Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Karl Rove

This is the transcript of yesterday’s FOX News interview with Rove. And note this Agence France Press (AFP) story on Rove, especially the silly photograph (he wore at a Halloween party in imitation of Kerry’s hunting trip). And this from Time.
There is much to be said on Rove. I always liked his maxim: "Play on the other guy’s turf." You guys want to get out the vote, OK, let’s get out the vote. Smart guy. Prudente e virtuoso.

An important vote in Toledo, Ohio

Toledo’s harsh ban on smoking has been weakened. Issue 4 was approved by a margin of 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent. Starting in January "The amendment allows smoking in bowling alleys, bingo parlors, bars that receive less than 35 percent of their income from food, and restaurants with nine or fewer employees. It also allows smoking lounges in larger restaurants to jump from 30 percent to 50 percent of the service area."

Ivory Coast

Eight French soldiers were killed, and twenty-three wounded in Abidjan. The French are having a time of it in the Ivory Coast: "Crowds went door to door looking for French citizens and set fire to a French school, sending a pall of smoke over the city.

’Everybody get your Frenchman!’ young men in the mob shouted to each others. French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie was not amused, and said she is sending more troops (there are 4,000 French troops in the Ivory Coast, and about 6,000 UN peacekeepers [sic]) and three more French Mirage planes to the area. The UN’s Security Council is meeting on the this issue. This is the CIA’s World Fact Book on the Ivory Coast, updated just days ago.

Democratic rage and spin

The MSM and the Liberals (and the French) are already starting to try to have their spin color the election returns: Bush’s victory was not broad-based, it was tied to angry evangelicals voting, egged on by homophobia. Liberals are insular in their thinking and this insularity, which has caused them to lose touch with the rest of the country, now causes them to simplify, misundesrtand and condescend to the people who voted for Bush. While this is just the start--other spins will follow--it is worth noting, and David Brooks has already reacted to it. He argues that it was a broad and deep victory for Bush: "Every election year, we in the commentariat come up with a story line to explain the result, and the story line has to have two features. First, it has to be completely wrong. Second, it has to reassure liberals that they are morally superior to the people who just defeated them.

In past years, the story line has involved Angry White Males, or Willie Horton-bashing racists. This year, the official story is that throngs of homophobic, Red America values-voters surged to the polls to put George Bush over the top.

This theory certainly flatters liberals, and it is certainly wrong." He claims that the Pew Center claims that there was no "disproportionate surge in the evangelical vote this year. Evangelicals made up the same share of the electorate this year as they did in 2000." The upsurge of voters--and he cites some numbers--was "an upsurge of people with conservative policy views, whether they are religious or not."

Also note this article by John F. Hagan in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He examines Bay Village, a western suburb of Cleveland and finds that this generally conservative area supported Bush (53%) but opposed Issue 1 (ban on gay marriage). Issue 1 was rejected by 15 Cuyahoga County communities, many upscale. But the issue split African-Americans in Cleveland. For example:
"Residents in the Lee-Harvard neighborhood in Ward 1, for instance, voted for Kerry by a 96 percent margin. At the same time, they voted for the measure banning gay marriages by a 58 percent margin."

Queen of hearts wins a county commission seat

In White Pine County,

Nevada,
a race for county commissioner was determined by cutting cards. Both men got the same number of votes (1,847) and Nevada Revised Statute dictates that in the event of a tie, elections for certain seats must be determined by drawing lots. The winner turned over the queen of clubs while the loser (an opponent of gambling) turned over the seven of diamonds. Good story.  

Impotent Democrats

Bill Clinton on the election: "The Republicans had a clear message, a good messenger, great organization and great strategy." He also admits that the GOP did a better job of bringing out registered voters who hadn’t voted before. He then explains that the Demo Party needs to rework its image. Yup, that’s the first thing I thought of, image. Stay with it Bubba. In the meantime, according to this New York Times story a number of Demo Senators (Dodd, Corzine, Schumer) are thinking of running for governors of their respective states because they are in despair and do not like being in the minority in the Senate. This is a sign that they are becoming self-conscious of the fact that they are now members of the minority party. And some of the more ambitious ones, don’t like it. They are dispirited. "’People are just giving up,’ said one Democratic strategist who has been a key adviser to Senate and House candidates from the New York region. ’They’re realizing that they may be able to accomplish a lot more from a governor’s mansion than from Capitol Hill.’"

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal (R) was elected to Congress from Louisiana. He ran for governor two years ago and lost. He is a man worth watching, enthusiastically supported by Powerline.

Presidential election polls, 1936-2000

This chart
from the National Council on Public Polls shows
the poll results in presidential elections between 1936 and 2000, and compares them with the actual vote. Most are reasonably close.

Black support for Bush

It is estimated that in Ohio
Bush got about 16% of the black vote (nationally it is circa 12-14%). Both the national and state figures are very significant. These are some Republican and/or conservative black blogs that are worth a look, in case you haven’t:
Blacks for Bush, Booker Rising, Uncle Sam’s Cabin, La Shawn’s Barber Corner, Crispus,
dcthornton.com,
The Black Informant. There are plenty of others.

The Hollywood funk

Hollywood
is in a bit of a funk. They are contemplating--as best they can--whether or not they are out of touch with the American people. They conclude, no, not really. Amusing, unintentionally. (via Powerline).

L.A. Times exit poll

The Los Angeles Times exit poll (PDF file) has some numbers that differ (slightly from CNN’s below). For example, Bush’s percentage of the black vote is 14%, Bush took 49% of women, to Kerry’s 50%.

Some figures from exit polls

CNN
has the exit polls. There’s some very interesting stuff in it. I know that these figures are not realiable (they are by definition imperfect, but that’s all we’ll ever have; and everyone will use these figures). Besides, it’s the trend you are looking for, not whether or not he took 52% or 51% of the Catholic vote, for example. But for now just take note of this regarding the Latino vote:

Nationally he got 44% of the Latino vote (9% more than in 2000). In New Mexico his precentage grew by 12%, in Texas by 16%, in California by 4%. And if that is not interesting enough, note that he increased his female vote by 5%, the black vote by 2%, and the Jewish vote by 6%. Now pretend you are a Democrat strategist. Rough weekend.

Bush’s press conference

Here is the transcript
of his press conference yesterday. I saw quite a bit of it on C-Span later in the day, and I must say that I was impressed. He was perfectly comfortable, witty, charming, and intelligent. He knew he won.

