Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A Belated Thanksgiving...

To Peter Schramm, who has invited me to diminish the distinguished roster of NLT bloggers by joining them.

A little background info: I’m an old graduate school colleague of Ashland’s own David Foster. I have distinct (or should I say indistinct?) memories of his and Edith’s wedding in Toronto. I’m a professor of politics at Oglethorpe University, where I’ve taught since 1985. My wife, Lee, directed the theatre program at Oglethorpe for 14 years, stepping down this year to devote herself to home-schooling our two children, Liam (age 9) and Charlotte (age 7). I do the math, science, and German; she does everything else. Because of its intense focus on world and Western history, we more or less use the Sonlight

The topics about which you’re most likely going to see me blog are religion and politics, liberal education, and core curricula.

My favorite websites include the usual suspects, to which I will not now provide links, but also these:Christianity Today, which has a weblog with the most complete set of links to news on religion matters that I have seen; Beliefnet’s politics site, which often features the University of Akron’s John Green; the Ethics and Public Policy Center, for intelligent commentary on religion, politics, and bioethics; the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference website, where I can follow the fortunes of my beloved Stormy Petrels (NCAA D3), who are off to hot starts in men’s and women’s basketball--with an upcoming contest between the OU women and the UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs that promises to be both slimy and oily; and Golfstat, so that I can keep up with Oglethorpe’s nationally ranked (once again, D3) men’s golf team. Oh, I almost forgot one other site: the North Atlanta Swim Association, where, beginning next June, you can follow the fortunes of the valiant Vermack Vikings as they take on the Brookwood Hills and Hanover West teams (which I regard as the East Germany of Atlanta summer swimming). I promise, however, not to bore you with any boasts about my kids’ aquatic exploits (which I’ll save for their grandparents).

No shock and awe in the Senate

George Will warns the GOP not to try to change the Senate rules in order to put an end to the filibuster. 

Alexander and other flops

Arthur Chrenkoff has a few worthy thoughts on the "Alexander", and other flops like King Arthur and The Alamo. People have judgment. Good.

Happy Birthday, Sir Winston

Since we’re observing Churchill’s birthday today, it is worth recalling something Gertrude Himmelfarb wrote a few years back:

"When I meet a historian who cannot think that there have been great men, great men moreover in politics, I feel myself in the presence of a bad historian. And there are times when I incline to judge all historians by their opinion of Winston Churchill--whether they can see that, no matter how much better the details, often damaging, of the man and his career become known, he still remains, quite simply, a great man."

Political notes

Palm Beach Post reports that the Democratic Party in Florida "is at its lowest ebb since Reconstruction." The San Jose Mercury News reports that the Green party is in real trouble nationally. Bret Schundler is going to run for governor of New Jersey next year (McGreevey defeated him in 2001). The Washington Times reports that the GOP will target Democratic Senators from red states, including Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bill Nelson of Florida. John Edwards is thinking about the loss: "I wish we’d had better chances, better opportunities (in the 2004 campaign) for me to talk about what my personal values are. How important my relationship with God is, how important my faith is in our day-to-day lives, the struggles my family’s had in the past, plus what Elizabeth is facing now." Former Demo Congressman
Martin Frost is interested in becoming DNC chairman. The nomination of Carlos M. Gutierrez for Secretary of Commerce is an attempt to woo Hispanic voters, according to Newsday. Matt Labash on Clintonmania. Sidney Blumenthal (remember him?) beats up on W.’s appearance and bahavior at the Clinton library opening.

Stress and aging

Science now confirms something my grandmother and your grandmother knew by living:

and aging
are connected:

"Some stressful events seem to turn a person’s hair gray overnight.

Now a team of researchers has found that severe emotional distress - like that caused by divorce, the loss of a job, or caring for an ill child or parent - may speed up the aging of the body’s cells at the genetic level.

The findings, being reported today, are the first to link psychological stress so directly to biological age."

Democrats and "Values"

As Peter noted below, there is reason to feel sorry for Michael Kinsley and other liberal Democrats who continue to blather on about "values." But the sudden upsurge in "values" talk among Democrats (perhaps best and most absurdly seen in Hilary’s pandering last week to a southern audience where she claimed to be a conservative Christian) points to a larger problem with the word "values."

Dan Quayle came under fire in the early 90s for bringing up the subject of "family values." Liberals in those days were a little brighter. They understood that the qualifier "family" was the real threat. Some conservatives rightly flinched at the use of the word "values" because they argued that it was a concession to relativism. Quayle tried mightily not to leave the meaning of the phrase open to debate and did define pretty clearly what he meant by family values. Still, liberals tried to co-opt the phrase and argued that Quayle’s "family values" were not the true "family values" (recall the innane bumper sticker from the 90s "Hate is not a family value") and therefore should not be the "values" of the Democratic party. Calling these things "values" left open the question of whether or not they should be valued. It later left open for debate the question of what defines a family.

Republicans today would do well not to fall into the same rhetorical trap. We did not win because we have better "values" than the Democrats. Republicans won because they were able to persuade a majority of Americans that the President and the GOP hold to the same truths that most Americans hold dear. They were able to persuade Americans that they would do a better job protecting those truths. In short, Americans liked Republican answers to the questions better partly because Republicans seemed to offer answers. They did not waver. Democratic "values"--however defined--will never do well in a contrast with truth. Democrats do not need to do a better job of getting out their message or to remind Americans of what they value. We already know what they don’t value and that is what cost them this election and will continue to cost them elections in the future. Still, Republicans cannot take this for granted. They would do well to remind themselves of Dan Quayle and not be afraid to speak of the truth.

My Dad and the Christmas Spirit

Now that my daughter is 5 and deep into the celebration of all holidays, we decided to get on the ball this year and drag out the Christmas boxes on the day after Thanksgiving. The massive effort of stringing lights and assembling a "tree" (artificial, of course) and decking all the halls while keeping two little ones out of trouble this weekend, left me a little weary and, I am ashamed to say, not a little bit grumpy. So, when I received a call from father and proceeded to whine about my "troubles" he did me a giant favor and reminded me how lucky I am.

He told me that these years, no matter how difficult they may otherwise be, will be some of the best years of my life; that this Christmas will be one of the most magical of my life; that having young children at Christmas is one of life’s purest and sweetest joys. He reminded me that these memories are going to be some of the most cherished memories I will ever have--and that I may not even always have my children around at Christmas (o.k., that part was a bit thick on the guilt). But the long and short of it was that it was exactly the sort of kick in the pants I needed to get the bah humbugs out of my system.

I don’t want to over-sentimentalize but I thought my dad had some good advice and I thought it might be of use to some of you out there too. So Merry Christmas to all!

Remembering Winston Churchill

I have four children and can only remember the birthday of the first. I know the month my wife and mother were born, but not the day or year; most of the time I can hardly remember my own birthday. But I remember the birthdays of Lincoln and Churchill. And tomorrow is the glow-worm’s birthday.

Sir Winston was born on November 30, 1874 and

Justin Lyons reminds us why it is important not to forget the great man. Eisenhower once said that Churchill "came nearer to fulfilling the requirements of greatness in any individual I have met in my lifetime. I have known finer and greater characters, wiser philosophers, more understanding personalities, but no greater man." Happy Birthday to Winston!   

Alexander the Flop

The London Independent (Left wing, of course) has this wonderful headline: "Alexander the (not so) Great fails to conquer America’s homophobes." Don’t you just love this? This beastly movie flops, and the Americans as "homophobes" get the blame. "Alexander has proved to be the Thanksgiving weekend’s biggest flop, and while it is a portrait of a legendary leader who ruled far-away lands more than 300 years before the birth of Christ, it has brutally exposed the cultural and moral divide which slices America in two." I love this. Read it.


John F. Harris, a staff writer for the Washington Post considers whether or not the election was a realignment. This is not an especially deep article, but it is worth noting because the issue will continue to be raised in the MSM (and among academics), as it should. And there are few items to take note of: First, the election was a Republican party victory, not only a victory for the president (compare 1984), and party loyalty was built. Second, Bush and the GOP cut into some formerly deeply Demo groups, including Hispanics. Third, he points out that the GOP apparently used, and is using, programs to build new constituencies (e.g., Social Security) and this may attract new and (for political purposes) permanent constituencies. Fourth, the GOP is dominating the fastest growing areas in the country.

I am not yet certain that this election has meant that ordinary partisanship was turned into grand partisanship (e.g.,
one that shapes public opinion in a most profound way). Is the country divided enough yet? Is it polarized enough yet (in the same way in which FDR wanted to polarize the country, and did)? It is certainly true that since 1980, and most especially since 1994, the GOP has made massive gains at every level of government. Does this mean that there is now a real choice, and the division is over fundamental issues? I believe that part of the so called "values" discussions have to do--in a round-about way--with this issue. The answer tilts to "yes." And its not only over matters of, say, religion, but also questioning--for the first time in an operational way--the very idea of certain programs that have been tauight to be politically sacred; Social Security, the graduated income tax, etc. (I note in passing that the core of the Liberal welfare system was overthrown after the 1994 election).

And are the Demos ready to become the "me too" party of those who lose realignments (e.g., GOP in the 1950’s)? The actions of the administration and the GOP Congress are very much worth watching with these things in mind. Will they govern now without guilt or hesitation, like a majority should? And will they continue to build the party, as they have for the last four years, rather than just be concerned with a presidential victory? So the elections of 2006 will tell us much. Is it possible that the GOP will gain in a non-presidential year, and into a president’s second term? Even FDR didn’t do that in 1938 (the Demoscrats lost 81 seats in the House and 8 in the Senate; although they kept a decisive majority in both chambers).

The results in 2006 will not answer the question, but they will lead us toward an answer. Is the GOP majority
enduring? And will the Republicans be able to build the new grounds for a political consensus that will last for a generation, or more?

Also note this in the New York Times by Todd S. Purdum. He is grinding his teeth over whether the new Bush term, with early signs of "elephantine hubris" will end up "threatening one-party dominion over the life of the nation itself." Now this is a little weird, as well as disingenuous. Whenever there has been a Liberal lock on the electoral system (say, during the New Deal and Great Society), the MSM was not asking such questions like do checks and balances still work, etc. Now that the country has moved away from domination by the Democrats, the eggheads are worried about a one party tyranny; indeed, Purdum’s article ends with an apparent cautionary note. The last words in the article are two: Civil War. Really.

Michael Kinsley, the poor fellow, is just plain tired of trying to figure it all out, so he says "to hell with values"! He concludes his silly op-ed with this: "A country whose political dialogue is all about values is either a country with no serious problems or a country hiding from its serious problems. When I want values, I go to Wal-Mart." I almost feel sorry for the guy.

Terror networks

Marc Sageman, who served with the CIA in Afghanistan, has some interesting thoughts on how to understand terror networks; he studied the biographies of 400 terrorists. He is the author of Understanding Terror Networks, published in April. A sample:

" The 400 terrorists on whom I’ve collected data were the ones who actually targeted the “far enemy,” the U.S., as opposed to their own governments. I wanted to limit myself for analytical purity to that group, to see if I could identify anything different from other terrorist movements, which were far more nationalistic.

