As Ohio goes, so goes the nation

With a gap in the popular vote of more than 3 million votes and an apparent lead in Ohio, I think President Bush has earned another four years in office. Much as it disappoints me to think that the Democrats have come up short in a third straight national election, I actually would prefer that resolution than a Kerry victory (somehow) in Ohio (and, as a result, an electoral colleve victory as well).

The roots of the country’s division go well beyond the 2000 election, but the boundaries of that division hardened quite a bit throughout that election. Without speaking to the merits of either side’s arguments in 2000, factually speaking, President Bush lost the popular vote nation-wide by more than a half-million votes. That fact alone was cited repeatedly by Democrats who, in pointing to the irregularities in Florda, claimed that he was somehow not the rightful victor.

The country needs a legitimate victor. And that appears to me to be President Bush. The next four years will continue to be divisive. Better that the division is borne out in policy disagreements than arguments over the election results.

On a broader note, it’s clear that last night’s results portend a wholesale upheaval in the Democratic Party. (Or at least they should. How much more evidence do they need?) The two party leaders who shepherded the party’s disastrous 2002 mid-term elections (Daschle and Gephardt) are now gone. We’ve lost seats in the House and the Senate. I’ve not yet paid enough attention to the state races to know how they played out.

But the Republicans are fighting on moral issues, while the Democrats are trying to fight on economic issues. Ask yourself this: who are the Democrats on the national stage who are speaking authoritatively on moral issues? (From exit polls last night, 80% of those who cited “moral issues” as their most important issue voted for President Bush.) I can think of only one politician who’s been speaking nationally on the subject, who can do so naturally without appearing forced. If there’s any silver lining from yesterday’s results, it’s that Barack Obama has embraced a core Republican tactic and made it his own. We’ll see who else can pattern themselves after Barack’s approach; I’d love to know who’s out there that can do it.

4 responses to “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation”

  1. Rick, I completely agree with you that Barack's message (we're not red states and blue states, we're the United States) is the future. And, Barack does an amazing job of talking about the importance of faith in an inclusive manner, as opposed to the proselytizing of the right.But I don't have too much hope that we will turn a significant number of the “morals” voters to the progressive movement. Those who voted for Bush and say “morality” was the driving issue were speaking in code, and we're just on the wrong side of that code. Morality, for those people, means a hard-right wing version of christian morals that will never accept the equality of gays; the right to make reproductive choices; and the diversity of religious thought in this country.We Democrats should be hunting elsewhere for our countervailing bloc of voters.

  2. Please, pretty pretty please read this message and bare with me here. I have made my rounds across conservative web blogs urging conservatives not to boast or gloat.I do not want 'Sore Winners' out of Conservatives in this nation. I do not want conservatives to get a false sense of security.HOWEVERI have strongly believed in the same exact things that Rush Limbaugh believes in over the course my entire life. I can actually go beyond Rush Limbaugh and see precisely HOW the Democratic Party and Liberals can change for the better.You may not see it in me.. But I do 'love' Liberals. I love you guys. I love Democrats. I understand you guys. I understand where you come from. I don't agree with you on 1-issue items. But there is 1 thing I do agree with. I strongly believe that Liberals want to do good. They are genuinely good people. They are great Americans. The key problem is that Liberals do not understand us Conservatives. Instead of trying to understand us Conservatives, you guys 'attack' us. Instead of trying to see why we behave the way we do and see things the way we do you argue and ridicule us.If I had the power.. I seriously could change the entire Democratic Party around. I am not saying that you guys need to agree with us. I am saying that you guys need to understand who you guys are fundamentally and who we are fundamentally and what you can do about it. I call myself the 'American Optimist' and Optimism is a gigantic start in changing the Democratic Party.I feel strongly that Rick Klau is behaving in a manner that tells me that he is as of this moment on the right track. But I sense you are confused about what Democrats should do in the future. I can help.

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