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Friday, November 05, 2004

Dubya's mandate

USA Today's state-by-state map (screencapped and edited here to remove the javascript bells and whistles) and accompanying text dramatically illustrate the "red-state versus blue-state" breakdown now that the final disputed states have been fairly definitively tallied.  The county-by-county breakdown is even more visually dramatic:

Of course, both of these graphics show the election results geographically rather than numerically, and the visual drama therefore is skewed by the fact that rural and less-heavily populated states and counties trended heavily Republican.  But the numbers — especially when looked at in a historical context — are also quite impressive, as Matthew Dowd's final campaign memo from Wednesday makes clear:

President Bush won a historic victory yesterday by defeating John Kerry by more than 3.5 million votes, 58.6 million to 55.1 million (51% to 48%) and winning the Electoral College 286 to 252. In doing so, President Bush:

  • Becomes the first presidential candidate to win more than 50% of the popular vote since 1988.
  • Received the most votes by any presidential candidate in history — over 58 million, even breaking President Reagan’s 1984 mark of 54.5 million votes.  [Updated figures actually show over 59.6 million — Beldar]
  • Becomes the first President re-elected while gaining seats in the House and the Senate since 1936, and the first Republican President to be re-elected with House and Senate majorities since 1924.
  • Received a higher percentage of the popular vote than any Democratic presidential candidate since 1964.
  • Garnered 7 million more popular votes than in 2000 — more than twice the amount that President Clinton increased his vote between 1992 and 1996.
  • Increased his percent of the vote from 2000 in 45 out of 50 states, including a 4 percent increase in John Kerry’s home state of Massachusetts.

President Bush ran just as strongly in the key battleground states as he did nationally. In the 14 most competitive states (AR, CO, FL, IA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NM, NV, OH, PA, WI, and WV), President Bush won 51% of the vote to John Kerry’s 49% — an improvement of 2 points from his 2000 performance in those states. Yesterday also revealed that the Republican Party has made historic gains with minority voters and women. Exit polling revealed that President Bush won 42% of Hispanics (up from 35% in 2000), 11% of African-Americans (up from 9% in 2000), 24% of Jewish voters (up from 19% in 2000), and 47% of women (up from 43% in 2000). In Florida, 55% of Hispanic voters supported President Bush, an increase of 6 points from 2000.

Just as we predicted, undecided and late-deciding voters went to the President Bush by a small margin. Despite media predictions that Kerry would win up to 90% of late-deciding voters, exit polling reveals that President Bush won voters who decided in the week before the election, 51% to 48%.

Furthermore, as we predicted, yesterday was the first time in modern political history that an equal number of Republicans and Democrats turned out for a presidential election. The Democrats’ 4-point advantage in 2000 evaporated, with Republicans and Democrats both at 37% of the electorate in 2004.

Was the election a "landslide"?  No, it wasn't, either in the popular or electoral votes.  But it was a genuine "mandate" by almost any method of measuring.

By employing that term, I do not mean to suggest that Dubya's mandate gives him or the Republican party a license to ride rough-shod over their opponents.  Nor, despite the gloom-and-doom predictions from the political left and the celebrations from the political right, do I expect them to try to do so.  The reality of the situation is that the Republicans lack a filibuster-overriding majority in the Senate, and the actual working majority that President Bush will be able to command will vary from issue to issue, bill to bill, and nominee to nominee.

Where I expect his mandate to be most significant, however, are on the subjects of the Global War on Terrorism and domestic security.  Sen. Kerry's campaign refrain was that "a vote for Bush is a vote for four more years of the same" — and on those subjects, that is indeed what we should expect.  But Sen. Kerry's refrain was highly misleading to the extent it implied that Dubya's performance since 9/11 has been static, predictable, or one-dimensional.  In fact, while maintaining rhetorical consistency — which accounts for Dubya's so-called inability to "admit his mistakes" — his policies have been quite flexible, varied, and creative. 

The old saying is that "to a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."  The United States military is the most profoundly powerful hammer, relative to any other comparable force, that any country has ever possessed throughout world history — and indeed, President Bush has shown himself willing to swing it.  But to extend the metaphor, Dubya has also shown an awareness that this country's mighty hammer is not the only tool in our toolbox. 

There were sound bases in international law for America to act, either unilaterally or with willing allies, to depose Saddam Hussein in 2002; and there were nontrivial arguments that President Bush could have done so without seeking further approval even from America's own Congress.  But Dubya decided to first get Congressional approval, and then to return to the United Nations for a final resolution (No. 1441) demanding that Saddam Hussein comply fully with its prior resolutions or face "serious consequences."  In so doing, he gave Saddam additional months to prepare for war and to hide his wrongdoing.  But it was essential that Saddam, and that other world leaders, fully understand that America is no paper tiger, and that they cannot count on America to give any other country an effective veto over its foreign policy and military options.  Tuesday's election results cannot fail to be understood by world leaders — friendly, neutral, or unfriendly — as anything other than a dramatic ratification of President Bush's overall strategy.

So when Dubya continues to put pressure on Iran or North Korea to reform their ways — when he again enlists the aid of other nations, like our NATO allies in dealing with Iran, or North Korea, Japan, China, and Russia in dealing with North Korea — even though the American President isn't yet swinging the hammer, the leaders of Iran and North Korea must be feeling like potential nails.  This, I submit, is a very good thing.

And even our non-state enemies, like the nutcase Osama bin Laden slinking from cave to spider hole, cannot fail to read the returns from Tuesday's election.  Bin Laden famously counted on America to react to 9/11 as it had to the Cole and Somalia and Lebanon.  I'd readily concede that he would have been wrong even had Clinton still been President, or had Gore been elected in 2000.  But it would not have been unreasonable for him and his ilk to at least think and hope that a President Kerry might have reacted more like Dubya's predecessors (yes, including the Republican ones) to future provocations less massive than 9/11, and that a President Kerry would be more constrained and less aggressive and methodical in pursuing their doom.  They cannot possibly be under any such illusions about George W. Bush.  And both they and whatever new recruits they summon to their banners of hate and terrorism can be under no illusions that the failing will of the American people will rescue them either.