Most people think that terrorism comes from poverty, broken families, ignorance, immaturity, lack of family or occupational responsibilities, weak minds susceptible to brainwashing - the sociopath, the criminals, the religious fanatic, or, in this country, some believe they’re just plain evil.

Taking these perceived root causes in turn, three quarters of my sample came from the upper or middle class. The vast majority—90 percent—came from caring, intact families. Sixty-three percent had gone to college, as compared with the 5-6 percent that’s usual for the third world. These are the best and brightest of their societies in many ways."


David Warren thinks that the crisis in the Ukraine is quite encouraging. Very good.

More on Alexander

Victor Davis Hanson has a few paragraphs on Oliver Stone’s debacle, concluding: "Alexander the Great is third-rate Cecil B. Demille in drag." Also see this on the homosexuality
issue. The Belmont Club has more.

More on the architect

Howard Finemann’s "Rove Unleashed" for Newsweek once again tells us something about Rove, and therefore worth reading (and it also tells us something about Finemann, but we are not surprised by that). Rove’s authority and influence are on the GOP and American politics are notable and it has not yet peaked. As the Duke says, "We shall see, If power change purpose, what are seemers be."

The smelly little orthodoxies

George Will adds to the point made below by Joe Knippenberg about the the lack of diversity (in thought) in the academy. He attempts to explain why this is so, and what its consequences are: " Academics such as the next secretary of state still decorate Washington, but academia is less listened to than it was. It has marginalized itself, partly by political shrillness and silliness that have something to do with the parochialism produced by what George Orwell called ’smelly little orthodoxies.’

Many campuses are intellectual versions of one-party nations -- except such nations usually have the merit, such as it is, of candor about their ideological monopolies. In contrast, American campuses have more insistently proclaimed their commitment to diversity as they have become more intellectually monochrome.

They do indeed cultivate diversity -- in race, skin color, ethnicity, sexual preference. In everything but thought."

Sgt. Major James R. Jordan

It turns out that Michael Jorden has an older brother, Sgt. Maj. James R. Jordan. Jordan asked to stay in the Army for a year beyond his mandatory retirement date so he could complete a deployment to Iraq with the 35th Signal Brigade.

’’We are currently at war,’’ Jordan said. ’’We are doing things, and it requires leaders to do certain things. That’s what I am, a leader.’’ Good story. Thanks to Powerline.

The Incredibles

I saw the Incredibles last night with Becky and Johnny. Terrific movie, enjoyed every minute of it; no wonder it’s doing so well
at the box office (and note that Alexander is not). Julie’s
enthusiastic endorsement proved correct (not that I ever doubted her opinion).

What is to be done about the academy?

Joseph Knippenberg reflects at length on the meaning of the new study out of Santa Clara University showing that registered Democrats far outnumbered registered Republicans on the faculties of some of America’s most prestigious college campuses. After overcoming his shock at such a revelation, he asks, "What is to be done?" Read it all. Excellent.

Abolish the Electoral College?

Rep. Zoe Lofgren has proposed a constitutional amendment that would abolish the Electoral College, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. O.K., what does one say about this silliness? Read the story to see how full of barren ignorance she is; also note that the reasonable Tara Ross from the Heritage Foundation is quoted at length, to the advantage of the EC. This is essentiually Lofgren’s argument: (see her website): "The Electoral College is no longer a fair way to elect our President. Voters in California and other large states don’t have an equal say."

Lofgren should have this read this by the late Senator Moynihan
, and this minority report from 1970, or even this
or this,
never mind Federalist 39, or 68.

Why Bush won

Rolling Stone talks with Ruy Teixeira, Peter Hart and David Gergen about why Bush won the election. While I do not think these guys are Solomonic, nor are they non-partisan, they are still worth reading because of tid-bits of information come out, and it is fun seeing how each is inclined to argue. For example, this is how Teixeira starts: "If you want to look at ground zero of how Bush expanded his coalition, the key change from 2000 was that he did a lot better among white voters. His margin of victory among whites widened from twelve to seventeen points -- and almost all of that was among white working-class women."

Kojo Annan and oil money

Kojo Annan, the U.N. Secretary-General’s son,
"got monthly payments more than four years longer than was previously known from a Swiss firm that won a lucrative contract under the scandal-ridden U.N. oil-for-food program, the United Nations said on Friday.

Kojo Annan, the U.N. leader’s son, was paid $2,500 monthly — a total of $125,000 — by Geneva-based Cotecna from the beginning of 2000 through last February, as part of an agreement not to compete with Cotecna in West Africa after he left the firm, U.N. chief spokesman Fred Eckhard said." More here.

Ukraine’s predicament

Ukraine’s Parliament "in a vote providing a moral boost for opposition supporters massed in the capital, said on Saturday the disputed presidential poll handing victory to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was invalid.

Parliament has no legal authority to annul the election results, but with vast crowds backing liberal challenger Viktor Yushchenko’s call for a new vote, the declaration carries political weight.

The declaration was issued two days ahead of a Supreme Court case examining Yushchenko’s complaints of poll irregularities and as the European Union said it wanted to see new elections."

Simon Sebag Montefiore has a few interesting thoughts on this matter, as well as some history.  

The governing majority

This is Charles Babington, writing for the Washington Post, thinks it remarkable that the GOP majority in the House will try to act like a majority. This, combined with the President appointing people agree with his policies to head agencies, just about does it for the MSM and the Liberals. We are looking at naked despotism folks! And the AP reports that there is "turmoil at the CIA." That is, the new Director is doing what he thinks needs to be done to make the Agency operational again. Naked. I say, naked.

The gospel of self-esteem

Here’s a review of a new book by Frank Furedi, a sociologist who thinks that the people who run universities, museums, and other places that are supposed to promote intellectual and cultural excellence have taken the self-esteem gospel hook, line, and sinker. And not with good results for society. This is not a new argument, I know -- it’s a little bit like Allan Bloom with "data". Still, the review is a good read, and some of the anecdotes are very funny.

Stone’s Alexander

I saw Alexander last night. Sorry I went. It was simply awful.
You have one of the great characters in history conquering most of the known world and it so happens that Aristotle was his tutor. Does this have possibilities? The boy was brave and thoughtful and unusually ambitious. There are many nations to be be conquered, many acts of heroism, and some of kindness and magnanimity. Sure, there is cruelty and savagery. Show it all, make some distinctions, perhaps even draw some lessons. But to show it as a creepy Freudian thing with his mother, a weird relationship with his father, and then there is the homosexual emphasis and over emphasis....I was hoping the thing would end after an hour. Terrible. Not worth seeing.
Stephen Hunter, writing for the Washington Post says that Oliver Stone’s Alexander "is more like a desperate housewife than a soldier." He thinks it’s a weird movie. He’s right. Stay away.

Republicans: the Party of the Poor (relatively) and Fertile

The Economist reports that “people worth $1m-10m supported Mr. Bush by a 63-37% margin, whereas those worth more than $10m favoured Mr. Kerry 59-41%.” It also reports that “Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation points out that the fertility rate in the Kerry states is 12% lower than in the Bush states. Vermont, the home of Howard Dean and perhaps the most left-wing state in the country, produces an annual average of 49 children for every 1,000 women of child-bearing age; in Utah, where 71% of the population voted for Mr. Bush, the figure is 91. In deep-blue cities such as San Francisco and Seattle you find more dogs than children.”


Here is the latest tid-bit on the Ukraine mess from the Washington Post. "Ukraine’s outgoing president will meet Friday with opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko in the presence of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and European envoys in a bid to solve the country’s political crisis over its disputed election, a European Union official said.

The meeting by President Leonid Kuchma will include European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, said Solana’s spokeswoman, Christina Gallach."

What does all this mean? I’m not sure. But it does seem that this matter will not go away. Pressures--which apparently are real and serious--from both the U.S. and the E.U. seem to be helping. So far, Russian intransigence (a la the Soviet mode?) is the dominant fact; without it, Kuchma’s party doesn’t have a chance to keep power. Also note that Poland
has become deeply involved, including Lech Walesa. The Ukraine Supreme Court barred the publication of the official presidential election results for a week until it has examined an appeal lodged by the opposition against them. This seems to be the first official victory of the opposition.
This commentary from La Sabot Post-Modern might be useful, as is this from Chrenkoff
. And this from a guy who lives in Kiev, Reuben F. Johnson, is worth reading.

The Muslim vote

Although real information is scarce, including exit polls, Peter Skerry has a brief note on the Muslim vote.
"Pre-election surveys indicate that between 70 and 80 percent of Muslims voted for John Kerry. This is hardly surprising, given that most Muslims, certainly most leaders, accuse President Bush of betraying his 2000 campaign promise to protect them from racial profiling and other infringements on their civil liberties." And: "One surprise is that the partisan shift of Muslim voters since 2000 is not quite as dramatic as claimed. Then as now, there was no reliable exit poll data. Then as now, the void was filled by leaders claiming to have delivered a bloc vote -- as much as 72 percent to Bush. But a more reasonable estimate, based on pre- and post-election surveys, is that in 2000 Bush received about 50 percent of the Muslim vote, Gore about 25 percent, and Ralph Nader 10 percent.

Nevertheless, does this year’s vote suggest an emergent Muslim unity? Not exactly."

Intelligence matters

The New York Times reports that two more senior officials of the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service are stepping down. These two very senior guys--not feeling "comfortable" with the new management--cannot be named because they are undercover. In the meantime, President Bush has ordered a major expansion
of the CIA, "calling for the beleaguered agency to add thousands of analysts and spies as part of an ongoing buildup in the war on terrorism."
Also see Porter’s. House

Reading of the Declaration of Independence Banned in a school

From Reuters: A California teacher
has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

"It’s a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful," said Williams’ attorney, Terry Thompson.

"Williams wants to teach his students the true history of our country," he said. "There is nothing in the Establishment Clause (of the U.S. Constitution) that prohibits a teacher from showing students the Declaration of Independence." There is more at The Remedy.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here is Washington’s
Proclamation, and Lincoln’s.

A little, saving angel?

New York Times reports on a new scholarly book on Arthur Schindler, righteous gentile. The book seems raise some questions about Schindler, and points out some problems in the Kennealy novel and the Spielberg movie.

Mehlman’s opportunity

Washington Times reports on an interview with Ken Melhman, the incoming RNC chairman. He says that he wants to institgutionalize the grass-roots focus that worled so well in the last campaign. Mehlman: "We have an extraordinary opportunity — an opportunity that we as a party haven’t had in a generation — where we simultaneously have an ideologically conservative majority and an operationally conservative majority. And that’s what we didn’t have before." He’s right, and I can’t think of a better guy to take advantage of the opportunity (which he himself set up!). Go to it.

Happy Birthday WFB

Our friends over at The Corner remind us that today is William F. Buckley’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday big guy! He gets a special notice from the cartoon strip Mallard Fillmore.

