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The Spirit of '72

I've seen some comparisons to the 1972 election floating around out there. The correct part of this analogy is that Bush is very similar to Nixon in his approach to governance. The incorrect parts, however, are legion. Bush and Nixon, first off, are nothing alike in terms of their political appeal. Another important point is that Kerry didn't do nearly as badly as McGovern. A related, though less optimistic, side of that same coin is that Kerry was nowhere near as bold and innovative a candidate as McGovern was. Last, but by no means least, one crucial element in the unraveling of Nixonism was that he faced a Democratic congress which was capable of taking credible media allegations of criminal conduct and investigating them. Credible media allegations of criminal content we've had plenty of already for the past four years, what the country hasn't seen are the investigation, because there's no majority party with a partisan interest in pursuing them. Whether any of the various allegations out there or to be made in the future ever amount to anything, therefore, relies on either the good will and principle of some Republican members, or a Democratic recapture of one or the other house in 2006. I don't think either looks likely, though I might be wrong.

November 5, 2004 | Permalink


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» He lost! He lost! He LOST he LOST he LOST! from Nutbar
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I doubt the GOP impeaching Bush even if he goes berserk with a Uzi in a Catholic girl's school. We just have to live with another 4 years of Hell, and put as many barriers in his way as possible, especially filibusters in the Senate. However, even that may not be possible, since the new Senate can change the rules so filibusters can be broken with a majority vote. Let's try to survive.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Nov 5, 2004 12:48:23 AM

Exactly. Bush or his staff have already committed crimes more serious that anything Nixon did.

Nobody in the "Gods, Guns and Gays" camp seems to give a flying fuck. That, or they have the deluded, cult-like belief that it is all just a creation of a vindictive "liberal media."

These are dark times, people. We are in for some nasty shit.

Posted by: Timothy Klein | Nov 5, 2004 12:52:42 AM

Whoa Vaughn, that's not innovative. Running away to New Mexico or Oklahoma isn't innovative either. The Democrats have seriously lost their innovative spirit when they consider partisan interest in pursuing [investigations] based on "credible" media sources.

There's about eleventeen things wrong with this one already...

Posted by: Drew - Dallas, TX | Nov 5, 2004 1:00:12 AM

can Eliot Spitzer investigate them somehow?

(joking. kinda.)

Posted by: Katherine | Nov 5, 2004 1:10:00 AM

Democratic recapture of the House or Senate in 2006? God, the delusion. You should be thinking more in terms of not falling below filibuster level in the Senate than trying to retake it.

Maybe you could spend another four years calling the South a bunch of racist rednecks, then wonder why they don't vote Democratic.

And what's with the Democratic hope of an eventual "demographic victory"? Hispanics were about 7.5% of the votes cast this election (6.5% in 2000), and only went 55-45 for Kerry, and are concentrated in states (CA, TX, NY) that aren't in play anyway. If you're waiting for Mexican-Americans to save you from electoral hell, you'd better pack a lunch.

Posted by: Zapper | Nov 5, 2004 1:26:59 AM

"I've seen some comparisons to the 1972 election floating around out there. ... The incorrect parts, however, are legion."

The correct parts of the comparison are also legion.

The unusual way the challenger focused on foreign policy issues
The tone-deaf intensity of the Democratic opposition
The Silent Majority values backlash

Posted by: Petey | Nov 5, 2004 1:44:33 AM

I've come to that conclusion lately-that the only remaining check and balance (hope) (against Bush) is the good will and principle (sanity even) of the legislators and judges that have identified themselvs with the republican party-unfortunately now, they are the ones we will have to rely on to create boundaries for him.

Posted by: kid | Nov 5, 2004 1:55:33 AM


"This chart makes the trend obvious. In states with paper ballots and audit trails, the exit polls accurately predicted the vote results. In states using electronic machines, the vote results were distorted in favor of Bush."

source - http://www.whatreallyhappened.com

Posted by: aaa | Nov 5, 2004 1:56:02 AM

aaa, I find it typical that you are immediately convinced of the numbers of the exit polls (which if I'm not mistaken aren't the actual polls) are a perfect baseline on which to measure the electronic properties - even when all counties aren't accounted for yet!

I guess that Christmas Island already knows huh?

Posted by: Drew - Dallas, TX | Nov 5, 2004 2:07:09 AM

Matt, your sanity is beginning to grate.

Posted by: godoggo | Nov 5, 2004 2:07:50 AM

Excuse me - the non-electronic polls aren't known yet - needless to say, the only obvious thing is that the 10,000 lawyers prepared to tackle the original issue that aaa has pointed out are silent.

Posted by: Drew - Dallas, TX | Nov 5, 2004 2:16:03 AM

Hmmm... are the appeals really so different? I thought that Nixon clobbered McGovern on "acid, amnesty and abortion" which would seem to translate roughly to 'moral values.' Then again, I learned most of my history in this field from Hunter S. Thompson, so who knows what the truth is...

