraid a second-look at the post-election facts has come to prove wrong the left-wing conventional wisdom about this election. As most people are now acknowledging, the religious vote was not the decisive factor. (See David Brooks's column of a few weeks ago, which summarizes the reasons).

It turns out that the evangelical turnout was no higher than in 2000. Bush got a slightly greater percentage of it than last time, but his increased support from all other demographics was much more striking. E.g., his far greater support in some eastern states that he lost in 2000 (ny and nj). True, he lost them again, but the vastly improved performance shows that terrorism was a much more important issue than religion.

As for the states he won, the numbers show that the deciding differences were NOT among religionists, but rather women, latinos, and even secularists.

And "moral values," for what it's worth, does not mean homophobia. If you were asked what the most important question in any election would be, wouldn't you say moral values?

Alec




Post 8

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 3:09pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
To steal a line from Ronald Reagan (stated to Jimmy Carter during a debate) :

There you go again Mr. Sciabarra!
 
Oh why did you have to write this piece! You know damn well that I will feel compelled to bang out another 'Open Letter'.

I think you do these things to me on purpose, as a form of torture!

Sincerely,

'Doubting Thomas'

(Edited by George W. Cordero on 11/21, 3:09pm)




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 9

Monday, November 22, 2004 - 4:28amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Let me first address Alec, and, perhaps, Doubting Thomas (though nothing will ever please him). Here is, perhaps, the most important point in my article:

Even before the GOP Convention in NYC, it was clear to me that this had to result in a Bush victory. It’s not that I believed the religious vote guaranteed a Bush win—far from it. Certainly the war and terrorism issues, as well as Kerry’s own credibility problems, I argued, would be crucially important factors in crafting a winning strategy. But it is also true that Bush could never have won the election without the support of his religious constituency.


Please note:  The article does not claim that the religious vote guaranteed a Bush victory (which is how I, and, I suspect, Alec, would define "decisive").  But it does claim that he "could never have won the election without the support of his religious constituency."  That's a slightly different claim.  And I don't believe it is simply the "left-wing conventional wisdom," not unless you are prepared to characterize the President's own campaign "Architect" Karl Rove, along with the Rev. Falwell and Bob Jones 3rd, as "left wing."  The President needed that constituency to win.  The Rove strategy explicitly aimed to shore-up that constituency because Rove knew that Bush could not have won without it.  This does not mean that there were not other singular issues, which cut across constituencies, and were as, or more, important, than this religious constituency.  I stated in the article that the war and terrorism issues were "crucially important factors," and I agree that Bush made important inroads with traditionally "blue-collar" Democratic constituencies on this issue especially. 

Electoral victory depends upon crafting a winning strategy across demographics, constituencies, and issues.  A winning strategy will be such that each one of the elements of victory becomes crucial to the outcome, such that the elimination of any element can change that outcome.  Also, let's not forget that issues and constituencies are not hermeticallly sealed from one another; it is quite possible that a religious voter who would have voted for Bush is also, quite apart from her religious convictions, very concerned about the terrorism issue.  Of course, such a voter might also tend to think in more integrated terms, seeing Bush as a savior, of sorts, on both the domestic and global fronts, against the forces of "evil."

On the question of Hispanics:  this is a much more complex demographic, and, if anything, it proves yet another point in my "Rapture" article; as I write there:  "Far more disturbing, however, is the fact that traditionally opposed Protestant pietists and Catholic liturgicals have moved toward a kind of political consolidation. Laurie Goodstein argues that evangelicals and conservative Catholics 'have forged an alliance that is reshaping American politics and culture.'"  It remains to be seen if this Protestant-Catholic coalition can withstand its deep doctrinal divisions, but the truth is that a very sizable portion of the Hispanic vote comes from devout Catholic Hispanics, who are very socially conservative and for whom Bush's social and religious conservatism speaks volumes.  These are the same kinds of socially conservative Catholics who, with Protestants, flocked en masse to Gibson's "Passion of The Christ," not as singular audience members, but in organized church trips to the cinema.  As I pointed out in an L&P thread:  On the Hispanic vote, take a look at this Washington Times essay (and that paper is hardly "left wing"), which tells us that Bush took the Catholic vote 55 to 45.  Some Republican strategists believe that it was the wooing of Catholics on matters of the socially conservative agenda that made all the difference in Ohio.  Remember too that Al Gore actually carried the Catholic vote in the 2000 election, while Kerry, who is Catholic, failed to do so.  That's significant.  Also, on the topic of Catholics and Protestants, take a look at this article by Carolyn Curiel, "How Hispanics Voted Republican," which provides further evidence of GOP inroads in both religious communities.  (The same, btw, can be said about evangelical blacks; blacks traditionally vote Democratic, but Bush made inroads among a very socially conservative bloc of black voters.  That was practically predicted by Zev Chafets, who is a political hawk, not a left-wing writer.)