Bush’s bulge in the first debate

The Hill reports (a couple of clicks down): " Call off the conspiracy freaks. Now it can be told: That mysterious bulge on President Bush’s back during the first presidential debate was not an electronic device feeding him answers, but a strap holding his bulletproof vest in place.... But sources in the Secret Service told The Hill that Bush was wearing a bulletproof vest, as he does most of the time when appearing in public. The president’s handlers did not want to admit as much during the campaign, for fear of disclosing information related to his personal security while he was on the campaign trail."

Bush hatred flops

Mark Steyn: "The Michael Mooronification of the Democratic Party proved a fatal error. Moore is the chief promoter of what’s now the received opinion of Bush among the condescending Left -- Chimpy Bushitler the World’s Dumbest Fascist. There are some takers for this view, but not enough. By running a campaign fuelled by Moore’s caricature of Bush, the Democrats were doomed to defeat." There is more. Read on. And you might want to amuse yourself by reading
Michael Moore’s "Seventeen Reasons not to Slit Your Wrists." The first one is this: "It is against the law for George W. Bush to run for president again."

Final numbers?

Well, it finnaly seems to be the case that Iowa is given to Bush, so he goes up to 286 electoral votes. Yet looking at the national numbers posted by USA Today, CNN
and Washington Post, you will note a large difference in absolute numbers and the the percentage. USA Today’s numbers have Bush winning 52-47%, for example, rather than 51-48%. At some point all of this will become clear.

Those Lousy Liberals (and Conservatives)

There’s an obnoxious e-mail going around in defense of liberalism. Here it is, along with a very nice response. Some of you social-conservative types won’t like all of it, but, oh well....

Gay marriage and the ground game

Did Bush win by heating up the culture war, by demonizing the "other," by using the wedge issue of gay marriage?

Joseph Knippenberg argues that in trying to win the election Bush was not out to demonize anyone, as many on the Left claim. Bush is, in fact, in the broad middle ground of the American political scene.   

Kerry and the Census of 1960

Samizdata
has an interesting note: "Not only is Kerry the ’60s candidate, but he also apparently employed a campaign strategy that would have given the election in the ’60s. If Kerry had won the same bundle of states that gave him 252 electoral votes in this election, but the states were still valued according to the Congressional apportionment based on the Census of 1960, he would have won the election, 270 electoral votes to 268. The trend since then:

1960 census (1964, 68 elections) - Kerry 270, Bush 268 1970 census (1972, 76, 80 elections) - Kerry 270, Bush 268 1980 census (1984, 88 elections) - Bush 276, Kerry 262 1990 census (1992, 96, 2000 elections) - Bush 279, Kerry 259 2000 census (2004, 08 elections) - Bush 286, Kerry 252

This is indicative of a potential long-term problem for the Democrats: they are strongest in the parts of the country that aren’t growing anymore. Even since the 2000 election (which was still based on the 1990 Census) the states Kerry won this time around are worth seven fewer electoral votes than they were worth last time." He takes his figures from here
(PDF file). (Thanks to Wretchard).

Comparing Election 2004 to Election 2000

My staff put together a table comparing the total votes for Bush and the percentage of the vote for Bush in 2000 to 2004 on a state-by-state basis. (Excel version here.)

The result is very interesting and demonstrates how truly significant this victory was for Bush and the GOP as a whole. The short of it is that Bush increased the number of votes that he received in every state but three (Alaska, California, and Washington). Perhaps this isn’t all that surprising given that turnout was generally much higher this year over 2000. However, Bush increased his percentage of the total vote in all but four states as well (South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wyoming). His increase in percentage was even quite significant in some blue states (almost +8% in Hawaii, +7.4% in New York, +7% in Rhode Island, +6.2% in New Jersey, etc.). While the election may not have been terribly close in many of these states, it is still significant that Bush was able to increase his support so dramatically in states that he spent little, if any, time campaigning.

Note that many of the 2004 vote totals will probably change somewhat as provisional vote totals are added, but this gives us a general idea for now.

Spend some time pondering this. There will be more to say in the coming weeks.

Andrew Jackson or Woodrow Wilson?

John Moser asks, "If Americans Want Andrew Jackson, Why Do Democrats Keep Giving Them Woodrow Wilson?" His answer, in part:

"It matters little that Kerry had explanations for all of these positions, and that he seemed to address them satisfactorily in his three debates against Bush. What mattered ultimately was that he needed to explain them at all. And this gets down to the real difference between the two men in this race—George W. Bush was Andrew Jackson; John Kerry was Woodrow Wilson.

The President, like Jackson before him, didn’t need to explain his views. Jackson’s views struck most people as nothing more than common sense: hostile Indian tribes had to be pacified, the Bank of the United States was a haven for monopoly privilege that had to be destroyed, nullification in South Carolina smacked of treason. Today most Americans immediately comprehend the basics: the 9/11 attacks were a turning point in our history, our enemies are evil, Saddam Hussein harbored hostile intentions toward the United States. Americans did not need their president to tell them that; when he did, they cheered, not because they were learning something new, but because what they heard resonated with their unschooled, gut-level understanding.

On the other hand, John Kerry had to explain his positions to the American people. Liberals rejoiced after the first presidential debate, because Kerry had scored rhetorical points. He did a fair job of reconciling the apparent contradictions in his record, and seemed to have a more solid command of the facts than did the President. More than one political cartoon portrayed Kerry as a teacher, lecturing a sullen-faced, dunce-cap-wearing Dubya.

And herein lay the problem. Americans might admire debating ability, but they do not like to be treated as students. What they seek in a president is someone who shares their commonsense understanding of the problems facing the country. In other words, they want Andrew Jackson. But what they keep getting from the Democrats—allegedly the party of the people—is more Woodrow Wilson."
Do read it all.

Some idiotic opinions on the election

I finally got around to reading Garry Wills’ op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times. You should file this away for later use. Notice the petulant tone, notice the the wrong-headed analysis, notice the European post-Modern framework, notice the comparison of Christians to Islamists. Wills understands neither the Enlightenment, nor
America. Quite remarkable. I hope they keep this up; they will not win another election in my lifetime! Also note Geitner Simmons’ take on Wills, especially his comparisons of Wills’ earlier opinions on such matters. (Thanks to Instapundit).