Intelligence Reform

Here a couple of thoughtful pieces on this
hysterica passio regarding the intelligence bill. The MSM is angry as it can be that something isn’t done and done now before it is too late, etc. And, how come the President isn’t using his great authority to make these few stubborn rogues in the House do his bidding? I have seen a few interviews with Sensenbrenner and Duncan Hunter and they didn’t seem so unreasonable to me. I don’t claim to know the ins and outs of all this, but it seems to me that

William Safire understands more of this than most and he isn’t simply pushing an agenda. His points about the Senate are especially worth noting. Also see Tom Donnely.

Vaclav Havel as Secretary General of the U.N.

has a modest proposal: Have Vaclav Havel replace Kofi Annan. Not a bad idea. Of course, this is un likely. Yet, the proposing of it is in itself useful because we will have to turn to some first-principle questions and purposeful conversations about the nature of the U.N. Jonah Goldberg agrees. Glenn Reynolds quotes from a recent Havel op-ed:

"Let’s not allow ourselves to be manipulated into believing that attempts to change the established order and objective laws do not make sense. Let’s try to build a global civil society that insist that politics is not just a technology of power, but must have a moral dimension.

At the same time, politicians in democratic countries need to think seriously about reforms of international institutions to make them capable of real global governance. We could start, for example, with the United Nations, which, in its current form, is a relic of the situation shortly after World War II. It does not reflect the influence of some new regional powers, while immorally equating countries whose representatives are democratically elected and those whose representatives speak only for themselves or their juntas, at best.

We Europeans have one specific task. Industrial civilization, which now spans the whole world, originated in Europe. All of its miracles, as well as its terrifying contradictions, can be explained as consequences of an ethos that is initially European. Therefore, unifying Europe should set an example for the rest of the world regarding how to face the various dangers and horrors that are engulfing us today.

Indeed, such a task, which is closely tied to the success of European integration, would be an authentic fulfillment of the European sense of global responsibility. And it would be a much-better strategy than cheaply blaming America for the contemporary world’s various problems."

Salvation Army vs. Target

Joseph Knippenberg gently attacks Target for no longer allowing the Salvation Army to ring their bells in front of their stores. The spirit of Christmas is the loser. Spitbull has more, with good links.

Dan Rather is out

Dan Rather is finished. Great news. He will anchor CBS until March.

Re: GOP Dominance

Peter’s link below to the LA Times story about growing Republican dominance in the fast-growing exurban areas reminds me of a tongue-in-cheek theme I’ve used for a long time, which may not be so tongue-in-cheek any more. I used to joke that the support for mass transit was a liberal plot to get people out of the cars and away from Rush Limbaugh, and reading liberal newspapers instead. The corrollary, of course, is "smart growth," which explicitly aims to stop growth in exurban areas, and channel growth back into the big cities. This has obvious partisan implications now. Another reason for the GOP to be the "pro-growth" party in every sense of the word.

GOP’s domination of exurban counties

The L.A. Times "analyzed the 100 counties that the Census Bureau identified as the fastest growing between April 2000 and July 2003, the latest date for which figures were available. Stretched across 30 states, these counties grew cumulatively over that period by more than 16%, reaching a total population of 15.9 million."
It found that they "provided Bush a punishing 1.72 million vote advantage over Democrat John F. Kerry." That was almost half the president’s total margin of victory. Bush’s advantage in these counties was almost four times greater than the advantage they rpovided Bob Dole in 1996. In 2000 Bush won 94 of these counties, and with a smaller cumulative advantage of 1.06 million votes.

In 2004 Bush won about 63% of the votes cast in these 100 counties; he won 70% or more of the vote in 40 of them. I repeat, these are the fastest growing counties in the country; note that the Demo base of support (big urban counties) continue to lose population. Also note near the end of the article that Demo operatives and pollsters, so far, haven’t understood any of this, why it happened and what it means for their party.

Bias in the academy

John Fund points out (no surprise to any one who has spent any time on an American campus) that there are various studies out showing the lack of intellectual diversity on university campuses, whose faculties are overwhelmingly Liberal. Here is one study (of Berkely and Stanford faculties) he mentions from Santa Clara University (PDF file, 34 pages). This study shows that Democratic professors outnumber Republicans 3 to 1 in eceonomics, 28 to 1 in sociology, and 30 to 1 in anthropology.
"For Stanford, we found an overall Democrat to Republican ratio of 7.6 to 1. For UC-Berkeley, we found an overall D to R ratio of 9.9 to 1. Moreover, the breakdown by faculty rank shows that Republicans are an ’endangered species’ on the two campuses."

European values and radical Islam

A well-known Dutch politician has called for a halt to non-Western immigration: "We are a Dutch democratic society. We have our own norms and values. If you chose radical Islam you can leave, and if you don’t leave voluntarily then we will send you away. This is the only message possible." And the AP reports that the EU’s justice and interior ministers agreed that new immigrants to the 25-nation bloc should be required to learn local languages, and to adhere to general "European values" that will guide them toward better integration.

The Cowboy in Chile

The more I read about the episode in Chile with the Secret Service agent and Bush, the more I like what Bush did. Also, it got the right people angry. See this

Washington Post report, for example: "Chilean journalists were critical of Bush’s actions. Marcelo Romero, a reporter with Santiago’s newspaper La Cuarta, said: ’All of us journalists agree that President Bush looked like a cowboy. It was total breach of protocol. I’ve seen a lot of John Wayne movies, and President Bush was definitely acting like a cowboy.’" Bingo. Nothing more needs to be said. I hope Bush was wearing his boots. Also see these
still photos of the fracas. Interesting.

Reshaping the electorate

Michael Barone, in U.S. News & World Report, points out that the appointment of Ken Mehlman as GOP National Committee Chairman is a very important move.

"If Karl Rove was the architect of George W. Bush’s thumping re-election victory, Mehlman was the structural engineer who turned the plans into reality. Mehlman’s great achievement was to create a largely volunteer organization of 1.4 million people who turned out the vote in counties big and small for Bush."

"With the absentee votes in California and Washington finally counted, it appears that overall turnout was up 12 percent. John Kerry’s popular vote was also 12 percent above Al Gore’s. But the popular vote for Bush was up a stunning 20 percent. Before the election, some liberal commentators were claiming that Bush would win no votes he hadn’t won in 2000. Not quite: He won 10 million more."

"Bush’s popular vote was up 23 percent in the 13 battleground states that decided the election. Kerry’s paid-worker, union-led turnout drives in central cities nearly matched that--his vote was up 21 percent over Gore’s in the battlegrounds. But that wasn’t enough to outdo the Bush volunteer efforts in the make-or-break states of Florida and Ohio. Elsewhere Bush had a bigger edge. His popular vote was up 21 percent in safe Bush states and 16 percent in safe Kerry states, compared with 12 and 5 percent for Kerry. The Bush organization literally reshaped the electorate. The 2000 exit poll showed an electorate that was 39 percent Democratic and 35 percent Republican. The 2004 exit poll, which was tilted toward Democrats, found a dead heat: 37 percent to 37 percent. That means that Republican turnout was up 19 percent and Democratic turnout up only 7 percent. This is the most Republican electorate America has had since random-sample polling was invented." Read the rest of it!

Matt Bai, in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, tries to fiddle with this problem by, oddly, looking at the Demos (read
America Coming Together and other 527’s) failure to do anything like this; but, along the way, you do get some notice of the GOP success and some tidbit of interesting information; including how the GOP had built "their own kind of quiet but ruthlessly efficient turnout machine." And note this:

"Therein, perhaps, lies the real lesson from Ohio, and from the election as a whole. From the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and especially after the disputed election of 2000, Democrats operated on the premise that they were superior in numbers, if only because their supporters lived in such concentrated urban communities. If they could mobilize every Democratic vote in America’s industrial centers -- and in its populist heartland as well -- then they would win on math alone. Not anymore. Republicans now have their own concentrated vote, and it will probably continue to swell. Turnout operations like ACT can be remarkably successful at corralling the votes that exist, but turnout alone is no longer enough to win a national election for Democrats. The next Democrat who wins will be the one who changes enough minds."

Also see this
by a Kerry worker and supporter in Virginia. He seems to recognize part of the problem, and suggests (this should not be a surprise to NLT readers) that Demo Gov. Warner of Virginia is to be imitated by the national Democrats: to try to convince "culturally conservative" folks that the Demo Party is on their side. Good luck.

Charles de Gaulle

Today is Charles de Gaulle’s birthday, as No-Passaran reminds us. De Gaulle allegedly said to Churchill, regarding the aid and effort the Brits and the Americans gave to France in lberating them from the Nazis: "We shall stun you with our ingratitude."

Eyebrow-Raiser of the Week

I’ve long been a fan of Target stores. Then I saw this.

Europe’s Civil War?

Europe’s Muslim population has doubled to 20 million in the last 10 years. Some 30,000 new Muslims arrive to Holland every year (and about 500,000 to Europe), where the Muslim population is about 6 percent of the whole. "They tend to live among themselves, with their own schools, mosques and restaurants. Most are horrified by what they view as sacrilegious in their own religion. Their imams speak no Dutch and know nothing of the Netherlands’ history and culture." Arnaud de Borchgrave explains the problem.

Schaub on Himmelfarb

Diana Schaub reviews Gertrude Himmelfarb’s The Road to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments.

Colorado as a lesson for Demos?

This Washington Post article (only two pages) is worth a look because it claims to report on how Salazar’s victory (and the Demos also picked up one House seat) in Colorado may well become the
model for the national Party.
"We campaigned on pragmatism," state Democratic Chairman Christopher Gates said. "We set ourselves up as the problem solvers, while the Republicans were hung up on a bunch of fringe social issues like gay marriage and the Pledge of Allegiance.

"The notion that moral issues won the 2004 election was disproven in Colorado," Gates continued. "We offered solutions, not ideology, and won almost everything." Well, maybe this will work, maybe it won’t. But it is worth keeping on eye on because Salazar did (by and large) run as a moderate, and the GOP in Colorado does seem to be in dissaray.
If I were advising the Dems I would say that you should, now, begin a large term strategy to build your party from the ground-up. This will take about twenty years, but it may be your only shot at becoming the majority party again. They could look at states like Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Florida. But, this will be a long haul, and will seem easier at first because they will be in opposition to long-standing rule to the GOP and their policies, but harder as they have to begin to stand for something and pragmatism will not do it. So-called competence is not enough. But the Dems have to get beyond statements like this: John
blames the Osama bin Laden tape for his loss. And, more fundamentally, the Dems have to get over their haughty attitude toward ordinary that George Will outlines. This will be no small task, I think.

Bush gets tough in Chile

All morning TV news ran the clip of the President in Chile rescuing one of his agents
from Chilean security. I thought it was a pretty good move by Bush; he noticed the problem, went over and reached in the crowd to pull the agent in with him. I haven’t seen much of it in the print media this morning, save this from

Washington Times and this shorter note from the AP.

