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Wednesday, November 03, 2004
 
Save Us From Ourselves!

When the confetti and rent clothing have settled and been swept away, the inaction of moderate Republicans will be revealed to be one of the pivotal keys to the 2004 election results. To those of us with keen eyes, their dismay at Bush administration and House leadership has long been evident and widespread. On the wider stage, however, it was never enunciated worth a damn.

Dozens of high-ranking military officers are quietly on record as oppposing the Iraq war, the strategy and tactics employed, and/or the number and provisioning of troops assigned to the task. But the American public voted without knowing this.

Nearly every economist worth a damn believes that Bush's fiscal policies are a train wreck waiting to happen. Some of them have gently hinted as much in papers and petitions that nobody, least of all themselves, ever bothered to publicize. Aside from (that shrill communist) Paul Krugman, Donald Luskin got more press than the rest of them put together. The American public voted without hearing about this.

Hardly anyone with an actual basis for credibility thinks Bush's plan to privatize Social Security is beneficial, much less workable. The word never got out. While the fair and balanced media yammered and dithered without ever stating that 1+1-1 can in no possible universe equal 2, sane Republicans stared at their shoes. The American public voted believing there wasn't much difference between the two candidates.

The way election dynamics work is that, when there's a really awful president, people defect from his party in a visible way. John Kerry saying Bush is a disaster is so much electioneering bushwah without at least some visible support from the other party. And we got none.

The moderates figured that if it was obvious to them, it had to be positively white-hot to the Democrats and independents, whose high turnout would carry the day and keep them from having to make the difficult decision to tell the truth. But they figured wrong, and Kerry's appeals to facts were swamped by Bush's appeals to base instinct and prejudice, both of which require no external reinforcement.

The image that sticks with me is that of John McCain during an interview with Dan Rather at about 7:30 election night. He's clearly gritting his teeth as he repeats the toneless mantra: "I support President Bush," even as he acknowledges, but can't bring himself to voice opposition to, Bush's failed and stupid policies.

These people, who sleep in the same bed with the gang that made an art form of repudiating rationality as a political device, bet on the rationality of the American electorate and lost badly. For their trouble, the best they can look forward to is to sullenly go along with the New Nutjob Diktat with their skins intact. I doubt they'll get it.