And then there is this from Jane Smiley (the novelist): "Ignorance and bloodlust have a long tradition in the United States, especially in the red states. There used to be a kind of hand-to-hand fight on the frontier called a "knock-down-drag-out," where any kind of gouging, biting, or maiming was considered fair. The ancestors of today’s red-state voters used to stand around cheering and betting on these fights. When the forces of red and blue encountered one another head-on for the first time in Kansas Territory in 1856, the red forces from Missouri, who had been coveting Indian land across the Missouri River since 1820, entered Kansas and stole the territorial election. The red news media of the day made a practice of inflammatory lying—declaring that the blue folks had shot and killed red folks whom everyone knew were walking around. The worst civilian massacre in American history took place in Lawrence, Kan., in 1862—Quantrill’s raid. The red forces, known then as the slave-power, pulled 265 unarmed men from their beds on a Sunday morning and slaughtered them in front of their wives and children. The error that progressives have consistently committed over the years is to underestimate the vitality of ignorance in America. Listen to what the red state citizens say about themselves, the songs they write, and the sermons they flock to. They know who they are—they are full of original sin and they have a taste for violence. The blue state citizens make the Rousseauvian mistake of thinking humans are essentially good, and so they never realize when they are about to be slugged from behind." This is too amusing, read it all.

An empire of wealth

John Steele Gordon writes a nice little piece for
American Heritage on why America is wealthy and, for example, Argentina is not. I pass this on because it reminds us something important--who creates wealth and how--and not because I agree with its overarching assumption that the essence of being human is economic activity. That’s silly, of course. But, worth reading. As Lincoln said, the basis of wealth is labor, free labor. And a free regime makes that possible.

Election commentaries

Some op-ed on the election worth reading: Hugh Hewitt, "The End of the Sixties." Tim Cavanaugh, "A Functional Party No More."
George Will, "America’s Shifting Reality." David S. Broder, "An Old Fasioned Win." William Kristol, "Misunderestimated." John Podhoretz, "How Bush Won." William Safire, "The Danger of Lopsidedness." Evan Thomas, "How Bush Did It." Charles Krauthammer, "Using all of the Mandate."
And a few more clearly pro-Demo opinions: John Judis & Ruy Teixeira, "How Bush went back to the 1970’s: 30 Years’ War." E.J. Dionne, "We progressives are horrified, as well we should be."

Red and Blue map

Here is that useful County Map in red and blue from yesterday’s USA Today. You can also click on their 2000 map. Note that on the right you can get the results by state, Senate, etc.

Voter turnout

A useful chart in USA Today on voter turnout. Includes numbers, percentage of voting age population, and percent change from 2000. Example, Ohio: 5,478,202 -- 64.6 -- 8.2%.

Blacks as conservatives

In this op-ed in the USA Today, Stefani D. Carter (a black lady studying at Harvard Law) encourages blacks to take conservatism seriously and vote GOP. This is the first election in which she voted GOP. She even makes a favorable reference to Booker T. Washington. Bush got 2% more black votes than in 2000.

Ramirez Cartoon

The Youth Vote

I am embarrassed to admit that while I was cleaning up after dinner tonight (note to T. Heinz-Kerry: that is something us women without real jobs do when we finish eating a meal) the T.V. happened to be tuned in to Access Hollywood. I left it on because they were interviewing all of the Hollywood types who were in utter disbelief. Some were in complete denial. P. Diddy was confronted by an interviewer who pointed out that the 18-29 year-old vote was 17% in 2000 and it was 17% again in 2004. So there was NO change. The "Vote or Die" campaign had no effect.

But I would be interested to know if anyone can point to some numbers that indicate HOW that demographic voted. It would be interesting to see if it was also the same as in 2000. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that it probably was either the same as in 2000 or tilting slightly more this time toward Bush. I think we underestimate the intellegence of the youth vote. Young people who bother to vote are not any more stupid than the rest of the population. For more evidence of this see this and this. Forgive the obvious self-promotion.

The meaning of the election

I’m still too busy for my own good, so I’ll just outline my quick opinion on the election:

1 - Not only was Kerry soundly defeated--Bush’s national numbers went from a minus 0.5% to a plus 3% (Bush got more than 8 million votes over his 2000 total)--but so was the Democratic Party. There was nothing close about this election, and it is a Republican Party victory, not merely a Bush win. No amount of spinning by Demos or the MSM can overcome this massive fact.


2 - The GOP has a net gain of 4 Senate seats, and 4 House seats. This is especially significant in the Senate where it is probable--under the leadership of the likely new minority leader Harry Reid (did I mention that Tom Daschle lost?)--that the minority will not be as obstructionist as it was when Daschle was leader. This is especially important regarding future Supreme Court appointments.

3 - The so called youth vote came to nothing. The much praised Demo get-out-the-vote campaign amounted to nothing much in the end. The much ignored GOP get-out-the-vote campaign (as I predicted) was tremendous. Karl Rove was proved right. He is the architect, as W. said. The base came out in huge numbers, and new voters were pulled in. Even some Amish were voting!

4 - The Bush campaign cut into Hispanic voters, women, blacks, Jews, and even Democrats. Very impressive, let the technicians try to calculate the details at a later time.

5 - The Democratic Party is in disarray. It is possible to argue that the realignment that had started back in 1980 is now rolling on. The Demos have some serious soul-searching to do, and not only regarding who they think they will be able to run in 2008. They have to think about who they are and what they stand for; they have to think through what their principle and purpose is; they have to find their soul, if they have one. In his concession speech today Kerry said something about wanting to change America. Change America? Why? What is America, what has it been, and why does it need changing? Maybe those delicately dining on a croissant understand this kind of talk, but those of us munching on a doughnut do not. We think that America is just fine as it is, and we glory in the things for which it stands. And we naturally mistrust those who think otherwise.

6 - Kerry and the Demos (that is the post 1960’s Demos) don’t understand that Americans still think in moral terms, in terms of right and wrong. We are not post-moderns. Hence they don’t understand our religious sensibilities, and even have contempt for them (and us). We think that marriage should be marriage, and allowing life to be born into this breathing world is better than stopping it. Life is good and self-government is good and the principle that brings them forth is fine and noble and something to be appreciated and loved.

7 - We think that our prejudice should be in favor of such a country and such a people. This is a political axiom. It is not debatable, and we don’t trust anyone who doesn’t share this view. The strategy and tactics of the war on terror and Iraq may be debated, but not our purposes regarding our actions. Even if you disagree with our policy, say in Vietnam, we suspect your purposes when you compare our citizen-soldiers to those who fought for Genghis Khan. We take deep offense at that comparison. We don’t appreciate it when our commander-in-chief is called a liar because you disagree with him.

