Knowing In Part 

 A collection 

of differing political viewpoints

 that revolve around the

 geographic and political

center of America.


Benton Rogers

Samuel Morton

Sidney Collins

Andrew Jones

Saturday, November 06, 2004
Exit Polls and Explanations
I've read several pieces by different people claiming that gay marriage was the issue driving people to the polls and to vote for Bush. I don't buy it. Here you can look over the national exit polls on many different issues. Let's take a look.

First I want to take a shot at some of the pundits and critics claiming that only stupid people vote for Republicans/Bush.

Vote by Education -
No High School - B - 49% K - 50%
H.S. Grad - B - 52% K - 47%
Some College - B - 54% K - 46%
College Graduate - B - 52% K - 46%
Postgrad Study - B - 44% K - 55%

No College Degree - B - 53% K - 47%
College Degree - B - 49% K - 49%

I could be wrong but it looks like the vote is pretty evenly split. You know, kinda like "Intelligent people can disagree about what is the best way to go with the country." In fact, it looks like Kerry was the one to benefit from the vote of the lowest education level.

Next, one thing that no one really seems to be talking about is the number of Democrats who voted for Bush. Maybe this wouldn't have helped in the swing states, but if you look at the numbers I can't help but feel that at least to some extent, Kerry's defeat was from his inability to convince his own party to vote for him.

By Party ID
Dem. - B - 11% K - 85%
Rep. - B - 93% K - 6%
Ind. - B - 48% K - 49%

Now the Big One - Moral Values

This is the one that lots of people are harping on. 22% of voters cited Moral Values as Most Important Issue. That was out of these options Taxes, Education, Iraq, Terrorism, Economy/Jobs, Moral Values, and Health Care. Notice that of those categories Moral Values is the broadest of the categories. Yes, it does encompass gay marriage but it also includes things like honesty, character, and commitment among many others. Now if we compare the numbers for Most Important Issue with the numbers for Most Important Quality in a Candidate I see a pretty clear connection, that doesn't seem to exist in the number for Support of Gay Marriage.

Most Important Issue

Taxes (5%) - B - 57% K - 43%
Education (4%) - B - 26% K - 73%
Iraq (15%) - B - 25% K - 73%
Terrorism (19%) - B - 86% K - 14%
Economy/Jobs (20%) - B - 18% K - 80%
Moral Values (22%) - B - 80% K - 18%
Health Care (8%) - B - 23% K - 77%

Most Important Quality

Cares About People (9%) - B - 24% K - 75%
Religious Faith (8%) - B - 91% K - 8%
Honest/Trustworthy (11%) - B - 70% K - 29%
Strong Leader (17%) - B - 87% K - 12%
Intelligent (7%) - B - 9% K - 91%
Will Bring Change (24%) - B - 5% K - 95%
Clear Stand on Issues (17%) - B - 79% K - 20%

Policy Toward Same-Sex Couples

Legally Marry (25%) - B - 22% K - 77%
Civil Unions (35%) - B - 52% K - 47%
No Legal Recognition (37%) - B - 70% K - 29%

So there are the numbers. It looks to me like there is probably a better connection to Honesty, Clear Stand on the Issues, and Strong Leadership than to opposition to gay marriage. I say this not only because of the numbers in Important Quality but also because Bush won a majority of the vote from people who support Civil Unions.

So anyway, that is my take on this particular issue.

Hope everyone is having a great day.

The Solution to what is Wrong with Democrats
Hey... I am travel blogging (from the Lehigh Valley International Airport) so I won't have links in this post yet.

BUT... having read the internet to a detrimental level the last few day I have been reading various and sundry analysese of what went wrong with the Democrats.

I'll try to link to a few of the answers I have gleaned from the great jabbering mess that is he internet. It seems that everyone has a solution to fixing the Democrats, with most of the analysis coming from the right side of the political divide.

So I'll cut to the chase:

My fellow Democrats. It seems we were deluded in our beliefs. According to a great many if the backers of the winning team in this election, the solution to returning to relevance is... become Republicans.

That would be me. I'll no longer think that the election was won based on "morals issues". Andrew Sullivan says so as well as David Brooks so I'll just leave off with the me being wrong bit.

