Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

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.

Discussions - 23 Comments

I work with a bunch of twenty-something women who are devastated by Kerry’s loss. All the authorities in their world (P. Diddy [Julie, please note spelling], Jon Stewart, the New York Times, Ms. magazine, etc.) had told them that Bush was an evil chimp, that a village in Texas was missing its idiot, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah

They literally do not understand what has hit them, and their pain is compounded by their confusion.

Despite having had to listen in silence to anti-Bush drivel around the coffee machine for years now, I was careful to keep a straight face around them and not rub it in yesterday (my employer is not paying me to get into rancorous political arguments with colleagues). Indeed, I’d even like to help them understand what has happened to rock their world so badly, since they’re really not bad souls, just misguided.

Yesterday, while news of Kerry’s concession was making them act like someone had strangled their puppy, I reassured them that the senator was doing the best thing, not only for his country, but also for his party if it hopes ever again to be in a position to earn the trust of most Americans.

Now, if and when the moment arises, I would like to direct them to two essays that I think will help them get the license number from the proverbial truck that has run over their hopes.

One is Walter Russell Mead’s essay (later turned into a book) on American Jacksonianism:

The other is John Fonte’s look at "transnational progressivism" and its efforts to subvert traditional ideas of sovereignty and self-government:

On November 2, Jacksonian America--the combative, liberty-loving, Scots-Irish side of America--told transnational progressivism where to stick it. Will my young friends and their fellow Democrats draw the right lesson from this, or will they continue to be the Bourbons of American politics, learning nothing and forgetting nothing?

We shall see. Personally, I’m betting on continued Bourbon-like arrogance and denial, but I honestly hope I’m wrong, since having the main opposition party in a two-party system be so warped and dysfunctional is not good for America.


Well said, especially item #7 ... and #5... and #6... heck, the whole thing was really good!

I cannot believe that anyone really thought Kerry was going to win. These things were all obvious a year ago - the election was over during the primary. No one but Lieberman and Gephardt (if he’s faking it) were reasonable enough to win a general election, and they were the first two serious candidates to fall. Lieberman in particular was hated by nearly all the liberal activists I know, who attacked him for "being a Republican." Well, that sums up the whole problem for the Democrats for the last four years. Every time they lose, they move farther left, because they think that we voted against them by accident or because we lacked clear choices. They moved so far to the left that the guy who nearly saved Al Gore’s failing campaign in 2000 went from being a hero to a pariah in a little under three years.

I called this election the day that the House Democrats chose Nancy Pelosi as their leader. There was a clear fork in the road. One path required that they moderate their left-wing rhetoric in order to appeal to more voters; the other involved spending vast sums of time, money, and resources whining and propagating conspiracy theories. They foolishly took the road on the left. They just don’t get it.

The Democrat mantra is clear, "let’s heal and reach across the aisle for the good of the country". BULL!

The Republicans won they better ,by God, act like winners and put forth the conservative agenda or we will "Daschle" them out the door too!

The only reason we should reach across the aisle is to ring the necks of the baby killing, sexual deviant promoting, America hating Democrats!

Peter, your wonderfully-written list provides a nice contrast to the epileptic seizures over at the NY Times warning of the end of the world. They are launching horribly invective ad hominem attacks, calling support for abortion and gay marriage "moderate," emphasizing that Kerry won 49 percent of the vote, and labeling all of us ordinary Americans as right-wing fanatical evangelical Christians who are trying to tear down separation of church and state. You know, they just don’t get it. Worth reading though for a laugh at the immature rants.

Check out Bruce Thorton’s essay at as well as the good folks over at Claremont for insight looks into how all those supposedly and simulaneously fanatical and duped voters for Bush could possibly have voted to re-elect our president. Then, come on back over to NLT to discuss it!


You know that I share your sentiments and political philosophy quite closely. So dont take this next point as disagreeing with your overall point. But factually you are wrong on one point. Jimmy Carter did get just over 50% of the vote. He never got to 51% though.

Since you are up there around Knox County I wonder if you can shed any light on what the heck was going on with the reporting of the votes there? As of 1am The entire state had reported in except Knox, Ashland & Coschton counties. What’s up with that? My birthplace, Holmes county was solidly Bush! Thanks in no small part to the Amish!:)

One major flaw in Peter’s analysis: whether the new minority leader in the Senate is "less obstructionist" than Daschle will be of little or no importance with regard to judicial appointments. The only huge disappointment in this election was that Arlen Spector was re-elected; he will now step into the shoes of Tom Daschle and obstruct any judicial appointments of which he disapproves. And he has explicitly stated that he disapproves of and will not permit confirmation of any judge who disagrees with Roe v. Wade. The President, of course, deserves this result, having supported Spector in the primary when he had a chance to support an excellent replacement. The same can be said of Senator Santorum, who is vocal on the subject of the sanctity of life, but nonetheless puts the "Senate Brotherhood" above that expressed belief. But the rest of us don’t deserve this.

The judicial selection process will not improve. And the chance to do something meaningful for conservatives with regard to the Supreme Court is between slim and none.

