November 3, 2004


* That rule about incumbent president's getting 1% better than their approval rating certainly held.

* Democrats and the media, though they figured it out late, were absolutely right about what a revolutionary figure President Bush has been on both domestic and foreign policy. They were wise to base their campaign on fear--of Social Security cuts, of the draft, of democracy as a destabilizing force in the Middle East, etc.--but in the end they've only handed the President a massive mandate for continuing and accelerating the revolution. Look for a move on Social Security and tax reform right out of the chute.

* Adding to the mandate is the staggering fact that Mr. Bush will finish the night with more votes for President than any man has ever received--besting his political father, Ronald Reagan.

* For all the talk that the election would be determined by either the economy or the war on terror, the number one issue for voters yesterday was values. With all the gay marriage bans passing by overwhelming margins and things like the parental notification measure in FL passing and with a presidential candidate who Democrats basically defined as a theocrat, this was a dramatic illustration of just how different America is from the rest of the West.

* Mr. Bush should make a major effort to recruit some Democrats for his new cabinet or for other high profile federal jobs. They couldn't take them in 2000 because of the lingering bitterness but should be more amenable now.

* We are fast approaching the election where Democrats will only have a shot at carrying states that border on the Pacific or the Atlantic above the Potomac.

* Adding 4 Senate seats and a handful of House seats--something no president had managed since LBJ in the '64 blowout--just makes it tougher for Democrats to recruit decent candidates to serve in the permanent minority and easier for the GOP to recruit challengers for some winnable seats in '06.

* Hopefully you didn't sell your stock futures Tuesday afternoon.

* PBS just went off the air because the Kerry camp says they won't concede OH and may go to court. That seems unlikely to play well with the American people.

* Ted Kennedy is apparently now closeted with Senator Kerry, hopefully trying to talk him off the ledge and get him to concede tonight.

* No wonder OH is considered the bellwether--with 97% reporting it's at 51%-48% as is the national total.

Four More Years (Ben Johnson, 11/03/04,

At the polls yesterday, the American people gave George W. Bush an unprecedented mandate to win the War on Terrorism. Even according to notorious election night “exit polling” – which appears to be Big Media’s last attempt to fix the race for the Left – the vast majority of voters considered terrorism the top issue this year, and “security voters” gave President Bush a lopsided advantage over the junior senator from Massachusetts.

With 96 percent of the nation’s precincts reporting as of this writing, George W. Bush had already received more than 57 million votes, more than any other candidate in electoral history. (Ronald Reagan won 54 million in 1984.) Although the popular vote was still being tabulated as of this writing, it appears George W. Bush will garner nearly 51 percent, making him the first president in 16 years to be elected by a majority of voters. This is the largest popular vote victory since his father won 54 percent of the vote against Michael Dukakis in 1988. (To put things in perspective, Ronald Reagan also won 51 percent of the vote in 1980. By contrast, Bill Clinton earned only 49 percent in his 1996 “landslide” victory over Bob Dole.)

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 3, 2004 1:33 AM

The Mass Supreme Court, of all things, cemeted Bush's win by putting gay marriage into play.

Posted by: some random person at November 3, 2004 1:52 AM

Bush ought to use this mandate for two vital reforms right off the bat:

Pressuring the Senate Republicans to grow some backbone on judicial appointments, including shoving Specter out of the way and possibly doing away with the supermajority for cloture on appointments (or whatever the mechanism is the Democrats have used to hold things up), and

Pushing for national legislation on voting requirements--showing IDs when voting, no same-day registration, better absentee and provisional balloting provisions, a way to keep judges from butting in at (or after) the last minute--confidence in the system is of the utmost importance and, in my view, has been severely damaged (I'm not sure offhand how much the Constitution delegates this to the states, but things could still be accomplished).

Posted by: jsmith at November 3, 2004 2:01 AM

Apart from flawed exit polling, several networks have tapped the big stories of this election as Democrats losing the South, and the youth vote not showing up.

No one seems to be finding the thread between those two items, however, and I think it was (and is) military support for George Bush. The southern military tradition is unparalleled, and 'rock the vote' efforts only appealed to young people not already serving their country.

Average age of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is what, 24? That was the youth vote right there.

Posted by: Patrick O'Hannigan at November 3, 2004 2:19 AM

It would seem that fear (of a draft, privatized Social Security, etc) and hate have their limits. They can get you close, but to actually win, you have to be more than a place holder. Expect a fight within the Dems between those who realize this, and those who don't (and only want to MoveOn™ some more).

This will be the last election where the traditional media get to act as gatekeepers. In four years there will be ways to run and completely ignore the TV networks, and the NYTimes-Democrat. Thank you, Dan "Frequency" Rather.

Who within the Dems will have the stature to challenge St.Hilary? She definitely has to get out in '006 because Kerry will be the last Senate candidate who's record won't be examined. (see previous paragraph) She'll spend the next two years getting some high profile votes in to soften her hard-left image, etc, then bail out. Is there any Dem governor with the stature to take her on? What makes her really dangerous is that she can run on hate and fear, and possibly win.