Finally, but not at all insignificantly, Tuesday's election results constituted a mandate from the American people to its men and women in uniform.  Yes, Senator Kerry talked the talk about "supporting our troops" and "staying the course" and not "cutting and running."  But our troops could certainly be forgiven for doubting his sincerity, given his record of conspicuously failing to walk that walk, and the vocal and powerful elements within his party who not only refused to talk the talk, but ridiculed our troops' incredible accomplishments and undercut their ongoing missions at every opportunity.

In the only public opinion poll enshrined in our Constitution, the American public has spoken.  Through the mechanisms specified in that Constitution, the results of that polling have become abundantly clear.  Of course there are risks and uncertainties in the future; that would have been true too even had the result Tuesday gone the other way.  But President George W. Bush does indeed have a visible, demonstrable mandate to back his constitutional powers and his discharge of his constitutional responsibilities.  Without gloating, without belittling those whose votes were for his opponent, that is something that I am proud to celebrate.

Posted by Beldar at 07:02 PM in Global War on Terror, Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Dubya's mandate and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» Statistics Don't Lie from Who Can Really Say?

Tracked on Nov 5, 2004 8:00:48 PM

» Predictable Krugman from Media Lies

Tracked on Nov 5, 2004 8:20:08 PM

» Is this a mandate, or what? from The Caretaker

Tracked on Nov 5, 2004 9:49:18 PM

» The mother of all shellackings from Trolling in Shallow Water

Tracked on Nov 5, 2004 10:13:55 PM

» Misleading Maps from Carnivorous Conservative

Tracked on Nov 6, 2004 8:22:18 PM


(1) Chads made the following comment | Nov 5, 2004 8:03:27 PM | Permalink

Beldar, excellent writing as usual.

But, I have to take exception to the line that everyone keeps using that a Gore or Kerry would have gone after Bin Laden. There is absolutely no proof that that would have been the case. And, one can easily make the opposite case from the USS Cole testimony. At that time, we were absolutely not ready to invade Afghanistan, and had no plans too.

I honestly think a lot of erstwhile handwringing, coupled with a couple cruise missle vollies, followed by strangling homeland security, would have been the best we could have hoped for from these corners. They lack the foresight, and the intestinal fortitude, to take the bold approach.


(2) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 5, 2004 8:16:44 PM | Permalink

Chads, those are fair points indeed. The reason that I think either Clinton or Gore would have done something more muscular after 9/11 than Clinton had done previously has less to do with my assessment of either man's normal inclinations or moral fibre, and more to do with my assessment of their willingness to bend to the winds of public opinion. The American public demanded more than lobbing a few cruise missiles.

Would either Clinton or Gore have had the stones to try something as radically different in Afghanistan as what Dubya, Rumsfeld, Franks & Co. did? I seriously doubt it. They'd probably have spent hundreds of billions more, taken four times as long, and completely tied up our entire military force there, and the people of Afghanistan would still be waiting for their first elections. To extend the metaphor of my post, Dubya doesn't treat every problem as a nail to be hammered, and he doesn't treat every nail as needing a sledgehammer either.

(3) Richard Donley made the following comment | Nov 5, 2004 8:42:38 PM | Permalink

Regarding the 51-48 split, let us recall this: it was achieved despite an unceasing drumbeat of negative media comment and slanted reporting, the likes of which I cannot remember in 48 years of voting. Had the media been completely evenhanded, who can doubt that the split would have been more like 60-40 for Bush? That is how we should look upon the Republican claim of a mandate.

(4) Joanna made the following comment | Nov 5, 2004 9:20:18 PM | Permalink

Check out another county-by-county map at:


It's color coded with red, blue, and shades-of-purple based on proportion of "red" and "blue" votes cast. It's very interesting stuff.

(5) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 5, 2004 9:43:12 PM | Permalink

Mr. Donley:

You were obviously able to see through the various biases of the media. Are you implying that tens of millions of American voters are unable to tell when they are being misled?

(6) chads made the following comment | Nov 5, 2004 10:27:35 PM | Permalink


How do you know you are being misled if a)you happen to agree with the opinion of those who are misleading you or b) your only source of info is the MSM. How many people get nearly all their info from the Sunday paper or the evening news? Information is a powerful tool, or weapon.

The restructuring of news stories in the last few days just reinforces the point.


(7) tom scott made the following comment | Nov 5, 2004 10:31:10 PM | Permalink

"Finally, but not at all insignificantly, Tuesday's election results constituted a mandate from the American people to its men and women in uniform."
In the efforts of the opponents and liberal press to fault the Bush administration for faulty planning and poor implementation of the war effort many fine actions by our military were unfairly tarnished. It is now time to correct those misconceptions and to praise the superb efforts of our military. In the lead-up to the war all I read or heard about was the terrible difficulty to be encountered in the urban warfare that was to ensue. Sammara, Sadr City and Fallujah next will demonstrate just what remarkable young men we have over there.

(8) chads made the following comment | Nov 5, 2004 10:37:20 PM | Permalink


I don't really remember the public "demanding" anything but the best our leader could give us. If a Clinton or Gore had said, "Well, we think it's this guy and we'll try to go get him." or "We're going to bomb some more training camps then we're going to cut the funding for the CIA and military because they botched this so badly." The American public would pretty much have had to have gone along.

It boils down to leadership. The resolve and vision of our President led us to take out the Taliban in Afghanistan, then go into Iraq. I don't think the military would have been willing to take the risks they took in Afghanistan for a Clinton or a Gore. They needed to trust their CIC to be behind them to pull it off, and project a strong image to others in the region.

I will agree, if a Clinton or Gore had even attmpted anything in Afghanistan, they would have undoubtedly bungled it badly, but that is unimportant. I think, the American people would have had to have been content with whatever the CIC would have given them.

(9) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 5, 2004 11:41:58 PM | Permalink


Precisely my point. What is your impression when someone says to you, "I don't watch anything but Fox News"? Or CBS?

I prefer to switch around until I find an interesting issue being discussed, then stop in for awhile.

Personally, I'd like to see fewer talking heads and more original foreign news, like BBC and Al Jazeera. I'll make up my own mind.

Mr. Scott:

Could our superb military do a better job if they were allowed to do what they do best, which is to strike hard and fast, break things, roll over the enemy, and win? Instead, I believe, they are put into the predicament of having to often do just the opposite. For example, I have said here before that it bothers me to see photos of Marines in full battle dress painting schools while unemployed Iraqis stand and watch.

