First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
This Election and the Next; Osama's Video
The national popular vote margin is significant and clear. The margin in even the close states is wide enough that recounts would be pointless.
When I was in Germany a few weeks ago, anybody who mentioned politics just assumed that my wife and I would be anti-Bush. When we pointed out that we voted for him before, would vote for him again, expected him to win, and thought he was an excellent President, they were shocked.
CNN's international correspondents had the same attitude. A reporter telling Europeans about an opinion poll that showed that most Americans supported the war in Iraq was absolutely stunned. Hadn't America been forced to take this cowboy as President against their will, by an evil Supreme Court?
The fanatical Left in Europe and in America will now have to recognize that George W. Bush is not president by accident or conspiracy. Of course, they'll regard this as proof that a slim majority of Americans are moral cretins.
In fact, however, the election would not have been this close if the media had actually treated both candidates with identical standards.
We would have known about John Kerry's anomalous discharge from the Navy before he got the Democratic nomination.
When he came out on stage at the convention, saluted, and said, "John Kerry reporting for duty," the press -- and the comedy shows -- would have ridiculed him mercilessly for such a smarmy attempt to capitalize on the very military service that he repudiated as soon as he got home from Vietnam.
His visit to the North Vietnamese delegation in France would have been mentioned every time Kerry brought up his Vietnam War record.
Chances are he wouldn't have been nominated; and if he had been, he would have been buried in a landslide the way George McGovern was -- and McGovern really was a legitimate war hero, who fulfilled his full term of service and didn't come home and lie about his comrades in arms.
The reason this election was close was because the Leftist establishment -- university professors in non-rigorous subjects, the artistic/literary/entertainment elite, and the dominant media -- did its level best to keep Americans from learning the truth about either candidate.
Bush was held responsible for the ordinary messiness of war -- as if he should have personally been inspecting weapons deposits and standing guard over them. Stories were slanted, invented, or timed in order to have maximum impact on the election. Students at our universities were subjected to a constant stream of propaganda and those who tried to speak against that propaganda were ridiculed, vilified, or ostracized into silence.
Not since Thomas Jefferson and James Madison conspired to destroy Alexander Hamilton with false charges, scare tactics, and hate-mongering back in the 1700s has there been such a vicious campaign as this one.
If it had succeeded -- if John Kerry had won using these techniques -- it would have guaranteed that not only would the Democratic Party have continued to use this approach, but also the Republican Party would have been forced to take the same low road.
Of course, since part of the Democratic Party's strategy was to accuse the Republicans of doing precisely the things that they themselves were doing, there will be a widespread impression for a while at least that both parties took that road. But history will sort it out.
History will also judge that this pivotal election saved us from the most wildly inappropriate major-party presidential candidate since Aaron Burr.
Make no mistake about it. The Democratic Party's invective, deception, and vituperation were absolutely provoked by George W. Bush.
Not because he was divisive. A truly divisive Republican candidate could have been left alone to destroy himself.
The only reason they had to scream about Bush's supposed faults was because if they hadn't, nobody would have noticed them, because they didn't exist.
Expect more of the same vilification, for a while at least. But the volume will gradually get lower. Why? Because Bush will not be running for reelection. This is his last term.
There is nothing to be gained by lying about this President any more. The big battles will now come when Bush nominates new Supreme Court justices and sends them to the Senate.
It does make a difference that the Republican control of the Senate is no longer razor thin. And the Republican senators know that they owe their substantial margin of control to George W. Bush. The man had coattails. If they want him to come and campaign for them in 2006, they have to be loyal to his program -- and his nominees -- for the next two years.
So the Democrats will try to bork anybody that Bush nominates. But when it comes to the Supreme Court, Bush won't let the Democrats run a "quiet filibuster." Because this time he won a majority of the popular vote. So if they thwart him now, they're defying the will of the majority, not expressing it, as they could claim in the years since Gore's popular-vote win and electoral defeat.
It wasn't a landslide, but Bush won convincingly against the absolute worst that the Democrats could do.
Turns out that they couldn't even fool fifty percent of the people -- at least for this one day in November 2004.
My remaining fear, now that President Bush has been reelected, is that so many Americans have been brainwashed into hating and fearing a decent man that some wacko will decide it's his job to do by force what the American people declined to do by vote: Get George Bush out of the White House.