Posted by: neil | Nov 5, 2004 2:23:46 AM

How do Dems win in 2008?

Bush won 286 electoral votes, Kerry 252.

Bush won by 5% or less in only five states: Iowa (7 EV, 1% margin), New Mexico (5 EV, 1% margin), Ohio (20 EV, 2% margin), Nevada (5 EV, 3% margin) and Florida (27 EV, 5% margin).

The 2008 Dem nominee needs to pick up 18 EVs to get to 270. So Ohio alone would do it -- but only if he also held on to every state Kerry won this time.

And Kerry has six states he won by less than 5%: New Hampshire (1%), Pennsylvania (2%), Wisconsin (1%), Minnesota (3%), Oregon (4%) and Michigan (3%). That's a lot of pluckable fruit for the GOP 2008 nominee, too.

Uphill climb for Democrats in 2008 -- again. Starting to look like the dems have to draw an inside straight to win a presidential election.

Posted by: Zapper | Nov 5, 2004 2:38:36 AM


I am the man who will fight for your honor.

I'll be the hero you're dreaming of.

We'll live forever...knowing together

that we did it all for the glory of love.


Posted by: Modern Crusader | Nov 5, 2004 3:03:02 AM

"Uphill climb for Democrats in 2008 -- again. Starting to look like the dems have to draw an inside straight to win a presidential election."

Not if we nominate someone who doesn't get shut out in the South. With only a couple of Southern states for the Democrats, it becomes the Republicans who face a steep uphill climb.

Posted by: Petey | Nov 5, 2004 3:37:28 AM

Sorry Petey -- none of the Southern states was close. Among Bush wins only NM, IA, NV, FL, OH, and CO were within 5 points. And Kerry won six within 5%, too -- PA, MI, MN, NH, WI, and OR.

Posted by: Zapper | Nov 5, 2004 3:42:47 AM

Check out this website that combines CNN, FOXNEWS, MSNBC, Reuters and AP.

It's a rip of Drudge but it's called http://www.dilby.com or The Dilby News Monitor


Posted by: Tammi | Nov 5, 2004 3:59:13 AM

The massive voter fraud exercise, known as the election of 2004, is finally being picked up by others with more credibility and resources than a few amateur sleuths with tin-foil hats and laptops. Many in the bloggesphere watched John Kerry concede the election, remember the 2000 fiasco with Gore/FL, and wish to “move on”, “get over it”, & analyze it for improvement towards 2008. To them I say that concession is a political term not a legal one. If a recount shows John Kerry has the majority of electoral college votes, he wins the POTUS office, concession or not. And while much of the reported fraud is circumstantial, (like exit polling not matching actual votes), and MSM(CNN) altering published exit polling numbers to more closely match expected final vote totals, and voter restriction is quite anecdotal, like one terminal for every 100 catholic farmers in So OH but one terminal for every 1000 students at OSU, leading to 8-11 hours wait lines. Hope no one missed a mid-term. LOL

Other proof just “jump” off the page at you, like the OH precinct with 1200 registered voters, and 625 votes for US Senator, and K-258/B-4,312 haha. Or the FANTASTIC GOTV the Rep party did in Florida by expanding the GOP vote by 215% (on average) , while DEM efforts failed as participation went down 59%, BUT ONLY in the smaller rural counties that use the Diebold OPTICAL SCANNING devices with the Centralized server. I’m sure that different GOTV strategies were used in ESS touch-screen counties where the GOP increases were virtually identical to DEM participation (20-30% growth).

Finally, who is LOOKING at all of this? Bev Harris at Blackboxvoting.ORG not dotCOM. The later site is a competitive site run by her PUBLISHER. Confusing yes? That is why you need a tin-foil hat! The experts are analyzing the data and there is time to file a re-count request before the final results are verified.
There is NO DOUBT that the fundies elected some grown-up Hitler youth to the Senate. Maybe JK does not want to lead a majority of brown shirts. If you want to follow along, take a look at Hunter’s Diary over at the DailyKOS homepage. This could be more fun than grooming Hilary or crying in our milkshake. Sorry for all of the MEXED MISSAGES. . . .raver

Posted by: raver | Nov 5, 2004 7:25:58 AM

What's the problem with what zapper says? We just have to do what is necessary to win the states he mentioned, plus maybe Colorado. No Southern states are needed except the atypical Florida. That would give the Democrats a very solid win.

The Democrats can win the Presidency without catering to Trent Lott's base.

Posted by: Zizka | Nov 5, 2004 7:42:00 AM

Or it relies on a free press accepting responsibility and raising hell.

Posted by: Slothrop | Nov 5, 2004 8:42:59 AM


You're right about two things. Yes, there remain many battleground states. Yes, Republicans can win in 2008, though I hardly see how they'll break 60 Senate seats, since THIRTY Republicans face re-election in 2006.

