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Anatomy of a Letdown (Liberals on Election Night)
Mother "Commie" Jones ^ | 11/3/04 | Jeff Fleischer

Posted on 11/05/2004 11:49:19 PM PST by LdSentinal

It was already after 11 p.m. in San Francisco when a visibly exhausted Larry King told his CNN colleagues, "Right now gentlemen, the odds are we’ll have no winner tonight." At this, another wave of Kerry supporters filed out of Jillian’s, a restaurant in downtown San Francisco where Democrats and Kerry backers had gathered to watch the returns roll in.

By then, an event that a few hours earlier had housed hundreds of cheering optimists had dwindled to about 30 souls mostly staring resignedly, finishing their drinks, or shaking their heads at the CNN coverage projected on a jumbo screen behind the bar. They still dutifully clapped when John Edwards appears on TV, telling supporters the Democrats "have waited four years for this victory; we can wait one more night," and they did the same when Wolf Blitzer, within a span of four minutes, called Michigan, Minnesota and Hawaii for John Kerry. But they were clearly cheering for a team in need of a near-miraculous comeback. One viewer reminded the woman next to him that Kerry’s hometown Red Sox had been down this late in the game too, but even he admitted to grasping for anything by that point. When midnight rolled around, only five states remained undecided, and only an unexpected result in Ohio could save Kerry’s candidacy.

For this San Francisco crowd, the night had started promisingly. When this reporter arrived at the event, at 5:22, CNN had just declared Illinois for Kerry by an overwhelming margin, and was showing him up in Pennsylvania, 60-40. The television screens were split between CNN, MSNBC and Fox (along with a Pistons/Rockets basketball game that nobody seemed to care much about). But the only audio came from CNN’s mostly cautious election desk, which hadn’t called anything surprising so far.

"I’m pretty confident. I’ve been checking a lot of the exit polls at Daily Kos and other sites, and it’s looking really encouraging," observed Flynn Hagerty, a student at a local college. "I know in races that are close like this, a lot of the undecideds tend to break for the challenger." While CNN still showed Florida too-close-to-call, the map on Fox News had turned the Florida peninsula red, drawing boos from some in the crowd. "I think it’ll probably be pretty close," Berkeley resident Lewis Maldonado predicted. "I think if Kerry can win either Ohio or Florida, he can win tonight. I see Fox is already calling Florida, though you have to consider the source on that. But I’m hopeful about Ohio."

By six, CNN had called South Carolina, Virginia and North Carolina for Bush, drawing more boos from the crowd with each pick. Seven Senate seats were freshly decided, with Tom Coburn’s win in Oklahoma and Mitch Daniels’ gubernatorial victory in Indiana the only bad news for Democrats that wasn’t a forgone conclusion. "I’ve been on the Internet all day, and the exit polls look good," said Wendell Loyd. Wearing a "Dump Bush" t-shirt, Loyd talked about doing some recent phone banking for Kerry in Nevada and Florida, and hearing a lot of enthusiasm. "Unless Rove or Bush steals it, I’m about 90 percent confident tonight. If we can get Florida or Ohio, it’s ballgame over."

Polls closed in several states at six, with the networks handing Texas, Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska and both Dakotas to the GOP. New York then turned blue on CNN and MSNBC, putting Kerry above 100 electoral votes for the first time. That drew cheers and pumped fists in San Francisco, but the crowd truly erupted when Judy Woodruff reported some polls in Ohio and Pennsylvania would remain open late. The conventional wisdom of high turnout favoring Democrats was still the general assumption.

Thirty minutes later, the electoral math hadn’t changed. Russ Feingold’s re-election in Wisconsin got applause, as did a report that Daniel Mongiardo and Jim Bunning were still in a statistical tie. The loudest boos were aimed at a CNN studio appearance by Rudy Giuliani, particularly when the ex-mayor declared, "George Bush’s politics have kept us safe, thank God." As Belinda Nichols of San Francisco pointed out, CNN had interviewed a string of Republicans at that stage in the evening (Bill Frist, Ken Mehlman, Giuliani) with no Democrats in the past hour save the "Crossfire" panel. "If you go by the TV coverage I’m seeing, I’m not too optimistic. But I listen to Air America a lot, read a lot of blogs, and from what I’ve seen there I’m still confident," she said, adding that Ohio and Pennsylvania looked like the keys at that point. "But the next thing we have to work on after tonight is getting this media straightened out." A moment later, CNN called Nichols’ former home of Mississippi for Bush; she and Wolf Blitzer said "no surprise" in near-harmony.

