Friday, November 05, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson On the Election

VDH has been featured on this site many times. He is one of the most respected military historians and thinkers in America today and his article on the outcome of the election is one of the best that has been written. An excerpt:

Some of us have been saying for months that there was no way John Kerry was going to erase a stubborn 2-3 percent shortfall, for a variety of reasons. His unsolvable problems ranged from his Brahmin, aristocratic coldness and deductive pessimism, to his transparent and opportunistic flip-flopping, to the venomous "help" of the Michael Moore/Howard Dean/Al Franken extremist fringe, to the incongruity of billionaires voicing boutique leftism — whether that be the often-polarizing Teresa Heinz Kerry or the creepy George Soros. The electorate also sensed that a Kerry victory would represent to the Europeans, the Arabs, and our enemies in the field a repudiation of the current struggle against the terrorists.
Two multimillionaire lawyers from the East Coast were not populists in the manner of a Richard Gephardt, and it was the epitome of arrogance to pretend that they were. Now is not the time for the Democrats to harp about "a divided county," but to ensure that next time Hollywood,, rock stars, and billionaire currency speculators do not headline their campaign, though venom and money they may bring. Perhaps someone in the Democratic party will tally up a Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry and conclude that there is a pattern here that leads to political suicide. And perhaps the world will conclude that America, thank God, still stands firm against the utopian socialism of the U.N., Europe, and its own privileged sophisticates.
In addition, most of us did not think that all the shrill and increasingly desperate efforts of Michael Moore, the New York Times, Dan Rather, ABC News, Ted Kopel, and Bruce Springsteen would turn the tide. In fact, most of us suspected that they might very well boomerang and ensure victory for President Bush — despite a supposedly "rocky" economy in key states, a war that was systematically reported, in biased fashion, as an American quagmire, and Kerry's smooth debating skills.
Even the election-evening hysteria — exit polls supposedly presaging a massive Kerry turnaround; mythical talk of the radical youth vote, the new Hispanic muscle, etc.; the on-air commentary of mainstream, teary-eyed talking heads sexing up a Kerry upset while the polls were still open in the West — could not pull it off. Despite all that and more, George Bush still out performed Bill Clinton by being reelected with a majority vote and increasing his partisan margins in both the House and Senate.
Despite losing the majority of state legislatures and governorships, the U.S. Congress, the presidency, and soon the Supreme Court, our anointed elite still doesn't quite get it. Middle America can be amused by, but still despise, Michael Moore. It can be uneasy with the pessimistic reporting from Iraq, but still be very much willing to finish the war and win at all costs. It may enjoy a trip to Europe, but does not wish to emulate the French, Germans, or Greeks.
The East and West Coasts and the big cities may reflect the sway of the universities, the media, Hollywood, and the arts, but the folks in between somehow ignore what the professors preach to their children, what they read in the major newspapers, and what they are told on TV. The Internet, right-wing radio, and cable news do not so much move Middle America as reflect its preexisting deep skepticism of our aristocracy and its engineered morality imposed from on high.
The Democrats now lament that America would prefer to be "wrong" with George Bush than "right" with them. They will no doubt adduce a number of other paradoxes, excuses, and sorrows. But the fact is that the Left was united, well-funded, and ran the most vitriolic campaign in the Democratic party's history — and still lost, taking all branches of power with it. The New York Times and the major networks have undone their legacy of a half-century, and in the desire for cheap partisan advantage have ruined the reputations of anchor men, the very notion of fair front-page reporting, and, indeed, the useful concept itself of an exit poll. 60 Minutes, Nightline, ABC News — these are now seen by millions as mere highbrow versions of Fahrenheit 9/11.
Much of the world — in Europe, among the dictatorships and autocracies of the Middle East, and indeed among the terrorists themselves — realized that the presidential election was a referendum on America's will in both Afghanistan and Iraq. So be it. Thus the president's victory is a strong message to the Arab League that democracy is coming to the Middle East as it did earlier to Germany, Japan, South Korea, Panama, Serbia, and Afghanistan, and a message to the terrorists that their beheadings, their sick infomercials, and their deified mass murderers will only earn a rendezvous with defeat if not annihilation. The farmers of Utah, the plant workers of Ohio, and the immigrants of Florida are not the same folk as those of Spain. America saw the election-eve face of bin Laden, heard his pathetic rant — and shrugged that he, not it, was going down.

Read the whole thing and pass it on.

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