The Dems regionalism is worse than you say. I can't speak for other areas, but here on the Northwest, the Dems influence is limited to three counties in Washington (Pierce, King and Snohomish) and the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Similiarly, the Dem's ownership of California is mostly limited to within a couple of dozen miles of the ocean. (And Nevada's Clark and Washoe counties have always been coastal Calif. colonies.) If Rossi wins, the GOP is finally going to be in position, at least in Wash., to break the sclerotic Dem management of this state. (Whether they do anything with it, or succeed is a whole 'nother matter.) But if they do have any sort of success, the Dem's won't even be able to count on the Puget Sound any more.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 3, 2004 2:29 AM
Ted Kennedy is apparently now closeted with Senator Kerry, hopefully trying to talk him off the ledge and get him to concede tonight.
Or, failing that, just give him a little shove. Kennedy could come out of the meeting, make an official statement to the press about Kerry wanting to "count every vote", and then as he leaves the mic, say audibly but "off camera": "what an a**hole".

Never happen, I know...

Posted by: at November 3, 2004 2:41 AM

Better to be closeted with Teddy than to sit in his car.

Posted by: Peter at November 3, 2004 2:48 AM

Perhaps Senator Kennedy will take Senator Kerry for a nice moonlit drive on Martha's Vinyard.

Posted by: ghostcat at November 3, 2004 2:48 AM

It was always about Ohio. I can't wait to hear why GWB spent all of those days wandering around MI, MN & PA, and got himself in a position where he had to fly to Columbus on election day.

Posted by: curt at November 3, 2004 3:13 AM

Whoever's in charge of the Kerry campaign right at the moment, one thing's for sure: it ain't John Kerry. Fascinating.

Posted by: joe shropshire at November 3, 2004 3:56 AM

Normally in the past the Electoral College has served to amplify the popular vote into a sure mandate. This time we are seeing almost the reverse— Bush has almost a 4 million vote plurality, and an absolute majority of 51%, yet his Electoral Vote total is going to be almost identical to the election where he got fewer total votes than Gore. Is this a function of the sharp divide in the country?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 3, 2004 3:56 AM

I agree with Some Random Person - the gay marriage ban was passing in every state last I looked.

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at November 3, 2004 4:34 AM

The election coverage has been a fiasco. They're all calling different states, with the obvious motivator not to give the President 270 votes. What a joke.

Posted by: brian at November 3, 2004 5:10 AM

What happened to New Hampshire?

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at November 3, 2004 5:23 AM

From The Corner, a reprint of an IndyMedia post:

"Re: There better be some riots tonight ... I can't believe Bush won. Where did we go wrong?

Personally, I played my bongos at many rallies to defeat Bush. I had some phat beats going sometimes for hours, I really gave it my all.

How could this happen?"

Posted by: joe shropshire at November 3, 2004 5:50 AM

I was surprised to see how well the GOP did in the Senate, and how poorly in the House. I expected at least four more GOP House seats.

Hooray for Thune !!

I was also surprised to see the blowout in the Alaskan Senate race, that was supposed to be super-tight.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at November 3, 2004 6:07 AM

Brian is right. I went to bed last night at ~10 PM Eastern, and Bush was winning substantially in Florida with about 75% of the precincts counted. Fox news, at least, still wasn't calling FLA for Bush. Just what were they waiting upon?

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at November 3, 2004 6:29 AM

Scandalous commentary (cover your eyes, oj), by one Dave S., to a post by

Tim Blair:

"I want to give an Ohioan hours of head. Male or female."

Posted by: joe shropshire at November 3, 2004 6:40 AM

professor bainbridge, on the other hand, is taking the high road :

"I keep thinking about all those people who are going to be despondent if Bush wins. Such as, 90% of my UCLA law school colleagues (my guess is that no more than 5 out of 60-odd UCLA faculty voted for Bush). Ninety-plus of all law professors (if Bush wins, the AALS meeting in January will be angst central). The mainstream media. Liberal bloggers. Deaniacs. Indymedia types. Hollywood liberals. Especially, Michael Moore. Also, of course, Barbra Streisand. Etc. And here's what worries me: Is my amusement at the prospect of their unhappiness a venial or mortal sin?"

Posted by: joe shropshire at November 3, 2004 6:49 AM

Let the whining begin. The all too predictable "deeply divided" and "polarized" headlines are already posting. Bad day to be a lefty. 4 more years!

Posted by: John Resnick at November 3, 2004 6:58 AM

"* Hopefully you didn't sell your stock futures Tuesday afternoon."
Nope. But the early exit polls did provide a unique opportunity to pick up GWB to win contracts @ 26 over on Tradesports. Guess you can't hate the MSM for everything they do.

Posted by: John Resnick at November 3, 2004 7:02 AM

Whipping around the MSM sites, it is amazing how everyone says it is too close to call, but they are all calling different states to make up the uncertainty. The most striking thing is how everyone is ignoring the popular vote. Brokaw is whining about the "broken" electoral system and the Good Morning America gang is predicting months of uncertainty.

Looks like I won't be collecting on my bets today. That's OK. :-)

Posted by: Peter B at November 3, 2004 7:18 AM

Imagine George Soros this morning--he spent $20 million to defeat President Bush, and President Bush finishes with a clean win in the popular vote.