Now that the election is over, we will see more of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Perle will reappear.

(10) Carrick Talmadge made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 1:40:36 AM | Permalink

Regarding the 51-48 split, let us recall this: it was achieved despite an unceasing drumbeat of negative media comment and slanted reporting, the likes of which I cannot remember in 48 years of voting. Had the media been completely evenhanded, who can doubt that the split would have been more like 60-40 for Bush? That is how we should look upon the Republican claim of a mandate.

I would like to direct attention to Jay Cost's currently ongoing analysis of the two campaigns. Be sure to read both posts, since they are intended to be read together and are quite detailed.

One of the points he makes, which many of the bloggers also bring up (including I think Beldar) is that the Bush campaign has an uneven record at best in how it handled the press. I would even go further to say that this is a blind spot on the part of the ring-wing, which normally is very grounded in realism. Bitching and whining about the treatment by the press is equivalent to predisposing that there is nothing in our power to change this. I would argue that yes we can expect an unequal treatment, but mishandling the press is a common characteristic of Republican administrations.

(11) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 2:13:28 AM | Permalink

Almost by definition, each person reading this thread, or this blog, or any blog, is an anecdotal incident of someone who has escaped the informational tyrany of the mainstream media. And that tyrany is also being eroded through other sources, at various levels — competion among old-line mainstream media outlets, "new media" quasi-mainstream outlets (e.g., Fox News, the New York Sun), and pure new media outlets (e.g., talk radio, wider-circulation blogs and other internet websites).

I don't know how to quantify how many voters who would have voted for Dubya but for the consistent bias of the old-line media. I suspect — based on gut hunch — that it's a significant number in absolute terms, but yet far below five percentage points. Whatever the number may be, I seriously doubt that it can be measured or even estimated in any methodical, rigorous way. There are just too many other variables; and once you start down that path, you have to at least acknowledge the legitimacy, if not the correctness, of those from the left who are arguing that, for instance, "the SwiftVets' lies and character assassinations of John Kerry cost him x points from the total he rightfully should have received."

I'm a simple guy in some respects. I don't like or trust polls and surveys. But I trust American elections. People can spin and 'splain and hypothesize all day, in either direction — but it won't put John Kerry onto Air Force One, unless Dubya decides to invite him as a guest.

(12) Dave Schuler made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 8:18:54 AM | Permalink

Of course, both of these graphics show the election results geographically rather than numerically, and the visual drama therefore is skewed by the fact that rural and less-heavily populated states and counties trended heavily Republican.

Beldar, there are additional statistics that are worth considering. For example, more than 20% of the counties that Kerry won were won by 5% or less. That sounds like further opportunies for Republicans to me.

I've been preaching it high and low but other Democrats don't seem to be ready to hear it yet. In the 2004 election the Democrats played their best game their way with substantial help from MSM and bad news overseas. And they still lost. Just doing more of the same won't cut it.

(13) Dave Schuler made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 8:20:13 AM | Permalink

BTW Steve Antler has a worthwhile cautionary note about mandates for you.

(14) jackson white made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 9:35:03 AM | Permalink


As I analyze the maps and the facts and circumstances that surround them, what strikes me is the degree of trouble the Democratic Party faces. A few key points:

1. Iowa voted Republican for the first time in 30 years; other upper Midwestern states are close to flipping from Democratic to Republican in the years ahead, specificially and probably in this order--Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. This represents a solid grip on the Electoral College for the GOP.

2. Even those Eastern states we view as Democratic can be persuaded to vote Republican. Pennsylvania was a stark example of a missed opportunity for the GOP.

3. The above, as you pointed out, happened despite a barrage of anti-Bush and anti-Republican propaganda. One can only imagine what will happen as the MSM influence continues to wane and reportage from the New Media is fact-based rather than naked advocacy.

4. Finally, and most signficantly, the Hispanic vote is a swing vote that may become a Republican vote. Bush carried 45 percent of Hispanics, and those issues the GOP represents appeal to Hispanics. Hispanics are voting Republican more quickly than any ethnic group ever has. If the Democrats can't rely on Hispanics to bloc vote, they are toast.

By all indications, Democrats don't get it even now. Unless saner elements of that party turn it in a new direction, Democrats will be thought of in the context of Whigs in two election cycles. As a matter of fact, look for the 2008 Democratic Convention to be a complete bloodletting that either results in a leaner, smaller, but stronger GOP party, or as is more likely a schism that leads the Left into the Greens.

(15) Jim Thomason made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 9:42:44 AM | Permalink

One of the statistics from USA Today is dead wrong. Republicans started with 227 seats. If we truly have 232 now (I've only seen us credited with 231 before, with several still undecided), that would be a gain of FIVE seats, not one. This gives a better picture:


(16) Kerry made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 11:06:06 AM | Permalink

Semipundit. Replace "misled" in your comment with obscured, or sleight of hand. For example. CBS Sunday morning, some weeks past did a short piece on Bob Dylan. Is he a poet? This and other questions followed in the next frames with someone answering. The visual implication? " Oh, yes, he must be answering what was being asked." Careful listening suggested otherwise. The only connection was linear, visual. One can see this easily. I think it is similar to a technique in horror films, for example. The evil killer jumps onto the unsuspecting victim from offscreen. Offscreen only two feet away in space. How could the victim miss seeing it? Something else I look for is the expert opinion; so and so from the Group for Such and Such. Who is that? What are their biases? Is there anyway to tell? Or the man on the street response? So much shoddy product in shiny packaging. I think supporters of the Senators could rightfully be angry with the Dinosaur media, as their stroking for their side resulted in a terrible candidate being revealed as such only on Nov. 3rd. Had some serious questions been asked way back in primary season, the 2nd and 3rd stringers would have never made it into the game, much less been batting clean up. For example, "Senator, you 1971 testimony painted all who served in Vietnam as war criminals. Do you stand by those words?" Show me where such questions were asked. The whining to this moment shows them in denial yet, E.J. Dionne et. al. Even the candidates themseslves. Both. "We're going to keep fighting...etc." What I heard, especially from Sen. Edwards, was, "We're going to keep doing those things that brought us to where we are today." I see that Far Side Cartoon, over the shoulder onto the notepad, Freud-like shrink with patient in the backround, written on the pad, "just plain nuts."