Why are the feminists not proud of the effects of our actions in Afghanistan? Do they really think women should be covered head-to-toe and walk five paces behind their male masters? Look at Afghan women line up to vote and listen to the girls talk about becoming doctors. Is this not a grand thing? Democrats should debate the means of our foreign policy, not question our purposes. It is not tyrannous for the world’s last best hope to be strong and courageous. It is, rather, a good thing when power is attached to purpose; let us have the practical wisdom to use it for the good and the noble. Allow us citizens to be proud to think that we are--in principle, if not in every action--the friends of those fellow human beings who love liberty, wherever they may live.

8 - We think that this is one country. It is neither a mini-United Nations, nor a country divided into two, the haves and the have-nots. Demos should stop talking as if it were 1936 and we are on the verge of economic collapse, and the economic pie can never grow. They should remind us that our work creates our wealth, and encourage us to work and prosper. The purpose of government is to insure that opportunity. How we spend our public monies is a secondary point, and depends entirely on the first. Let the Democratic Party think upon these things and maybe they can reach a point in twenty or thirty years when a Democratic candidate for president of the United States will be able to gather over 50% of the vote of the citizens. This hasn’t happened since 1964.
Until that day, they will be the minority party of the country. They had better start looking for their identity, and start that search now before it is too late.

Who Supported Kerry?

NLT readers should take a little time to look at the county by county reports from the states Kerry won. What you will see--esp. in states like California--is Kerry’s biggest support coming from the coastal cities. I heard someone today (Mark Steyn, I think) suggest that if the Democrat support gets pushed any further toward the East coast, it will be coming from Barbados! Or was it France? Or, one might say, in the case of California, China.

The counties where Bush did well are probably more representative of the state as a whole as there were more of them. Problem is the population numbers in these counties are smaller. So, there is potential for future GOP gains here in California and certainly in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc. Let’s get to work on it now! Maybe people from Utah and other safe GOP states should consider moving to states where it is closer?! Or maybe we need an electoral college within the states? O.k., just kidding.

Why Kerry Lost

This editorial by Patt Morrison in the LA Times is infuriating on so many levels BUT it serves as a useful illustration of the problem the Dems will face in the coming years. Morrison, a well-known PBS and LA Times commentator in California, is a former Buckeye who laments the direction taken by her former home. Buckeyes and former Buckeyes like me will take particular offense to Morrison’s characterization of Ohioans as backward yokels with closed minds and parochial concerns. It is reminiscent of Chris Matthews’s remarks last night about how so many of the Republican base are beyond reason and Kerry’s backfired pandering to the "regular guy" vote in Ohio by marching into a sporting goods store to "get me a huntin’ license." Please . . .

The Dems need to take a deep breath and look at the numbers. This was not a close election--it was a decisive election. We beat them like bongo drums on more than the Presidential level. The things that they care about did not and do not resonate with the vast majority of the American people. Their reaction to this devastating news is typical of Democrats, i.e., there must be something wrong with us anti-intellectual Republicans because, clearly, there is nothing wrong with them!

Thus, they continue to insult the American people and misplay the hand they were dealt. I hope they keep it up. I think the Democratic party really does have to be destroyed before it can rise again from the ashes and become something rational and reasonable. Apparently, they need something more than a reality hammer check between the eyes. Can anyone say Barack Obama?

Berry Berry Bad

One sign of the decrepitude of the Democratic Party is that Marion Barry was returned to office on the DC city council. But he is a shell of his old self; he looks like he’s just out of the same hospital ward as Yassir Arafat. If Keith Richards ran into him on the street, Richards would undoubtedly say, "Man, you look bad."

If they are recycling fossils like Barry, they’re really in trouble.

The Fever Swamp Boils

Over at Democratic Underground, the conspiracy theorists are already saying that Bush must have manipulated the touch screen voting machines, or done something to steal the election.

Richard Hofstatdter (The Paranoid Style in American Politics) must be rolling over in his grave right now.

Exit Poll Theories

Long talk with Karlyn Bowman, AEI’s poll watcher extraordinaire. She says the problem with the exit polls was twofold: the HateBush vote may have got out early (while the GOP vote was more evenly spread throughout the day), and skewed the early exit polls. The secone wave of exit polls that cam eout late in the day were more accurate (especially on Senate races). Second, Mitofsky and the other exit poll wizards have never used raw exit poll results to report on the composition of the electorate (women, men, etc), until the end of the day, when the results are rebalanced against historical norms for group participation. This was not done yesterday by anyone, and everyone bought into the raw and skewed early figures.

My summary thought is that this exit polling debacle made this election into a six hour equivalent of the Dewey-Truman race in 1948.

Kerry concedes

Apparently, Senator Kerry has just called Bush to concede the election.

...and that’s that.

AP is reporting that Kerry has called the president to concede.

Bush and the GOP win

The short of all this--and I’d like to come back to some important points later today--is that George Bush (and the GOP) have won a remarkable, indeed, I would say broad and deep, victory. There is no way--mathematically--that Kerry can take Ohio away from Bush, and it seems that Bush has won New Mexico, Nevada, and Iowa. He is re-elected. If Kerry has any sense he will concede immediately.

Barone Da Man

Two or three days ago I mentioned in this space that Michael Barone on Fox was the person to watch. Sure enough, though he looked tired and a bit distracted at times, early in the evening he offered big clues about Ohio by pointing to how Bush was doing well in counties in Indiana that were similar to several key counties in Ohio. He also noted how Bush was performing well in key parts of Florida long before anyone came close to calling it. You got the feeling that the "decision desk" at Fox was entirely superfluous: just let Michael make the calls.

The End is Near

The Associated Press is reporting that according to two anonymous Kerry advisers are claiming that the Senator’s concession will most likely not be long in coming. Surely they must see that to continue fighting can only hurt the Democratic Party as a whole. If Edwards has any pull with Kerry, I’ll bet he’s arguing for an early concession; after all, the North Carolinian might still have a bright future ahead of him.

Meanwhile, Update at Gate Z-801

"Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the departure in our delay to Paris. The pilot has ordered us to take on more fuel because we are unexpectedly overweight. Seems the passenger in seat 34B checked in four suitcases full of ’Fahrenheit 9/11’ DVDs. Oh, and could we ask five passengers to volunteer to move from the right to the left side of the plane to balance our side-to-side weight?"

Decline and Fall. . .

In 1976, Gerald Ford lost Ohio by about 11,000 votes to Jimmy Carter, but chose not to challenge the result, even though a reversal would have kept him in office. (He also trailed Carter by about 1.5 million votes in the nationwide popular vote.)