But, in light of my honesty, you might admit two facts:

1) Far from being concentrated in blue states, Latinos are migrating to AZ, CO, NM, NV, FL, and TX. And I tend to think (could be wrong) that 55% comes close to the Republican max for that category.

2) Bush, an incumbent, only won 51% of the vote. His approval rate went from 90% to 51% in ONE YEAR. A party's success depends on more than their superiority in strategy, geography, and demography. It depends on governance. The evidence seems to show that the more the Republicans govern, the more of their majority they lose.

Posted by: AWC | Nov 5, 2004 8:58:27 AM

One thing I've been arguing against here for over a year is that the flyover states should not be lumped. The things you have to do to regain Iowa and win Ohio are not the same as the ones you'd need to do to win Georgia, much less Mississippi. (In fact, I read in the Wall Street Journal, I think it was, that Bush's Southern schtick hurt him quite a bit in Minnesota, which happens to be my home state.)

So point one is that the Democrats cannot afford to ignore the Midwest, as many strong social liberals seem to want to do. And based on recent results, it looks as if we should also be working on Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona (all with substantial Hispanic populations.) Among the border states, Missouri, West Virginia, and Arkansas may be possible sometime.

But point two is that would be stupid to key our plans on the least promising areas (the South, Great Plains, and Northern Rockies). The only Southern state that looks at all good is Virginia, as it becomes more northern. Maryland already seems to function as a Northeastern state.

In terms of the Midwest, the social issues (gay marriage and abortion) do hurt a lot. On the other hand, the Midwest is less monolithically hawkish, more pro-union, and less obsessed with racial issues.

In past discussions I've been told by Georgians who called themselves moderate Democrats or swing voters that Cleland was "too liberal". Well, Cleland wasn't liberal. These same supposed Democrats told me that the smear ad had nothing to do with defeating Cleland. (And I suppose that the smears had nothing to do with defeating McCain in the N. (S.?) Carolina primary either.)

I think that the realignment is real. I don't think it's worth trying to compete in the South. And I'm a bad person for saying this, but bigotry is still a factor down there. So much so that Pat Buchanan, who's pretty bigoted himself, has trouble running a national campaign because part of his natural consistency just plain doesn't like Catholics. (During Cuomo's campaign's way back then it was explained that "The South will never vote for a guy called Mario".)

Most of the helpful suggestions from people who want the Democrats to compete in the South seem to amount to asking the Democrats to gut themselves entirely. This was a close election. There's no need to do that.

Posted by: Zizka | Nov 5, 2004 9:12:59 AM

There are two other germane comparisonsto 1972, one similar, one different. The similar one is that for the Bush administration as for the Nixon one, there are a number of scandals in process, waiting to mature. (Nixon's combined into Watergate; Bush's Plame, Abu Ghraib,etc. have not yet metastasized.) Within two years, we will all see what scandals (like Reagan's Iran Contra) come to fruitition and immobilize Bush (even with--maybe, depending on how bad they are,because of Republican majorities in Congress). The difference is that the Democrats have an energized base, lots of new young voters, a much better organized infrastructure (thanks to internet and other groups like ACT and moveon) that aren't going away this time. In 1972 we lost in a landslide and were thoroughly demoralized, individually and organizationally. This year, we barely lost, and are more determined with a structure in place to continue to work. Couple these with the coming policy mistakes and disasters, and there are lots of reasons for middle term optimism.

Posted by: charles | Nov 5, 2004 9:18:50 AM

I'll second Zizka's point. And I'd also add that, if the GOP had lost one or both of the last two extemely tight elections, somehow I doubt that anyone would be harping on how it proved the GOP needed to stop condescending towards and demonizing the northeastern and west coast voters. "They just don't understand the urban liberal viewpoint and spend all their time mocking it."

Yet the solid blue states represent almost as large an electoral bloc (and just as large of a population bloc) as the solid red states. The place to win votes is in the middle, not on the fringe. And the swing states aren't in the deep south or great plains. It's the industrial midwest, border states, and Florida. Any talk about the issues that play in South Carolina as having anything to do with winning the presidency is misguided.

Posted by: Doug Turnbull | Nov 5, 2004 9:28:17 AM

I agree with Zizka and Doug.

Let me add that I don't think we should worry the slight bleeding among seniors, Latinos, and midwestern white workers because there are many things we can do to regain their support. There's little evidence of a long-term slide among these groups, as opposed to loyalty to Bush, hostility to gay marriage, and the lingering effects of 9-11.

But I do think we should worry about Republican efforts at crushing our institutions. I feel quite certain that Republicans will seek to rewrite campaign finance law to limit 527s, institute damage award caps (to defund trial lawyers), and hamper the ability of unions to contribute to campaigns. If we use the fillibuster for anything, that's it.

Posted by: AWC | Nov 5, 2004 9:50:07 AM

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