With Bush now up 170-112 in CNN’s electoral count (and with Florida still red on Fox but undeclared on the others), Kerry supporter Cydney Batchelor felt nervous. An Oklahoma native who moved to California in 1980 to "get away from the red state," she wore a hat covered in campaign buttons, and had resurrected a 1992 "Bye Bush" button pinned to her shirt. "I’m afraid I’m too invested in what I want to happen, and I feel like this is going to be the defining moment for the U.S. from this point forward." As she was talking, the crowd booed lustily -- George Bush and his family had just appeared on screen for the first time.

By 7:30, there was actually some news to report, as the electoral map continued to mirror 2000. Bush took the red-as-they-come Utah, plus the "light-red" battlegrounds Arkansas and Missouri. MSNBC showed Tom Daschle with the slimmest of leads, drawing applause. Jim DeMint had won Fritz Hollings’ open Senate seat in South Carolina. Obama addressed supporters in Chicago. CNN tried to show a speech by Ralph Nader (who received a mix of boos and cheers from about half this crowd), but couldn't get the audio to work.

The networks showed Kerry leading in Pennsylvania, and trailing in Ohio and Wisconsin, but with no conclusive numbers yet. "I was a lot more confident earlier today. Last election, I thought Gore was going to win, and I was extremely disappointed. So now I’m a little worried if Kerry can win," said Holly Savas, an illustrator and Kerry supporter who grew up in Wisconsin. "I think the media have a lot to do with it. They want the story to be a competitive race, because that’s more interesting. But what I want to know is where these numbers are coming from. Which counties in Wisconsin are these numbers from? If a city like Madison hasn’t reported yet, that’s obviously good for Kerry." At 7:49, MSNBC called Pennsylvania for Kerry. CNN followed suit three minutes later, and showed the Electoral College at 193-133. When Idaho and California were called at 8 p.m., the margin was a tight 197-188 for Bush.

While CNN cut to commercials, MSNBC called Washington for Kerry, and showed the senator with narrow leads in Nevada, New Hampshire, Michigan and Minnesota, getting the crowd's collective spirit back up. A trailing Pete Coors was then shown on screen, causing one enthusiastic Kerry back to scream, "Don’t drink Coors! Coors sucks!" to nobody in particular. The California crowd had more reason to cheer when CNN came back on, as Blitzer announced the state passed funding for stem-cell research. Meanwhile, Oakland resident Jose Ruiz was getting worried about Ohio: "Whether it’s fair or not is still up for grabs, because you still have the poll blockers that the GOP has hired in Ohio. But the lines have been long. Long lines are good for us. Long lines mean people are committed to going out and making their voice heard."

As Election Day passed into Wednesday on the east coast, the mood at Jillian’s began to deflate. CNN’s Anderson Cooper announced 10 of 11 states had passed bans on gay marriage, with Oregon too close to project. Erskine Bowles had conceded, putting John Edwards’ seat back in Republican hands. Judy Woodruff, while cautioning that the network wasn’t calling Florida yet, said a "source in the Kerry campaign" conceded the Sunshine State was effectively lost. Just past 9 p.m., MSNBC called Oregon for Kerry. But the cheers were short-lived, as MSNBC and CNN both gave Arizona to Bush, and Florida finally turned red on the CNN map -- drawing the loudest negative reaction yet from the gathered Kerry fans, a number of whom headed for the exits. At 9:20, MSNBC gave Colorado to Bush, but the move drew little reaction from the audience, most of them listening to CNN’s interview with Senator-elect Obama. For Susan Anderson, an area high school teacher, the past 20 minutes seemed a bad omen: "When they showed that Florida was going for Bush, my optimism dropped a lot, and it happened again when they showed Colorado going for Bush. I thought Colorado would be a lot closer." Like nearly everyone else, she was now looking at Ohio as the battleground that could decide this race.

