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!
The Democrats have lost their leader in the Senate, Tom Daschle. I do not know what the Democratic Party spent, in toto, on the 2004 election, but what they seem to have gotten for it is Barack Obama. Let us savor.
The elites of Old Europe are depressed. Savor. The nonelites of Old Europe, and the normal folk of New Europe, especially our beloved friend Poland, will not be depressed, and many will be happy. Let’s savor that too.
George Soros cannot buy a presidential election. Savor. “Volunteers” who are bought and paid for cannot beat volunteers who come from the neighborhood, church, workplace and reading group. Savor.
The leaders of the Bush effort see it this way: A ragtag band of more than a million Republican volunteers who fought like Washington’s troops at Valley Forge beat the paid Hessians of King George III’s army. Savor.
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As I write, John Kerry is giving his speech. He looks hurt. Who wouldn’t? He fought to the end, for every vote, untiring and ceaseless. I told some young people recently who were walking into a battle, “Here’s how to fight: You fight until they kill you, until they kill you and stop your heart, and then you let them carry you out of the room. But you fight until they carry.” I think that’s how the Democrats fought. Good for them.
To admit defeat with attempted grace is a moving sight. Kerry did well. His talking about his “good conversation” with the president was gracious and helpful. He was honest about the facts of the vote in Ohio. When he thanked his people from the bottom of his heart it was a real thanks. “Thanks to Democrats and Republicans and Independents. . . . Thanks to everyone who voted.” “Don’t lose faith, what you did made a difference . . . and building on itself . . . the time will come when your votes, your ballots, will change the world. And it’s worth fighting for.” A lot of pundits and editorialists are going to say, “His best speech of the campaign was his last.” But that’s not the point.
Mr. Kerry graced democracy today. He showed his love for it. Savor.
And now the president is speaking. He looks tired and happy. He looks as if the lines on his forehead are deeper. Maybe it’s the lighting. “We had a really good phone call,” he said of Mr. Kerry. “He was very gracious . . . and he and his supporters can be proud of their efforts.” Good for them both. He announced his agenda: reform the tax code, privatize Social Security, help the emerging democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan. “And then our servicemen and -women will come home with the honor they have earned.”
“Today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. . . . I need your support. . . . I will do all that I can do to earn your trust. . . . We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us.” All good. Savor.
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Who was the biggest loser of the 2004 election? It is easy to say Mr. Kerry: he was a poor candidate with a poor campaign. But I do think the biggest loser was the mainstream media, the famous MSM, the initials that became popular in this election cycle. Every time the big networks and big broadsheet national newspapers tried to pull off a bit of pro-liberal mischief—CBS and the fabricated Bush National Guard documents, the New York Times and bombgate, CBS’s “60 Minutes” attempting to coordinate the breaking of bombgate on the Sunday before the election—the yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the Internet took them down. It was to me a great historical development in the history of politics in America. It was Agincourt. It was the yeomen of King Harry taking down the French aristocracy with new technology and rough guts. God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America. Some day, when America is hit again, and lines go down, and media are hard to get, these bloggers and site runners and independent Internetters of all sorts will find a way to file, and get their word out, and it will be part of the saving of our country.
Last note. As much as anyone, the POW wives of Vietnam, who stood against the Democratic nominee for president and for the Republican, can claim credit for the Bush victory. Everyone with a computer in America, and a lot of people with TVs, saw their testimony about the 1970s, and their husbands, and John Kerry. You could not come away from their white-haired, soft-faced, big-eyeglasses visages without thinking: He should not be commander in chief.
Oh, another last note. Tuesday I heard three radio talkers who refused to believe it was over when the ludicrous, and who knows but possibly quite mischievous, exit polls virtually declared a Kerry landslide yesterday afternoon. They are Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. The last sent me an e-mail that dismissed the numbers as elitist nonsense and propaganda. She is one tough girl and they are two tough men. Savor them too.