This morning, Kerry trails by more than 125,000 votes in Ohio, and by about 3.5 million votes nationally, and refused to concede. What was it JFK said about Nixon in 1960? I believe it was "no class." Irony of ironies: now it applies to another JFK.

Exit Poll Meltdown

Michael Barone speculates that the Democrats may have deliberately sought to manipulate the exit polls early in the day as a tactic to fire up their troops in the afternoon and create a false sense of momentum. Another theory is that the Hate-Bush vote got out early and skewed the results, while the Bush vote was more predominant later in the day.

Let the Whining Begin

Watch for this "meme" today: In-denial Democrats will say that the exit polls couldn’t have been wrong--that the GOP must have "stolen" the election through fraud in Ohio and elsewhere (since there is little doubt the Dems lifted a hefty number of votes in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and elsewhere). Preposterous, but then these are delusional people, who will be mumbling about Florida 2000 in their dotage decades from now.

Meanwhile, Out at Gate Z-801

"Mr. Moore, you’ll have to leave that hoagie behind if you expect to squeeze into the middle seat between Alex Baldwin and Barbra Streisand!"

Go Ahead and Gloat

A narrow but broad-based near-sweep of this dimension is more satisfying and significant than Reagan’s 1984 landslide (which had no coattails). Watch for the Left to go into paroxysms of recriminations and rage. Remember the Greek poet: Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. This is not a 50/50 nation; it is close, but what we saw yesterday was a demonstration of genuine Republican strength. And with each win of this kind (i.e., 1994, 2002, etc), the Democrats grow steadily weaker.

Fun to listen to Chris Matthews and Tom Brokaw on Imus this morning. Both acknowledged that Democrats have a deep and serious problem on cultural and moral issues, and simply don’t connect with voters in the heartland. Brokaw (a product of South Dakota) admitted that voters in these states know that most Democrats have contempt for them and their values. After the 1980s blowouts the Dems reinvented themselves under Clinton on economic and some social policy, but it will be harder now, especially with the fever swamps of MoveOn.org and other fanatics.

Paging Michael Moore

"Paging Michael Moore! Paging Michael Moore! Your flight for Paris is boarding now, Gate Z-801."

America meets Ken Blackwell

It is now 11:50 p.m. here in California (much later in Ohio) and not long ago, John Edwards came out with his combative statement about counting all the votes in Ohio. Goodluck to him. He will not be happy with the count--the gap will not be closed. Still, the further Kerry/Edwards push this, the more national exposure Ken Blackwell gets. This cannot be a bad thing.

Ohio at 2:30 a.m.

I am sure you all have been listening to the same TV I have been listening to at the Ashbrook Center with about 100 students and friends. So you know as much as I do. Kerry isn’t conceding Ohio because, they claim, there are about 250,000 provisional or absentee ballots that have yet to be counted and--because Kerry is down by circa 125,000 votes, with about 97% of the votes counted--it is still possible that Kerry can carry the state. Not so, in my opinion. And let me point you to a massive fact explained by Ohio’s Secretary of State Ken Blackwell: There are somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 provisional or absentee ballots out there. This means that Bush’s lead cannot be overcome, unless Kerry weans unnatural and huge majority of those votes. And one more point: Bush’s votes have climbed in the last hour or so because most of the large Demo districts (Cuyahoga County, for example) are already in and what is left (circa 3%) will come from predominantly GOP areas (for example, Clermont, Coshocton, Hamilton, and Knox). So, Bush has won Ohio, and Kerry will not admit it. In effect, as Brit Hume just implied, if Kerry had the moral integrity of a Richard Nixon, he would concede.

One more quick point on this important election. At the end Bush will won the majority of the national aggregate vote (at the moment at about 51%) and this is important because of 2000. It is a moral victory. Yes, a moral victory. Kind of like a mandate, except better.

Ohio at 7 p.m.

It is thirty minutes before the polls close in the Buckeye state. I have been in touch with a number of people (from low to high) in Ohio, and I have watched some local news, especially out of Cleveland. A few general points are repeated by all: 1. There is very little skulduggery and almost no chaos (even in Cuyhoga County). Lawyers from both sides are standing around with nothing to do (I hope they’re not on retainers). 2. There seems to be a large turnout, at least in GOP areas. 3. Many loyal GOP stalwarts--some flown in for the occassion--are a bit miffed because they have nothing to do. Some claim their jobs could have been handled by high school students. One asks, "When you have a lot of money, you forget to rely on common sense and cunning."

Did someone say fraud?

Mike, a colleague’s brother, lives in Columbus, where he had a very interesting time voting this morning. First, a woman came into the polling place and immediately requested a provisional ballot. The poll worker asked her name, and again she requested a provisional ballot. When she finally gave her name, the worker determined that she was actually on the voter roll, and that she could vote—she didn’t need a provisional ballot. She became irate, made something of a spectacle, and stated that she didn’t want to vote on these machines but wanted a provisional ballot. As luck would have it, as she was screaming about being denied a provisional ballot, someone came into the polling place with a video camera. There is little doubt that this footage will be Exhibit A in some case alleging that provisional ballots were denied to willing voters.

Then another voter came in, and paused when asked his name. When asked his address, he reached his hand into his pocket, and looked down to read his address off a card. Mike complained to the poll worker that the voter had read the address off the card, and the poll worker dismissed it, saying that he didn’t see it. When I asked him if there were any challengers in the building, he stated that the only people he saw appeared to be poll workers.

Exit Polls [email protected]#@!??

Well, the least that can be said about Bush is that he makes elections exciting. It’s like watching the old Elway Bronco games where he came back in the last 2 minutes. Maybe he’s just keeping things close to drive the liberals mad.

Bush takes Guam

It’s already November 3rd there. No rumors, just numbers. George W. Bush 17,264; John Kerry 9,540; Ralph Nader 153. Click here for the
Guam Electoral Commission page.

Exit polls (leaked) are bad

I am told that there are some exit polls starting to trickle in and they are not favorable to Bush in a number of states. I will not post exit polls yet because I don’t trust them in general and absolutely do not trust them this early for many reasons, in large part because they are "leaked." See Mystery Pollster for an explanation of them and why they are far from perfect. When people leak exit polls they usually have political purposes in mind, and the leakers are the media. Do you have any questions? Ignore them. Go out and vote.