BTW, I've read the David Brooks piece, and I don't believe it offers anything that contradicts fundamentally what I've stated here.  Brooks is also, unfortunately, wedded to the belief that Bush is the reincarnation of the "Progressive Conservative" agenda of neomercantilist Republicanism.  I think freedom-loving people ought to be opposed to that agenda, quite apart from the President's religious convictions.

Jeanine is very concerned about the implications of the cultural war; I think it is worth being concerned about, but I don't see, at this time, any need to rush to the borders.  This country is still free in many significant ways, and the ferocity of the religious right-wing reaction is a testament to the power that secular forces have had in shifting the ground under that constituencies' feet.  As a colleague of mine pointed out:  secular forces have already shifted the parameters of the debate quite significantly.  Could any one of us imagine a struggle over gay marriage in the 1980s, when the Moral Majority first reared its ugly head?  Could any one of us imagine the Supreme Court striking down sodomy statutes? 

Again:  fundamentalism is not the dominant cultural trend in this country.  It is significant; it is growing.  But it can be checked.  I'm not sure, however, if it can be completely checked by the likes of Arlen Spector, as Matthew H suggests; Spector had quite a fight on his hand getting that Senate appointment.  He nearly lost it because social conservatives were very angry over his post-election posturing; he has now guaranteed the President that he will not use abortion as a litmus test to deny confirmation to judicial nominees. 

Also, MH, you're right:  Bush says that the "hearts and minds" of people must be changed on the abortion debate, but Bush sees government as a tool by which to affect that kind of change.  Caveat emptor.

Finally, just a minor point:  I do not equate religion and/or "moral values" with homophobia.  In fact, as my "Rapture" article makes clear:  I don't indict all of religion and all religious people.  My claim is that there is a growing socially conservative religious cultural movement that is gaining greater political leverage, and that this leverage was illustrated in Election 2004, and that freedom-loving people must be vigilant.  I have written the same about left-wing secular "moralists" who seek to ram their particular moral agendas down the throats of the American people.  In other words, I think those of us who are politically (small-l) libertarian need to be vigilant against authoritarian threats from both the right and the left.  




Post 10

Monday, November 22, 2004 - 5:56amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I thought the numbers on Hispanic exit polling had been shown to be internally inconsistent and at odds with rational possibilities as they stand.

http://www.vdare.com/sailer/041110_poll.htm

I don't disagree with the influence of the Fundamentalists.  I am always wary of any constituency able to influence the democratic process, all other things being equal, by voting as a bloc.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 11

Monday, November 22, 2004 - 6:06amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Very interesting polling data.

I confess that all of this reminds me of that old adage: "There are lies, damned lies, and ... statistics."  Of course, empiricist that I usually am, I'm not averse to statistical arguments.  It's just that after a while, the statistical analyses going back-and-forth do boggle the mind.

Given some of the exit polling I've reviewed, however, it does seem that whatever the Hispanic vote that Bush received, there still was a very sizable proportion of that vote that was a reflection of socially conservative Catholic values.




Post 12

Monday, November 22, 2004 - 1:05pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Chris,

I was objecting to your emphasis on religious fundamentalism as the deciding factor in the election. I'll tell you what I mean.

Of course Bush could not have won without the support of his religious constituency, but that's blatantly obvious. It's like saying Kerry could not have won without the support of his coastal liberal constituency. The deciding factors (as I define them) are those concerning swing constituencies that tilt the election one way or another. Another deciding factor is an improved showing among constituencies that a candidate expects to lose.

Now, if Kerry for whatever reason got a larger number of religious voters who traditionally vote for Bush--not a majority, but just a larger number than usual--THAT would've been the deciding factor, not his base, which is gauranteed anyway.

But Bush, in this case, got a larger number of votes from those who traditionally vote Democratic and those who are in the middle. Hence the deciding factor must be that which motivated those groups to vote for him in greater numbers.

Alec 




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 13

Monday, November 22, 2004 - 2:48pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Well, okay, but even if it is "blatantly obvious" that "Bush could not have won without the support of his religious constituency," that does not mean that this constituency would have gotten out the vote for Bush no matter what.  That's why I talked about the campaign strategy in Ohio:  If it were not for the kinds of efforts that were mounted in states like Ohio, wherein questions such as the gay marriage and civil union ballot initiative were put to the voters, it's quite possible that Bush would never have won the state---and no GOP candidate has ever won a national election without taking Ohio.  GOP operatives worked overtime to get that religious vote out.  They knew that the overwhelming majority of people who would vote to "save" marriage would also vote for George Bush.  One can argue, persuasively I think, that Bush himself knew that his proposed federal constitutional amendment to define marriage in heterosexual terms could never have been passed in the previous congressional term.  But that was the kind of "red meat" political stance that was necessary to serve up to his hungry religious constituency in an election year.  Even if it went down in flames, Bush became clearly identified with the sanctity of marriage.  (It's ironic that the ever-duplicitous Bill Clinton, he of the "don't ask, don't tell" doctrine, he of DOMA, suggested that had Kerry himself emphasized his own opposition to gay marriage not 3 times, but 3000 times, he might have taken a few of those religious voters away from Bush.)

