Bruce Bartlett

An extremely important debate is going on within both parties today that will have a very important impact on our nation?s future political direction.  The basic question is: Why did George Bush win and why did John Kerry lose?

 There are many different ways this question can be answered.  Many will look at it in purely geographical terms.  Why did Kerry lose states that Al Gore won?  Others will look at it in organizational terms.  Why was Bush better able to turn out his base?

 Others will frame the question tactically.  For example, was it is mistake for Kerry to bring up Mary Cheney?s sexual orientation during the last debate?  Many will also say that it all boiled down to the candidates.  Bush was just a better candidate than Kerry.

 The answers to these questions will do a lot to determine who the nominees of the respective parties will be in 2008.  If Democrats conclude that Kerry was just a bad candidate, but everything else was fine, then they will simply look for someone who has whatever Kerry is perceived not to have or lacks whatever baggage he is thought to carry.

 The post election debate will also determine congressional strategy.  Because many Democrats believed that the 2000 election was essentially stolen from them and that Bush was therefore not a legitimate president, they felt justified in following a scorched earth policy.  They blocked his judicial nominations, threw roadblocks in front of many of his initiatives, and resisted cooperation even on measures they basically supported, such as Medicare drug coverage.

 Right now, Democrats seem to be leaning toward the idea that Bush?s victory is based primarily on turning out religious nuts to vote for him.  These people are viewed in certain Democratic quarters as the American Taliban.  It is thought that if they gain political power, not only will abortion and gay marriage be banned, but so will dancing, rock and roll, and any movie with an ?R? rating.

 This is nothing but nonsense, but is commonly believed in places like Hollywood and New York?s upper west side.  They really believe that Bush is the Ayatollah and it?s only a matter of time before all women are walking around in burkas.    No wonder they fought Bush so strenuously.

Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Bartlett is a former senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis of Dallas, Texas. Bartlett is a prolific author, having published over 900 articles in national publications, and prominent magazines and published four books, including Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action.

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