November 7, 2004


Condescending Dems still don't get it (MARK STEYN, 11/07/04, Chicago Sun-Times)

It'd be easier just to take the second week in November off every two years and let my editors run the timeless classic whither-the-Democrats? column. All that changes is the local color. In 2002, I was very taken by the band at Missouri Democratic headquarters attempting to rouse the despondent faithful with Steve Allen's peppy anthem, "This Could Be the Start of Something Big,'' and noted that the party faced the opposite problem: This could be the end of something small.

As they've done for a decade now, the Democrat bigwigs worried about it for a couple of weeks and then rationalized it away: In 2000 they lost because Bush stole the "election"; in 2002 they lost because of that "vicious" attack ad on Max Cleland. The official consolation for this year's biennial bust hasn't yet been decided on, but Tom Daschle's election-eve lawsuit alone offers several attractive runners, including the complaint that Democrats were intimidated by Republicans ''rolling their eyes.'' Could be a lot more of that if this keeps up.

So it seems likely -- just to get my 2006 post-election column out of the way here -- that in a couple years' time the Democrats will have run on the same thin gruel as usual and be mourning the loss of another two or three Senate seats. You want names and states? Well, how about West Virginia? Will the 88-year old Robert C. Byrd be on the ballot in 2006? And, if he's not, what are the Dems' chances of stopping West Virginia's transformation to permanent "red state" status?

It also seems likely -- just to get my 2012 post-election column out of the way here -- that in eight years' time the Dems will have run on the same thin gruel as usual and, thanks to the 2010 census and the ongoing shift of population to the South and West, lost another five House seats and discovered that the "blue states" are worth even less in the Electoral College -- though in fairness their only available presidential candidate, the young dynamic Southerner 94-year-old Robert C. Byrd, managed to hold all but three of Kerry's states.

I had a bet with myself this week: How soon after election night would it be before the Bush-the-chimp-faced-moron stuff started up again? 48 hours? A week? I was wrong. Bush Derangement Syndrome is moving to a whole new level. On the morning of Nov. 2, the condescending left were convinced that Bush was an idiot. By the evening of Nov. 2, they were convinced that the electorate was. Or as London's Daily Mirror put it in its front page: "How Can 59,054,087 People Be So DUMB?"

Well, they're British lefties: They can do without Americans. Whether an American political party can do without Americans is more doubtful. Nonetheless,'s Eric Alterman was mirroring the Mirror's sentiments: "Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the 'reality-based community' say or believe about anything." Over at Slate, Jane Smiley's analysis was headlined, "The Unteachable Ignorance Of The Red States.'' If you don't want to bother plowing your way through Alterman and Smiley, a placard prominently displayed by a fetching young lad at the post-election anti-Bush rally in San Francisco cut to the chase: "F--- MIDDLE AMERICA."

Almost right, man. It would be more accurate to say that "MIDDLE AMERICA" has "F---ed" you, and it will continue to do so every two years as long as Democrats insist that anyone who disagrees with them is, ipso facto, a simpleton -- or "Neanderthal," as Teresa Heinz Kerry described those unimpressed by her husband's foreign policy. In my time, I've known dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and other members of Britain's House of Lords and none of them had the contempt for the masses one routinely hears from America's coastal elites. And, in fairness to those ermined aristocrats, they could afford Dem-style contempt: A seat in the House of Lords is for life; a Senate seat in South Dakota isn't.

This Friday night, on Hardball, Chris Matthews suggested that the media might need to go out and cover Red America as if it was a foreign desk, because they understand it so little.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 7, 2004 10:44 AM

Didn't the Times assign a writer to cover conservatism essentially as a foreign desk.

David Gregory was just on Matthews. Surprisingly, he nailed the election: love him or hate him, you know where W stands. That counts for something.

Posted by: JAB at November 7, 2004 11:16 AM


They did and he's written a series of hilariously ignorant articles on the disgruntled GOP base.

Posted by: oj at November 7, 2004 11:24 AM

There's a great collection of important people in places like New York, Boston, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles who are only really interested in dealing with what other important people are doing, and don't believe anyone could be doing anything important in the meddle of the country, because nothing important ever happens there (unless there happens to be a winter ski resort in the neighborhood). And if the people living there were important enough to care about, they'd be living in New York Boston, Washington, San Francisco or Los Angeles anyway.

The elites' complete disinterest in the middle of the country, as compared with their fascination for the old-style wonders (and political beliefs) or Europe means they have no desire to figure out how Middle America thinks by actually trying to see things their way; they'll simply make a generalization about all of them -- for this election, it apparently will be "they're a bunch of anti-gay bigots" -- and move on to the 2006 or 2008 elections, confident they have no reason to change their own world views because of their own moral superiority.

Posted by: John at November 7, 2004 12:07 PM

"David Gregory was just on Matthews. Surprisingly, he nailed the election: love him or hate him, you know where W stands."

I'm not sure how this "nails the election." Is the implication that Bush won simply because voters "know where he stands," and Kerry lost because voters don't know where he stands?

Sorry, but it's hard to imagine any person heading into his polling booth saying to himself, "Hmm, I don't agree with Bush on the war, tax cuts, gay marriage or Social Security. But at least I know where he stands on those issues -- he's got my vote!"

Posted by: Semolina Pilchard at November 7, 2004 2:37 PM

As an aside: I gotta say that it's also hard to imagine what in the world we're all gonna talk about once this election is in the rearview mirror. It's been such a lively and stimulating ride this past year. Right now, at least, most other topics just pale in comparison.

Posted by: Semolina Pilchard at November 7, 2004 2:40 PM

Well, OJ's already started the discussion of '06, and Mark Steyn is following along.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 7, 2004 3:33 PM


Don't go far. Orrin is composing dozens of posts on evolution to be used in the event of a lull.

Posted by: Peter B at November 7, 2004 3:42 PM

Steyn is wrong about one thing. There is no shortage of contempt for America among Europe's historical aristocracy. He needs only to read the column written by one of the Windsor cousins in his own Spectator, in which she decried everything about America, including the overly large portions of food. I guess the liveried bimbette never heard of a doggie bag, or I guess in her case a 'peasant bag.'

Posted by: Bart at November 8, 2004 7:19 AM