The brilliance of Karl Rove's strategy is that he understood the necessity for shoring up the base; Bush said enough in the campaign to attract a few important swing voters, but that base had to provide Bush with the rock solid support without which the election was lost.

In the end, I'm sorry to say, statistically, it is very hard to argue what the "deciding" factor was because, as I've maintained, it takes a constellation of factors to create a winning strategy.  That's why I've been looking at other factors (economic and cultural) by which to trace the growth of socially conservative religious voting blocs.  Their danger is not strictly political; it is primarily cultural.  All real political power must, ultimately, depend upon a cultural base, in any event.

But let's say we do limit ourselves to the important swing voters that are in question.  Then, as I've argued, among those swing voters is the traditionally Democratic Catholic voting bloc, which, as I've suggested here, gave Bush a majority of its vote in Election 2004.  Catholics are identifying more and more with socially conservative causes, and they constitute a genuine swing vote, since the majority of Catholics voted for Gore in Election 2000.  Same with the Hispanic vote, which includes devout Catholic Hispanics who viewed Bush as the candidate of moral values.

In other words, what I'm saying is that there are religious-value issues at work not only in the important evangelical base, but also in some of the key swing-vote constituencies. 




Post 14

Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 2:26pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
The presidential results from Ohio in 2004 versus 2000 are quite interesting.  Here are the numbers:

                                  2000                                        2004
Gore                        2,186,190            Kerry           2,659,664   
Bush                        2,351,209            Bush             2,796,147
Margin                        165,019            Margin             136,483

So, while the total votes went up by over 20%, Bush's margin of victory actually decreased. Clearly the (slight) majority of the increased vote went to Kerry.  Let's look at the same-sex amendment.

Ban same-sex marriage:                       Yes               3,249,157
                                                             No              2,011,168
                                                        Margin:             1,237,989

It is difficult to look at these numbers and conclude that the same-sex marriage amendment helped Bush very much in Ohio.  

It is also somewhat encouraging that CNN's National Exit Poll showed that only 8% of voters said "Religious Faith" was the most important quality in a President.

I hope the formatting of these tables shows up properly.





Post 15

Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:31pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I think everyone's trying too hard here. This is largely paralysis by overanalysis. The presidential election is not all that hard to understand.

Ever since 1985, the current cultural Dark Age has been minutely lifting and we all now slightly live in a world of Western liberal ascension and "American triumphalism." The current minor and temporary ascent of the odious Religious Right is just a bump on the road, and a small reaction against the more-or-less inevitable. The RR is a thing to be truly hated and feared, but is likely not a big problem for the future --especially if we all stay very aware of them and their evil Osama-type agenda.

The Democrats would have won in 2004 if they did anything right. But Kerry was an extreme leftist, who shamelessly flip-flopped on everything, had no vision or energy, and was poor on sound-bites and dull as dirt. Even a minor improvement on one of these four obvious points would have put the Democrats back in the White House. The RR did not give Bush a big push here nor are they a group we should be too nervous about for the future.

Still, let's hope the Goldwater, Reagan, Kemp, Gingrich wing of quasi-libertarian Republicans revives quickly. Or a some new libertarian group forms in the Democrats -- which is very possible, by the way.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 16

Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 5:05amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks for the follow-up gents.  On those numbers, Michael, it is my understanding from exit polls that 67% of those who voted for the Ohio same-sex marriage ban also voted for George W. Bush.  By contrast, it is my understanding that a similar percentage of those who voted against the ban voted for John Kerry.  In a close election like this, where the GOP strategy was to go into the churches and embolden evangelical Protestants and socially conservative Catholics to come to the polls, I think that the 136,000+ vote differential owes something to turnout on that ballot initiative.

In any event, we can parse these numbers to death.  As I've said here and in other posts, the religious right is a force to contend with, but it is not a dominant cultural or political force.  And I would agree with Andre as well:  this is basically a reaction to a long-term secular trend.  It is, if you pardon the expression, fundamentally reactionary.  The only proper response to it is "eternal vigilance."

There is good news.  The maxim that "all politics is local" is important to remember, and just because there is a GOP majority in Congress does not mean that there won't be various forms of gridlock and back-biting.  That's the kind of political fragmentation that is required to "check and balance" the demands of various constituencies.  Take a look at David Brooks' NY Times article, "Strength in Disunity."




Post to this thread
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.