Why Bush won Ohio and the country

How did Bush win Ohio? See this Wall Street Journal. The piece is not perfect, but it’s a start. Note especially the chart: Kerry lost 12 of the 14 rural Ohio counties that had more than 10% job loss since 2000. What was critical is the GOP ground war. It worked perfectly. "In 2000, the Bush team had recruited 88 county volunteers to conduct turnout operations. This time, they signed up more than 1,000 precinct-level turnout officials. In 2000, the Bush-Cheney campaign volunteers made a little more than 600,000 get-out-the-vote telephone calls. This time, they made 3.9 million, and 1.8 million of them were made in the last five days."

On whether not not the high turnout helped Bush nationally, see this from Patrick Ruffini. "The most compelling evidence for a pro-Bush shift in turnout comes from re-running the election using the 2004 percentages for each candidate and the 2000 vote totals. If the states had turned out the way they did in 2000, Bush would have received 50.71% of the vote to Kerry’s 48.31% -- a 0.6% shift to Kerry. The more granular you get, the more you should expect to see the turnout effect amplified. And lo and behold, by re-processing the results with the 2000 turnout at the county level, Bush gets 50.59% to Kerry’s 48.43% -- a further quarter point shift to Kerry. (And we haven’t even gotten down to the precinct level, or to the behavior of the individual voter within a precinct.) All told, the benefit the President received from this particular turnout pattern in 2004 is probably at least a point. Incidentally, that’s about the same as the gap between the final polls and the results.

Political scientists are going to have rewrite the book on this one. Broken glass Republicans outnumbered broken glass Democrats – despite everything the media establishment held sacred and holy about this election. There is no hidden, nonvoting Democratic majority. There is no cap on the number of people willing to vote Republican. GOP mobilization efforts work just as well with high turnout. Next time you see a long line at the polls, smile."

More on Tom Wolfe

I just got back from a bookstore, had to buy my second copy of Tom Wolfe’s latest since Emily took the first. I’m starting it (again) tonight). Ed Driscoll has a report on a speech Wolfe gave in San Francisco to a bunch of left-literati types. Interesting, full of insight, with good links. (Thanks to Powerline).

Kirsanow on C-Span today

This last Thursday, Peter Kirsanow, a member of the United States Civil Rights
Commission, was at the Ashbrook Center lecturing on the subject of
"Racial Rebellion: The End of the Victim/Grievance Movement."
C-SPAN was there to tape the event and it will be broadcast Today (Saturday) at 9:15pm EST and again at 12:15am EST on C-SPAN.

The filmed shooting in Fallujah

Owen West & Phillip Carter have some good thoughts on the filmed shooting of an insurgent in Fallujah. It may have been a tragedy, but it wasn’t an atrocity. Also note Diana West’s thoughts on the matter.  

Rice and guns

This article on Rice from the Montgomery Advertiser explains, in passing, why Condi Rice has always taken a pro-Second Amendment position. She was a child in Montgomery, Alabama, during the racial turmoil of the early sixties; her father was a minister: "During the bombings of the summer of 1963, her father and other neighborhood men guarded the streets at night to keep white vigilantes at bay. Rice said her staunch defense of gun rights comes from those days. She has argued that if the guns her father and neighbors carried had been registered, they could have been confiscated by the authorities, leaving the black community defenseless."

Gettysburg Address

It was on this day in 1863 that Lincoln spoke the words we know as the Gettysburg Address. Read it again, do your ears a favor, read it aloud. This is
a short piece I wrote on the speech some seven years ago.

Tom Wolfe as Dickens

I bought Tom Wolfe’s book the other day, started reading it, but then my daughter Emily took it away. Joseph Bottum convinced me that maybe I had better buy a second copy. This is a good overview of Wolfe, what the jealous Liberals think of him, why he should be compared to Dickens, why Charlotte Simmons may not be a novel, why he is worth reading: "Emile Zola was the writer Tom Wolfe recommended as the best model in the widely noted 1989 essay in which he called for America’s novelists to leave their prissy, self-absorbed concerns and go out to report on this ’wild, bizarre, unpredictable hog-stomping Baroque country of ours.’ But he mentioned Dickens along the way, and Dickens is the author to whom he is, in fact, the closest--if only because a Wolfe novel is invariably what Henry James once called books like Dickens’:

’large loose baggy monsters.’"

The Dutch and their tolerance

Washington Times reports that Dutch society has been transformed because of the murder of the journalist Theo van Gogh by Muslims. "Opinion polls show an overwhelming majority of citizens favor a crackdown on Muslim extremists, who are estimated to number as many as 50,000 in the country."
Christopher Caldwell has a piece on all this in the current issue of the Weekly Standard, but he is not optimistic about the Dutch’s response

Linda Ronstadt, the nut

Maybe she’s always been nuts, I don’t know. But she sure is now. This is self-psychoanalysis put out as political opinion. Linda Rondstadt said this: "People don’t realize that by voting Republican, they voted against themselves. I worry that some people are entertained by the idea of this war. They don’t know anything about the Iraqis, but they’re angry and frustrated in their own lives. It’s like Germany, before Hitler took over. The economy was bad and people felt kicked around. They looked for a scapegoat. Now we’ve got a new bunch of Hitlers."

Advice for Europeans

Andrew Busch has some words of advice for Europeans, and they won’t like them. Too bad.

"Altogether, Europeans have effectively removed themselves from Christendom while surrendering their sovereignty and much of the basis of their liberty. It is Europeans who have stopped having children and who have instead opened the floodgates to a potentially decisive fifth column of anti-Western immigrants; Europeans who have adopted the historically novel view that diplomacy with tyrants can succeed in the absence of a credible threat of force. And now it is Europeans who argue that Americans are the ones who have changed. This might be a good time for self-reflection among Europe’s elites, if they can spare a moment from their mourning."

Some girls don’t, but some girls do

Mac Owens starts with Webb’s new book, Born Fighting, and shifts nicely into country music. Perfect way to start the morning. Good writing, for a Marine.

"As Webb observes, when the Scots-Irish aren’t praying, they are often fighting, singing, or sinning in other ways. Despite the admonition of countless fire-and-brimstone preachers from time immemorial, the Scots-Irish have lived the, ahem, secular life to the fullest. As an old Marine, the drinkin’-and-fightin’ strain of country music has always appealed to me (not that I have ever engaged in such rowdy behavior, of course). To my way of thinking, there’s nothing like the in-your-face music of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Aaron Tippin, and Toby Keith."

Rice on Foreign Policy

This is the link to the article that Condoleezza Rice published in Foreign Affairs during the 2000 campaign.

Palestinian internal politics

A helpful article from The Jerusalem Post on the internal politics of the Palestinian situation. The factions are jockeying hard and there is already talk of Abbas being assassinated. As the old saying goes, some people never miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity.

College students’ engagement

This story in the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the latest finding by National Survey of Student Engagement, and it’s a shocker!

"Only about 11 percent of full-time students say they spend more than 25 hours per week preparing for their classes -- the amount of time that faculty members say is necessary to succeed in college. Forty-four percent spend 10 hours or less studying.

Yet students’ grades do not suggest that they are unprepared for their academic work: About 40 percent of students say they earn mostly A’s, with 41 percent reporting that they earn mostly B’s." Here is the whole report, Student Engagement (PDF file, 52 pages).

Ashcroft praised

Deroy Murdock explains the great good Attorney General John Ashcroft did for New York and the country: "As Attorney General John Ashcroft concludes his duties, Americans should applaud him for using the Patriot Act to charge 372 suspected terrorists and convict 194 of them since 9/11.

For example, absent the Patriot Act, Babar still might stroll the sidewalks of New York, gathering money and equipment for al Qaeda."

Rice at State

I have absolutely no problem with Dr. Rice at State. I think it is a good choice. George Will’s column is a series of questions that Senators, were they serious, could ask her at her confirmation hearings. Needless to say, a response would mean a real graduate level seminar lasting a week or two. Unlikely. It would be fun, not because I think Rice would be put on the ropes, but because we could also learn much about our Senators as well. This is President Bush’s announcement of her nomination. Michael Goodwin thinks it is "wonderful" that Bush isn’t making a big deal of the fact that she is the first black woman to be Secretary of State. He snuck her (and Powell before her) in the front door in broad daylight before anyone noticed. Lincoln lives. Imagine the diversity speeches we would have gotten from Kerry (or Clinton). Good for Bush, and us.
This BBC
report describes her as "driven and highly ambitious."

Why Health Care Costs So Much

Democrats and Republicans have been trading accusations for years about the reason for the dramatic increase in health care costs. Dems seem to think it’s all a matter of greedy drug companies, while Repubs fault the number of malpractice suits filed by greedy lawyers. The fact is that neither really gets at the heart of the issue--the declining percentage of health care costs that are being paid out of pocket, thanks to the prevalence of third-party health insurance. This chart shows the inverse proportional relationship between the two phenomena.

As E. Frank Stephenson over at Division of Labor puts it, "It brings to mind the saying about eating at a restaurant: If you’re paying I’ll have steak."

Defending the Electoral College

Today’s Columbus Dispatch published an op-ed by me defending the Electoral College. There was an article next to it opposing it, but I can’t get to it on-line because I am not a subscriber. But I have put my piece, as published, on our site. Click on my name.

Peter W. Schramm. I’m tempted to place a couple of coffee mugs here, but y’all would come down on me too hard and I couldn’t bear it, being so sensitive and all.


I’ll give Charles Krauthammer the first and last word on Arafat’s legacy, and then I don’t want to mention the SOB ever again.

CIA matters

The Belmont Club has a few good links and quotes from Rep. Jane Harman, Porter Goss, et al, on what is needed at the Agency: Spies.

Liberty in Paris

Here is a lovely essay by John Zvesper. He awaits his wife in Paris, has some time to kill, walking about in the Jardin du Luxembourg, he makes a pilgrimage to one of Paris’ two bronze "miniature" versions of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty: the smaller and more beautiful of the two (he includes a few good shots, one with a nice view of Paris). He makes reservations at a small restaurant, one of the few with an small American flag in the window, as he reflects on our relations with France, and the connection between liberty and democracy. Terrific.

America Okay, Say Americans

A Rasmussen Poll taken last week show that a solid majority (62 percent) of Americans believe that their country is basically "fair and decent." The same poll suggests that 67 percent think people who move to the United States should adopt American culture, and that 64 percent reject the idea that most Americans are racist.

Finally, and most heartening from a historian’s perspective:

Eighty-one percent (81%) believe students should be taught that "men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln were heroes who created a great nation." Only 8% disagree.

