Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I've said it before and I'll say it again: What more does a president have to do to lose re-election? How do you look at President Bush and say, "Job well done. Please do more of it"? I guess the difference was the macho factor: "I have more testosterone in the fight against terrorists, and I don't like the thought of gay guys doing it."

But the harsher question goes to Kerry, the second-straight underachieving Democratic nominee. How do you lose to this guy, after these last two years? How many more vulnerabilities can a challenger ask for in an incumbent? Kerry should be prepared for even more Democratic hatred than Gore got--at least Gore won the popular vote.

Take a look at the last four Democratic losers: Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale. All aloof elitists, all vastly ineffective communicators. As was said last night, the Democrats are mostly a bi-coastal party, and desperately need to become a national party again.* You don't become a national party--you don't wade into that sea of red states--with Hillary Clinton. You might do it with John Edwards, but he doesn't make up the gap in the macho factor, especially not against Rudy Guiliani. You could do it with Barack Obama, but he won't be ready until '12 or '16, and will probably start out as a VP nominee.

There is just one consolation in all this: Now Bush will have to clean up his own mess. It wouldn't have been fully fair to ask Kerry to hoist us out of the hole--in Iraq and in the economy--that Bush dug. Bush will have to sleep in the bed he made. And he'll have to face, on a daily and public basis, his failure.

One last thought: will the Democrats pipe down now about the Electoral College? It nearly won them the White House this time despite a two or three percent deficit in the popular vote.

David Brooks registered his apt misgivings about both Bush and Kerry yesterday. William Saletan has a reality check for Democrats this morning. Nicholas Kristof in today's NYT on why the working poor vote for trickle-down Republicans. (Update: what went wrong, what won't work next time, and more on the "God gap" here, here, here and here. And Slate on how to move to Canada.)

* - States that Clinton won in 1992 and/or 1996 that neither Gore nor Kerry carried (with the exception of Gore's sort-of and squeaker wins in FL and NM): Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Montana, Ohio, Nevada, New Mexico, and West Virginia. (response/more results)

Look at how little these percentages budged after four years. Kinda makes you wonder, what's the point of all those ads, sound bites, conventions, debates, and most of all, all those polls?

STATE Bush-Gore Bush-Kerry
AL••••••57-42•••••• 63-37
AK•••••• 59-28•••••• 62-35
AZ••••••51-45 ••••••55-44
AR•••••• 51-45•••••• 54-45
CA•••••• 42-54•••••• 44-55
CO•••••• 51-42•••••• 53-46
CT•••••• 39-56•••••• 44-54
DE•••••• 42-55•••••• 46-53
DC•••••• 09-86•••••• 09-90
FL•••••• 49-49•••••• 52-47
GA•••••• 55-43•••••• 59-41
HI•••••• 38-56•••••• 45-54
ID•••••• 69-28•••••• 68-30
IL•••••• 43-55•••••• 44-55
IN•••••• 57-41•••••• 60-39
IA•••••• 48-49•••••• 50-49
KS•••••• 59-37•••••• 62-37
KY•••••• 57-41•••••• 60-40
LA•••••• 53-45•••••• 57-42
ME•••••• 44-49•••••• 45-53
MD•••••• 40-57•••••• 43-56
MA•••••• 33-60•••••• 37-62
MI•••••• 47-51•••••• 48-51
MN•••••• 46-48•••••• 48-51
MS•••••• 57-42•••••• 60-40
MO•••••• 51-47•••••• 54-46
MT•••••• 58-34•••••• 59-39
NE•••••• 63-33•••••• 62-32
NV•••••• 49-46•••••• 51-48
NH•••••• 48-47•••••• 49-50
NJ•••••• 41-56•••••• 46-53
NM•••••• 48-48•••••• 50-49
NY•••••• 35-60•••••• 40-58
NC•••••• 56-43•••••• 56-43
ND•••••• 61-33•••••• 63-36
OH•••••• 50-46•••••• 51-49
OK•••••• 60-38•••••• 66-34
OR•••••• 47-47•••••• 47-52
PA•••••• 47-51•••••• 49-51
RI•••••• 32-61•••••• 39-60
SC•••••• 57-41•••••• 58-41
SD•••••• 60-38•••••• 60-39
TN•••••• 51-48•••••• 57-43
TX•••••• 59-38•••••• 61-38
UT•••••• 67-26•••••• 71-27
VT•••••• 41-51•••••• 39-59
VA•••••• 52-45•••••• 54-46
WA•••••• 45-50•••••• 46-53
WV•••••• 52-46•••••• 56-43
WI•••••• 48-48•••••• 49-50
WY•••••• 69-28•••••• 69-29

Total 47.9-48.3••••••51-48

Bush 50,456,002
Gore 50,999,897

Bush 58,874,321
Kerry 55,319,301

(more numbers from CNN/WP; speech tranx's; more 2000 numbers here, here and here.)

So, ladies and gentlemen, here he is, your commander-in-chief, Mr. Mission Accomplished:

(Well, at least it isn't this guy!)

Tom Shales this morning in the WP: "We finally figured out who [Kerry] looks like: Jay Leno's grandfather."

Update: (I lost the source of this, sorry):
There were about 115 million votes cast. There are
217.8 million eligible voters. That means that about
52 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. That means
that the president was re-elected by 27 percent of
eligible American voters. And that Kerry received the
active support -- that is, taking the trouble to vote
-- of 25 percent of eligible American voters.

"Bad politicians are elected by good people who don't
vote." (George Jean Nathan)

concession speech delivered by Dick Tuck, a
candidate for California assemblyman in 1964:
"The people have spoken -- the bastards."

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