October 25, 2004


Four . . . More . . . Years?: The Left Contemplates the Unthinkable (Howard Kurtz, October 25, 2004, Washington Post)

The cover of the Washington Monthly asks the burning question: "WHAT IF HE WINS?"

The outcome of the race remains in doubt, of course, but there are huge implications for the media -- especially its openly liberal branch -- if President Bush is reelected next week. Some are already using apocalyptic terms. The New Yorker is backing John Kerry today in the first endorsement in its 80-year history.

"There will be a period of grieving," says Katrina van den Heuvel, editor of the Nation. "We will continue to fight the good fight during what we think is the dismantling of our democracy."

But her liberal magazine has grown from 100,000 in circulation to 170,000 in the past four years. "Bush has been bad for the nation but good for the Nation," she admits.

From the 36-day recount through the Iraq war and beyond, George W. Bush has been at the center of the political and media universe. He's had a testy relationship with the establishment press: the fewest news conferences of any president in more than four decades, an administration that thrives on secrecy and a vice president who has denounced the New York Times and barred its reporters from Air Force Two. Not to mention a special prosecutor who is threatening to put reporters in jail in the Valerie Plame case.

It's no secret that many journalists feel burned by the administration's WMD claims during the run-up to war and that their coverage has gotten tougher over the past year. Will attitudes harden on both sides if they have to coexist for another four years?

Well, it's odd to blame the Administration both for the Palme leak and for trying to plug it, but at any rate, it just seems terribly unlikely that this election ends with a narrowly divided Congress if the President wins or that Mr. Kerry could win without carrying at least the Senate too. If, as seems likely, this election boils down to a choice between change, as represented by Mr. Bush, and stasis or even retreat, as represented by Mr. Kerry, then aren't folks almost certain to vote the same way further down the ticket? And in either scenario the victor would have a pretty clear mandate from the people to do what he's said he'll do, or not do in Mr. Kerry's case.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 25, 2004 11:54 AM

It just seems terribly unlikely that... Mr. Kerry could win without carrying at least the Senate too

I disagree. If Kerry wins, it will be by the narrowest of margins, pulling out a close upset in Florida and/or Ohio and barely holding enough Blue states. Bush will still run up huge margins in places like SD and AK where he will pull Republicans over the finish line. Even if Kerry wins, Republicans will still gain ground in the Senate.

Posted by: Timothy at October 25, 2004 12:30 PM

Weren't all these clowns supposed to start emigrating after the first Bush victory?

Posted by: Bart at October 25, 2004 1:37 PM

I'm wondering how Clinton left 380 tons (TONS) of wicked-nasty explosives unguarded, free for the taking. Weird that.

Posted by: Jimmy at October 25, 2004 1:37 PM

At this point I'd accept "Four More Years" even with a Dem Senate. Plainly, a lot of seats are at risk that should not be at risk because of self-inflicted wounds (e.g., Coburn, Bunning), and lots of Dem seats that should be at risk (Murray, Reid) aren't.

Lets face it, Bush isn't going to come close to 54% nationwide. Here in the reddest part of Fla, Kerry enthusiasm (yard signs, bumper stickers, letters to the editor, etc) is abundant. I just noticed the same thing this past weekend in Clark County, Nevada.

Posted by: curt at October 25, 2004 2:40 PM


If a Republican loses FL and OH he's going down elsewhere too.

Posted by: oj at October 25, 2004 2:56 PM


Republicans always lose the lawn sign primary

Posted by: oj at October 25, 2004 2:57 PM

oj: Not around here they don't. In fact, it is an act of some courage to "come out" in favor of a Dem like Kerry. This part of North Fla is nearly 50% military & ex-military & dependants.

Posted by: curt at October 25, 2004 3:04 PM

Curt -- I was in Clark County this weekend, too. I didn't notice much enthusiasm for Kerry Edwards. I did notice that there were Bush/Cheney posters plastered all over this establishment, which I highly recommend. Unfortunately, I also had to suffer through all the attack ads, which I'm usually spared in my corner of Blue America.

Maybe you saw me. I was the one wearing the W 2004 hat.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 25, 2004 3:52 PM

Will attitudes harden on both sides if they have to coexist for another four years?

Mrs Edwards thinks so.

Posted by: Chris B at October 25, 2004 4:11 PM


I was in Duval and St Johns County Florida last month and there were no Kerry signs to speak of, while Bush signs were easy to find. Also, the Times-Union is in the tank for Bush.