Ohio

I just returned from voting in Ashland (about 60-40 GOP, and every office holder is Republican and has been for twenty years) and everyone is out there voting. Large turnout, especially among Republicans, in my opinion. This seems to be true state-wide (I talked to a half-dozen people from all around the state.

NixGuy
has posted some interesting figures for Ohio. "In a perfect replay of 2000,
If Each county in Ohio voted according to the same percentages Republican and Democrat
With the same turnout figures
Bush gets 157,431 more votes
Kerry gets 120,780 more votes than Kerry did.

That makes for a 37,000 vote advantage which would increase Bush’s margin of 166,000 to over 200,000."

Mark Mellman and such opinions

Here is that Mark Mellman (Demo, working for Kerry) column running in tomorrow’s The Hill in which he says it was a good fight, but uphill alll the way, and predicts Bush will win with 51.6%. Read it all, very interesting.
And Larry Kudlow (on the Corner) claims this:


"51.2% TO 47.8%
That’s the call made by Ed Goeas, co-author of the blue-chip, bipartisan Battleground Poll. I spoke to Ed this morning, at 7 a.m. He is using an ultra-conservative, worst-case, 2000-like, partisan sample of 44.3% Democrats and 42.3% Republicans. He tells me Bush has bounced up in the past 48 hours on leadership and Iraq. Also, on the economy -- on keeping America prosperous, Bush has moved up from a 45% to 47% deficit to a 48% to 46% lead. This could be the response to the excellent GDP economic report published Friday and totally ignored by the political-pundit class. Investors may be responding positively to the pre-election stock market rally. Ed also believes that white, conservative, Christian Evangelicals could carry the day for Bush, where 83% look to be voting, giving a 69 percentage-point margin to Bush, and seven percentage points higher intensity support for Bush than labor unions have for Kerry. Goeas also weights Hispanic support for Bush at a conservative 35%, even though his “unaided” tally actually produces a 43% Hispanic vote for Bush. Goeas also believes he is underweighting black support for Bush and male support."

And here
you can predictions from Moser, Schramm and Sikkenga.

Late polls

A couple of very recent polls:

CBS:
Bush 49, Kerry 47.

Battleground: Bush 50, Kerry 46.

Rassmusen: Bush 50.2, Kerry 48.5.

Marist College: Bush 50, Kerry 49.

Quiet time

I was up in Cleveland this morning (very early) doing a CNN International and a local FOX station interviews on the election and the electoral college, respectively; and am off to give a Rotary talk. I’ll check in after 2 p.m.

An Attempt at Voter Suppression

The telephone rang about twenty minutes ago. When I answered, I heard a female voice say that she was just making sure I was planning on going to the polls tomorrow. "Yup," I said. Then she asked, "No matter how long the line, or how long the wait?" "Uh-huh," I answered, and she said, "okay," and hung up.

Then it occurred to me--this person was trying to get me to stay home. She wanted to remind me that the lines might be long (not very likely at our polling place, actually). And since Ashland is a heavily Republican area, I can only guess that this was some Democrat operative. I did the old "*69," but it was a blocked call. Okay, now I’m really ticked off.

Meet the Press

Jonah Goldberg posts this conversation on Meet the Press yesterday on the meaning of the polls:

MR. RUSSERT: Let’s turn to some of the states that we’ve been polling, starting with Arkansas. President Clinton went back there for John Kerry and that--we have the Mason-Dixon, Knight Ridder, MSNBC, 51-43. We also have Colo--there’s Arkansas right there, 51-to-43.

Let’s look at Colorado, we have MSNBC, Bush 50, Kerry 43; Zogby has it 50-45, all Bush. Let’s go to Florida, Florida, Florida, Mason-Dixon says Bush is up 4; Zogby says Kerry’s up 2; Quinnipiac says Bush is up 3. Let’s look at Iowa. This is a state that Al Gore won and now hotly contested. MSNBC says Bush up 5; Zogby says Kerry up 1; Research 2000 says Bush up 1. In a new poll this morning from the Des Moines Register, the Iowa poll, Kerry up 3. Michigan, MSNBC Bush 45, Kerry 47; Zogby has Kerry up one. The Detroit News out today has Kerry up 2. Minnesota, with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Mason-Dixon has Bush up 1, Zogby has Kerry up 3.

We turn to Missouri, Bush up 5, according to MSNBC. Nevada, with the Las Vegas Review Journal, Bush up 6; Zogby says Bush up 4. New Hampshire, a state that Bush won in 2000, MSNBC has Kerry up 1; Research 2000 says Kerry up 3; University of New Hampshire says Kerry up 4, a potential gain of four electoral votes. New Mexico with the Santa Fe New Mexican, George Bush 49, Kerry 45; Zogby says Bush up 52-43, a net gain of five, because Gore won New Mexico.

Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. MSNBC says Bush up 2; Zogby says Bush up 5; LA Times says Kerry up 6. And out on the West Coast, Oregon, another state that Al Gore won, John Kerry up 50-to-44. Pennsylvania, what a battleground. MSNBC says Kerry up 2, 48-46; Zogby says Kerry up 2; Quinnipiac says Bush up 2; LA Times, dead even, 48-48, a critical state for John Kerry.

West Virginia, went Republican in 2000, Bush ahead 51-to-43, according to MSNBC. Wisconsin, look at this: MS has John Kerry up 2; Zogby says John Kerry up 8; University of Wisconsin says George Bush up 3. On we go, gentlemen. The battleground, it is remarkable to see this, Bill.

MR. McINTURFF: Well, I think that’s true but I think what you’re seeing is, better to be George Bush this weekend than last weekend. You look at a lot of public polls in Ohio, in Florida, in multiple other states, and we’re seeing Bush creeping up, creeping up and stronger this weekend than last weekend. That’s something I think that’s very important, because normally in an incumbent campaigns you can see them fade if there was really a move in the other direction, and we’re seeing instead Bush stabilizing in a number of states.

MR. RUSSERT: Peter Hart, the conventional wisdom is that if an incumbent is in that 50 percent, that the undecideds are going to break disproportionately for the challenger. Do you see any evidence of that or should we throw that out window because with the issue of terrorism hovering over this campaign, it may not be relevant?

MR. HART: Two things to keep in mind. Going over the last 30-plus years, we always note that the incumbent gets the same number as the final poll, so that’s the thing to keep in mind. So if George Bush is at 48 or 49, probably going to end up pretty close to that, and so that’s the importance of your poll. Second thing to note is massive turnout, massive does not work for an incumbent. It always works for a challenger and so those are two things to keep in mind at this stage of the game.