The new conventional wisdom (is the old conventional wisdom) that the election turned on terrorism and security. Fine, that is better that my origianl fears that hordes of bigots just selected the President, and would now demand their just rewards. I look for over pandering still though as there is not reason to burn any bridges.

Friday, November 05, 2004
Mandate and the Shaping of Government
Check out this article on Talking Points Memo (Josh Marshall). Its what I was trying to articulate, but I lacked the proper way of saying it.

Oh... that mandate... seems to have not really been about gay marriage, securty, or terrorism. Since Bush has now moved privitization of Social Security to the front of the list, it appears to have really been about the rights major agenda. Expect vouchers, significant tax code reform (national sales tax anyone), and maybe even the destruction of a few pesky Departments to be mentioned soon enough. If you can stand the MSM for a bit, here is an article all about it.

And so it begins.

Critical points in the election
Read this. My response is "Yep".

But one note of disagreement. Too many have claimed that one or two critical issues, decisions, moments were essentially responsible for the Kerry/Democrat loss. I believe this article is accurate until the author pegs the choice of Edwards as VP candidate as THE critical moment of critical moments. I do not think there was ONE critical moment in the election. The author, up to that point in the article, offers the perspective that several issues/decisions were critical.

I just do not believe that 280 million people agree/disagree on a key issue. No single mistake lead to the outcome.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Ex-Marine's Blog
If you want to see some excellent still-connected former "boots on the ground"Marine pondering you should check out The Adventures of Chester. This is the kind of analysis Belmont Club used to present before he went all political.
A Bit of Response... A Dash of explanation
Sid, sorry to have made you mad. I had just been reading endless screeds about how the Democrats use fraud and the incompetent as excuses for wining elections. Then listening to the crowing about the mandate that was just delivered. And I assume that I interpreted your writing through the lens of the others comments. I was tired and I really knew better. Its like stepping on your cats tail. It hisses and bites at you, but still wants you to pet it soon enough. I think I am done hissing.

What my post was really about was that mandate I mentioned above. From my losing 49% side of the country it doesn't really look like a mandate. However I think I said that it was all the values voters. Maybe not as I think Ben wanted to discuss with me this morning. However the states that had referendums to change their constitution (always bad in Sam's book) to either affect same-sex marriage or abortion alone counted for 2 million of the 3 million vote spread. He received more than 1 million more votes in 2004 in those states alone over what he got in 2000. Maybe there are elements of defense and security. However I still wonder about that, since he did not win the states that had experienced the terror attacks firsthand.

I want everyone to read this little note by Bill Bennet in the NRO. And I do think this is a real issue. I am afraid of what Grover Norquist opined today. I am afraid that now they think that with 1.1% of America more on their side they have all the authroization "go to town" on their agenda. Please tell me what part of the GOP agenda that covers terrorism and security that would lead to the above comments? I tell you this in honesty, because that is what happened to the Democratic party in the 60s and 70s. Its why my party is so weak right now.

I fear it because that is what the state legislatures do when they change hands. And what is to think anything else might change. A lot can happen both good and bad in 2 years (until the midterm elections), so I hope the better angels of the Republican party are going to work overtime.

Now... back to other issues.

NO... I think I want to give you this UPDATE: Check out Laura Rozens blog War and Peace. She gives us the text from a Wall Street Journal article about just what I was afraid of.

Back to real issues
They are both right. We need a larger force and we need a more skilled force.

Having been sent for 3 months of mopping up in Panama, called up for Desert Storm as an Inactive Ready Reservist, and deployed to support the mission in Bosnia as a member of the National Guard, I have grown tired of the heart-touching interviews of family members coping with the deployment of a loved one. I have grown angry with the stories of the financial problems of guard and reserve families. I have gone into blind rages about the stories of troop numbers. Well, maybe not blind rage. But I would like to have 5 minutes in a dark alley with Leon "Base Closure & Realignment" Peonetta.

The US sent 15,000 troops into Bosnia. To do that, 25,000 National Guard and Reserve forces were activated. Do the math. We have too few troops and we have too many troops. We have too few troops in the form of warriors. We have too many troops in an out-dated structure.