Posted by: Bart at October 25, 2004 5:04 PM

David: Looks like I was about 3 1/2 miles west of you much of the time, and 15 miles southeast the rest of the time. You probably had more fun. I did see a Continental pilot at McCarran with a W sticker on his lapel, but no hats anywhere. Also had an Ethiopian cabbie named Haileselassie who though Clinton was still the President, which made for an abbreviated discussion of US politics, but a long discussion of affairs in east Africa.

The LV Sun endorsed Kerry yesterday, apparently because he has promised to close down Yucca Mtn....

Posted by: curt at October 25, 2004 5:14 PM

MemeWatch: Observe the "testy," as in "a testy relationship with the establishment press." I like that one almost as much "incurious".

Posted by: E Rey at October 25, 2004 5:17 PM

W's lost 7 points in the WaPo tracker lately. Also down in Rasmussen for first time in a long time. This is my first poll following election, but it does not look good.

Posted by: JAB at October 25, 2004 5:43 PM


The Kerry Spot at NRO reports that TIPP has the President up by 8 points, and Gallup shows +5 for Bush. Rasmussen and WaPo are tracking polls, which many people claim have inferior methodology to weekly/semiweekly polls, and Rasmussen's methodology is additionally suspect because that poll depends on automated data-collection. (Not to mention that if you go back over the last few months that the Rasmussen figures have suspiciously little variance compared to other polls.)

Posted by: Joe at October 25, 2004 5:47 PM

bart: A lot has changed in a month. The drive between Mayport NS and Kings Bay NSB is particularly eye opening.

There is a reason why both campaigns have practically moved in here, not to mention hijacking every available minute on the TV set.

Posted by: curt at October 25, 2004 5:57 PM

Tracking polls also decline for Republicans on weekends and rise during the week.

Posted by: oj at October 25, 2004 7:28 PM

Word on the internet is that Rasmussen basically begins with a draft question, making it practically a partisan push poll.

Posted by: brian at October 25, 2004 9:00 PM

I'm no expert, but I've heard the weekend and 'draft question' explanations for the dip in the tracking polls. Unfortunately, I've also read that incumbents tend not to get undecided voters who finally decide at the last minute.

Posted by: JAB at October 25, 2004 9:07 PM

JAB: Forget the national polls. They're irrelevant at this point, states are all that matter.

Also, that "late breaking goes to the challenger" meme seemed to be pretty well debunked in a post linked to by this site a few days ago...

Posted by: brian at October 25, 2004 9:28 PM

Rasmussen has a definite Dem shift in the weekend polling - so the Monday poll results (Fri-Sun polling) are always the best of the week for the Dems, while Friday polls (Tues-Thurs) are the best of the week for Republicans. The shift Mon to Friday is about 2-3 points for Bush and off Kerry.

Luckily for us, election day is a Tuesday. Good day for Bush!

Posted by: pj at October 25, 2004 9:32 PM

CNN/USA Today/Gallup has Bush-Cheney up 8 points in Florida -- up 9 points among all registered voters. The MOE is 4%.

It is the only poll that has either candidate ahead by more than 2%.

The two most-recent polls in Ohio (Zogby and Rasmussen) both have Bush up by a couple points.

Kerry is ahead by several points in all recent Pennsylvania polls.

On November 2nd, if the exit polls show Bush winning Pennsylvania, then it will be a short night for Kerry. We won't have to wait for Ohio and Florida.

Posted by: J Baustian at October 25, 2004 9:35 PM

Well, I appreciate the optimism and did find the debunking of the 'shift to the challenger' theory of undecided voters.

Just don't have a good feeling though. I was in high school in 1984 and I knew Reagan was going to destroy Mondale. I do not have anything like that feeling today.

Posted by: JAB at October 25, 2004 10:26 PM

The polls this week are particularly useless, both those showing a Kerry surge and those showing W leading. Wait for Sunday and Monday when the pollsters announce their final pre-election polls. Those are the ones that count for bragging rights, so all the pollsters go out of their way to make sure those are as accurate as they can make them.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 26, 2004 10:11 AM

As for Pennsylvania, haven't you heard? The Dem Governor appointed the state's biggest DNC contributor as "election overseer" and staffed him with Dem lawyers, i.e.

The Fix is in for Kerry.

Posted by: Ken at October 26, 2004 8:40 PM