(17) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 12:38:20 PM | Permalink


Once again I must point out that the 1971 testimony did not paint all who served as war criminals. If you wish, you may count yourself among those who can read his actual testimony (Google: Kerry testimony 1971) and come away with that idea.

He didn't accuse anyone, but reported to the Senate what 150 soldiers had told him they had done. Some of their accounts were later discredited (one might argue, in a similar way that George Tenet misled Mr. Bush).

If one does as Wesley Pruden of the Washington Times (editor-in-chief, no less!) and Sean Hannity (of HANNITY & colmes), then it is OK to remove the words "...told us that they had...", and replace them with an ellipsis. Try it--it changes the entire meaning of his testimony. It is a semantic sleight-of-hand that neither you nor I should tolerate from either side.

His activities were, I believe, sincere and were not intended to aid the enemy, but to help bring an end to the war. It was, however, not the stuff a future political career is made of.

(18) rls made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 2:19:26 PM | Permalink

I think the most telling statistics are these:

Only 21% of voters identified themselves as Liberal (and 9% of them voted for Bush) and over 20 million voted Kerry just because they were voting AGAINST GWB.

I think it is amazing that the FAAAAAR Left is so delusional that they think that 21% of the voting populace can elect anybody in a national election. Take these statistics, in conjunction with that map, and you can see that the demise of the Left wing fringe is imminent. If the Dem party does not adopt conservative methedology to advance liberal social issues they are doomed to minority party status.

(19) rls made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 2:28:46 PM | Permalink

I agree that he was relating the Winter Soldier testimony in that part of his Senate testimony. Yet when he said, and I paraphrase, that our military was killing 200,000 civilians a day - that was NOT anecdotal recitation. That was HIS testimony and MEANT to make an impact.

I am a Viet Vet who was there the same time Kerry was and I have never forgiven him for that appearance and utterances. Whatever his motivations were - his conduct was reprehensible. The ends do not justify the means.

(20) chin-pulling do-gooder made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 2:31:29 PM | Permalink

Until the electoral college is replaced with a popular vote, you really can't read the public's demand for policy into the election.

There were huge chunks of the population where peoples' vote DID NOT COUNT. Any heavily leaning state (CA, TX, NY) had practically no interest or campaign spending by the candidates.

All those efforts like registering voters, get out the vote, candidates pandering to voters, were affected by the conceded states being ignored by both parties.

So who knows what the turnout or popular vote would have been had votes genuinely been relevant, and genuinely been sought after?

(21) Veteran330 made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 2:37:32 PM | Permalink

Semi Pundit

There are two ways to interpret John Kerry's interaction with the enemy delagates to the Paris peace talks during the war.

The charitable way is to say that Kerry was an idealistic fool who allowed himself to be manipulated by the Communists he met at the Paris peace talks.

The less charitable way is to state that Kerry willingly collaborated with the enemy in order to bring about our military defeat for the reasons which drive any traitor to action.

It is very difficult for me to see a case for the charitable interpretation based on Kerry's award as a "Hero of Communist Victory" by the victorious Vietnamese Communist government in 1983.

If Kerry was simply a dupe as it were, why would the Communists consider him a Hero for their side? No one else in the peace movement was so honored, why would Kerry be singled out?

(22) Leonardo Kokopeli made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 3:53:51 PM | Permalink

Beldar, I agree with you but think people need to be careful how they use the term "mandate". (See the article at my blog "On Mandates and Presidents".)

Rather than arguing with the Democrats about whether President Bush has a "mandate", we can simply say that he has the Constitutional duty to fully exercise his Office, and that he has sufficient majorities in Congress to implement the policies that he advocated in seeking re-election. This does not preclude seeking cooperation from the Democratic minority, but he is not Constitutionally required to have their support to implement his policies.

(23) OhMike made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 4:51:52 PM | Permalink

Amidst the red and the blue of the electoral maps, there is a black mark on this election. In the end, the Swiftees succeeded in their mission, having once again served their country with honor and courage. However, as you know, the media handmaidens to the Kerry campaign besmirched the reputations of these brave men, caling them liars and partisan tools.

Maybe now that the election is lost for their boy, organizations like the WaPo will find some integrity and be more diligent about getting to the truth:

Did Kerry ever go to Cambodia? I don't recall him ever having to account for the unsearing of this particular memory. Why did the MSM never question him on this? And will it now allow him to cruise to re-election in the senate without ever conducting an honest inquiry?

Why did Kerry never release all his records, in spite of claiming repeatedly and brazenly that he had? Will the MSM now ask him to sign the Form 180? It doesn't take much of a cynic to conclude that if something is being hid, there is something to hide.

Will there be questions about the multiple versions of the medal citations? Will we accept that a fraud who ran on a phony war record and who may have received a less-than-honorable discharge will continue to take refuge in the lies the MSM keeps telling about honorable men, patriots, and true heroes like the Swiftees?

Justice demands that the Swiftees be FULLY vindicated. My sense of honor cannot stand the offense every time I see the Swiftees referred to as discredited, embittered, mudslinging, liars.

Beldar, your blog is widely read, well-reasoned, and measured. Some of us (that's me) are more wild-eyed bomb throwers and liberal haters, but you have some standing as an objective voice, and I think you can appeal to those out there who want the truth to get out, without it seeming a mere partisan witch hunt. Please do what you can to encourage a pursuit of the truth. I think the Swiftees deserve it.

(24) jas made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 5:09:48 PM | Permalink

As much as I'd like to believe we who voted for GWB all had the proper info at our fingertips, thanks the the various sources stretched across the internet, I do think that many on both remain, shall we say "uneducated" to the real info out there. While I know plenty of people who voted on either side, not enough people used the tools provided by Beldar, LGF, PowerLine, Chernkoff, Captains Quarters and others to their full effect. Clearly, the blogs were superb sources of info, and a great meeting to wade through this electoral season. But, I will admit that even listening to the usual cast of characters, I felt there was something missing. However, (and I will use my wife as an example), some people simply voted without having the ammunition many of us did, regardless of what was thrown at them from what the read in newspapers or saw on TV.

(25) jackson white made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 7:05:43 PM | Permalink

In hindsight, this isn't even about GW Bush, is it?