MR. RUSSERT: Charlie Cook?

MR. COOK: I think that if--I think first of all, Nader and the others are going to get about 2 percent, so I think the president needs to be around 49 to get over the finish line first. But when I look at the states, I have to say I think Florida and Iowa, I tip a little bit more towards President Bush, and the thing is, if that happens--and I have Wisconsin going for President Bush--if that happens, Kerry can win Ohio and Pennsylvania, which I think are really too close to call, and he’s still one electoral vote short, so I...

MR. McINTURFF: Well, this is the story of the election in New Mexico, which is now a very--state where we’re getting Bush has trended, 100,000 volunteer calls made by Republicans, not paid calls, 100,000 volunteer calls. The Bush campaign has spent four years getting ready with the largest, most extensive effort ever in the Republican Party to mobilize real people. So have the Democrats. That’s why we’re talking about this turnout, but that’s why some of our assumptions--we’re all in doubt. We won’t know till Tuesday, and we’ll all look really smart on Wednesday morning, and we’ll look a lot smarter than we would today.

The Ohio Poll

The Ohio Poll (University of Cincinnati) has appeared and finds this: Bush leads Kerry, 50.1 to 49.2% (a statistical dead heat); Voinovich is ahead, 65-35%, while Issue 1 (Constitutional Amendment
on gay marriage) leads 59.2 to 40.8%.

Ohio Electors

Here is the list of Ohio’s Electors, for both Bush and Kerry.

Knight-Ridder poll of battleground states

Some details from the Knight-Ridder poll of battleground states: "Among likely voters in battleground states carried by Bush in 2000, he led in Arkansas by 51-43 percent; in Colorado by 50-43 percent; in Florida by 49-45 percent; in Missouri by 49-44 percent; in Nevada by 50-44 percent; in Ohio by 48-46 percent; and in West Virginia by 51-43 percent.

Bush trailed in one red state - New Hampshire - where Kerry led 47-46 percent.

If Bush holds all of the red states he won in 2000, he would win a second term with 278 electoral votes, eight more than the 270 needed. If he loses only New Hampshire and its four electoral votes, he would still win with 274. But if he loses a bigger state that he carried before, such as Ohio or Florida, where the race remains very tight, he would have to win away one or more blue states to keep his job.

Among likely voters in ’blue’ states carried by Democrat Al Gore in 2000, Bush led 49-44 percent in Iowa; 49-45 percent in New Mexico; and 48-47 percent in Minnesota. Kerry led 47-45 percent in Michigan; 50-44 percent in Oregon; and 48-46 percent in both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin."

So Bush wins all the red states (NH is a tossup) and four of the blue states (Iowa, New Mexico, Minnesota). I do not thik he will win MN, but aill take WI, but it doesn’t matter.

Barone and Steyn

Michael Barone’s last column before the election, and Mark Steyn’s.

ABC News tracking poll

ABC News tracking poll has it Bush 49-48%. But note these two details: 1) Expectations remain on the president’s side: Fifty-three percent of likely voters expect him to win, while considerably fewer, 33 percent, expect Kerry to win (the rest won’t hazard a guess). It’s notable that one in five of Kerry’s own supporters expect a Bush victory. 2) After fading last week, the traditional gender gap has reappeared: Bush leads by 10 points among men in this survey, Kerry by eight points among women. Kerry continues to lose married women (Al Gore split them with Bush in 2000), but more than makes up for it with 2-1 support among single women, a strong Democratic group.
I do not think that an 8 point lead among women is enough to get Kerry elected.

Some details

PoliPundit brings our attention to some details in the New York Times poll. You can read the dozen or so points at a glance by going there, but let me mention just a few: John Kerry has a 41% favorable, 47% unfavorable rating. President Bush has a 48% favorable, 41% unfavorable rating. That is his best rating since last December. Undecided voters lean to President Bush 50%-47%, validating the Pew finding and calling the Gallup number into question. 66% of Bush voters strongly favor their candidate.

50% of Kerry voters strongly favor their candidate.

Predictions

RealClearPolitics
has a nice list of how the pundits are predicting the outcome (Bill Kristol, Mark Shields, et al). John Moser and my predictions, made on Friday.

A Viewers’ Guide to Election Night

There is a good story in the second section of today’s Wall Street Journal (not available online unfortunately) about the efforts the networks are making to avoid the Florida problem in 2000. But don’t expect the networks to make any early calls of Ohio or Florida or other close states.

This is why the person to watch will be Michael Barone on Fox News. (Of course, you’d be watching Fox News anyway, right?) In 2002, Barone made an early call for Norm Coleman in the Minnesota senate race based on early returns from Hennepin County. Think Tim Russert would know that? Of course not. Barone is better than all the network computers put together. I expect he will hint what he thinks is going to happen based on early returns from key parts of the battelground states. Then we can go to bed early.

The black vote

The Horserace Blog has a very clear explanation of the black vote and the Democratic Party. Also note the very clear and broader explanation of how and why the Democratic Party is without a base. He maintains, and I agree (although the point can be refined) that Kerry will lose the election for lack of black and Catholic support. It will not stretch your imagination to see what a bind the Demos are in after they lose this election: they stand for nothing (compared to their past) and have a base only in those states (California, Illinois, e.g.), where the GOP is incompetent or corrupt. I don’t know this guy, but he is good. Read it.

Crazy polls?

CNN/Gallup
just released a poll and there is some very weird stuff in it. Not so weird is Bush leading Kerry nationally, 49-47%. And all these are weird: Kerry leads Bush in Ohio by 4%, in Florida by 3%, in Minnesota by 8%; Bush leads Kerry in Wisconsin by 8%, in Iowa by 2%, and in Pennsylvania by 4%. What does one say? Well, it is possible that the margin of victory (for either, I guess) is going to be much larger than we have been thinking. Or, polls may just be without value altogether. Pick one.
Also note that the CBS/New York Times poll is out and they have it Bush over Kerry, 49-46%. Also note that 49% of the people polled think that Bush will win, while only 33% think that Kerry will win. And Pew Research has it Bush over Kerry, 48-45%, among likely voters. Also note this: "Pew’s final survey suggests that the remaining undecided vote may break only slightly in Kerry’s favor. When both turnout and the probable decisions of undecided voters are taken into account in Pew’s final estimate, Bush holds a slight 51%-48% margin."

Washington, D.C. during the Civil War

Ralph Peters has a nice short review of a new book by Ernest B. Furgurson, Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War. Peters says it is a better characterization of the politics in the city than anything yet written, including Margaret Leech’s Reveille in Washington. I started reading it this morning and I think he is right.

