Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: I still think Bush will win
Posted on 07/15/2004 6:16:26 AM PDT by Pokey78
There was an interesting headline in the International Herald Tribune the other day: Front-Runner Is Leading In Presidential Race.
It turned out to be an analysis of the Indonesian election, but I think the general principle applies over here as well. It seems safe to say the front-runner is leading in the US presidential race and that, if the front-runner can maintain that lead up to and including election day, hes likely to win
The only point of disagreement is over whos the front-runner. The media, said Evan Thomas, assistant managing editor of Newsweek, in a unusual moment of candour the other day, wants Kerry to win and so theyre going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic ...thats going to be worth maybe 15 points. In Fleet Street, if memory serves, an assistant managing editor is the bloke who orders the office furniture, but on Newsweeks bulked-up masthead Mr Thomas is quite the bigshot and, just to prove his point, the magazines cover this week features a beaming John Kerry and a beaming John Edwards over the headline The Sunshine Boys.
The only thing Thomas got wrong was that 15-point bounce. There was no discernible Edwards bounce outside his hair. The reality of this race was summed up by the bumper sticker I saw on some smug Vermont granolamobile the other day: Someone Else For President. Thats what matters to Democrats that Bush ceases to be President and Someone Else takes over the job. And, as long as they think of John Kerry as Someone Else, Dems are buoyant and confident. Unfortunately, every so often, theyll linger by the TV a little too long, Senator Someone Else will start to talk, and his party will remember that he is, indeed, John Kerry, and its too late to get another Someone Else.
So the question is whether the bases strong anti-Bush motivation can survive its non-existent pro-Kerry motivation. Key demographics such as blacks and Hispanics are reported to be antipathetic to the candidate and difficult to corral. Even the fawning press has a tough job talking him up. This is how Jodi Wilgoren began a recent puff piece in the New York Times:
Like a caged hamster, Senator John Kerry is restless on the road. He pokes at the perimeter of the campaign bubble that envelops him, constantly trying to break out for a walk around the block, a restaurant dinner....
Why couldnt he have been a caged tiger? Isnt that what shes getting at? A noble beast, restless and prowling? A caged hamsters never struck me as being that interested in poking the perimeter. Hes happy on his little hamster wheel, going round and round and getting nowhere, occasionally pausing to chew his nuts. But hes not constantly trying to break out, unless he happens to be at a Hollywood fundraiser and a certain male movie star asks him back to his pad for a nightcap. Perhaps Ms Wilgoren thought the tiger was too haughty and aristocratic, and that the rodent imagery would humanise Kerry. Or perhaps, like Sinatra, the Senator has his very own Hamster Pack of buddies for when he breaks out of the bubble and gets to that restaurant.
Bush, meanwhile, is like some indestructible lab rat. They keep tossing some lethal new poison in there every week and he digests it all and keeps on going. The economys a bust! Iraqs a quagmire! There are no WMD! But Bush just ploughs through it all, and in the end the dynamic of the race seems barely affected.
Some readers think Im being a little fainthearted this campaign season, noting that I predicted a Bush victory months ago but seem to have gone a little quiet on the subject. Well, I still think Bush will win. As I said before and after the 2000 election, the Democrats biggest problem is their lack of appeal to white rural males. Thats why Al Gore isnt President. He lost hitherto Dem states like West Virginia, Bill Clintons Arkansas and his own Tennessee. Do you reckon a Botoxicated Brahmin from Massachusetts with some pretty-boy ambulance-chaser is going to reverse Gores fortunes? I dont. The Michael Moorification of the Democratic party boosts their numbers where they dont need any more support Boston, New York, plus Berkeley and a few other crazy college towns. But it doesnt do anything for them in states where they could use a bump.
So Id say West Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee are staying in the Bush column. The 2000 census brought about, yet again, a further draining of electoral muscle from the Democrat north-east to the Republican south and west. This means that even if Bush won only the states he won last time round, instead of a squeaker, hed beat Kerry by 278 electoral college votes to 260. I think it will be a little bigger than that. With the exception of Florida, the Bush bloc of states is pretty much secure. The battlegrounds this year are all Gore states Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin. At the minimum Id look to Bush to peel away a couple of those from Kerry most likely some twosome out of Iowa, New Mexico and Wisconsin and hold on to Florida. That would give Bush 290295 electoral college votes over Kerrys 243248. If the Massachusetts senator is on TV too often and his insufferable pomposity becomes impossible to hide, the President may pick up three or four more states plus, under the Pine Tree States goofy split-take rules, half of Maines electoral votes, too.
