Thursday, November 04, 2004

Giving Thanks

I am thankful the Presidential election was decisive and peaceful. From USA Today:
After months of predictions of a too-close-to-call contest, Bush won nationwide balloting 51%-48%, making him the 15th president elected to a second term and the first to win both a majority of the popular vote and the Electoral College since his father in 1988. The GOP also extended its majorities in the House and Senate.

The results give Bush the public mandate and congressional support he needs to sustain his policies in Iraq and the war on terror. His re-election, which avoids the fate his father suffered at the hands of Bill Clinton in 1992, also gives him a stronger base to pursue a conservative domestic agenda that includes making permanent the $1.9 trillion in tax cuts won in his first term.

I am thankful that Senator Kerry conceded gracefully and swiftly.
But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans.

That is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on Earth.

With that gift also comes obligation. We are required now to work together for the good of our country.

In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort, without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion.

I am thankful that Osama bin Laden has no power over the American people. Claudia Rosett writes:
History tells us that every age brings forth monsters. That we have on our hands a bin Laden who would like to command the world is nothing unusual. What's extraordinary is that we live in a world in which democracy is becoming the norm, in which a peeved and rambling bin Laden must try from his hidey-hole to hitch his terror wagon to an American election. That doesn't rule out his doing more murder--which is all he's got. But the world needs to understand that this is the bid of a man who knows he's losing, and hopes if he just pipes up loud enough, we won't notice.

I am thankful that Peggy Noonan has returned to the pages of Opinion Journal. Her writing is always something to savor:

God bless our country.

Hello, old friends. Let us savor.

Let us get our heads around the size and scope of what happened Tuesday. George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States, became the first incumbent president to increase his majority in both the Senate and the House and to increase his own vote (by over 3.5 million) since Franklin D. Roosevelt, political genius of the 20th century, in 1936. This is huge.

George W. Bush is the first president to win more than 50% of the popular vote since 1988. (Bill Clinton failed to twice; Mr. Bush failed to last time and fell short of a plurality by half a million.) The president received more than 59 million votes, breaking Ronald Reagan's old record of 54.5 million. Mr. Bush increased his personal percentages in almost every state in the union. He carried the Catholic vote and won 42% of the Hispanic vote and 24% of the Jewish vote (up from 19% in 2000.)

It will be hard for the mainstream media to continue, in the face of these facts, the mantra that we are a deeply and completely divided country. But they'll try!

And I am thankful that George W. Bush is our President and will return for a second term.


Yesterday, I heard that one of my engineers was upset by the election results. So I talked to him, mainly to give him a sounding board. He had been frustrated, among other things, by Bush supporters in the office who dismissed his concerns about the President and his administration, and wouldn't engage him in discussion.

We talked about a variety of topics. I told him about what I'd learned over the last two months doing research for this blog, both about Kerry and Bush. For instance, he was a little perturbed about Bush "leaping over" those 500+ folks on the Texas Air National Guard waiting list. I told him that those 500 wanted "weekend warrior" billets while the TANG had several openings for pilot training, training that required a multi-year full-time commitment few were willing to make. I pointed him in the direction of Wingmen for Bush for more information.

There's still a lot of misinformation floating around, and disappointed partisans vowing to "keep fighting" — a theme echoed in Senator Kerry's concession speech:
"I'm going to fight on for the people and the principles that I've stood for," said Kerry, who returns to the Senate to complete his term. Friends and admirers who joined him, running mate John Edwards and their families applauded lovingly during his 15-minute speech at this city's historic Faneuil Hall.
Folks, now is the time for gentle persuasion, not fevered rhetoric. Defusing the anti-Bush animus triggered by Gore's loss in the 2000 election will take a lot of work, one person at a time.

Debate makes for a healthy democracy when participants are willing to listen to each other's viewpoints and work toward finding common ground. So keep the conversations going.

Election Thoughts #3

Email from Dangerous Dave:
I know I said that I planned on watching See-BS for the election returns so that I could watch Dan Rather sqirm, but I couldn't do it. I watched a few minutes before Dan pointed to Illinois and crowed about its 21 electoral votes going to Kerry in a surprise. Now, if Illinois going for the democrat is a surprise to you, then
you have no business calling yourself a newsman.

This is now two presidential elections in row where the exit polls were so wrong its not funny. Will we pay any attention to exit polls in 2008?

If I were Bush, I would pull Kerry's real military service file and call him into the oval office for a chat. I would tell him that he has a choice. He can be a very quiet, non-obstructive senator from Massachusettes, or this file can be leaked to the media.
Will Bush do this? No, he has too much integrity. Would Clinton do it? You bet your ass!