Unfortunately for the gathered, Ohio was still trending Bush. At 10:14, only CNN had refrained from calling the Buckeye State for Bush, with Woodruff explaining how some Kerry-leaning counties could mathematically still swing it. The network did finally call New Hampshire, the first state to vote differently than it did in 2000. Jeff Greenfield noted the irony of Kerry possibly getting all Al Gore’s states plus New Hampshire and still losing. He used his "interactive map" to show Kerry narrowly leading Michigan, Nevada, Hawaii and Minnesota. Again, people here clapped and yelled out state names with each of these reports, but they made up a smaller segment of the crowd. The rest simply looked demoralized. It didn't help when CNN gave a Senate rundown that showed only Obama and Ken Salazar as the incoming Democratic freshmen.

The next string of news found the crowd deflating rapidly, as a conclusive result that night appeared increasingly unlikely. At 10:40, much-maligned Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell was speaking on MSNBC, trying to convince voters he wouldn't be the new Katherine Harris. CNN had turned Ohio a newly minted shade of green that meant too-close-to-call, though Fox and MSNBC left it red. Woodruff announced shortly that the secretary of state’s office in Iowa wouldn't be able to certify the winner there until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest. In other words, as King pointed out, there would be no winner Tuesday night.

By the time midnight hit the west coast, the lights were on at the bar, the stragglers were leaving and there would be no declared president until Wednesday. "Why is it so hard to just pick a president?" one man asked on his way out, calling the country a banana republic. A woman opined in a grave tone that she didn't think the partisan divide would ever heal after this. And Kerry supporters went home thinking about how it all went so wrong so fast, and what four more years of a Bush presidency would have in store for them.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bar; crazy; despair; election; liberals; morons; night

1 posted on 11/05/2004 11:49:20 PM PST by LdSentinal
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To: LdSentinal

2 posted on 11/05/2004 11:52:34 PM PST by Prime Choice (The Democrats vowed 'no surrender.' It's time to make them wish they had.)
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To: LdSentinal

They went to bed thinking Ketchup Boy had won and woke up to find out the hated President Bush was back in for another four years!


3 posted on 11/05/2004 11:53:37 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: LdSentinal

"But the next thing we have to work on after tonight is getting this media straightened out."

What the hell was this dumb chickie referring to? Was she implying that after Kerry's expected victory--FOX would be taken care of?


4 posted on 11/05/2004 11:54:32 PM PST by Calico Cat (the simplest solution is usually the correct one)
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To: LdSentinal
"At 10:14, only CNN had refrained from calling the Buckeye State for Bush...", I'm pretty sure that this is a factual error but hey whadda you expect from lefties.
5 posted on 11/06/2004 12:03:09 AM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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To: LdSentinal
A woman opined in a grave tone that she didn't think the partisan divide would ever heal after this.

Funny how there's no partisan divide as long as the leftists were in charge. Now that conservatives are firmly in charge there's a deep divide and it's all their fault.

"As long as you agree with me there's no problem."

6 posted on 11/06/2004 12:04:28 AM PST by randog (What the....?!)
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To: Calico Cat

I really enjoyed reading their night of doom and dispair...poetic justice!


7 posted on 11/06/2004 12:12:57 AM PST by LegalEagle61
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To: speedy

(( ping ))


8 posted on 11/06/2004 12:15:07 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: LdSentinal
"Why is it so hard to just pick a president?" one man asked on his way out, calling the country a banana republic. A woman opined in a grave tone that she didn't think the partisan divide would ever heal after this."

Is it too much to ask that we have a few freakin ADULTS in this country? Imagine people in the thirties, forties, fifties and even sixties--adults watching election returns. Now compare to these whiney, pouting babies. Whether your guy won or lost, GROW UP!

9 posted on 11/06/2004 12:23:43 AM PST by Darkwolf377
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To: LdSentinal

Speaking of letdowns, anyone else miss all the poll posts, election coverage, endorsements, and the political ads? Me neither. Well, maybe just a little.


10 posted on 11/06/2004 12:38:38 AM PST by SoDak (Home of Senator John Thune)
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To: LdSentinal

Good grief! When are we going to stop coddling the Kerry losers ..?? I don't recall anybody giving the GOP a second thought when we lost in 1992.

This is just amazing.