Like the Sandinistas before them, the Democrats now appreciate how it is not to have absolute sway over the media and other institutions. Like the Nicaraguan opposition, the GOP can get its message out. And that means the Democratic Party is dead. Period.

This explains why there was so much animus against Bush, in my opinion.

(26) Steven Jens made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 8:40:15 PM | Permalink

I hope everyone saw this fine comment from Kerry's concession speech:

I did my best to express my vision and my hopes for America. We worked hard and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently. But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans. That is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on Earth.
I have usually not thought much of Kerry, but that middle sentence was a wonderful point to make.

(27) RMcLeod made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 8:46:50 PM | Permalink

re Chin:

"There were huge chunks of the population where peoples' vote DID NOT COUNT. Any heavily leaning state (CA, TX, NY) had practically no interest or campaign spending by the candidates."

Sorry Chin, but eliminating the Electoral College isn't the panacea you're looking for.

Campaign spending is like any other investment. Resources are ALWYAS limited and you are going to spend where you get the most return.

Consider the recent election and imagine it was to be decided STRICTLY on popular vote. Do you REALLY think that Bush would have spent a lot of time in NYC or San Francisco? Or, frankly, that Kerry would have?

See, liberals have this dream. They think that without the EC that candidates would be forced to spend more time in THEIR turf. Or rather that Bush would have wasted his time where he wouldn't get votes. And you should consider this too: if campaigning is a bit more fractionalized geographically, who has the greater resources to pull it off? It's the Republicans.

How about the idea of apprortioning EC voting? Well, would the Democrats REALLY think it would be a cool idea to give 25 of California's ECV to Bush?

Do you know what the results of an apportioned ECV would have been in this election? Bush still wins. You can prove this to yourself. Just go to the Yahoo map, and turn their state by state results into an Excell file ...the map is here:


This argument about the EC is tiresome. There is simply no system that is going to guarantee that every single place in the country is going to get the same exposure to the candidates. And there is absolutely no system that is going to guarantee that YOUR particular candidate is going to win.

(28) Boger made the following comment | Nov 6, 2004 10:39:01 PM | Permalink

I think SemiPundit has the inside tract on facts and truth up to his last paragraph. There SemiPundit says that he believes Kerry's activities in protesting the war were "sincere."

I stumble on that because to me the notion of sincerity implies integrity. And I see almost no integrity in Kerry's actions either in Vietnam or when he came home. SemiPundit has to realize is that John Kerry 'gundecked' two Purple Hearts which allowed him to come home after serving only a third of a one year tour--something no other officer or enlisted in the Swiftboat command did. (Definition from the Internet: "In the modern Navy, falsifying documents reports, records and the like is often referred to as gundecking.") When he got home he hyped and exaggerated some anecdotal truths to create a wholly false case in protesting the war. He trashed the Navy and his shipmates by being out of uniform (wearing utilities with ribbons in public), participating in street theater by throwing medals (or ribbons, same difference) over a fence, etc. While the country was still at war, he met with officials of our adversary. And, hard to believe, he was still in the Navy Reserves at the time!

Now, SemiPundit, I am sure you are not buying most or any of my above statements, either as to fact or implication. But you are going to have to agree that I am at a severe disadvantage to you in making my case. You supported your case by directing me, and other readers, to Mr. Kerry's actual 1971 testimony. As I mentioned at the outset, I feel the literal facts as to what he said are fully on your side. My problem is that I can't direct you to the documentary evidence that supports my case. It requires a Form 180 to be signed. So I am left with suggesting that you recall the Jack Nicholson line in the movie co-starring Demi Moore and Tom Cruise. If you feel you can belly up to the truth, please express your unequivocal support for having Mr. Kerry release his complete military record to the public, even now after the election.

(29) Quadraginta made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 2:48:48 AM | Permalink

Chin sez: "There were huge chunks of the population where peoples' vote DID NOT COUNT."

Don't be absurd. If you lived in California, then your vote had several meanings -- for example, since it was likely a vote for Kerry, you pushed the battle into Ohio and Florida. If half of California voters had signaled in polls they were going to vote for W, then Ohio and Florida would both have become irrelevant. California would have decided the election and become the most intense battleground.

Or let me give you another scenario, if you don't like that one. Say you're a California Kerry voter, and say you're an idiot -- but I repeat myself. Now suppose you say, hi ho, my vote doesn't count, because everyone knows California is going Kerry big time. So I will stay home and watch TV. Unfortunately, there are 5 million of you who all make the same decision, and zap, W wins California. Oops, guess your vote did count, doesn't it?

In general your comment is as silly as saying it's the last dollar you pay that buys your $26 steak dinner. Nope. The first dollar is just as important. The first vote is just as important as the last, too.

My take on all this mandate horse**** is that it's just the typical loser's attempt to move the goalposts. Oh sure, you won the election, but you didn't win a mandate. If we ever agreed on a mandate, they'd just move 'em again. Oh sure, you won a mandate, but you didn't win every state. Oh sure, you won every state, but you didn't win a mandate in every state. Oh sure, you won a mandate in every state, but. . .uh. . .you didn't receive a sign from God anointing you His rightful steward on Earth. . .

(30) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 3:05:05 AM | Permalink

Excellently written post, Beldar.

But, and I ask this with complete respect, what on earth makes you think Bush won't just stomp on the Democrats? Congressional Dems were pretty much spectators during Bush's first term--after an election in which Bush lost the popular vote. After winning the popular vote, I can't imagine him being anything but bolder. From everything I've heard so far, the Republicans in Congress are going to be extremely disciplined in towing the party line. With the majority they have now, he can dare Chafee, Snowe, and Collins to defect--he simply doesn't need them.

Also, remember this: the bill from the Christian right has arrived. The GOP has promised them that they would reverse Roe v. Wade for 30 years now. You can bet that potential SC nominees will be vetted by Ralph Reed before being chosen.

I would also remind you that Bush's hammer is stuck in Iraq. Until he pulls it out of there, Iran and North Korea are perfectly safe, and they know it.

Unless, of course, we have that draft which Bush has insisted (read his lips) is not going to happen . . .

I do think that this election has been overanalyzed. It wasn't gay marriage, it wasn't Iraq. It wasn't the economy.

The fact was that this was a national security issue, and the Republicans have established themselves (whether merely in rhetoric or in substantive reality I'll leave to each reader) as the tough, ass-kicking party when it comes to national security.

