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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Initial post-election thoughts

Not sure how much of my previous blog/ I want to republish here. I'll limit it to my first post-election result; that will the extent of the overlap.

So here it is, written over the last few hours:

Tues, Nov 2:

It's still Nov 2 here. The last place is in the country where that's true: 11:06pm PST, Nov 2 2004. Did we really just witness the re-election of GW Bush? (Or fail to re-defeat him, depending on what you think of the electoral college, Florida 2000 and the ensuing Supreme Court decision?)

If that's the case, it's on. Not sure exactly what it is...but it is certainly on.

Two initial links which I'm feeling so far. Please take a look:

(1) An obituary I caught in City Pages, written by none other than Greil Marcus:
"Former President George W. Bush Dead at 72"
(dateline October 5, 2018)

I did a doubletake too, when I first saw the headline on the City Pages site. Read it. What will Bush's obituary look like? Is this what we're just voted for? Not just a continuation, but actually an acceleration of the radical right's agenda? These are the possibilities of a 2nd Bush term. An adminstration that will perhaps have something of a mandate even.

Man, I got to take a deep breath.

I was going to paste in some passages from the obit, but I'll refrain for the most part, and limit it to a few of the potential accomplishments of a 2nd Bush term Marcus speculates upon: the
dismantling of Social Security and Medicare; "taxation of personal and corporate incomes...effectively replaced by a new payroll tax"; the establishment of a "Bush Court" which strikes down gov't regulation of corporations and Roe v Wade; a privatized paramilitary force used to invades Iran and Korean (a nice touch: that leads to an India-Pakistan one-day.) Alarmist and shrill? Maybe. But firmly within the realm of the possible: a radical restructuring of our society.

Got the local CBS affiliate on TV right now. They're interviewing the Contra Costa County GOP Chair. People in the backgroud with "Viva Bush" signs. Huh? There's something weird there...sort of like those reports of a pledge of allegiance to Bush at Bush-Cheney rallies in the closing weeks of the campaign.

(Read this Oct 29 TPM entry. As JMM writes, it's half-bizarre/half-chilling. I heard a soundbite, must have been on NPR--GWB leading the crowd in this pledge. On one level it sounds innocuous enough--Bush calling people to "stand with me" on a number of litany of...not issues really, but "values." Check Reuters: "Bush Urges Americans to 'Come Stand with Me'" from Sunday. And, I imaginging this, or were the rally attendees then asked to raise their right hand in pledging allegiance? Even if it's not yet happened, it's not a stretch. Again JMM: "Can you say 'cult of personality'?" (Another half-bizarre/half-disturbing aspect of this: All of those Bush-Cheney rally attendees were very carefully screened as not only Bush supporters, but loyal to Bush. Dissent is strictly forbidden.)

Dang, already 12:30am (Nov 3 now. A new day in America, so to speak). And just now getting to the 2nd of the two links I was going to put up in what was going to be a quick initial entry:

(2) This dailyKos's "Final Thoughts (for now)". Please read this one too.

I'm stepping back from calling this, as Kos does, "a war." (A war against whom? The radical right? the Bush administration? it's misinformation? Karl Rove's electoral machine, and/or his master plan? white evangelicals? a misinformed electorate? Some agglomeration of all that?)

Latest news on the EC: CNN has Bush at 254, Kerry at 242, with the following states still not called: NM (5 EC votes), WI (10), IA (7), and of course Ohio (20). If Kerry wins WI, which is possible and perhaps even probable, then Ohio would take him over the top (242 + 10 + 20 = 272).

But the count in Ohio is not encouraging: Bush ahead by approx 145,000. But with the provisional ballots and the lawsuits already filed, Ohio will likely well be in the courts for a while. Ohio is the new Florida. See what appears to the Times lead: "With Echoes of 2000 Vote, Ohio Count Is at Issue", and in particular how Nagourney interpreted John Edwards's remarks: "In what sounded like a hint of concerted legal action ahead, Mr. Edwards added tersely: 'John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people that in this election, every vote would count and every vote would be counted. Tonight, we are keeping our word.'"

Note that 269-269 is still a possibility (Ohio and IA for Kerry, NM and WI for Bush), but improbable.

OK, enough for tonight. More soon. Got some thoughts I need to develop and get down in writing over the next few days: the growing political divide between the "red" and the "blue" tribes of the nation; how that maps to "the culture wars" (there's that "w" word again); and
what that very real and deep division means for the continued possibility of a truly United States of America (i.e., in what sense United).

One last thing: opened the day with an encouraging and optimistic scene in the Mission (see my initial election day entry). Closed the day on a different note: guys outside of Kilowatt on 16th St, burning W dolls on the sidewalk.

1 comment:

Johnee99 said...

Son,
the obit. piece was an interesting exercise. I awoke this morning also with a heavy heart, but also having learned a few things about our country. We have been preaching to the converted this entire election. For every new democratic voter we signed up, the republicans signed one up too. But nobody was ready for that reality--the GOP were working the heartland, speaking their language, and doing it with respect, while the DNC was dancing on the coasts and trying to fire up youngsters with hip hop. Nobody really wants to make an argument for the masses in the middle, for the latinos who have been hoodwinked by this priesident etc.

GWB is the first stridently anti-intellectual president we have known. Think about this.

And, how did he win? Stayed on message like a MF: Terrorism/Security...kept preaching the fear. Classic Billy Graham scare em/save em' strategy. Most Americans are so busy watching reality tv, that all Bush had to do is call Kerry a "flip-flopper" and continue scaring the hell out of them. "Keep it simple, stupid...KISS" Furthermore, I don't think this is necessarily about what media source you prefer (NPR vs. Rush etc.)--I've been listening to alot of Air America lately, mostly for comedy, and all it does is preach to the converted and make it easy for us to disregard the "other" and not reach out to them, or only communicate to them as a hostile "other". No progress, because we are all so fucking smart, too fucking smart to realize we got beaten by somebody who prides himself on his penchant for the malprop...