I am a conservative from the San Francisco Bay Area. I have lived my entire life in Northern California and it can be safely said, at least in the Bay Area, our numbers are few. I spent much of yesterday in silent observation. What I believe I found is the liberals/leftists (little difference in these parts) are in absolute denial and will probably not learn anything from this election. On local morning TV news interviews, people were openly weeping over Kerry’s loss; people around the office normally very upbeat and pragmatic were visibly depressed and quiet, some refusing to speak about the results, their loss having taken an emotional toll. I spent time in the afternoon surfing the web sites of the Democratic Underground, Daily KOS and others in order to measure post-election temperature, only to find persistent conspiracy theories and the sentiment that 2004 was another election stolen. Most shocking was that some believed they weren’t radical enough in their activism. I feel the thing lost most on the liberals is the unwillingness to accept that not everyone buys into their ideology wholesale. Until they can honestly face this fact, they will never learn the lessons available from an election lost, they will always be stuck in their ideological quagmire and that swinging further to the left is no answer.

Schramm has succeeded brilliantly in explaining to the left why their guy lost. I’ve forwared to some east-coasters that I know who are dumbfounded at the widespread support Shrub enjoyed in the heartland.

But, I take some exception to #8, specifically this:

The purpose of government is to insure that opportunity. How we spend our public monies is secondary point, and depends entirely on the first.

No longer do we debate the merits of government funding for Head Start, the NEA/NEH, Job Training, After School programs, Bovine-Methane Research, etc, ad infinitum. No, whats debated in the halls of Government, and at the dinner table of the American Family,
is the question of "How much?". Already established is the "right" of the populace to this money. And as said "right" becomes more entrenched (READ: more costly to maintain), the assurances of opportunities to create wealth become more precarious.

While I agree with the general sentiments, I’m afraid that the following is in error:

"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. "

According to the following:

Jimmy Carter received 50.08% of the popular vote. A bare majority, but a majority none the less.

Ditto all the above!

As Democrats and liberals on NPR and the NY Times ring their hands like Lady MacBeth and warn of the end of the world, they are also admitting that "values voters" voted on moral issues. They have not tried to figure out if the morals are objectively true or how to move closer towards them in the middle. What they have done is to attempt to re-define morality itself by being more "inclusive" of what morality is. Post-modernism is tearing out the very heart of liberalism and the Democratic Party. Rather than a search for truth, they argue that there is no truth, and then try to reinvent natural law with human reason. That’s why they’ll never win the support of the Heartland where ordinary folk simply know right from wrong. The sad thing for them is that they’ll never figure this out because they have a totally different world-view, speak a different language, and don’t understand morality.

I’m going to be brave and stick my neck out becuase I would like to at least understand where the other side is comming from. Bear with my, I’m still trying to polish up my aruging style. let me introduce myself with a couple of relevant facts.
1. I am an economic conservative, I belive that I know how to spend my money best and the government doesn’t

2. I am bisexual, I didn’t choose to be this way, I just am.

3. I am a social liberal. Again, so I don’t believe the government or society has the right to tell me who I can or cannot love, hang out with, or have sex with.

My questions for you guys are such.

1. Can anyone give me a good sound argument against gay marriage other than resorting to the bible, which has amongst other things allowed for taliban style treatment of women and slavery. If not possible then give me a good argument based on the bible.

2. On purely secular grounds, how can a person who claims to be conservative and for small government then turn around and demand the government enforce different standards amongst differing groups of people.

Again, I ask these questions in all seriousness. I do want to try to understand how the other side views these issues. Becuase honestly as a bisexual I am terrified that the government of the country I love is now going to stick me in an internment camp for something I had no choice in.

I am simueltaneously enraged and despondent (Don’t ask how that’s possible - I’m only human). I despair that Democratic elites will ever comprehend what I believe or what motivates me.

Everytime a Democratic commentator used "values" today, they meant gay marriage. When I say "values", I mean loyalty, integrity, honor, charity, honesty, courage, compassion and reverence. I’m convinced the people in the exit polls understood the term the same as I do.

How can Democrats, or someone like Nick (above), have such a demented, skewed view of my beliefs? How can the Democratic Party or its captive Old Media diagnose what happened on Tuesday if they can’t comprehend something that fundamental to my character? How can a two-party system survive if one party holds a disturbed fantasy as its reality?

One could write a book on this subject, so the argument will be very cursory.

1:We privilage marriage in society because the permanent union of man and woman with the potentiality of children (even couples who suffer from infertility still have the potential of that condition changing as medicine advances) is of great social benefit. Homosexual relationships and non-committed/unstable heterosexual ones are at best irrelevant to society, and therefore deserve no recognition because they promote no social good. Homosexual "marriage" would not promote stability in same-sex relationships because once one says that gender, which has always been fundamental to the definition of marriage, there is no principle by which exclusivity must stay (as even Andrew Sullivan must admit). If you read some gender theory, you will find many academics arguing in favor of homosexual "marriage" because it would destroy the institution, which they view as oppressive. Even some honest homosexual social scientists have argued against redefining marriage because of the social problems that would be caused by the gradual (not immediate) destruction of the institution as it became more and more devoid of meaning. Examples of heterosexuals misusing the institution do not defeat the argument because all that shows is that we need to increase respect for marriage and toughen marriage laws so that drunken Las Vegas "marriages" do not happen.