Kerry tried to make up that ground, and I believe he did to a certain degree. But that advantage in perception can't be overcome in one election cycle. Certainly not by someone with John Kerry's record.

If the Democrats have half a brain between them (we'll know that if they kick Shrum and McAuliffe out), they'll continue to talk the talk on being militant against terrorism.

If my fellow Donkeys have a full brain, they'll spend a lot of time talking about how they're the party of the little guy (why they stopped that I will never know) and also in empasizing their support for personal freedom, including reproductive rights, giving homosexuals civil unions (supported by 60% of the voters in this allegedly homophobic electorate), and permanently dumping gun control from the national agenda.

If my fellow Donkeys do that, the Republican majority which includes a shaky alliance of social conservatives and social libertarians will get very nervous.

(31) A.W. made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 5:48:47 AM | Permalink

You can find a more complete version of this map, here:


(32) F. Rottles made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 8:06:24 AM | Permalink

Semi-Pundit said:


Once again I must point out that the 1971 testimony did not paint all who served as war criminals.


Kerry vouched for those stories. He made a point of claiming to represent the very people who Vice President Agnew had described as the best of a generation. Kerry's rhetoric was highly inclusive. There is no escaping that.

And, please, cut the condescension. Yours is hardly the most informed voice in this discussion.

You can count yourself among those who continue to falsify the record or you can come clean and encourage Kerry to correct the record. Or you can stand aside and learn from others.

(33) F. Rottles made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 8:15:25 AM | Permalink

Geek, Esq. this is probably not the place to get into the subject of Roe v. Wade, however, not even the advocates of abortion on demand can defend that decision on its merits alone. Reversing that decision, or finding better constitutional basis for it, is the challenge for the Supreme Court.

The majority in this country do support freedom of choice, but only in the relatively rare hard cases. On such matters, lawmaking is best done by those elected as qualified to legislate and not by those appointed as qualified to interpret written law. I think the Republican and Democrat reps in the House and Senate could form a coalition on various aspects of abortion, just as they did on partial-birth.

W has his work cut-out for him and, sure, that includes representing all of the American people -- and that does not exclude the large portion of the electorate comprised of those self-identified evangelicals. W's support is not nearly as fragile as you would describe it.

(34) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 9:50:08 AM | Permalink

F. Rottles:

Spiro Agnew, although not a practitioner himself, knew integrity and honor when he saw it. My brother was one of them; he returned with Purple Heart, a war wound, and problems with alcohol which he ultimately overcame. A really good kid named Robbie is another that I think about once in a while. I had good grades in college and was privileged to receive deferments to finish, but Robbie flunked out, was immediately drafted, and died a month after arriving in Vietnam.

Plunge thousands of young men into a hell hole like Vietnam while those responsible for playing international politics sip tea in Washington and watch what happens. It disgraced Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara, and destroyed Johnson.

If I were thousands of miles from home, on the other guy's turf where I didn't know friend from foe, and often couldn't see three feet in front of me, and thought constantly about manure-coated ponji sticks, and spike-filled tiger pits, and trip wires, and living from minute to minute, then I might have done some of the things that were reported just to survive and go home.

Perhaps you have not talked to enough veterans.

On the matter of full release of information, I am in favor of releasing to the public all information regarding Kerry's military record, that of George Bush (much of which unfortunately vanished), that of John O'Neill and all of the Swiftboat Veterans. Due process would demand it.

Regarding abortion, I live in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Democrats are quite the minority. I also come into contact with many people who believe that abortion is murder and cannot be sanctioned under any circumstance, and that the life of the mother should be in God's hands. They voted for Bush in the firm belief that he will ban all abortions.

They also believe that he will bring Christian prayer into public schools as a requirement for beginning the school day. One of my neighbors, in fact, finds Catholic prayer unacceptable.

Trouble is on the way.

(35) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 9:55:02 AM | Permalink

I failed to state that I think all of the records of the veterans who served with and supported Kerry should also be made public in their entirety. I would be willing to do so.

And a final thought. Kerry has been criticized for bringing his military service into the campaign. Does anyone think that it would not have been made an issue otherwise?

(36) F. Rottles made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 10:53:26 AM | Permalink

Semi-Pundit, your recent post sidesteps the falsehood that Kerry's words "did not paint all who served as war criminals."

(37) Boger made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 11:30:22 AM | Permalink


Here is an interesting what if?

Howard Dean was Dem front runner for months. Looked like a slam dunk. Gore endorsed. Against the Iraq war completely, no equivocation, no ambiguities. In other words, whether you agreed or not, his case, politics, etc. were principled and had integrity. I mean he is really kicking butt. Kerry? Who is John Kerry? Even the folks up in New England were disdainful and unenthusiastic. Many scratching their heads because he was going nowhere in the Dem field or against Dean in particular. Then Iowa, Kerry trots out this new-look Vietnam Hero campaign, and Dean is history.

But what if Unfit had been published then? What if the Swift Boat Vets for Truth org was up and running, saying hold on, there is another side of this man that you need to examine. I find it very ironic that Howard Dean lost the Dem nomination because Kerry trotted out his Vietnam credentials, but then in all likelihood Kerry lost the presidency because those credentials were really Swiss cheese, exposed as flawed, opportunistic, and possibly dishonorable.

Bottom line, I am thinking that if the truths of Unfit for Command had started to peek out back in 2003, it would have been Dean, Gerhard, Lieberman and Clark demanding that Kerry sign Form 180, and the Deems would have fully vetted their candidate for President. That's what should have happened.

(38) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 11:49:00 AM | Permalink

F. Rottles:

You may draw as broad a conclusion as you wish on whether he disparaged all veterans who ever served in Vietnam. I don't think he did. I do believe that he indicated that there were many more cases like the 150 who had met with him and that the group of soldiers in Detroit were not unique.

I only ask of you, Wesley Pruden, Sean Hannity, and numerous others to accurately quote a paragraph of documented testimony that is part of the official Senate record.

I would never sanction anyone carving up a quote of George Bush's in the same way that so many people have of John Kerry's. Go after him, and take him down, but do it right.