Thats my reading of the electoral college. But the other reason Id bet on Bush is more basic: he tends not to lose. In 2002 Michael Moore gloated that the midterms would be the shot heard round the world a massive repudiation of the moron warmonger and instead the President had a great night of significant incremental gains in the Senate and House. If hes a moron, hes the luckiest moron who ever lived. A few months ago the Democrats were jeering about the Bush recession. Then the recession ended. So they started jeering about the jobless recovery. Then the jobs kicked in. So now theyre moaning that the jobs dont pay enough. Get the feeling this whole economy thing just isnt going anywhere for them?
Its the same with Iraq. If youd wanted to, you could have landed some serious blows on the administration. There are aspects of post-war reconstruction that were not handled well, and some military decisions that were questionable. But by insisting that Iraq was on the brink of civil war, and the Shiites were on the verge of a mass uprising, and Bush lied over the uranium-from-Niger story, and one lousy jailhouse was entitled to 99 per cent of the Iraq coverage for weeks on end, the Democratic party and their chums in the mainstream media ruled themselves out of making any credible contribution to the debate.
There was an almost touchingly bewildered piece in the Boston Globe this week: Media coverage of President Bush has been largely unflattering this campaign season, but theres little indication the bad press has affected the countrys view of him, according to a survey being released today.... Despite months of tough coverage, the Pew poll found that the strongest associations people have with President Bush are positive. The Bush characteristics most frequently cited by the public are that he is tough and wont back down (53 per cent) and that he is strong and decisive (48 per cent), although 44 per cent did describe him as stubborn. Conversely, only 18 per cent selected Kerry as the candidate who most epitomises strength and decisiveness, and only 15 per cent saw him as the one who is tougher and more tenacious....
The only theme that more of the public saw as best describing Kerry rather than Bush was that he was a flip-flopper.
Why did months of tough coverage have such little impact on Bush? Because of blowhards like bigshot Democrat John D. Rockefeller IV. Last week, in his additional remarks to the Senate intelligence committee report, Senator Rockefeller accused the administration of being fundamentally misleading in basing its case against Iraq on the argument that we knew with certainty that Iraq possessed large quantities of chemical and biological weapons, was aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons, and that an established relationship between Baghdad and al-Qaeda would allow for the transfer of these weapons for use against the United States.
That was all fundamentally misleading, says Rockefeller, today. Heres what Senator Rockefeller said in October 2002:
There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years.... Saddams existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now.... And he could make those weapons available to many terrorist groups which have contact with his government, and those groups could bring those weapons into the US and unleash a devastating attack against our citizens....
What a sad hack. Virtually every Democratic heavyweight from Al Gore down has the same kind of amnesia, accusing Bush of lies and deception for saying exactly the same things they were saying. My view of Iraq and the war on terror hasnt changed since 2002. Nor has Bushs, or Cheneys or Condis. But Democrats have stood their own arguments on their heads so often that they now stand for nothing.
Thats Kerrys and Edwardss problem. Ask them about Iraq and they drone on about getting the UN back in there and bringing France and Germany on board by giving them fair access to the multibillion-dollar reconstruction contracts plus a leadership role in exchange for some troops. But all the UNs done for Iraq is rip off its people in a $10 billion Oil-for-Food scam thats bigger than Enron, Worldcom and every other corporate scandal combined. And bribing France and Germany with US tax dollars and Middle East meddling rights in exchange for vague promises of military resources they dont have isnt so smart, either. If the object is to cosy up to foreigners disenchanted with Bush, Patricia Hewitt is closer to the mark: Kerry-Edwards trade protectionism will offend far more allies than Bush ever did on Iraq.
The truth is that blathering about the UN and France is the equivalent of having no policy, no ideas. Its the default position for sonorous phonies. And, as that survey suggests, thats all anyone knows about Kerry. For example, the Senator recently flipped his position on abortion. He now says that he personally believes life begins at conception. But he votes non-stop for abortion every chance he gets because he doesnt believe in inflicting his deeply held personal beliefs on the country.