The problem appears to be that we have to call on too few individuals too often. We are wearing out certain units and certain groups with critical abilities. That would indicate that we need more forces with certain abilitities and fewer forces with unused abitlities. Both Sen. Kerry and President Bush are half correct.

The answers are political nightmares. A good Democrat will have to argue for MORE spending on the military and a good Republican will have to argue for FEWER system purchases.

I was stationed at Fort Ord (Monterey), CA from 1987-90. That was Leon's congressional district. I listened for far too long to him harp the popular Democratic line that the US spent too much on the military and with the collapse of the Soviet Union we no longer needed a big military. In 2004, the Dems actually gained some ground with the idea that the forces were too small. True. But who's fault is that?????
May He Rest In Peace

My faith is based on forgiveness I do not deserve and cannot earn. As such, I cannot deny others forgiveness. I hope that he repents and passes without suffering.
I am not convinced
I am not convinced that this is true.

I believe that both parties should be asking the hard questions. But I am waiting for some action. I would like to see both parties move to the middle or a more balanced and coherent position. The steel tariff was always a puzzling move for a Republican president. But why did the Democrats not embrace NCLB when so many lesser-known African-American groups were lauding the legislation as the best thing since integration?

Both parties need to kick out the crazies who all too often get a chance to hold the naiton's steering wheel.

I will believe the parties are asking the hard questions when I have to choose between the McCain/Rice or the Leiberman/Gephardt ticket. Good luck.

Update - I read James Lileks and a thought came to me. What would an internal monologue for John Kerry tell us? To really get inside his head. Would he give us the dirt on the DNC inner workings?

I can imagine this internal monologue for John Kerry: Great, a war we can support and none of the loons will think we are blood-thirsty war-mongers for voting yes. Who??? John Edwards??? Who??? Have I met him somewhere before???? He is running. Hell, if they think that kid can run, I should jump in the race. What??? Shut up Howard!!!!!! We all voted for the war. I was on the Senate Intelligence Committee when W was in baseball. Saddam has WMD. UN, EU, NATO, CIA, FBI, M-6, Israel, Iran, they all agree, he has the stuff. What??? He doesn't. Nothing. Well @#$$&***!!! Did he ever have it? Great, the loons are really gonna want us to be anit-war now. And I voted for it. What the???? I guess I'm the anti-war candidate now. Man, John Edwards is short. Oh well. I am against the war. I hope no one notices. Do this people have short attention spans????

Seriously though. Sen. Kerry was gracious in his speech. I wish him well. But will the DNC sit down with him and hear what he has to say. Obviously, some of the country was willing to listen to him.
We Could All Use A Good Laugh
After reading Sam's post below, I have to admit at first I was a little angry. I thought he was intentionally misreading or twisting my post. But, I slept on it. Sam is a friend. If he honestly got that impression from my work, then maybe I need to use a little more finesse or directness or both in my writing.

Whatever. Let it go.

I want you to read this article. Then, ask yourself, have they tried spanking?

If you are not laughing, or at least grinning, then you need counseling. Maybe a good inpatient treatment facility with Big Nurse and padded walls.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
So Kerry was the better man.
It is over. Kerry has conceeded and congratulated President Bush.

The Long Dark Winter of the Democratic Party
Well I'll call it for Bush. There is really no reason to think otherwise at this point. I would enjoy being wrong this time but honestly its not going to happen.

Two points I'd like to make:

Sid. Provisional ballots are not the same as those butterfly ballots. As we have all discussed the election went to Bush in the recounts and that was that. However your statement in the beginning seems to boil down to: If you can't vote correctly, you shouldn't get to vote. Maybe I am wrong in my interpretation. However I honestly find the thought that someone would be told your opinion doesn't matter because you are in the wrong place to be offensive. Here in PA. I was NEVER told where to vote, and only found out by asking EVERY person I meet until the next to last day when I found out. My apartment is 500 feet from a polling station; however it was not the one I voted in. So, since there were large numbers of first time voters, little good publication regarding locations, and poor preparation for the large turnout, I think the provisional ballots are a good thing. As a point of evidence, Donald Trump was mistakenly moved from his registration by the State of New York (look it up and you get the whole story). So he used a provisional ballot. Was he a fault? Should he have expected that things would change without him being told? Should his vote go in the shredder? Tennessee has early voting, which is a form of provisional balloting. A goodly chunk of the problems in Ohio are due to the fact that we seem to (as a country) need instant validation. So screw the slow, or mistake voter… Onward, upward, faster and faster.