It's a terrible thing even to think of our President being murdered, but the extreme Left has deliberately created such a program of hatred against the President that some will feel they have been given, not just permission, but a sacred charge to assassinate the President -- much as Lincoln's political enemies prepared the ground for John Wilkes Booth.
What a British reporter said as a "joke" is bound to be said with more seriousness by others; I have already heard reports of another joke, whose punchline is, "But I guess we'd have to get Cheney, too." Not funny, folks. Nobody wants to live in the kind of country where elections have their outcomes revised with bullets.
I pray it never happens. But if it does, I will regard Michael Moore and the other propagandists of the insane Left as accomplices and agents provocateurs. If their target had been Adolf Hitler, it is difficult to imagine how their rhetoric could have been more extreme than what they directed against George W. Bush.
Four years from now, the Democrats will almost certainly be choosing between Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.
John Edwards will be the "moderate" primarily because he has low negatives, he's cute, he was the vice-presidential candidate this year, and his liberal voting record will have been four years behind him. He'll be remembered as a scrappy campaigner that people generally liked.
Hillary Clinton, however, will be the darling of the fanatical left wing of the Democratic Party. These people will not blame themselves for their defeat in 2004. They will want to nominate Hillary for vindication.
No matter which of them wins the nomination, the vice-presidential candidate from the Democratic Party will be Barack Obama. The only way he could fail to be the nominee for veep would be if he decided to enter the primaries and ended up as the presidential nominee, which isn't likely, but isn't impossible, either.
Barack Obama would be the best candidate for the Democratic Party. Right now I can't think of a Republican -- except perhaps Bill Frist or J.C. Watts -- who could stand a chance of getting my vote if Obama were the Democratic nominee.
John Edwards would not get my vote, but he could win the election, if the Republicans choose their nominee from among the usual assortment of wonks and twits -- the Republican primary season has had a sort of freak show aspect to it for many an election cycle. (George W. Bush was the surprising exception; except.) Again, for Frist and Watts, I don't see a proven vote-getter among the Republicans who would be able to hold his own against a Democrat who was able to pose as a centrist.
Hillary Clinton, of course, is the candidate that Republicans are dying to face, since she has so many negatives and is so personally obnoxious to so many that she will singlehandedly bring out every conceivable Republican voter. If the Democrats nominate her, it will prove that they have decided to be the permanent minority party.
Barack Obama is the only Democrat I have heard speak with maturity and moderation in the past few months. I would like to think the Democrats would have the sense to nominate him instead of Miss Cattle Futures or Mr. Grin. But don't bet on it.
Osama bin Laden's recent video probably had little effect on our presidential election. But that wasn't his goal.
Remember, Osama doesn't actually care who wins our election. He's worried about his own campaign to be Caliph of all Islam -- sort of the Pope and Augustus Caesar rolled into one.
And in his campaign, that videotape was a no-lose proposition.
If Kerry won, then he could tell his followers that Americans had chosen Kerry because they feared the mighty hand of Islam and they only need to continue on the present course to achieve complete victory.
And if Bush won, he could tell the Muslim world that the American people had chosen to keep with their satanic leader, so now the American people deserve to be murdered.
It won't change his actual plans one whit. He gets to use us as the windmill in his personal fantasy, while he continues as Don Quixote.
The difference is that Don Quixote didn't attract followers who were willing to murder and die for him.
Well, folks, once again we had a chance to make a significant change in our inept school board. Instead, we returned Dot Kearns and Kris Cooke to office, where they will go on believing every ridiculous thing the bureaucrats-posing-as-experts tell them, and therefore wasting a significant amount of the money we taxpayers give them on useless programs and empty middle management positions, while blaming the parents for everything that's wrong with the schools.
But there's a compensation. Even though Billy Yow will go on embarrassing the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Mike Barber won't.
And lest you think your vote doesn't count, notice the margin separating at-large County-Commissioner candidates John Parks and Trudy Wade. Seventy-four votes. Out of two hundred thousand ballots.
There are no wasted votes.
Of course, if it were up to Guilford County, John Kerry would be our next President. Apparently the Rhino just isn't getting into enough people's hands.
Copyright © 2004 by Orson Scott Card.
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