Skip to comments.No, it wasn't God
Posted on 11/06/2004 5:49:01 PM PST by Pikamax
No, it wasn't God
The Republicans won because they had a very clear idea of what they stood for. The Democrats did not
David Aaronovitch Sunday November 7, 2004 The Observer
In the days before ubiquitous pornography - so the story has it - adolescents used to get their stimulation from magazines such as National Geographic. There, among the pictures of life on the pack-ice and the flora of Madagascar, would be colour photographs of tribeswomen with bare breasts or bare bums. These interesting features were regarded by the adult world as being somehow far less offensive - less breasty, less bumful, if you like - than they would have been if attached to a European woman. The same now seems to be true for the relationship between politics and religion. The ayatollah Sistani, representing the Shia of Iraq, is a venerable figure of considerable wisdom; the Reverend Jesse Jackson is all the better for being a man of God. All those lovely gospel choirs! All those Hallelujahs! But the appearance of any (mainly) white religiosity either in America or here sets off an alarm system as clamorous as would have sounded at, say, the appearance of a topless Princess Alexandra in a 1937 travel mag. What can be allowed, happily to those of a different (now, how shall we put this?) culture is the beginning of the end if any of our own lot show similar pious tendencies.
I much prefer secularism to theocracy. But the thing is, so do the Americans and nothing about this last election indicates otherwise, as I hope to prove. Yet a new conventional wisdom has sprung up almost instantaneously (a wisdom which describes two Americas - one irrational and priest-bound, the other open and rational) locked in a Pullmanesque contest that has just been won by the 'battalions of Christian soldiers' (as one of our most eminent historians put it).
'We ran a jihad in America,' wrote one celebrated American columnist. 'The faithful were shepherded to the polls as though to the rapture,' said another, conjuring an image entirely absent from any coverage that I saw at the time. The key statistic, quoted by just about everybody, was the one showing that the number one issue among voters was not the economy, was not Iraq, but something called 'moral values'.
This finding chimed with the thesis of a recent, well-received book by Thomas Frank, which argued that poor Americans were gulled by rich Americans via religion and prejudice into voting for a rapacious capitalism that was inimical to their real interests. In other words, they were ideologically drugged. We wuz robbed again, not this time by voting irregularities, but by the mobilisation of the gullible (or the 'dumb' as the Daily Mirror , which can claim some expertise in this area, had it) by the unscrupulous. The dismay of some liberal Democrats, and the increase in traffic at the Canadian immigration website at the result led one cyberwit to mock up pictures of New York professionals struggling across the snowy border, dragging their Vuitton behind them.
But scrutiny of the figures shows these fears to be misplaced. For a start, we should remind ourselves that, though President Bush won a clear victory, it was still a close one. The Democrats actually did rather better than I'd expected following the Republican convention. Not only that, but far from there being two separate nations growing apart, some of the voting trends actually emphasised the opposite. Many states showed very close results (Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, New Mexico - as well as Ohio), and all of them far closer than what happens in what we in Britain call a 'safe seat', where the winning party often manages more than 60 per cent of the vote.
True, large cities showed up for Kerry and rural areas for Bush, but small cities were absolutely evenly split, with Bush shading the suburbs. More urban dwellers, Hispanics, blacks, Catholics and Jews voted for Bush than before, and more white women. Forty-five per cent of Bush's vote came from voters who classified themselves as 'moderate' or 'liberal'.
So what about the religious? The populist 'uprising' from the red states noted by Thomas Frank turns out, on inspection, to be more or a less a mirage, a self-inflicted liberal nightmare. Twenty-two per cent placed 'moral values' as the number one voting issue, of whom four- fifths voted for Bush, making around 17 per cent of those voting. Eighty-three per cent of voters did not fall into this camp at all.
Furthermore, the percentage of voters describing themselves as evangelical was the same as in 2000. The proportions in favour or against abortion were no different - 55 per cent are broadly in favour of abortion with 42 per cent opposed. A majority supported either gay marriage (which we do not have here in Britain, or in most countries in Europe) or of gay civil unions. In fact, among these latter, there was a 5 per cent lead for Bush. (Equally unexpectedly, those most scared by terrorism actually voted for Kerry.)
It is when you look at some of the usual key indicators to election victory that you find the better explanation of 2 November. People who had experienced job loss were far more likely to vote for Kerry; those who hadn't - and there were more of them - would go for Bush. More people felt that the Bush years had either improved their financial position, or maintained it, than believed that they had been damaged.
