I'm not convinced of that, mind you. But I do think that one of these candidates is going to win by 6 to 8 points, and it might be Bush. So what next? Howie Kurtz has one of two Washington Post pieces on that topic. (The other piece is here.)
Kurtz quotes Katrina van den Heuvel as saying that, should Bush win, the left "will continue to fight the good fight during what we think is the dismantling of our democracy."
What does that even mean? Does van den Heuvel think that in 2008 a President Bush would cancel elections? Repeal the 22nd Amendment? Install Jeb as president in a military junta? Does she think he would abolish the Senate and scrap the Electoral College, as fellow left-winger John Sperling proposes?
Of course not.
Now this doesn't mean that Bush is a faultless president--or even worthy of reelection. (As Andy Ferguson put it, the thinly disguised secret of the 2004 election is that "Republicans are supporting a candidate that relatively few of them find personally or politically appealing.")
But here's what it does mean: Almost since the day Bush arrived in Washington, Democrats in general and liberals in particular have been incapable of making a case against him without resorting to hysterical, idiotic hyperbole.
The left could have argued that the Bush Doctrine wasn't militarily sustainable after a decade of defense build-down. They could have argued that democracy is not a universal solvent and that cultural differences between El Salvador and Iraq make lessons from the one impractical for the other. They could have argued that while removing Saddam was a noble goal, the risks of a theocratic--or a lawless, terrorist-run--Iraq made war imprudent. They could have argued that Bush and Donald Rumsfeld were overly-concerned with transformation, and failed to commit adequate troops to post-war Iraq. If they really wanted to, they could even have argued that, by failing to pay attention to history and the FAA, Bush contributed to the intelligence failure responsible for September 11. They could have--God knows, this would have been nice--come up with a coherent, detailed, strategy for how to approach a global war against Islamist radicalism.
There has been ample room to criticize this president at nearly every turn during his tenure.
But what has the left given us?
* No Blood for Oil
* Bush went to war for his daddy
* Bush knew about 9/11
* Bush lied about WMDs
* The Patriot Act is destroying our liberties
* Bush is dismantling our democracy
If Bush wins, it will be in large part because a bilious, irresponsible wing of liberalism hijacked the Democratic party. Yet at the moment of Kerry's defeat, these same forces of insanity will claim that Democrats failed because they weren't tough enough. And these same people--the Sperlings and Kos's of the world--will try to convince to main body of the the Democratic party to crawl further out on a limb with them.
If Bush wins--and I can hardly believe I'm saying this--it will be up to Bill and Hillary Clinton to save the Democratic party from itself.
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(Though I might suggest "Kosses" or even the Hellenically appropriate "Koi.")
Looks like I'm one of those "relatively few" Republicans that Andy Ferguson referred to that find President Bush personally or politically appealing. What kind of drivel is that? Speaking as a father, veteran, and business owner I can say that Bush is the most appealing choice the GOP has presented to me(although I must admit a short lived temptation with the idea of supporting Forbes) since Reagan, for whom I proudly cast my first vote. I'm predicting an 8-10 point win and an electoral slam dunk. There are more of us than you think...............we just need to show up.
Just 5 years ago Paul Krugman was moderate free market economist, Comedy Central's the Daily Show was just light-hearted poke at the news (not a news source itself), David Brock wasn't seen by the left as an authority on media ethics, most liberals admitted that Michael Moore was kook, and Noam Chomsky published only in obscure fringe rags, not The New York Times.
The only thing that hasn't changed is that Gary Trudeau has always been a Democratic Party hack.
The radicalization of the left has been unfortunately overlooked in this election, but it ought to be an issue. No matter who wins, there's a whole new generation of Democratic Party activists (and a few Republicans) out there who think people like Chomsky, Howard Zinn, the late Edward Said, etc., have all the answers. They have strengthened their hold on the Democratic Party and intend to flex their power, should they get a chance.
Maybe all of the smug libertarians, paleocons and other "independent" Republicans thinking of backing "anybody but Bush" should give that a moment's consideration.
The probability of Kerry winning by 6 to 8 pts. is infinitesimally small. Traders in the political markets expect W. to win. More importantly, opinion surveys show that most voters expect W. to win, this being distinct from which candidate voters plan to vote for.
I'm always amused by the professional commentariat's reluctance to call this election for Bush. He'll probably win, but the temptation of having a contrarian position is so tempting. Feel free to pick Kerry if you must, but if you want to make a quick buck, lay your bets on Bush.
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