11 posted on 11/06/2004 12:42:41 AM PST by CyberAnt (Election 2004: This election is for the SOUL OF AMERICA)
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To: CyberAnt
When are we going to stop coddling the Kerry losers

Schadenfreude, by any other name is just as sweet.

12 posted on 11/06/2004 1:20:48 AM PST by leadhead
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To: LdSentinal
Yeah, I was kind of let down, too, on Election Night. I thought Bush would carry Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

But you know what? I'm going to keep my chin up. Life will go on.

BWA HA HAHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAHAHA HAHA HA HAHA!

13 posted on 11/06/2004 1:50:27 AM PST by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
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To: LdSentinal
A very real and honest portrayal, I would say.
14 posted on 11/06/2004 2:30:43 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: LdSentinal

...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................


15 posted on 11/06/2004 2:39:15 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: goldstategop

I didn't even sleep that night.


16 posted on 11/06/2004 2:54:37 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: SkyPilot

Me neither. Just like most of us, I got spooked when the blogosphere and Freepers posted the fake exit polls that showed a Kerry landslide. We'll never post another exit poll again on FR for future elections. They're about as reliable as tarot cards and ouija boards in predicting a likely winner.


17 posted on 11/06/2004 2:58:18 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: LdSentinal

They were trying to sell everybody the big lie game, But it never worked for them, How sad...........


18 posted on 11/06/2004 3:20:30 AM PST by lillybet
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To: SkyPilot

Perfect choice of photos.


19 posted on 11/06/2004 4:06:38 AM PST by djpg
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To: LdSentinal

Day 4 post election and I'm still gloating!! The continuing lamentations of the girlymen are music to my ears. Canada is calling you big p$ssies! Beat it!


20 posted on 11/06/2004 4:13:51 AM PST by NaughtiusMaximus (Hey liberals!! Peel your stupid bumperstickers! He lost! BwaaaaaHaaaHaaa!!)
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To: Lancey Howard

Hee hee. Thanks for pinging me on these neurotic Dem stories that keep rolling in. Each one is precious in its own way. I'm perfectly happy to keep living election night over and over.


21 posted on 11/06/2004 4:17:14 AM PST by speedy
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To: LdSentinal

When the election gods got the results of the Redskins game, they went to Lambert field to seal the win for Kerry. When they could not find the team that beat the Redskins. The win was given to Bush.


22 posted on 11/06/2004 4:18:34 AM PST by pas
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To: Calico Cat

Thats their number 1 goal. Get rid of conservative talk radio and FNC, then push the remaining MSM to the left.


23 posted on 11/06/2004 4:32:33 AM PST by beckysueb (We won! WhooHoo!!!!!)
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To: LdSentinal
And Kerry supporters went home thinking about how it all went so wrong so fast, and what four more years of a Bush presidency would have in store for them.

The burgeoning necessity to stop pink-dyeing their hair; remove all metallic facial piercings; start majoring in things other than "Deconstructionist Albino Lesbian Eskimo Literary Theory" in college; and go out and get real jobs, in the REAL world...?

That's just a guess, mind. :)

24 posted on 11/06/2004 6:27:25 AM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle (I feel more and more like a revolted Charlton Heston, witnessing ape society for the very first time)
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To: djpg

Thanks!


25 posted on 11/06/2004 6:58:12 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: beckysueb
Get rid of conservative talk radio and FNC, then push the remaining MSM to the left.

I know. I don't know how they push the MSM further left, but I am confident they will not change. Their attitude is that they appeal to the 50 million Moonbats in America who appeal to Liberals--and that is their audience.

26 posted on 11/06/2004 7:02:27 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: goldstategop
I think exit polls will be used again by the MSM--just because they will try the dirty trick again.

I thought about how much they were in the tank for Kerry this last election, and I realized they are so far gone, there is no hope of them reforming.

27 posted on 11/06/2004 7:04:27 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: Calico Cat
"But the next thing we have to work on after tonight is getting this media straightened out."

All of us here agree with that. And, the beautiful thing is that's it's going to happen.

Look how far we've come in the last 4 years. Give it another 4 and we'll be bringing the hammer down on 'em.

28 posted on 11/06/2004 8:33:58 AM PST by Balding_Eagle (Liberalism has metastasized into a dangerous neurosis which threatens the nation's security)
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