Wouldn't surprise me if he started trying to manipulate the value of the dollar by selling short, just out of spite.

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 3, 2004 7:19 AM


Too many scandals for the governor and it acted as a drag.

Posted by: oj at November 3, 2004 7:22 AM

Peter: If Fox agreed w/ Yahoo/AP's call on Nevada, then it's REALLY a done deal, right?

Posted by: John Resnick at November 3, 2004 7:23 AM

Now we have to wonder, who among the Democrats will say, "enough is enough" and prevail upon the party to accept the inevitable. Bill Clinton maybe. It does 3 things for him:

1) It re-establishes him as THE voice of the Democratic party.

2) It limits the damage a set of lawsuits would do to the Democrats.

3) It clears the deck for Hillary.

You heard it here first.

Posted by: Jeff at November 3, 2004 7:37 AM

Question for the MSM:

The margin of victory for the President in Ohio is larger than the margins of victory for the Senator in PA, MI, and a lot larger than the margin in WI. Are those states back in play? Following this morning's logic you would have to say yes. Wouldn't you?

Posted by: Jeff at November 3, 2004 7:41 AM

Poor George S. might think about getting together with Osama Bin-Laden and try to bankrupt the US, for its own good of course.

(It might seem downright uncivil of him, true, but he's undoutbedly a bit upset and one would have to try to understand underlying causes.)

First, perhaps, a good cry together with his (let by-gones be bygones) Malaysian pal Mohammed Mahathir?

Posted by: Barry Meislin at November 3, 2004 7:47 AM

Mike - Soros probably spent closer to $100 mill than $20, but it may not have been all his money. His hedge funds have long been suspected of being money-laundering operations (and financial-market manipulating arms) for foreign governments including the French, and a few governments may have thrown some cash at this race. His big triumph, the attack on the pound that wrecked the European Monetary System and led to the creation of the Euro, may well have been a French operation.

Posted by: pj at November 3, 2004 8:15 AM


And would you be at all surprised if he was driving oil prices?

Posted by: oj at November 3, 2004 8:18 AM

I'm fully expecting someone in the media to break (with Democratic Party assistance) a major "scandal" in the Ohio voting sometime within the next 24-36 hours, akin to the New York Times' scandal about the missing explosives in Iraq. It won't turn out to be anything accurate, but it will become the accepted truth for Democrats and will probably spawn an unsuccessful lawsuit, the same way they can guarantee the 2000 election was stolen in Florida.

Posted by: John at November 3, 2004 8:36 AM

One scandal: bad exit polls all skewed in the same direction -- clearly intended to affect the outcome of the election.

One farce: All of the networks afraid to be the first to acknowledge 270 EVs. Fox & NBC called Ohio quite early; while CBS and CNN called Nevada around 3 am, but no one wants to put it together.

Posted by: curt at November 3, 2004 9:06 AM

How fitting it all ends for John Kerry the way he started it, by bashing the US military and impuning our values as a nation.

I don't think history will marginalise this guy like a Gore or Carter but rather use him as a bookmark of how wrong we had it for so many years. I hope this is the legacy that grows for John Kerry.

Cleveland can't seem to win a national championship, but it sure was fun being in the heart of it yesterday and being in a position to make a difference.

Posted by: Perry at November 3, 2004 9:28 AM

1. You have to wonder if all those who were calling for eliminating the electoral college will now have a sudden epiphany.

2. I saw some Dem commentor on Fox saying he wouldn't mind if the South seceded. Will this be the new meme among the "enlightened".

3. You could tell things were going badly for the Dem's last night when Susan Estrich got testy with Brit Hume. I pretty much knew it was all but over then.

4. Will anyone in the MSM consider the possibility that the reason the exit polls were so wrong is that there are a number of people like myself would never ever tell them how I voted?

Posted by: MB at November 3, 2004 10:32 AM

"Too many scandals for the governor and it acted as a drag."

Still, maybe I'll start calling it Nou Hampshire for the next four years :)

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at November 3, 2004 11:06 AM

"Nou Hampshire": Mightn't "New Mass. " be more accurate? ALthough I'm sure he'd prefer either to "Nuevo Hampshire",

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 3, 2004 11:16 AM

Another minor point— This will be the last election where people will care about ~The Networks~ calling the election, or show them any deference. CNN, for example, still has Iowa, New Mexico and Ohio is some sort of quantum limbo when it is obvious to anyone who doesn't need to take off their shoes to count to 10 that Bush has won those states.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 3, 2004 11:57 AM

Well ... it's a small consolation that NH won't be targeted by Osama ... Oh the shame of it.

Posted by: genecis at November 3, 2004 1:39 PM

oj - Soros wouldn't speculate on oil prices without having a major producer, e.g. Iran, as a partner. So, no, I think if oil prices have been manipulated it is Iran & Venezuela, the two big anti-Bush producers, doing it.

Posted by: pj at November 3, 2004 1:48 PM

When you add up all the money he spent on various ballot initiatives, George Soros spent a whole lot more than 20 million.

Posted by: Vince at November 3, 2004 7:34 PM
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