Colin Powell’s resignation as the end of civilization as we know it

It’s been amusing to watch the CNN types reflect (I use the word loosely) on Colin Powell and his most likely replacement, Condi Rice. Here is the gist: Powell is a statesman, a man full of all the virtues, magnanimity not excluded. He is a man of sovereign parts, in whose face you see the map of honor and truth. He has standing and stature and wit and intellect and most important, he stood tall in opposition the the President’s hard-ass policies, and to all his other mean-spirited and hard-hearted advisors. He was the last sober voice in the cabinet. He never--this soldier with an unspotted heart--did any ill or have any other thoughts than natural princes ought to have. This reign of the good is now over and we are forced to consider something wicked coming our way. Oh, this change cannot be good. Now there will be no one to oppose the neanderthals. Rice will not only be in agreement with the President, but will likely get the Department of State on board the administration’s line, and before we know it the CIA will be next! Oh my, what will become of us?

Every president must have such an opposing voice in his cabinet, else the
cherry trees on the Mall will begin walking and
all sorts of unnatural troubles and deeds will follow. Remarkably foolish stuff, all this. This is a prosaic example from the

Washington Post. More to follow, count on it.

Tom Wolfe’s latest

David Brooks opines on Tom Wolfe’s latest novel (I Am Charlotte Simmons). I started reading it this weekend. How could I resist? It’s by Wolfe, perhaps the greatest sociologist of our age, and it’s about college life, with a lot of drinking and even more sex. By the way, I bet there is no need for chocolates in the whole novel, but I’ll keep my eyes open. A couple of paragraphs from Brooks:

" [The novel] is about a young woman who leaves Sparta, a small town in North Carolina, and enters an elite university. She finds all the rules of life there are dissolved: the rules of courtship, the rules of decorum and polite conversation.

The social rules have dissolved because the morality that used to undergird them dissolved long ago. Wolfe sprinkles his book with observations about how the word ’immoral’ now seems obsolete, about how sophisticated people now reject the idea of absolute evil, about a hypermaterialistic neuroscience professor who can use the word ’soul’ only when it is in quotation marks.

Wolfe describes a society in which we still have vague notions about good and bad, virtue and vice, but the moral substructure that fits all those concepts together has been washed away. Everybody is left swirling about in a chaotic rush of desire and action, without a coherent code to make sense of it all."

CIA turmoil

Here is Stephen Hayes’ take on the changes (read, turmoil) taking place within the CIA. This will continue for some time, and should, over the long run, have some very good consequences.

Dungeons and Dragons

Great article on Dungeons and Dragons in today’s Boston Globe. I never played D&D but alot of my best guy friends did. There is much truth in what the author, Peter Berbergal, says about the people who played it. They were smart, witty, clever, and a bit off the beaten path. What marbles and other "brain games" did for generations past, he argues D&D did for his generation. Today’s smart kids will find something equally fascinating, I am sure. No reason to be overly concerned about the plethora of video games, etc.

Chocolate and Women

Now husbands have a reason to have mixed feelings about their wives cheating on all these low carbohydrate diets.

Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh for bringing this story about the link between the desire for chocolate and the desire for sex in women to our attention. Not only is this link not surprising (as Rush pointed out, men have known this for centuries--why else chocolate for Valentine’s day and dates?) but is anyone really surprised that the researchers conducting the study were Italian?

But before young men start flocking to the chocolate shop, they should remember that nature is a cruel teacher. Another study mentioned in the story showed a link between HPV (human papilloma virus) and prostrate cancer in men. In other words, men who exercised their libidos too much in their younger years and were, thereby exposed to the the virus that has long been linked to cervical cancer in women, and with just as tragic results.

The lesson, guys? Get married, stay faithful, and (to make that easier) buy chocolate. Worth a read, and a mug. Hot chocolate, anyone?! 

Liberals focus on the "Real" enemy

American troops are wiping Fallujah clean of terrorists and giving their all to keep America safe. Meanwhile, back on the base . . . American liberals focus on the real enemy facing America’s troops THE BOY SCOUTS! Yes, apparently those little guys might mention God or something and that would really be very insensitive. I guess Steve is right. They just don’t get it. Wanna bet the next go around the military vote will be even more disproportionately Republican? For more on the ACLU’s war on the Boy Scouts, see The Claremont Institute’s website where there is a pile of articles addressing the issue.

Busy, busy

Sorry about the lack of blogging. Have been running around all day. One meeting, then another; you know how it works. I’ll do better tomorrow.

Critique of Sander’s Study on Affirmative Action and Law Schools

Four professors have weighed in on Sander’s forthcoming study that argues affirmative action hinders black progress in law school and the profession. It is entitled"The Real Impact of Eliminating Affirmative Action in American Law Schools: An Empirical Critique of Richard
Sander’s Stanford Law Review Study

More Incredible Reaction to ’The Incredibles’

A reviewer in The Nation vents about The Incredibles:

"Bird’s biggest achievement in The Incredibles is to have inflated family stereotypes to parade-balloon size. His failing is that, in so doing, he also confirmed these stereotypes, and worse. Helen mouths one or two semi-feminist wisecracks but readily gives up her career for a house and kids; women are like that. Bob’s buddy Frozone, the main nonwhite character in the movie, can instantly create ice; black people are cool. The superheroes are in hiding because greedy trial lawyers sued them into retirement; and, while concealed, they chafe at their confinement, like Ayn Rand railing against enforced mediocrity. The family is the foundation of our society. Freedom is on the march."

Andrew Sullivan comments: "The left’s estrangement from America continues."

Incredible Iincredibles

This is to second Julie Ponzi’s post below on The Incredibles, which the Left has taken note of. Guess what: the Left doesn’t like it. There is a long article in this week’s New York Observer about The Incredibles and Team America: World Police with lots of liberal hand-wringing about what it can possible mean that conservative-themed movies are being made and doing well at the box office. Another sign of doom for the Left, that’s what!

David Horowitz has long argued persuasively that Hollywood is actually a lagging cultural indicator (the F-word didn’t make it’s first appearance in a major motion picture until M*A*S*H in 1971, long after the word had become ubiquitous on the street). If so, then The Incredibles may be a sign of growing momentum for the backlash against mush-headed liberal political correctness in our popular culture.

Go see The Incredibles. I’ve already taken our six-year-old twice.

Academia’s "Liberal Group-Think"

Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University and director of research for the National Endowment for the Arts, has an outstanding op-ed in the latest issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Alas, only subscribers can access the on-line version, but it’s worth trying to track down a paper copy just to have a look at it. Entitled "Liberal Group-Think is Anti-Intellectual," it is a stinging critique of the culture of left-wing orthodoxy that exists at most college campuses today. There are just too many good passages for me to list here, at least without running afoul of copyright laws, but here are a couple of gems:

Liberal orthodoxy is not just a political outlook; it’s a professional one. Rarely is its content discussed. The ordinary evolution of opinion -- expounding your beliefs in conversation, testing them in debate, reading books that confirm or refute them -- is lacking, and what should remain arguable settles into surety. With so many in harmony, and with those who agree joined also in a guild membership, liberal beliefs become academic manners. It’s social life in a professional world, and its patterns are worth describing.

The problem is that the simple trappings of deliberation make academics think that they’ve reached an opinion through reasoned debate -- instead of, in part, through an irrational social dynamic. The opinion takes on the status of a norm. Extreme views appear to be logical extensions of principles that everyone more or less shares, and extremists gain a larger influence than their numbers merit. If participants left the enclave, their beliefs would moderate, and they would be more open to the beliefs of others. But with the conferences, quarterlies, and committee meetings suffused with extreme positions, they’re stuck with abiding by the convictions of their most passionate brethren.

As I say, do try to get hold of a copy of the Chronicle and read the whole thing. I don’t make a habit of doling out mugs in my posts, but this is an exception well worth making:     

Studies in Cluelessness

I’ve often remarked that liberal Democrats operate under a presumption that they have the right to rule, which explains their incredulousness each time the voters deliver them a spanking at the polls (which is becoming more and more regular--Republicans have now won 7 out of the last 10 presidential elections).

Today’s New York Times has an article on the new Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, with some unintentionally revealing quotes from some top Democrats. Sen. Joe Biden, for example, says that "The idea that people are looking at Harry to sort of be the spokesperson of the Democratic Party, that’s not a role all majority leaders have filled before." Wait a minute: "majority leader"?? Majority leader? News flash, Joe: Your team hasn’t had a majority for ten years now (excepting those few months brought to you courtesy of Jim Jeffords), and you’re not likely to be int he majority again for a while. Deal with it. And learn to start saying the word "minority," as in "minority party." Carville has made the leap; so can you.

Ditto for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who tells the Times in the same article: "If we keep going in this way, we’ll be a minority party." News flash Dianne: You’re there already.

That’s Incredible

After some hesitation about the PG rating, my husband and I took our two kids (ages 3 and 5) to see the new Pixar/Disney movie The Incredibles. We needn’t have worried. It was terrific! Without over-politicizing, I would even venture to say that it was a conservative movie. Villains in the movie include tort lawyers, a French theif, and all the forces that promote mediocrity in the world. Top that off with a lively, healthy romantic relationship between the mother and father characters that is very tastefully and not gratuitously portrayed! The animation and the action were, indeed, incredible. It was, I think, the best Pixar film I have seen yet. And Disney let these guys get away?! No wonder they’ve got problems.

But the most refreshing thing about this movie was the absolute lack of any inappropriate themes or suggestions. The PG rating made me worried because the last movie we took the kids to with that rating,Shrek 2 by Dreamworks, really irritated me with its totally inappropriate and unnecessary "adult" jokes that marred an otherwise adorable movie. At least my kids were too young to get or remember those jokes. Kudos to Pixar for getting it right.

The OAH and Academic Freedom

Back in March the Organization of American Historians organized a committee to "investigate reports of repressive measures having an impact on historians’ teaching, research, employment, and freedom of expression." That committee has just released its final report. Do you think it mentions politically-motivated vendettas against conservative faculty, or the stifling effect of campus speech codes? Guess again. But it does suggest the existence of a conspiracy on the part of federal agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities "to shape the content of teaching and research" in line with the Bush administration’s policies. The evidence for this? The Higher Education Act, placed before Congress earlier this year, called for support for "faculty and academic programs that teach traditional American history." Will the horrors never cease?

Hat tip to David Beito at Liberty & Power.

Straight Talk from a Dem

Brad Carson, the losing Democratic Senate candidate in Oklahoma, writes frankly about his loss in the nest issue of The New Republic. TNR’s website requires a subscription for access, so here’e the gripping part of Carson’s article:

"The culture war is real, and it is a conflict not merely about some particular policy or legislative item, but about modernity itself. Banning gay marriage or abortion would not be sufficient to heal the cultural gulf that exists in this nation. The culture war is about matters more fundamental still: whether nationality is, in a globalized world, a random fact of no more significance than what hospital one was born in or whether it is the source of identity and even political legitimacy; whether one’s self is a matter of choice or whether it is predetermined, before birth, by the cultural membership of one’s family; whether an individual is just that--a free-floating atom--or whether the individual is part of a long chain that both predates and continues long after any particular person; whether concepts like honor and shame, which seem so quaint, are still relevant in a world that values only "tolerance." These are questions not for politicians but for philosophers, and, in the end, it is the failure of liberal philosophy that we saw on November 2.