Huh? This is a first: a candidate who boasts that his conscience is at odds with his voting record. If you believe that abortion is the taking of a life, you vote against it. If you lose the vote, then you say, well, I personally believe life begins at conception, but I respect the will of the legislature, blah blah. But to say that you believe in voting against what you believe because you dont believe in believing in your beliefs is as close as you can get to admitting that the flip-flop perception is true: you stand for nothing; theres no there there.
Well, the Dems have a problem on this issue. The base is fanatically pro-abortion while the broader electorate isnt. And, in fairness to Kerry, asked if he too believed that life begins at conception, John Edwards just froze and ducked the question, twice. The trouble is that the Senator is applying his meaningless abortion conscience to the war. One pictures too easily a President Kerry in 2001 saying that while he personally believes in removing the Taleban, he doesnt believe he has the right to inflict his deeply held personal beliefs on Jacques Chirac, or Gerhard Schröder, or whoever the Belgian guy is.
This has been a strange election season, even before any al-Qaeda October surprise. Its like watching Sheffield Wednesday take on Middlesex. If the crowd decide this is really a cricket match, Wednesday look like a bunch of dummies. If they figure its footie, Middlesex are in trouble. Likewise, if the voters think this election is about the small print on your credit-card statement or ten-year-old girls without winter coats or any of John Edwardss other bizarre obsessions, theyll ditch Bush and Cheney. But if they think its about American resolve in dangerous times, Kerry and Edwards look way out of their league.
I don't know why ... well, yes, I do (it's because I've got a dirty mind) ... but this is the funniest line in the whole article. I can just visualize John F'ing Kerry on this giant hamster wheel, running for all he's worth, and then stopping to chew on his ****
This one immediately goes to the top of the Steyn list - very well said on all counts.
And the New York Times is worried about bias at Fox. Nothing Fox is accused of doing even comes close to that bias. Newsweek is boldly admitting their magazine is just propaganda for Kerry.
Larry Sabito was on Fox this morning. Very depressing. He thinks Bush has to lose Cheney for another VP. He says for Bush this election is tied at best. Now I have some questions about this. Isn't Kerry supposed to be receiving his Edwards bounce now? Tied at best? On the other hand, we hear this story about the indifferent black voter base every election, and every election they vote in huge numbers for Democrats. Sabito also says Bush is losing in Pennsylvania and Florida right now...and that the electoral map looks just like four years ago, except that Bush has to get Florida back, and has a chance at Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this time. Anybody have any substantively good news out there? Has this country moved very far to the left? It's so scary.
But the other reason Id bet on Bush is more basic: he tends not to lose.
This is what the kool-aid drinkers refuse to see.
I don't normally consider myself to have a dirty mind, but that line cracked me up too.
Botoxicated Brahmin Bloviator from Massachusetts. LOL, I think I'll be using that one with my democratic friends!
Another Steyn classic.
This guy needs to get out more. He's fantastic.
An excellent observation. I haven't seen this pointed out anywhere else.
I don't think it is possible to split Maine's electoral votes evenly--either they will split 3-1 or 4-0, depending on who gets more votes in each Congressional district. It isn't possible to lose in both districts and still have a statewide popular plurality, unless they have some really fuzzy math involved.
That wasn't a bounce. That was a flounce of the Breck girl's hair.
Bingo. This is the main issue of the election. Kerry/Edwards call American resolve arrogance and they minimize dangerous times simply because they have no new ideas. Like Clinton's foreign policy team, Kerry/Edwards will focus on sending little boys back to Cuba and empty treaty cerimonies as an opiate for the simple minded.
I almost pity the Dems-not having a Mark Steyn.
I got to that line and had to scroll down to see if anybody had highlighted it yet.
"Like a caged hamster,"
Can't stop laughing.
"This is a first: a candidate who boasts that his conscience is at odds with his voting record. If you believe that abortion is the taking of a life, you vote against it. If you lose the vote, then you say, well, I personally believe life begins at conception, but I respect the will of the legislature, blah blah. But to say that you believe in voting against what you believe because you dont believe in believing in your beliefs is as close as you can get to admitting that the flip-flop perception is true: you stand for nothing; theres no there there."
I thought that was Teresa's job.
he doesnt believe he has the right to inflict his deeply held personal beliefs on Jacques Chirac, or Gerhard Schröder, or whoever the Belgian guy is.
LOL. Take that, Belgium!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.