2: Conservatives do not, strictly speaking, believe dogmatically in small government. That is Libertarianism. Conservatives believe in maintaining social institutions that promote freedom, which means particularly freedom from the whims of the passions (either of individuals or groups of individuals), of which marriage is the institution par excellance. A Constitutional Monarchy can promote freedom thus defined (as in England) just as well as a democratic republic (as here at home).

Personally, I am not a Conservative, but rather a Catholic Christian. Catholic social theory has as one of its core principles the good of the family (traditionally defined), and obviously redefining the family into meaninglessness would run contrary to that as well. I personally regard homosexuality as something irrelevant to government, except insofar as it becomes a major public health problem, and therefore think in general homosexuality should neither be privilaged with marriage or civil unions nor criminalized, but left as a fringe behavior that the rest of society ignores, save those who actively minister to homosexual persons and aid them in overcomming their passions and living a chaste life, like the people at Courage.

Finally, nobody is suggesting internment camps. We just realize that marriage is too cool to be redefined into meaninglessness, and think that should be reflected in our Constitution. And while you may not have had a choice over your inclinations, you do have a choice in your response to those inclinations.

A serious question was posed by Nick. As a Chrisitian, I certainly believe the Bibilical argument for marriage, yet I can try to explain it from natural law. Marriage is special because it has always intimately bonded a husband and a wife. Whenever a man and women have sex there is always a chance that a child will be created (note that we have all heard stories of failed birth control and even the aged giving birth). When two people of the same gender have sex, there is never any possibility that a child will be formed. This is the what distinguishes the heterosexual couple from the homosexual couple by nature. It is nieve to think that the possibly of creating new life doesn’t change things. "Gay marriage" simply can’t exist because of this difference. As a conservative, I also fear civil unions because they seem to simply be marriage by a different name. Calling an apple an orange doesn’t change anything except the vocabulary, which is what I fear when liberals try to compromise with civil unions. Finally, I would like to say that no conservative is in favor of locking up homosexuals, and few are in favor of preventing them from having sex. However, most are horrified that these relationships might be called marriage. Marriage is by nature different because of procreation and the possibility of life.

The Democrats cannot hope to win while they characterize everyone who disagrees with them as rednecks, uneducated, gun totting, idiot fundamentalists homophobes with Nazi ambitions.

But I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Moore, NBC, CBS, the Guardian, the NY Times, the LA Times, Kerry, Edwards, Helen Thomas, the Dixie Chicks, Cher and all the other trolls who made the GOP’s sweep so complete. I only wish they repeat their mantra in 2008.

Thank you Clint and Athanasius for your well thought out and decent responses.

Please allow me a bit of a rebuttal test things out a bit. Bear in mind I am sketchy on Aristotle’s Natural Law stuff and should most likely read up on it since I (have been) and will be in the future argueing against it. I seriously question the value in this day and age of basising marriage rights solely only the abiltiy to have children, for two reasons: If you apply natural law fully, then infertial couples, irregardless of fertility drugs and what not, should not be allowed to marry. They simply cannot concive a child naturally. 2: If we base marriage solely on having children, then children become the test of staying married. Therefore, a logical extention is to exclude those who do not desire having children.

A second point, since marriage is a strong issue you with you guys, and the vegas thing is brougt up. Would you be in favor of stricter marriage limits. Instead of saying that any hetero couple could get married at anytime, a heterosexual couple would have to meet a list of "requirements." Something like, and these are off the top of my head: Being 21 years or older; having never co-habitated; both have at least a highschool education, something like that. Please don’t take that list as a strict interpretation of my question, they are just examples.

Another question occurs to me. Why is marriage not allowed to change and adapt to the times? What I mean by that is that as close as 50 years ago most states banned interracial marriages on similiar arguments. Arguably you guys aren’t advocating marriage laws that would ban interracial marriage.

Finally, I’d like to point out something. I know that the government isn’t advocating internment camps for gays. That is just a fear of mine, which is allowed to be irrational under the circumstances. While the two responses were well thought out and polite some of the words you choose lead me to belive that should something come about you two wouldn’t exactly stand up and say it was wrong. Words like, fringe behavior, horrified, inclinations. or that society and govenment should just ignore a particular group, that’s some scary stuff.

I am sketchy on Aristotle’s Natural Law stuff and should most likely read up on it since I (have been) and will be in the future argueing against it.

Two quick points:

1. If you are going to try to "read up" on Natural Law Theory, yes you should read Aristotle, but you also need to read Cicero and Aquinas to complete the classical view, maybe Hooker, Locke, and Suarez for the modern view, and Jacques Maritain, John Paul II, and Robert P. George (among others) for the contemporary view.

2. How can you know that you will be arguing against something you have not read? Perhaps you will be convinced (I was, after previously holding positions similar to yours on economics and morals). Keep an open mind.

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