This analysis matters so much, partly because the solutions being urged upon the battered Democrats depend upon getting it right, and partly because the rest of the world needs to know how to interpret America. For example, some people are now urging an accommodation with 'spiritual politics' in the shape of conceding on gay marriage and partial birth abortion.
The problem with this is obvious. We can all be against late abortion - and none more so than the woman who feels the child kicking inside her - but the best way to reduce the number of such terminations is through earlier abortions, earlier diagnosis of serious handicap, better contraception and better education. To ban them is simply to make them more dangerous, because women will seek - whatever we think about it - to control their own situations.
You can frame this as the progressive's answer to late abortion. You can be sensitive to the objections, try to understand why the sudden eruption of gay marriage has caused such offence, while arguing your case. To be forced to argue your case is not a symptom of incipient clerical fascism, but of a respect for the views of others. And you don't have to be Elmer Gantry to wonder how desirable it is to have (as happened to me yesterday) a computer search for articles on the Stalin show-trials interrupted by a pop-up depicting women with sperm on their faces.
Above all, however, if you don't want the Republicans to win, then you have to offer something better. In Friday's New York Times, Kerry speechwriter, Andrei Cherny, wrote: 'The overarching problem Democrats have today is the lack of a clear sense of what the party stands for.' These were the questions Kerry needed to answer, he said: 'What is our economic vision in a globalised world? How do we respond to the desire of many Americans to have choices and decision-making power of their own? How can we speak to Americans' moral and spiritual yearnings? How can our national security vision be broader than just a critique of Republican foreign policy?'
Over 40 years, since their defeat in the 1964 presidential election, the Republicans have been busy discussing policy, setting up foundations, leading the national debate on economics and foreign affairs. Informed by this process, the party - as much an awkward coalition as any other - has associated itself with modernity, optimism and clarity. Challenging that position is the long-term task of America's centre left. It is not just a question for the Democrats, but a question for us in Britain, too. What is our solution to the problem of Iran? Or are we just going to wait to see what the Americans do, and then oppose it?
Above all, however, we must first avoid the one fatal error that so many have fallen into. George W Bush and his voters are not dumb. Those who think so are the really dumb ones.
We can all be against late abortion - and none more so than the woman who feels the child kicking inside her - but the best way to reduce the number of such terminations is through earlier abortions
Nope.It was God.
One Brit that gets it,
however, God always plays
a role of His choosing.
Any idea how many people were up at 3 AM Wednesday morning praying for President Bush to win? for Ohio to not be Flori-dated? I believe it was totally God. Yeah, the Republicans helped some.
And if the democrats actually own up to what their party stands for they will lose buy 80% the next time.
I'm not religious, but I'd pick "moral values" over any one issue, because for me, that is rather a catch-all for "everything that's wrong with the Democrat party." I'm not a single-issue voter. I vote on the general philosophy behind the parties.
Let them believe this balderdash, it's fine with me. We'll just continue to go to church, pray before bedtime, and hand them their asses every election.
I'll I know is that Tuesday night at 6:50, I got on my knees and prayed like I have never prayed before. I prayed that President Bush would win but that above all, God's will would be done. I believe God is in control.
OK, where did he get this crap?
It boils down to a crying shame.
Thank You, heavenly Father, for answering the prayers of so many of your people who prayed for President Bush's re-election. We now pray for his protection and for him to continue to seek Your guidance in all things and for our other elected leaders to follow suit. We pray in the power of Your Holy Spirit and through the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Is this a bad thing?
In Friday's New York Times, Kerry speechwriter, Andrei Cherny, wrote: 'The overarching problem Democrats have today is the lack of a clear sense of what the party stands for.'
They are typical liberals and simply cannot believe that their messsage could possible be rejected if they just screamed it loudly enough. Ultimately that leads to the self-righteous, smarmy, self-superior liberals deciding that the people are like your Alzheimer's grandmother and since the people are not smart enough to make the "right" decisions, i.e. give liberals power to run our lives, then they will simply TAKE it.
Yes, it was. God gave us RR, the 'toon, and GWB. Sometimes it is to reward us and sometimes it is to show us how bad it can be.
You are so right. I was up praying and had been praying for months. I begged, God, to have mercy on us and not allow Kerry to win. Our Minister tonight before he gave his teaching said, How about that, 4 more years! and the congregation went wild cheering. Praise God! were his next words. Amen! replied the people. There were millions of us praying. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Thank you Lord.
Now ain't that cute. "I think I'd prefer..."
That'd be fine, but what if God is real...and that ain't what you'd prefer. There is a force greater than you (we prefer, of course).
God and Jesus...tell us what we might do to be obedient.
Our love is yours...You are love, where else might it come from?
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