A coworker today asked how it was possible that Bush got reelected when he is the only president to lose jobs since the depression. I pointed out that he hadn't lost any jobs. This led to the inevitable statement: "Yes he has."

I replied: "How can you say that when more people are working today than at any time in our history."

He looked at me like I was a moron and said "Because the population has increased."

"Ok, granted. But there are still more people working now than there were 4 years ago."

"OK. You're right, but he still lost jobs."

Patiently I asked: "How can you resolve that statement with the fact that more people are working?"

He tried to for a few more minutes before finally agreeing that yes, if more people are working, then no jobs have been lost.

Then we went to the unemployment rate which I pointed out was lower than when Clinton was reelected and we were told that the economy was the best in our history.

Now that good news stories will no longer help Bush get reelected, I wonder if the media will begin to report some of the good news?

One last exchange at work:
Joan: "Our taxes in New York are just too high."
Dave (the Canadian): "Your taxes here are nothing compared to Canada."
Me: "Our poverty rate is nothing compared to Calcutta. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't reduce it."

OK, the big bad story in the media today is that the election results prove that our country is devided almost 50 - 50 and this is a bad thing. Huh?
  • Bush got 53% of the popular vote.
  • Clinton never even got 50% of the popular vote.
  • Reagan, who won in a landslide, got a little over 50% of the popular vote.
  • But with 53% Bush leads a divided America?
  • I guess the media has to complain about something.

-Dangerous Dave

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election day thought #2

If the Republicans are successful in enlarging their Senate majority, would that dissuade Senator Kerry from litigating so hard for the White House if Bush held a narrow lead in the electoral college?

In 2000, the evenly divided Senate meant that there was no clear preference for one party over the other in the aggregate. IMHO, that might have contributed to Al Gore's challenge in Florida--as well as the continuing myth that Bush really "didn't win" that year.

Of course, I'm assuming that Mr. Kerry would have the grace to concede a lost cause before squandering millions of dollars in legal fees.

Election Day thoughts

I was the first person to vote this morning in my NJ district. However, I had to wait 45 minutes for that honor because the lone electro-mechanical machine was jammed. The polls opened at 0600, but the only reason a line formed was because we had to wait for the mechanic to arrive and repair the machine. The election higher-ups wouldn't authorize use of the emergency paper ballots unless the machine was declared DOA. Since I had already signed in, along with a handful of others, we opted to wait, and passed the time by chatting. A few people left, promising to return later in the day.

The grandmotherly poll worker observed my chatting/flirting with a mechanical engineer in line, and asked him outright if he were married, since we were getting along so well. Yes, he was. But he does have friends. Nothing like an Italian-Catholic yenta to make the morning fun ;-)

Once the machine was fixed, voting was fast because there were only 4 races and no ballot issues to deal with.

My city and county have a strong Democratic party machine, so it wasn't really surprising that I got Kerry literature left on my doorstep Saturday and Monday, and a noon phone call today encouraging me to vote for Kerry.

I did my small part for the Bush effort, participating in a local walk-the-vote effort on 10/23, and calling 15 Ohio voters (really 10 households) yesterday evening. In both cases, the Bush-Cheney campaign provided the voter information. The phone calls were more fun, because I got to talk with more people than during my walk. Most folks I reached said they would vote for the President, although there was one grouch who didn't want to hear anything more about President Bush (campaign fatigue, maybe?).

I also encouraged my Republican colleagues to vote today, to help make Kerry sweat about New Jersey and boost the overall popular vote totals for the President.

As a sanity measure, Hugh Hewitt linked to a prayer posted over at Stones Cry Out. Go pray it yourself.

"Smart Girl"

Another contribution from Rusty...

Little Melissa comes home from first grade and tells her father that they learned about the history of Valentine's Day. "Since Valentine's Day is for a Christian saint and we're Jewish," she asks, "will God get mad at me for giving someone a valentine?

Melissa's father thinks a bit, then says "No, I don't think God would get mad. Who do you want to give a valentine to?"

"Osama Bin Laden," she says.

"Why Osama Bin Laden," her father asks in shock.

"Well," she says, "I thought that if a little American Jewish girl could have enough love to give Osama a valentine, he might start to think that maybe we're not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit. And if other kids saw what I did and sent valentines to Osama, he'd love everyone a lot. And then! he'd start going all over the place to tell everyone how much he loved them and how he didn't hate anyone anymore."

Her father's heart swells and he looks at his daughter with newfound pride. "Melissa, that's the most wonderful thing I've ever heard."

"I know," Melissa says, "and once that gets him out in the open, the Marines could blow the sh*t out of him!"