The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Yes, I know, I'm a big list maker. It helps me organize my thoughts.

1. Morals matter. The fact that voters approved constitutional amendments in several states to essentially ban gay marriage showed this. As much as the rest of the world (and the liberal left) hates it, America is a God-fearing, moral country. A candidate who does not take the concept of God and Country seriously will be behind the 8-ball from the beginning.
2. You can't overcome taking both sides of an issue. Kerry was sunk the second he made that famous quote about "voting for it right before I voted against it." He had so many flip-flops in his positions on practically every subject, he was perceived as being indecisive. He never could get over that perception. The American people gravitated to the candidate who did stand for something – and he's back in the White House for four more years.
3. There's a difference between doing anything to win, and doing whatver it takes to win. The reports of the AFL-CIO workers who stormed Republican Party Headquarters in Wisconsin and Florida, the numerous cases of signs being vandalized around the nation, and the tire-slashing incident in Milwaukee on election day were all cases of taking "dirty tricks" to the next level. Even Richard Nixon would have been appalled over the actions of these people. Now, the Democrats point out that the Swift Boat Vets weren't exactly being nice, either, with Mr. Kerry's background – and they obviously complained about the various attack ads by the GOP and right-wing 527 groups. However, how many people who weren't around in 1970 now know what exactly John Kerry thought of those medals he proudly displayed at the Democratic National Convention? (By the way, see point 2 on that issue.)
4. If people think that all you want is the job, they're not going to give it to you. Dubya learned this one watching his dad's re-election campaign in 1992. When it came down to it, people believed that all George H.W. Bush wanted was just to "be the president" – not to actually do anything as president. And that led to him being escorted out of office. It started to be apparent that all Kerry wanted was the job of president – and he didn't have a clue as to what he'd do on January 20 if he was elected. That clinched it for many Americans.
5. What worked in one election (or nearly worked) won't necessarily work in a succeeding election. Congregating lawyers in Florida, Ohio and other states to contest results leads to more bitter feelings. Kerry realized that if he contested Ohio's results, he'd get whacked if it turned out that the state did everything legal and constitutionally sound. Yes, the vote difference in Ohio is smaller (theoretically) than the "provisional" and "absentee" votes, but it's likely that the absentee votes will favor Bush, and that the "provisional" votes will be split 50/50 between the candidates. And that wouldn't help him win the state. Also, if he had chosen to sue his way to the Oval Office, the Democratic Party would be forever branded the "Party of the Lawyers, by the Lawyers and for the Lawyers."
6. Getting out the vote campaigns are a double-edged sword. Encouraging people to vote – and, as was the case this year, voting early – can work for and against you as a political party. Last-minute politicking won't affect the vote of those who have already voted via mail or absentee – which negates voter registration drives at the polls, who have been shown to be leaning more towards the challenger.
7. The American people are very much aware of the liberal bias in the national media – and can read between the lines. Most Americans realized right away that CBS made a huge mistake with the Bush National Guard letter. They know that no matter what Bush did that was positive, they would find some way of making it seem a negative. The networks should realize that Fox, which is the network considered to be "fair and balanced" by most, was the one many people turned to for an accurate prediction of what was going on Election night. Of course, their decision to call Ohio for Bush essentially meant he had won the election – something that the three other networks and CNN refused to do.
8. Exit polls aren't worth the paper they're written on. The problem with Exit Pollsters is that they can be manipulated so that they only interview certain people – who are likely to be of one party or another – and not get a true representative sample of the people they're trying to track. And even then, with all the electioneering done in many of the "swing" states, voters probably told the pollsters what they wanted to hear regardless of how they actually voted. (See number 7; if pollsters ask certain questions, the voter can pretty much assume what slant the pollster has – and can really mess up their numbers by misleading them.)
9. The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Law created more problems than it solved. There were so many 527 groups out there that were claiming things about each side – some of it the truth, some of it questionable, and some of it outrageous – that the candidates were helpless to counter their work. When a wealthy foreign national like George Soros can dump a good chunk of his money telling people "George Bush is Evil", and not have any challenge or recourse to his actions, there is something seriously wrong. And no "I approve of this message" disclaimer at the end of a commercial can overcome that.
10. 58.8 million people can't all be wrong. Yes, this was the largest voter turnout for a national election in US history. Yes, President Bush had the most votes of any Presidential candidate in US history – even more than Clinton, Reagan and Nixon. With that many people voting for you, you have a mandate to govern – even if the margin of victory in some states was less than two percent, or only a few tens of thousands of votes. The only place which was so completely skewed away from the President was, ironically enough, the District of Columbia. Of course, DC hasn't voted for a Republican since it was given Electoral Votes in the 1960's. Things seem to be warped towards the liberal left once you are inside the Beltway. Meanwhile, only 33 counties in the six "Great Plains" states (North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas) voted for Kerry – and 19 of those were in the Southern portion of Texas (17 along the Rio Grande River). You could literally draw a straight line from the Canadian border to the Mexican border of counties that voted for Bush.