Who loves you baby?

I guess China, if it could vote, would not be voting for Bush. And this
Christian Science Monitor glances at the whole world; the French don’t like Bush, the Russians do, etc., not that it matters. Bush is in the tradition of Reagan, although some of the allies have shifted, for example, Russia didn’t like us much before the regime change.

What Media Bias?

Here is a choice selection from today’s AP "news" article about the homestretch of the campaign:

On the stump Saturday, the two candidates responded to bin Laden’s tape in ways reflecting their long-held campaign strategies.

The president - who throughout the campaign has sought to deflect voter concerns about the war in Iraq, his handling of the economy and his job performance overall by fueling fears about terrorism - continued that theme.

At his first stop in GOP-leaning western Michigan, he reminded supporters of the 2001 attacks. "Americans go to the polls at a time of war and ongoing threats unlike any we have faced before," Bush said.

In response to the videotape, the Bush administration warned state and local officials that the tape may be intended to promote or signal an attack.

Kerry has tried to tap anti-war sentiment within the ranks of the Democratic Party while assuring swing voters that he would keep them safe. The decorated Vietnam War veteran pledged anew to "destroy, capture, kill Osama bin Laden and all of the terrorists."

With a touch of swagger, Kerry began one sentence by saying, "When I am president," and pledged to provide "leadership and hope" to U.S. troops seeking a quick return home from Iraq.

That really was a well-written, liberal op-ed. It’s just a shame that it is masquerading as news.

Bush will win

People are pestering me. Have I changed my mind about the election? Do I still think Bush is going to win? Etc. They are beginning to panic, I expect in part because of the many tracking polls they have seen, and others which are either connfusing or are spun by TV anchors to make it seem that there is a movement toward Kerry. There is no movement toward Kerry! Kerry does not have momentum. I have not changed my mind, and, just to be perfectly clear, let me reiterate the following: Bush will win. Although Kerry will probably take Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota, that will be as close as he is going to get. Bush will win Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa and the rest (New Mexico, New Hampshire, Hawaii, will not matter). So, stop calling me. I have to finish grading some papers!

Tom Wolfe’s new novel

Charles McGrath writes a piece on Tom Wolfe and his new novel for the New York Times Magazine. Wolfe has a good eye is a good writer, and is an odd man who many on the left don’t like, therefore he is worth reading. His new novel is a chronicle of the American university, "a campus novel on steroids," says McGrath. I bet it will be worth reading. If you go to Amazon
(and click down) you can listen to Wolfe talk about the novel for a few minutes.

The coming battle for Fallujah

The Belmont Club has a very clear explanation of what is going on in Fallujah and Ramadi. Be sure to follow his links, especially to The Adventures of Chester and his links to maps, etc. It is being said that the battle will start immediately after the election.

"Fallujah watchers will have noticed that the Marines are closing out a last round of negotiations for surrender while they have been progressively shutting down insurgent checkpoints within the city by hitting them with smart munitions. My own speculation is that the negotiations were launched, not in the expectation of getting Zarqawi to lay down his arms, but in order to negotiate a separate peace with the different factions in town. The impending assault has been used as a negotiating lever to create gaps in the enemy ranks. This process is calculated to blind the enemy by shutting down his pickets and poison his intelligence channels -- not to mention introducing mutual suspicion and internecine fighting.

The main event next week will doubtless be the Presidential elections but for Marines in Anbar, their minds may will be on matters closer at hand."   

Like, Dylan TOTALLY Endorsed John Kerry!

I opened up this morning’s edition of the Mansfield News-Journal to find a half-age ad bearing the title "Luke Perry Endorses John Kerry for President." There was a photo of the former "Beverly Hills 90210" actor, dressed in what appeared to be a western-style costume from one of his classic films. It may have been "8 Seconds", or perhaps the gritty 2002 "Johnson County War". But apparently Luke deeply cares about this election, "as a former resident of both Mansfield and Frederickstown." Hmm, I wonder how long it’s been since he’s been back?

Dude, I was going to vote for Bush, but this heartfelt plea from DYLAN FROM 90210 has changed my mind. I am SO going to vote for Kerry now. No, wait, I’d better check to see who Ian Ziering and Jason Priestly are voting for first.

Afghanistan

Charles Krauthammer says that the transformation of Afghanistan "represents the single most astonishing geopolitical transformation of the past four years. (Deposing Saddam Hussein ranks second. The global jihad against America was no transformation at all: It existed long before the Bush administration. We’d simply ignored al Qaeda’s declaration of war.)" And, Krauthammer argues, it has dissappeared from the public consciousness. Both things are true. One of the things I have not understood about this campaign is why Bush has not made a major issue of this in the campaign. Too bad. The other thing is, you would think the the various feminist organizations have said nothing about the real liberation of millions of Afghan women.

Everyone is in Ohio today

I guess the fact that all four candidates are in Ohio today makes it perfectly clear that Ohio is the most importants state. But please note that Ohio is critical for Kerry, while less so for Bush (if he can pick up Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota). Go to RealClearPolitics for all the polls, both national and state, as well as tracking polls (be sure to glance at yeaterday’s figures as well). So, everyone says it is close and it will depend on turnout and independents. I am still not persuaded that it will all that close, nor am I persuaded that the turnout will be the largest ever, over 15 million more voting this year than in 2000, as I heard one Demo apparatchik say this morning. Nor am I persuaded that independents will tilt for Kerry. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Take a look at the Electoral Vote tally at RealClearPolitics and do some math to see how difficult it is for Kerry to pull this off.

Why support Bush

George Will, frequently critical of President Bush, explains why Bush should be supported. It is good and elegant. A sample paragraph:

"Reasonable people can question the feasibility of Bush’s nation-building and democracy-spreading ambitions. However, having taken up that burden, America cannot prudently, or decently, put it down. The question is: Which candidate will most tenaciously and single-mindedly pursue victory? The answer is: Not John Kerry, who is multiple-minded about most matters.

Tuesday’s winner will not start from scratch but from where we are now, standing with the women of Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Back in Washington recently, Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said those women were warned that Taliban remnants would attack polling places during the Oct. 9 elections. So the women performed the ritual bathing and said the prayers of those facing death. Then, rising at 3 a.m., they trekked an hour to wait in line for the polls to open at 7 a.m. In the province of Kunar an explosion 100 meters from a long line of waiting voters did not cause anyone to leave the line."