"For the vast majority of Oklahomans--and, I would suspect, voters in other red states--these transcendent cultural concerns are more important than universal health care or raising the minimum wage or preserving farm subsidies. Pace Thomas Frank, the voters aren’t deluded or uneducated. They simply reject the notion that material concerns are more real than spiritual or cultural ones. The political left has always had a hard time understanding this, preferring to believe that the masses are enthralled by a "false consciousness" or Fox News or whatever today’s excuse might be. But the truth is quite simple: Most voters in a state like Oklahoma--and I venture to say most other Southern and Midwestern states--reject the general direction of American culture and celebrate the political party that promises to reform or revise it."

CIA matters

The Washington Post reports that the deputy director has resigned and the agency is in chaos; there are threatened resignations, recriminations. Worth reading and keeping an eye on, but take it with a grain of salt. David Brooks has an op-ed on the dysfunctional relationship between the CIA and the White House. The CIA, partly by its nature, partly out of habit, is prone to certain vices, not excluding a pretty direct participation in presidential politics. Brooks is right, in another age this sort of insubordination would have been treated very harshly. Given everything, including 9/11, critical reports, etc., it may be time to simply end it, and create something entirely new. Serious, dangerous, but not without opportunities.

Ramirez Cartoon

Europe should adopt US’s view of terrorism

Some good news out of Europe: Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO’s Secretary General, said this yesterday: "Your country focused very much on the fight against terror while in Europe we focused to a lesser extent on the consequences for the world. We looked at it from different angles, and that for me is one of the reasons you saw such frictions in the trans-Atlantic relationship."

"If the gap is to be bridged, it has to be done from the European side and not from the United States.

Where allies very much agree and must agree is the fact that whatever ways they have looked at the war in Iraq and the run-up to it and the split we saw, we cannot afford to see Iraq go up in flames. It is everyone’s obligation that we get Iraq right."

Kathleen Parker

I like Kathleen Parker for two reasons (one being more important than the other, but the combination is rare): she is smart (aka, good writer) and she is pretty. I just spotted this column she wrote the day after the election. It is very good. A sample: "The two-America divide isn’t fiction after all. And the division, as nearly everyone has noted, is about values. But what the Democrats got wrong, and what the New York Times subjects seem to be missing, is that traditional values and sophistication are not mutually exclusive. Nor does sophistication equate to intelligence, we hasten to add.

People who believe in heterosexual marriage because the traditional family model best serves children and therefore society are not ipso facto homophobic. Americans vexed about our casual disregard for human life are not necessarily Stepford-Neanderthals. And, those people who believe in some power greater than themselves are not always rubes.

In small towns across the nation, especially in the Deep South, one can find plenty of well-traveled, multilingual, latte-loving, Ivy-educated Ph.D.s, if that’s your measure of sophistication. But they’re not snobs, nor do they sneer at people who pay more than lip service to traditional values. In fact, they often share those very values in quiet, thoughtful, deliberative ways." But read it all. Thanks, Kathleen.

2006 mid-term elections

Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics has two nice charts of the
36 Gubernatorial and 33 Senate races on the ballot in 2006. He also has a few useful paragraphs on which party is at an advantage or disadvantage (GOP advantage for the Senate races, and slight disadvantage for gubernatorial races). He writes: "All in all it should be a very entertaining midterm, especially given what happened last Tuesday and knowing that, at least for those incumbents in the Senate [Mark Dayton in Minnesota, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, Maria Cantwell in Washington, Bill Nelson in Florida]. This will be their first time standing for election after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001."

The new band of brothers

Amy White wrote a lovely piece about our soldiers in yesterday’s St. Louis Post Dispatch. God bless the warriors. Coriolanus’ mother speaking of her son: Before him he carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears: Death, that dark spirit, in’s nervy arm doth lie.

Harvey Mansfield elected

Harvey Mansfield, in opposition to the establishment and official candidates, has won, and will be on the governing body of the otherwise useless American Political Science Association governing body. If you are interested in understanding the Progressive (and Hegelian) nature of the APSA and the profession of political science, read Dennis Mahoney’s recently published, Politics and Progress: The Emergence of American Political Science.


Mark Bowden explains why Fallujah is important and even George Will is optimistic. This Washington Post report on the fighting is worth a read, as is this from the New York Times.

State by state comparison of 2000 and 2004 vote

Real Clear Politics has a very handy chart of the presidential vote by state, and the plus or minus in percentage for Bush. Handy. Keeper.

CIA wars continue

Mike Scheuer, a counterterrorist CIA agent (and the author of two books under "anonymous") is violating the trench-coat oath and has resigned from the CIA and will go public with his criticism of the government’s war on terror and the administration’s war on Iraq. He will also hit the talk-show circuit. No further comment necessary.

Truman’s stark courage and fighting heart

David Gelertner thinks that Truman, that provincial hick, and W. have much in common, including their stark courage and fighting heart, as do the the elections of 1948 and 2004. Good essay.   

The source of the president’s authority

That President Bush won the election is beyond argument. Did he win a mandate? As such things are normally talked of, the answer would be "yes." Yet, as

Andrew Busch reminds us, it is unfortunate that we talk in such terms. The mandate question reminds us that Woodrow Wilson and the progressives used this term first to argue that the president is given authority by the people because they elect him. Wilson and the other progressives were keen to go beyond the Constitution.
We should remind ourselves of our constitutional heritage: that the president’s authority resides in the Constitution, not in a plebiscite. Every presidential election should remind us of this massive fact.  

Reflections on the happy few

Today is Veteran’s Day. No better way to reflect on its meaning and honor those who have served than by reading this by

Robert Alt and this by Mac Owens. Mac, a Marine, also reminds us that yesterday was the 229th birthday of the Marine Corps. Semper fi. Remember those who have served, and pray for those who are serving. And let us hope that those who are serving will live long enough to be able to say: "There is nothing sweeter than to be an old man who has fought for his country."

Can They Please Keep Him?

Word on the radio this morning in Washington is that Jimmy Carter wants to attend Yasir Arafat’s funeral in Cairo. Can we please please get Jimmy a one-way ticket?

Not to be missed is Scott Johnson’s (aka, "The Big Trunk") revelation on Powerline about Arafat’s direct role in the murder of two U.S. diplomats in the 1970s (among other countless terrorist outrages bearing his fingerprints). Instead of being received at the Whie House, he should have had handcuffs clapped on him.

Ashcroft Out; Gonzales In

The White House reports that Judge Alberto Gonzales has been nominated by President Bush to be the Attorney General of the United States (what Bush called the fifth appointment of Gonzales to a position under his authority).

On March 31, 2003, Judge Alberto R. Gonzales delivered the Inaugural Powell Lecture at Washington and Lee University Law School. He was the chief counsel to President George W. Bush and considered by legal commentators to be a likely nominee for the next vacancy on the Supreme Court. For what it’s worth, I include below an aide-memoire that I wrote soon after I heard his remarks. (Please pardon the lengthy blog)

Gonzales’s 37-minute speech gave a glowing assessment of Bush. Some soundbites: "It is hard to be around George Bush and not learn from him." "It is hard to be around the president and not like him." In general, Bush is thoughtful, deliberate, charming, a man of faith (as Gonzales gave every indication of himself, as well), and has a "strong sense of his destiny."

Two "core principles" of his counsel to the president are "fidelity to the rule of law" and something like devotion to the constitutional prerogatives of the office in the face of daily challenges. Gonzales addressed the role of commander-in-chief and judicial appointments: "The world has changed but the words of the Constitution have not." Which means he counsels the president to submit to the Constitution but believes Bush has a correct understanding of his singular responsibility among the federal branches to protect the American people, especially in the face of enemies who do not cherish life, are not constrained by civil authorities, do not love liberty, and do not respect law. "We are at war," he reiterated without apology.

Gonzales gave examples of "anticipatory self-defense" in American history and U.N. backing for U.S. actions against Iraq since 1991. He added that lawyers "review" military targets for possible infractions of international or national law (e.g., effect on civilian populations or non-military institutions like hospitals, schools, or mosques), but certainly do not "approve" of targets.

He believed that "perhaps a president’s most lasting legacy" could be his judicial appointments. He added that Bush’s "compassionate conservative" approach to appointments was as follows: (1) personal character, integrity, and professional excellence; (2) follows precedent and the law, i.e., "ideologically neutral" in approach to adjudication with no agenda brought with them to the Court; and (3) no ideological litmus test.

Gonzales repeated the federal brief arguments on the Grutter and Gratz affirmative action cases: namely, racial diversity in higher education is important, though no commitment on this as a "compelling state interest" and race-neutral means are best so as to avoid the divisiveness that follows from race-centered policies that treat people differently according to race. The latter should be used "only as a last resort, if ever." He spoke of "the important goal of diversity" in light of King’s "I Have a Dream" quotation about color versus content.

He closed with a quick ode to balancing work and family: "Learn this now if you want to be happy."

I had to duck out early for a previous appointment, but was able to ask the second question: "Washington and Lee University joined an amicus brief by Carnegie Mellon University, which supports racial diversity as a rationale for affirmative action but not for remedial purposes. Curiously, it argued that while race is not a proxy for how a person thinks, race does shape how one thinks. Do you agree with this, and if not, how is racial diversity a compelling state interest in decisions regarding hiring and admissions in higher education?"

He dodged the question by simply restating the "president’s position" in the federal briefs filed in February, which was that Bush did not say diversity was a "compelling state interest" but an important goal of education because it represented "equal opportunity"--something the president is very sensitive about and cares very much about. Gonzales said, "This may not answer your question," to which I replied, "No, it doesn’t, but that’s OK," and then I quickly added, "I just want to know why racial diversity is important." He then repeated his statement about equal opportunity and how education, in the president’s mind, is the key to success for all Americans. (He had, pleasantly, given every indication during his formal remarks that he would not answer direct questions dealing with pending or potential cases.) Needless to say, my follow-up question turned many heads when I asked it, as if to imply, "How could anyone NOT know why racial diversity is important?!" Other questions about civil rights protections for prisoners of the war on terrorism and related matters were asked, then I left before the session closed.

Gonzales came across as a devoted counselor to the president, an amiable fellow who has his personal and vocational priorities straight, and who would not part from the president’s line on any given subject. He clearly admires the president, gets along with Bush, and possesses not so coincidentally the qualities outlined in his speech for a potential nominee to the federal bench (Supreme or otherwise). As I noted earlier, there was no way he was going to touch any of the hot-button topics dealing with any future court nominees of the president, though he did mention in passing the Estrada filibuster that will recommence tomorrow [April 2003].

There’s alot the president obviously likes in Gonzales, going back to their Texas service in the state house. If he is weak on abortion and affirmative action, as has been reported, his appointment to replace John Ashcroft as attorney general could be the best conservatives could expect.