(39) VA Jim made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 12:16:52 PM | Permalink

It's true that Kerry concealed his past, but the Democratic party was complicit. The analogy is of a school hiring a pedaphile; a pedaphile with a history of advocating the perversion and a pedaphile with a felony conviction for it. Kerry needs to be exposed, and the Democratic party needs to be deconstructed. If the Democrats implode, so be it; America survives.

The MSM needs to account for their role it this deceit and fraud. I can't support restricting First Amendment liberties, but with liberty comes responsibility. The 'Killian memos' were a premeditated, deliberate fraud perpetrated on Americans using the monopoly power granted by our own government. Fraud needs prosecution, convictions if guilty, and subsequent prison time. The experiment with government-granted airwave monopolies has proved a failure; the FCC must ensure that no corporation ever has such a monolithic grip on communications again.

Widespead allegations of voter fraud didn't prove true, but isolated areas did have... ummh, problems. This needs to be fixed; the dead need to be disenfranchised and the process made truly nonpartisan. Although my state's well run in that regard, I'd support a nation-wide or state-to-state checking system to reduce voter fraud.

The election showed Edwards' claim of a "divided America" may have some merit, but not as he intended. The vote clearly split between dense urban versus the rest of the nation; Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania are "red states" if their large cities are removed. Even on the Left coast, California, Oregon, and Washington show the same effect.

*The Swiftees made a common debating mistake of trying to point out all of Kerry's lies and deceits. They would have been better served by concentrating on two or three, and hammered those points home. Neither reporters nor the non-veteran public could reasonably keep track of the main points of what? Twenty or thirty interlocked lies?

(40) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 12:32:44 PM | Permalink

I took a very close look at Sen. Kerry's Fulbright Committee testimony earlier in the season, with links to and very extensive quotes from the transcript. The key phrase is "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." That phrase makes no sense as anything other than a broad indictment of everyone at every level of the American military effort in Vietnam; and indeed, if you read the entirety of his testimony, it's absolutely clear that his indictment is not of just those 150 so-called "Winter Soldiers" who testified, but of the entire United States.

(41) OhMike made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 12:45:28 PM | Permalink


Soon after the Swiftees released their first ad, the Kerry defense of Christmas in Cambodia crumbled. Those who argued that Kerry is a fraud exhorted the MSM to investigate that ONE incident. They didn't then...and they haven't now.

That one lie should have been enough to shame Kerry out of the race--if either he or the Old Media had any shame. After all, he told a lie for 35 years, used it to besmirch the reputation of a US President and to denigrate American foreign policy, and used it as a prop to influence debate in the Senate regarding American involvement in Latin America.

Where was the outrage over that one lie?

I'm not buying into the self-blame. It wasn't the Swiftees' failure to "debate" the issue properly that was the problem. It was the failure of the MSM to get at the truth that would have allowed for a serious and honest debate.

I am STILL indignant about how the MSM has behaved. Even now the Swiftees are referred to as discredited Republican tools. They deserve better, and so does a democracy that depends on an informed electorate to make life-and-death decisions about our security and our future.

A traitor a liar and a fraud just came within a few hundred thousand votes of becoming President--because the MSM was willing to lie and cover for him. Brave and honorable men saved us from that, and they deserve that the truth be known.

(42) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 12:53:20 PM | Permalink

F. Rottles:

Aside from legal nuances, the fact is that there is currently a legal right to be free from government interference in the decision to have an abortion in this country, and that the Christian right will demand that Bush appoint SC justices who will take that right away (again, we can all make sophistry-cated arguments about Roe being wrongly decided, but that is what is at at stake).

And, lest anyone think that Bush is going to be more moderate, the "we hate fags" rhetoric is already being stepped up a notch by his administration. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=564&ncid=564&e=1&u=/nm/20041107/ts_nm/bush_agenda_dc_3

" "If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal, and the ideal is that marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a man and a woman," Bush political aide Karl Rove told "Fox News Sunday."

Bipartisanship my ass.

(43) VA Jim made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 1:11:18 PM | Permalink

[The above should have started with these two paragraphs. Apologies for the mistake]

I don't agree that the Swiftboat veterans need vindication*; but rather the reverse. As a country, we came close to electing a CinC who could have been impeached before taking office. We ran a candidate for President legally incapable of issuing lawful orders --or at least incapable of enforcing them-- if elected. It would have been America's first real Constitutional crisis since the Civil War.

It's true that Kerry concealed his past, but the Democratic party was complicit. The analogy is of a school hiring a pedaphile; a pedaphile with a history of advocating the perversion and a pedaphile with a felony conviction for it. Kerry needs to be exposed, and the Democratic party needs to be deconstructed. If the Democrats implode, so be it; America survives.


(44) rls made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 1:16:57 PM | Permalink


I served 13 months in Nam, Quang Tri, close to the DMZ and not only did I NEVER commit any atrocities, I never heard of any atrocities; as for Kerry's contention (and this IS his contention-not anecdotal) that the Chain of Command encouraged and condoned atrocities, I refute that. We had very strict rules of engagement and there were very hard recriminations for breaches.

Per your request for quotes from Kerry himself regarding untruths or unsubstantiated allegations regarding our troops in Nam - here they are:

Pitkin testified in the "Winter Soldier" hearings and has since recanted his testimony.

Pitkin was surrounded by a group of the event's leaders, who said they needed more witnesses and wanted him to speak. Pitkin protested that he didn’t have anything to say. Kerry said, "Surely you had to have seen some of the atrocities." Pitkin insisted that he hadn't, and the group's mood turned menacing. One of the other leaders leaned in and whispered, "It’s a long walk back to Baltimore." Pitkin finally agreed to "testify." The Winter Soldier leaders told Pitkin exactly what they wanted -– stories about rape, brutality, shooting prisoners, and racism. Kerry assured him that "the American people will be grateful for what you have to say."

We were sent to Vietnam to kill Communism. But we found instead that we were killing women and children.
-- John Kerry, in "The New Soldier

We discovered we were butchering a lot of innocent people, and morale became so low among the officers on those 'swift boats' that we were called back to Saigon for special instructions from Gen. Abrams. He told us we were doing the right thing. He said our efforts would help win the war in the long run. That's when I realized I could never remain silent about the realities of the war in Vietnam.
-- John Kerry in the Washington Star, June 6, 1971
This has since been proven to be untrue by everyone who knew Kerry in Nam, including those that served on his boat and have endorsed him.

