Thursday, November 04, 2004

No More Politics (Yeah, Right)

This blog has strayed wildly from its stated purpose of writing about my law school experience, and instead has become more a blog about whatever strikes my fancy1, which, as you have probably noticed, has been politics and the recent election (*sigh*). So, hopefully this will be my last post about politics... at least until the mid-term elections.

I'll start with the most useless poll statistic ever, from CNN.com. "Just over half -- 51 percent -- of respondents said they were pleased with the outcome of the presidential election." Hmm... what was the percentage that Bush got in the election? Why, it's 51%! Did CNN really need to spend money on a poll to determine that one day after the election, the same percentage of people are happy with the result as voted for the winner? Der!

Also from the CNN article "80 percent of respondents agreed with Kerry's decision to concede the election." This is something I actually agree with. Sure it might have been mathematically possible for the provisional and absentee ballots to push Kerry over the top, but it wasn't realistically possible. It was also mathematically possible for me to get into Harvard or Yale Law School, but it was only really possible if I had a father (or mother, or grandparent) who donated large chunks of money to the endowments or was a senator, or prominent, politically connected member of a rich oil family (no wait, that's if I wanted to get into Yale undergrad or Harvard Business school... sorry, my bad). And I don't think it would be worth it for the country to go through another recount and inevitable court challenge over the possibility that Kerry could take over Ohio... especially since he still wouldn't have won the popular vote, and I'm sure that would have gone over well in GOP land (probably about as well as it went over in Dem land in 2000).

Finally, the article says that 38% of people were upset with the election's outcome. I was one of them. But I suspect I am upset for different reasons than many democrats (I'm assuming they are democrats) in that 38%. Sure I'm upset because the candidate I felt was better didn't prevail... but I can get past that (I have no choice, I have to get past that... Bush won, and will remain President, that's that). But what I am really upset about is:
1) The Democrats did not effectively convey the problems with Bush (they tried... but they sounded like attacks always sound in elections, mean spirited and hollow) and the advantages of Kerry (again, they tried... but they were caught in the mudslinging game and were having to spend more time defending against ridiculous GOP attacks than in promoting Kerry's strengths, which despite what the Bush campaign told you, are legion). We will be hearing for months about how the Dems screwed this campaign up. But I think the biggest reason is we couldn't convey to the average, undecided American what seems obvious and apparent to me and my Democratic friends2. If anything good comes out of this election for Democrats, it will be learning that we really are out of touch with a large portion of America (so are the Republicans... but I don't care if they learn their lesson).
2) Once again many Americans chose style3 over substance4. I am sure that many, many people voted for Bush because they truly believe that Bush has superior policies. I am not talking about these people. I am talking about the people, whether they ended up voting for Bush or Kerry, who didn't really think about the election, but rather believed the attack ads, or voted because they thought one of the candidates connected with them better. I have, and always will, think this is the worst reason to vote for a president5. Would the absence of this unthinking public, or their choosing a candidate based on real information rather than "I like him" have made a difference in this election. I don't really know. I would like to think so... but I really would have liked to have found out.

Hopefully the next four years will be better than the last four. I'm looking forward to the Bush (Jeb)-Powell vs. Clinton (Hillary)-Obama race of 2008. Good times.

P.S. Sorry about all the footnotes6.

1Is that even a phrase? And if so, is it a phrase that heterosexual men have generally used since 1884?
2 Which is that Bush has made the economy worse for middle-class and poor Americans and he has mortgaged much of our economic future with his tax cuts, and he has made the world, or at least America, less safe with the mismanagement of the war on terror, so that we now have more terrorists pissed at us than before Iraq
3If you can call what Bush has "style"
4If you can call what Kerry has "substance"
5The second worst is you like their hair, third worse is because you like the "cut of their jib," and fourth worse is "eeny meeny miney mo... I voted for 'Mo'"
6Oops! I did it again... there's another one

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