New Study Blasts Affirmative Action at Law Schools

The Chronicle of Higher Education has run an article, "Does Affirmative Action Hurt Black Law Students?,"that confirms what we already know: namely, that educational mismatch occurs when racial preferences provide incentives for many aspiring law students to attend schools for which they are not well prepared. In a forthcoming Stanford Law Review article, UCLA law professor Richard H. Sander contends that there would be more successful black lawyers, both in terms of numbers attending law school and those passing the bar, if affirmative action was eliminated. His study, "A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools," concluded the following:

After the first year of law school, 51 percent of black students have grade-point averages that place them in the bottom tenth of their classes, compared with 5 percent of white students. "Evidence suggests that when you’re doing that badly, you’re learning less than if you were in the middle of a class" at a less-prestigious law school, Mr. Sander says.

Among students who entered law school in 1991, about 80 percent of white students graduated and passed the bar on their first attempt, compared with just 45 percent of black students. In a race-blind admissions system, the number of black graduates passing the bar the first time would jump to 74 percent, he says, based on his statistical analysis of how higher grades in less competitive schools would result in higher bar scores. Black students are nearly six times as likely as whites not to pass state bar exams after multiple attempts.

Ending affirmative action would increase the number of new black lawyers by 8.8 percent because students would attend law schools where they would struggle less and learn more, earn higher grades, and have better success on the job market.

With the exception of the most-elite law schools, good grades matter more to employers than the law school’s prestige.

Anita Hill

Remember Anita Hill? Well, I do, but I haven’t heard her name for a while. And wouldn’t you know that two days after the Clarenence Thomas trial balloon appears, she writes this op-ed for the Boston Globe. What is her article about? Well, voter intimidation, race, and so on. She’s really breaking ground, this professor of social policy and women’s studies at Brandeis. Brandeis? When did that happen? No matter, now that Thomas is being talked about as Chief, she baaaack! The trial baloon worked. But, it doesn’t matter. The deed is done.

The Generosity Index

Instapundit calls our attention to a study at the Catalogue for Philanthropy. It derives a state-by-state ranking by comparing the average wealth of each state to the amount of charitable giving that goes on there. The state at the top of the list is Mississippi which, although the poorest state in the union, ranks fifth in terms of overall philanthropy.

But here’s the really interesting part. Every state in the top half of the list went for George W. Bush in last week’s election. And among the ten states at the bottom of the list, all but one went for John Kerry. Hmm, maybe there’s something to this "compassionate conservatism" stuff after all....

The 2008 elections

John Zvesper begins to consider some of the electoral strategic calculations for both parties for 2008. While it may look as though the GOP is better situated, the Republicans have to think strategically, and their victory is by no means assured. Very thoughtful. A sample: "Marginally expanding the blue states is also a desperate strategy for the Democratic Party more generally, because even more doubtful than its success would be its success having any coattails. The incumbency advantage in Congress—which for so many years protected Democrats from partisan realigning forces—now protects Republican majorities, which are therefore likely to be less precarious than at any time since they first appeared in both houses in 1994. (In state legislatures, as well, Republicans continue to hold a small majority of chambers, though Democrats made gains in 2004.)

Against this gloomy outlook (for the Democrats), there remains one often denied but reasonably undeniable fact: this presidential election was very untypical, because it was a judgement of an incumbent president’s conduct of the nation’s affairs during a war. In fact, as enemy actions and speeches attested, the election itself was part of the war."  

How Hillary in 2008 & 2012

Good morning. French
"Histoire des Etats-Unis" published in 2150. This excerpt recounts how Hillary Clinton won the election of 2008 and 2012. (Thanks to Instapundit). Enjoy.

Bush as LBJ??

Touche, David. But see Brendan Miniter in today’s Wall Street Journal for a longer treatment of the seriousness and potential of the "ownership society" idea.

More Daedal Dyspeptic Dander

I like the phrase “ownership society.” It sounds like something Tony Blair would say. I look forward to social security reform and tax law reform. They will do something to compensate for the prescription drug benefit added to Medicare and the recently signed corporate tax bill. On the costs of big government conservatism, Steve Hayward is right (it “is merely low budget liberalism, and not all that low-budget any more”). According to a study reported in the Economist, the George W. Bush administration is responsible for three of the six largest annual percentage increases in real discretionary spending over the last 40 years. The Johnson administration is responsible for the other three.

How Bush almost let it slip away

Charles Krauthammer’s essay in Time is worth reading. It is an elegant essay arguing that Bush almost threw the election away with Iraq. Yet, this formulation is in a way too simple, for it is fair to say that if he just sat on his laurels with Afghanistan, he would have won the election with ease. He gambles, and he won. Krauthammer also has a few words on Kerry.


Ashcroft and Evans have resigned

The White House just announced that Ashcroft and Evans have resigned.

Good-bye to a blogger

The Horserace Blog is signing off. He covered the election and now that the horse race is over so is his blog. Be sure to read his essays (Election Analysis Part I and Part II), a few clicks down. He says he is too busy preparing for his qualification exams to continue. We thank him for a great and useful effort. Good luck!


Bill Garmer, the leader of the Democratic Party in Kentucky, announced his resignation. He said the party’s losses in federal and state elections had nothing to do with his decision:

"I would have done this whichever way it went because I had realized I was just stretched beyond the limits of my emotional and physical energy." The Democratic Party in Kentucky has to be rebuilt. Only one of six members of the U.S. House of Representatives is a Democrat. The governor and both U.S. Senators are Republicans, as is the state Senate (22-16). The state House is still in Democratic hands (64-35).

Fallujah and Ramadi

The Belmont Club has the details on the fighting in both Fallujah and Ramadi, where hundreds of insurgents have taken over the center of the city. Follow the links.

Which polls got it right

Bevan & McIntyre of RealClearPolitics analyze the polls and which came closer to getting the results right: Battleground/Tarrance and Pew. Worth reading and filing. Let me take this opportunity to thank those guys for all the good work they have done. RealClearPolitics has made itself indispensable. Thanks much.

Some comments on the election

George Will explains how not to win red America. True and well put; much of it, inevitably, amusing. Newt Gingrich, surely one of the smartest guys around--and the one most responsible for completing this rolling realignment--explains that if Republicans do three major things, they will be the governing majority for a generation to come. His points have to be thought through. James Q. Wilson thinks that it wasn’t the so called "values" that got Bush re-elected. While his piece is a bit ambivalent, it merits reading and thinking about. Carlos Watson, perhaps representing the more ordinary and establishment opinion at CNN, thinks that Bush’s political genius has been overlooked. I agree. Mark Steyn thinks we just weren’t dumb enough to vote for Kerry. John Podhoretz explains why Bush won a mandate by comparing this election to 1984 when Reagan won decisively, but without a mandate.
And Jay Ambrose thinks that the Hollywood Lefties (and especially Michael Moore) had a lot to do with getting Bush re-elected, and he delights in their failure.

Kerry thinking about 2008

Some mornings all seems to be well in the world. Arafat has gone into a deeper coma (whatever that means), we’re taking back Fallujah, Howard Dean is thinking about running for DNC chairman, and John Kerry is staying in the fight and is even thinking about running in 2008. Sometime "God tests you" said Kerry, and noted that Ronald Reagan (one of his heroes, of course) tried a couple of times before becoming president. Also note some of Bob Shrum’s comments in the article, as well. How can one be wrong so often and still have a job? It’s a real pretty day.

Simon Schama on Godly American vs Wordly America

Simon Schama is a very good historian. Or, at least I can say with certainty that his book Citizens is a very fine book. It is perhaps the best single volume ever written on the French Revolution. It tells a great story and it never misleads the reader. But alas, as this op-ed in the London Guardian makes clear, he is a man of the Left. And he is an angry man calling not for compromise but for a political mother-of-all-battles between the Demos (as he understands them) and the GOP (as he understands them). His analysis of the great divide in the United States between the red and the blue states he calls comparable to the divide between the Shia and the Sunny! He is a fine writer, this man of the Left, so this long op-ed is very much worth reading just for itself. Yet, it is also worth reading because some very intelligent and thoughtful folks really do think all this, and he defines it as clearly as anyone. Let the healing stop, as he says, and the fight begin. A sample:

"Worldly America, which of course John Kerry won by a massive landslide, faces, well, the world on its Pacific and Atlantic coasts and freely engages, commercially and culturally, with Asia and Europe in the easy understanding that those continents are a dynamic synthesis of ancient cultures and modern social and economic practices. This truism is unthreatening to Worldly America, not least because so many of its people, in the crowded cities, are themselves products of the old-new ways of Korea, Japan, Ireland or Italy. In Worldly America - in San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego, New York - the foreigner is not an anxiety, but rather a necessity. Its America is polycultural, not Pollyanna.

Godly America, on the other hand, rock-ribbed in Dick Cheney’s Wyoming, stretched out just as far as it pleases in Dubya’s deeply drilled Texas, turns its back on that dangerous, promiscuous, impure world and proclaims to high heaven the indestructible endurance of the American Difference. If Worldly America is, beyond anything else, a city, a street, and a port, Godly America is, at its heart (the organ whose bidding invariably determines its votes over the cooler instructions of the head), a church, a farm and a barracks; places that are walled, fenced and consecrated. Worldly America is about finding civil ways to share crowded space, from a metro-bus to the planet; Godly America is about making over space in its image. One America makes room, the other America muscles in."

Karl Rove and Obama notes

This is the Meet the Press transcript with Karl Rove. This is the USA Today story on the Rove interviews with Meet the Press and Fox. Do note that it was Barak Obama who made the Sunday appearances for Democrats. Also note that Obama has signed an agent, looking for another book deal to sign, before he takes the oath.

The Democrats’ need

Ronald Brownstein writes a useful piece for the Los Angeles Times. He argues that the Demos have to enlarge their territory and pick a nominee for president that is outside the geographic base they now hold. He cites these examples: Vilsack (IA), Richardson (NM), Warner (VA). Some of the facts and figures he cites are useful to know, for example: "Kerry reached 48% of the vote in just three of those states: New Hampshire (the sole state Kerry recaptured), Ohio and Nevada. In 21 of the 29 Bush 2000 states, Kerry was held to 43% of the vote or less.

Partly because his own base was so strong, Bush was able to mount challenges for more Democratic terrain. Bush gained 48% or more in six states that Gore carried. Although Bush still fell well short in the Northeast, he significantly improved his performance in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Only in five of the 18 Gore 2000 states was Bush held to 43% or less."

A warning to the GOP

John Fund warns the GOP that they have some work to do in the states, especially the blue states that Kerry won. The Democrats now have (by a hair) more state legislators than the GOP and the Demos have won some major state battles in states like Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, California, Washington, Vermont, and Minnesota. He’s right. This has to be watched, and the GOP has to make a serious effort to win the state races.  

Operation Phantom Fury - Fallujah

The attack on Fallujah has begun. This is the Washington Post’s report on the battle (from 2 hours ago). And this is the AP’s
report (25 minutes ago). And this is the Reuters
report . The Belmont Club has some interesting analysis of what is happening or might happen. See both "The Banner of Zarqawi," and "The Assault Begins."

Advice for Democrats

John Leo looks at the elections and has some advice for Democrats.