"...we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions, in the use of free fire zones, harassment interdiction fire, search and destroy missions, the bombings, the torture of prisoners, the killing of prisoners, accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam"

The above is NOT anecdotal evidence-this is Kerry testifying about his own experiences - which did not happen.

"The war will continue. So what I am saying is that yes, there will be some recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America,..."
John Kerry, 1971 Senate Testimony

These are all statements by John Kerry that inpugned and tarred ALL VietNam Vets with the broad brush of "War Criminals". Myriad investigations into the allegations by those testifying at the "Winter Soldier" meeting have failed to document or prove ONE single allegation. Out of those investigations have come documented proof that some of those testifying to the "atrocities" were not ever in the military and of those in the military-most were NEVER in combat. Many were AWOL or deserters.

Kerry KNEW the statements he was making were untrue-he KNEW the impact that those statements would have on the streets at home and on the troops in Nam. Kerry abandoned and impugned the integrity and character of his brothers in arms for political expediency.

As far as I know Bush and ALL of the SWVFT have authorized release of ALL of their military records. The only one who has not is Kerry.

Defend him if you will, but acknowledge his words and actions. I for one, will never forget and I cannot forgive.

(45) OhMike made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 1:58:54 PM | Permalink


Thank you for your service. Please don't lose sight of the fact that MOST of us have never believed John Kerry's slander. We honor you and your brothers, and we are grateful for all you've done in defense of liberty.

That is why the continued derogation of the Swiftees--and all Viet vets--must be stopped. Kerry and the MSM defamed them then, and they did it again during this campaign.

This is a rare opportunity to REALLY start the healing by setting the record straight and giving these brave men their good reputations back.

(46) VA Jim made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 3:39:07 PM | Permalink

Re: the Swift boat veterans

A very legitimate argument can be made that the SBVT were silent for 20 years; their newly-surfaced allegations rising only to defend the Bush campaign. Where were these complaints through the 80's and 90's? Why has the term "Hanoi Jane" entered popular language (over the resistance of the Left) but not "Hanoi John"?

Part of the SBVT's problems with the MSM can be traced to their silence through the last decades. To the MSM looking at the allegations, they perceived a ready defense for their own (in)actions in the timing of the SBVT revelations. In contrast, Ms. Fonda wouldn't have had a chance simply because she and General Arnold define certain things in our language. So the SBVT were handicapped from the gate.

Politics is not debate, not logic. It's public persuation, it's "selling a product". Ideally the product is sold on its true merits, but the point is that nothing would be sold if all the details about it listed. Simplifying the argument gives consumers a memorable phrase that stands out and serves them in recalling details. The Bush campaign's "flip-flopping" charge was good, because although it might not stick per se, it made voters focus on Kerry's record and his defense of it.

The SBVT, certainly the officers, have to have some decent Navy connections. FOIAs and analysis before the campaign would have determined that Kerry's military records were the goal. [Again, constant carping over the years would have rattled more loose.] A lot that the public could understand got lost in the shuffle -- did he turn into or away from an explosion? did the dog fly? was the shrapnel really rice? who wrote the PH commendation? who wrote the next PH commendation? They were used by the MSM as diversions from the real point; Kerry as a lying, anti-American traitor.

The charge "Unfit to Command" was far too weak. The charges should have opened with "Lying traitor" backed by Christmas in Cambodia and Kerry's Paris 'negotiations'. "Unfit for Command" could have been the documentary backup about the lying traitor. But every press interview, every statement, and every release by the SBVT should have had the phrase "Christmas in Cambodia" for each 50 words spoken. Hammer, hammer, hammer; if it's got a point, eventually the nail goes home!

In their defense, the SBVY are a decent, honest bunch of veterans. The grubby art of politics may have been too much of a stretch for them; it's too much for many people. Nonetheless they did an outstanding job; standing up for what they believed was right. In the end, the SBVT charges did play a significant role in the election. My 'criticism' is that the charges should have instigated the end of the election, and that isn't the fault of the Swiftees.

(47) Robin Roberts made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 6:45:43 PM | Permalink

VA Jim, how many of the Swift Boat Vets cared whether or not Massachusetts was represented by Kerry versus how many of them cared that they would have him as President.

I don't think that's much of of an argument.

(48) F. Rottles made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 8:23:16 PM | Permalink


we can all make sophistry-cated arguments about Roe being wrongly decided


Not sophistry, sir, but you show your hand. It appears that you'd prefer a deeply flawed Supreme Court decision to, say, legislation passed by elected representatives or, heaven forbid, a constitutional amendment ratified by the country. The end justifies the means, I suppose.

That, sir, is the obstacle to bipartisanship on the life and death questions embedded in the broad abortion issue. The President's approach will be to focus on the Constitution rather than on the litmus test that you might apply to protect a court decision that even legal scholars who are pro-abortion cannot defend on its merits.

(49) F. Rottles made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 8:30:29 PM | Permalink

Robin Roberts, could you clarify your point(s) about the Swiftvets and the senatorial career of John Kerry?

(50) OhMike made the following comment | Nov 7, 2004 10:32:46 PM | Permalink

F. Rottles, I can't speak for Robin Roberts, but this seems the gist of it to me:

One can't fault the Swiftees for not having opposed Kerry earlier. So what if Kerry wove his fabric of lies for 20 years? I'm sure lots of Viet vets exaggerated their exploits. However, NOW Kerry was running for President, and that's why it became necessary to the Swiftees that Kerry be exposed. Considering his calumny against all vets in the 70's, Kerry could not be allowed to reach the White House on the basis of his fraudelent credentials as a war hero.

VA Jim argued the following:

"A very legitimate argument can be made that the SBVT were silent for 20 years; their newly-surfaced allegations rising only to defend the Bush campaign. Where were these complaints through the 80's and 90's? Why has the term "Hanoi Jane" entered popular language (over the resistance of the Left) but not "Hanoi John"?

But Jane Fonda was a celebrity, and John Kerry was a mediocre Senator laboring in relative obscurity for the past 20 years. Kerry DID bcome infamous and reviled by vets for his "Winter Soldier" activities, but it's not a fair argument to say that because the Swiftees didn't mobilize against Kerry 20 years ago with the same energy that they did in this recent campaign, that the greater notoriety of Jane Fonda invalidates the Swiftees charges against Kerry.

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