November 4, 2004


Two Nations Under God (THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, 11/04/04, NY Times)

[W]hat troubled me yesterday was my feeling that this election was tipped because of an outpouring of support for George Bush by people who don't just favor different policies than I do - they favor a whole different kind of America. We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is.

Is it a country that does not intrude into people's sexual preferences and the marriage unions they want to make? Is it a country that allows a woman to have control over her body? Is it a country where the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate? Is it a country where religion doesn't trump science? And, most important, is it a country whose president mobilizes its deep moral energies to unite us - instead of dividing us from one another and from the world?

At one level this election was about nothing. None of the real problems facing the nation were really discussed. But at another level, without warning, it actually became about everything. Partly that happened because so many Supreme Court seats are at stake, and partly because Mr. Bush's base is pushing so hard to legislate social issues and extend the boundaries of religion that it felt as if we were rewriting the Constitution, not electing a president. I felt as if I registered to vote, but when I showed up the Constitutional Convention broke out.

A party that thinks an election that was fought over taxes, Social Security, abortion, homosexuality, transnationalism, Vietnam and the War on Terror was about "nothing" has been watching Seinfeld for so long that it has lost sight of the nation it feels entitled to govern.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2004 9:08 AM

Gee, I feel kind of bad for suggesting that Smithies know nothing about conservatism. Why should we expect them to when Tom Friedman knows nothing about conservatism?

Posted by: David Cohen at November 4, 2004 9:12 AM

In Tom Friedman's world, John Kerry is a uniter, not a divider.

Posted by: Brian (MN) at November 4, 2004 9:14 AM

And nothing about America.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 9:20 AM

...I'd bet anything that if the election ballots hadn't had the names Bush and Kerry on them but simply asked instead, "Do you watch Fox TV or read The New York Times?" the Electoral College would have broken the exact same way.

They really do live in their own little universe don't they?

2004 Latest vote, county by county

Posted by: MB at November 4, 2004 10:02 AM

If he asked which were you more likely to believe, he might have a point.

Friedman is just as ignorant about America as he is about Israel.

Posted by: Bart at November 4, 2004 10:20 AM

I must say that in upwards of 90% of Americans have never heard of Tom Friedman. It is also safe to say that of the 10% that have heard of him, half of them don't give a rat's a** about what he thinks.

Posted by: pchuck at November 4, 2004 10:39 AM

Most of the NYT lefty columnists are utter lightweights: Dowd, Rich, Herbert, Krugmnan. Freedman is different. 90% of the time, you get the feeling that he actually knows something, particularly about the Middle East--and then he spends the other 10% saying something so sand-poundingly stupid (like this) that you wonder how he found his way home last night without assistance.

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 4, 2004 10:52 AM


On Middle East matters, he merely parrots the views of the most pathologically self-hating losers on the Israeli left, like Yossi Beilin.

Posted by: Bart at November 4, 2004 12:42 PM

What "Two Nations Under God"?
Only one of the two is.

P.S. Seinfeld's supposed to be funny?

Posted by: Ken at November 4, 2004 1:02 PM

Dear Tom F:

I must have missed that section of the U.S. Constitution where the 'inviolate' 'line' between Church and State is described.

Please show me where it is.

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at November 4, 2004 2:30 PM

Article VI, Jon.

That was really funny, MB.

I suspect that, for many voters, it was a one-issue election, just not the same one issue.

I also suspect that, giving full weight to the claims that Rove mobilized evangelical votes (a first, if he did), Bush got just as many votes, and more, from people who said (as I heard so many say)
'you shouldn't change leaders in the middle of a war.'

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 4, 2004 3:52 PM

I have the sneaky feeling that people who blithely turn "no religious test shall be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust" into "the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate" are a whole lot smarter than they would seem on the surface.

But only in the Machiavellian sense.

Posted by: Randall Voth at November 6, 2004 8:52 AM