I don't like vote fraud. But I also despise disenfranchisement. I will leave my comment on this thread with this: If you are legally allowed to vote, and for some reason (that is not illegal) you end up not being able to vote in the ideal fashion, you should be able to vote provisionally.

Secondly, one of my brightest and more moderate students and I were discussing the results last night around 2:00 AM. We were watching, in addition to the results, the answers to the exit polling questions. The issues I thought would be important were not. Securities, the war, the economy (all weakness for Kerry in many opinions) were not the clinchers. It was the vague "values" category that seemed to have a large upswing in the results. I'll couch this by the fact that if Bush was better in economics and security then he should have won the states with the most to lose. Sorry that didn't happen. What he did win was the "values" battle. I honestly cannot understand that since Bush is anything but a good guy on values, unless you ignore EVERYTHING before he was 40 and turn a blind eye to his haughtiness and behavior in office.

You might be willing to argue with me on this, but I ask you to look at Ohio. Read the constitutional amendment they voted for. It goes miles beyond gay marriage. So my honest feeling is that the main turning point in this election was the "eww ick" factor. If the larger upswing of voters were evangelicals, and it seems that Rove was correct regarding that, then the fact that gay people wanted to have a marriage/civil union got Bush elected.

Since I think the government should be out of the marriage business period, I am feeling extremely marginalized. I am afraid that since wining the White House again, controlling the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, the Republicans will do whatever they want now. I hope to be wrong again. I have been dreading this outcome all along because I really see no reason for any expectations otherwise.

So now it is time for me to tighten my coat and get ready to wander through the coming long dark winter of the Democratic Party. I don't see how we can come back from this, or what issue is going to change the partisan cementation of the country.

Voting Incompetence
Four years later and the Democratic Party is still relying on voter incompetence.

The Great Dimpled Chad Controversy of 2000 has been repackaged four years later as the Great Provisional Ballot Controversy of 2004. In 2000, the election was held hostage while quasi-official election officials sorted through the Florida ballots attempting to discern in many cases what could not be discerned. My favorite method of discerning ballots would be to place each one in a sealed envelope and have Johnny Carson place it on his forehead. The menu of 2000 was dimpled chads, overvoting, and voting technology.

Flash forward four years. For this election, we have one state holding up the election because of counting provisional and absentee ballots. Both are indications of voting incompetence, the first of the individual voter and the later of the various voting bureaucracies.

The issue of provisional ballots is mind-numbing to me. The right to vote is not a guarantee against personal failure to properly vote. The use of provisional ballots should be fairly limited and well-regulated. If there has been some plausible process error on the part administration, then the voter should be given the benefit of doubt. The vote can be easily verified. I can see this happening if a change of address has occurred fairly close to registration and election deadlines. There should be fairly few provisional ballots. Simply not even close to the number at play in this election. What appears to have happened in Ohio is a massive surge in uninformed voters. If an individual does not follow the rules for voting, they have to forfeit their vote. If the technology of voting confuses you and you have not taken the time to become more informed, you forfeit you vote.

The bureaucratic incompetence in voting also is mind-numbing. In all the reports I have seen or read, there appears to have been no or inadequate preparation for counting absentee ballots. In my military days, we had some inventive, profane terms that adequately described the lack of planning evident in Ohio. I have pledged to quit using profanities for the betterment of my daughter. However, if I were an a citizen of Ohio, heads would roll over this part of the controversy. Absentee ballots are the extra efforts of citizens to vote. The absentee voter has taken several additional steps to vote and the bureaucracy in Ohio seems willing to count this votes only if the election is so close as to matter. If then.

It is voting. A really big count of hands. Hands up all in favor of X candidate, referendum, iniative, what have you. The yeas have it. We elect homecoming queens and class presidents in every school in the US. Why can't we graduate to the big leagues of competent voting?

If I were a Democrat (is plausible had Gephardt or Leiberman been nominated), I would be ashamed that once again my party was relying on a huge surge of incompetence to win an election.

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