Misleading exit polls on election day

The Wall Street Journal considers the crisis with the exit poll numbers (terribly wrong and misleading) on the afternoon of the election and what role the bloggers had in sending the bad info around cyberspace. I noticed all this at the time and how everyone was in a panic (even the largely sober crowd at NRO), looked at the numbers (much like Rove did a few minutes after he got them) and decided that they were wrong. I decided that either the Kerry campaign was releasing them or the media was leaking it to itself. Here is what I wrote at about 3 p.m. on election day: "Exit polls (leaked) are bad".

Ramirez Cartoon

The 51% nation

Michael Barone’s brief analysis of the election is, as always, worth reading. He focuses on the ground game, which the Republicans won, and notes that the media bias didn’t work because people liked Bush.  

No Left Turns Mug Drawing Winners for October

Congratulations to this month’s winners of a No Left Turns mug! The winners are as follows:

Sherry Milstein

Joe Lehane

Ed Loretto

Kevin Stremel

Sue Moritz

Thanks to all who entered. An email has been sent to the winners. If you are listed as a winner and did not receive an email, contact Ben Kunkel. If you didn’t win this month, enter November’s drawing.

Tuckered Out

David Tucker (see below) expresses with his usual dyspepsia the skepticism many conservatives have had toward Bush since before he was elected in 2000. I had a conversation with Rich Lowry of National Review last spring in which we agreed that we needed to get Bush safely re-elected on November 2, and then begin attacking him on November 3 to slow up his big government conservatism.

To David’s question about whether there is a strategy to ebb away from "big government conservatism" (which is merely low budget liberalism, and not all that low-budget any more), the answer is emphatically Yes. Bush’s "ownership society" theme, and the specific policies that flow from it, should be taken more seriously. Remembering the lesson we learned during the Reagan years, Bush knows that a direct assault on government programs is unlikley to succeed. So, to reduce the supply of government, it is necessary first to reduce the demand for it. One way of reducing the demand for it is to transform by degrees entitlement programs into equity programs, i.e., Social Security privatization, and especially health care, with private, portable accounts, etc.

Whether Bush can get this through Congress, and then whether it will have the desired political effect in the fullness of time, may be doubted. But is does constitute a serious conservative governing strategy within the constraints of public opinion today. Combine this with Bush’ proposal to privatize many federal services (why should the folks who mow the Pentagon lawn be federal employees??), which is aimed not only at saving money but also at weakening public employee unions, and you can see a strategy for weakening the infrastructure of liberalism further.

His Excellency

Forrest McDonald reviews Joseph Ellis’ His Excellency: George Washington and likes it. A sample:

Restraining himself so as to earn the approval of the wise and the just was, as Ellis makes abundantly clear, no easy task for Washington. Citing Gouverneur Morris’s memorial eulogy, Ellis points out that ’’Washington’s legendary calmness and statuelike stolidity masked truly volcanic energies and emotions.’’ Morris described him as a man of ’’tumultuous passions’’ and said that ’’his wrath was terrible.’’ In Morris’s view, and in Ellis’s, Washington’s ’’vaunted capacity for self-control derived from the virulence of the internal demons he had been required to master.’’

The other internal quality derived from the 18th-century concept of character. As Ellis indicates, people of the time thought that ’’character was not just who you were but also what others thought you were.’’ Public figures and denizens of polite society customarily took on a character, like a part in a play, and attempted to wear it at all times. If a person persisted with the character long enough and consistently enough, it became second nature. Benjamin Franklin played a bewildering variety of characters that obscured which if any was the real one. Thomas Jefferson played a number of public characters, but was never comfortable with any. Washington took on a progression of characters, each nobler and more exalted than the last, until he had transformed himself into something more than human.

Addition: I just found this review of Ellison’s book by David Hackett Fischer. It is much more critical than is McDonald’s:
"The thesis of this book is that Washington’s life was a continuing struggle against dark inner forces, which led to an "obsession with control," which in turn caused him to favor control mechanisms for America, including a highly disciplined regular army, strong central government, and hierarchical society.

Psychological interpretations of this sort are difficult to test, but one can ask if they fit external evidence and enlarge our understanding. Some elements of Ellis’s conflict model are solidly confirmed by other sources. Jefferson wrote of Washington, "his temper was naturally high toned, but reflection and resolution had obtained a firm and habitual ascendancy. If however, it broke its bounds, he was most tremendous in his wrath." Adams added, "He had great self-command. It cost him great exertion sometimes, and a constant constraint." Many historians have noticed Washington’s striking resemblance to his favorite model, Joseph Addison’s Cato, who "while good, and just, and anxious for his friends," was "still severely bent against himself."

That evidence supports part of Ellis’s thesis, but as his argument unfolded, this reader found himself arguing back.

Karl Rove

Dan Balz & Mike Allen write yet another profile on Karl Rove. Nothing special, but worth a quick read. And ABC News picks Rove to be "Person of the Week."

Florida, shock and awe

A front page, above the fold, article in the New York Times on Bush’s Florida victory is worth reading. It focuses on the ground war in Pasco County as a great example of the way the Bush campaign got out the vote in an area that should be voting Republican. Bush won Florida by almost 400,000 votes (by only 537 in 2000); this "astonished many top Democratic strategists." The article explains how the GOP did it, and also explains the "big head fake" that the Demos fell for (i.e., because the GOP warned the media that they might file challenges to deter felons and dual regsitrants from voting, the Demos sent in a battalion of lawyers to protect their votes, thinking that there would be the war); the GOP just concentrated on getting the votes out, and they did. And the Demos were astonished. The article--it is the NY Times and they can’t help it--tries to end on a positive note for Democrats, that this will be hard to duplicate again, etc., it doesn’t work. The GOP did it once, did it nation-wide, and now they know they could do it again. It’s almost a habit, especially when you consider that they tested it in 2002.

Arlan Specter

The good folks at The Corner are having a field day going after Sen. Arlen Specter: He should be prevented from being chair of the Judiciary Committee. Hugh Hewitt disagrees with them. It’s a good argument, maybe you should follow it. One of two things will happen; either Specter will be prevented from becoming chair, or, in allowing him to become chair his opponents (and there are plenty in the Senate) will extract some things from him before they allow it. Either way, good for Bush. I must say that his remarks about nominations to the federal bench were arrogant and highly imprudent; he only backed up after Sen. Frist called him and gave him a warning. Good for Frist.

Bush’s black support in Ohio

The Cleveland Plain Dealer runs an article oddly titled, "Both parties take heart from black voter turnout." It should have a different title because it argues that, while black turnout was high all around, Bush doubled the votes he got in 2000. He got about 16% of the black vote in 2004, but only 7 or 9% (depending on the poll) in 2000. He got about 55,000 more black votes in Ohio than he did in 2000. Kerry lost the state by about 136,000 votes. Also see Booker Rising and this.

for Tucker

David Tucker has his dander up, or tries to be provocative. I have already responded to most of his questions below. See The meaning of the election. The general point regarding foreign policy and terror is that the people trust Bush and the GOP and they don’t, for good reason, trust Kerry and the Demos. And that trust has very little to do with tactical issues regarding the war. So far, thank God, there hasn’t been another attack; even that’s something. Still, I find it hard to believe that there will not be one in the future because I don’t see how it can absolutely be prevented. Yet, this doesn’t mean that either I know of a way to prevent it, or, that Bush administration has an obligation to reveal their strategy or tactics to me regarding how they are trying to prevent it. I trust this administration more than I would have a Democratic one. Furthermore, so do the majority of the American people. And public opinion--even if it is wrong, and I do not think it wrong in this case--has to be considered. And public opinion, to be a bit too direct, said these bad guys attacked us, so let’s go and kick their butts, and let the administration figure out the best way to do that. Given that they have done certain visible things (Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.), and we have had an election, the citizens have approved. The rest is an inside-the-beltway discussion between folks who get paid for having opinions and for being testy and anxious.

Kerry and the Democrats gave us nothing, nothing in terms of their disposition, policy recommendations, or actions, that led the majority of citizens to have confidence that they could do it better. Furthermore, the flag bearer of that party had a notorious history for questioning America’s purposes and tactics, in Vietnam, in Central America, in the Cold War, in deploying mid-range missiles to Europe, in trying to establish nuclear free-zones, in the Gulf War, and the list goes on. Even Abraham Lincoln voted for appropriation for troops in the war with Mexico, all the while thinking that the war was unjust. But Kerry just couldn’t bring himself to do it.

Of course, it is possible to argue that sending a cruise missile into a desert hoping it will hit a camel’s rear is good strategy or tactics, or, that terrorist should be dealt with only as a criminal justice matter. I don’t accept such arguments. I also know that reasonable men can disagree about Iraq, but a decision has been made, and it’s time to come on board, for both strategic and tactical reasons. We will have to let future historians recount our disagreements, and make appropriate judgments.

If Bush is successful in overhauling the tax code and social security, as well as putting more rational folks on the federal bench, he will have made major contributions to the well-being of the Republic. Maybe he can even cut back on federal spending. Wouldn’t that be nice. But, given the daedal age we inhabit, such a former priority is now lower on the list. But tax cuts stay.

What’s Next?

David Tucker has asked us to address the question of what the administration’s strategy should be during the second Bush term. It’s worth noting that this is the first time since FDR that we have a second-term president who also enjoys a friendly majority in both Houses of Congress. This means that there has never been a more opportune time to clean up some of the mess the New Deal created. If by “big government conservatism” one means a certain amount of federal action aimed at finding market-based solutions to such problems, then I suppose I’m for it. The most pernicious aspect of the New Deal was that it has created expectations that no political party can ignore. It’s not, therefore, a simple question of slashing budgets and canceling programs a la Barry Goldwater. If Bush fails to take advantage of this historic moment, I’ll be the first to admit that he wasn’t the man I thought he was.

The greatest contribution I can see Bush making in the next four years is overhauling social security. Sure, there are problems with his proposal to allow Americans to invest a part of their contributions themselves, but it’s a solid first step. The beauty of it is that although it begins small (20 percent of contributions), once people begin to see the difference in what they make from that part of their social security, there will be a hue and cry to allow people to invest more of it themselves.

Something also needs to be done to index retirement age to average life expectancy, so we don’t have retirees drawing money from the system for 25+ years, as often happens now.

The Election

President Bush has now won two of the closest electoral college victories in the past 100 years, the second against what this blog claimed was an unusually weak candidate, who still managed to earn the votes of several million more people than Al Gore.

More important, what triumphed Tuesday? Why is big government conservatism better than big government liberalism? What ends justify these means? I am open to the argument that the first term was part of a master strategy (other than buying the support of certain interests) that will reveal itself in the second term. What is that strategy? As for foreign policy, one has to note that Mohammed Atta killed more Americans than Saddam Hussein. What is the Bush administration’s plan to reduce the likelihood of another Atta?

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,

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,,
The Black Informant. There are plenty of others.

The Hollywood funk

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

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

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 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 !@#@!??

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.


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.

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:

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.


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.