BY JAMES TARANTO
Thursday, November 4, 2004 4:56 p.m. EST
"I don't know how Richard Nixon could have won," the late film critic Pauline Kael is said to have observed after the 1972 election. "I don't know anybody who voted for him." Pick up the New York Times 32 years later, and it's obvious that big-city liberals are as out of touch as ever. "Some New Yorkers, like Meredith Hackett, a 25-year-old barmaid in Brooklyn, said they didn't even know any people who had voted for President Bush," reports the paper's Joseph Berger in a Metro section story on New Yorkers who are "disconsolate" over President Bush's re-election:
"Everybody seems to hate us these days," said Zito Joseph, a 63-year-old retired psychiatrist. "None of the people who are likely to be hit by a terrorist attack voted for Bush. But the heartland people seemed to be saying, 'We're not affected by it if there would be another terrorist attack.' " . . .
"I'm saddened by what I feel is the obtuseness and shortsightedness of a good part of the country--the heartland," Dr. Joseph said. "This kind of redneck, shoot-from-the-hip mentality and a very concrete interpretation of religion is prevalent in Bush country--in the heartland."
"New Yorkers are more sophisticated and at a level of consciousness where we realize we have to think of globalization, of one mankind, that what's going to injure masses of people is not good for us," he said.
It's the same story in John Kerry's hometown, as the Boston Globe, a Times sister paper, reports:
Jessica Johnson, 59, of Cambridge, who said she had volunteered for Kerry, said she was filled with optimism on Election Day, telling herself: ''When Kerry gets into the White House, this stone, this weight on my chest, will be lifted."
''He could have made a great president," Johnson said. ''Many Americans have nothing between their ears. Americans are fat, lazy, and stupid. I don't like this country anymore."
Notwithstanding the state's history on the presidential stage, some Bay Staters seemed surprised by Kerry's defeat. ''He's local. It's too bad," said David Griffith, manager of Destination Boston, a Hub-themed T-shirt and sweatshirt emporium at Quincy Market. Displaying a shirt featuring photos of President Bush and his father with the words ''Dumb & Dumber," Griffith remarked in some bafflement: ''We sold hundreds of these, and yet he still pulled it off."
The Times also quotes Beverly Camhe, a film producer, who "explained the habits and beliefs of those dwelling in the heartland like an anthropologist":
"What's different about New York City is it tends to bring people together and so we can't ignore each others' dreams and values and it creates a much more inclusive consciousness," she said. "When you're in a more isolated environment, you're more susceptible to some ideology that's imposed on you."
As an example, Ms. Camhe offered the different attitudes New Yorkers may have about social issues like gay marriage.
"We live in this marvelous diversity where we actually have gay neighbors," she said. "They're not some vilified unknown. They're our neighbors."
But she said that a dichotomy of outlooks was bad for the country.
"If the heartland feels so alienated from us, then it behooves us to wrap our arms around the heartland," she said. "We need to bring our way of life, which is honoring diversity and having compassion for people with different lifestyles, on a trip around the country."
Angry Left blogger Eric Alterman sums up the attitude:
Let's face it. It's not Kerry's fault. It's not Nader's fault (this time). It's not the media's fault (though they do bear a heavy responsibility for much of what ails our political system). It's not "our" fault either. The problem is just this: Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the "reality-based community" say or believe about anything.
Who exactly is parochial here? Times columnist Thomas Friedman offers this observation:
This was not an election. This was station identification. I'd bet anything that if the election ballots hadn't had the names Bush and Kerry on them but simply asked instead, "Do you watch Fox TV or read The New York Times?" the Electoral College would have broken the exact same way.
We're guessing he's wrong about this; despite the Times' pretensions to being a national newspaper, it seems likely that Kerry states outside the Northeast have more Fox viewers than Times readers. But even so, Bush supporters are hardly lacking exposure to the liberal media: the broadcast networks, stories from news wires and syndicates (including the Times') in their local newspapers, Hollywood movies, etc. Red-state residents may disdain Kerry as much as blue-staters do Bush, but we'd venture to say the former have a better-informed view of the opposition.
Bush voters tend to see big-city liberals as arrogant elitists, and the above quotes make clear that they are substantially correct. If those liberals were as sophisticated and open-minded as they fancy themselves to be, they would make an effort to understand why most Americans disagree with them rather than simply dismissing them as idiots.
Look on the Bright Side of Life
"More Americans voted against George Bush than any sitting president in history."--Howard Dean, Nov. 3
The Associated Press reports from Bellingham, Wash., on an anti-Bush protest at Western Washington University:
Riley Sweeney, an 18-year-old Western Washington University freshman, elected to wear his protest: He showed up in a gray fedora and checkered blue bathrobe.
"I am in mourning because of the decision our country has made," he said. "I don't think I'll be wearing pants for a while."
Up in Madison, Wis., meanwhile, some folks from the far-left group MoveOn.org are thinking about moving on, reports the Capital Times:
After spending the last few months working to turn out the vote for John Kerry and the last few hours drinking in front of disappointing returns, Rosanne Scholl, Shane Casey and a third worker for MoveOn.org's political action committee walked up to an empty, still Capitol Square.
"It's absolutely devastating," Casey said. "Unfathomable depression."
The prospect that President Bush would emerge as the winner was crushing, Scholl said. "It would be a loss of faith."
"I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow," Scholl, a graduate student, said as she pushed her bicycle home. "I'm going to sleep. Then I guess I'll check in with the Internet and either get drunk again or move to Canada."
The election seems to have transformed the Angry Left into the Dejected Left--and we must admit, we like them better this way. Reuters actually published a dispatch from Ottawa reporting that "Canadian officials made clear on Wednesday that any U.S. citizens so fed up with Bush that they want to make a fresh start up north would have to stand in line like any other would-be immigrants--a wait that can take up to a year."
The "news" service notes that "recent statistics show a gradual decline in U.S. citizens coming to work in Canada, which has a creaking publicly funded healthcare system and relatively high levels of personal taxation." It's one thing to advocate such policies, quite another actually to live under them.
an Election That Wasn't Your Fault?
John Kerry handled his defeat with grace, patriotism and even moments of eloquence: "In an American election," he said in his concession speech, "there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans."
The same can't be said of John Edwards, who according to the Associated Press counseled Kerry to wage a 2000-style legal battle to overturn the result:
One senior Democrat familiar with the discussions said Edwards was suggesting to Kerry that he shouldn't concede.
The official said Edwards, a trial lawyer, wanted to make sure all options were explored and that Democrats pursued them as thoroughly as Republicans would if the positions were reversed.
This is of a piece with Edwards's introduction to Kerry's concession, which was combative and demagogic:
This campaign may end today, but the battle for you and the hard-working Americans who built this country rages on. The battle rages for the factory worker and the mill worker who says, "I want to work. I just want a job." The battle rages on for the mother who sits in the emergency room with her daughter and wonders how she's going to pay the bill. The battle rages on for the young person who's worked hard and wants to go to college, but doesn't have the money to pay for it. It goes on for the young child who doesn't understand why they're treated differently just because of the color of their skin. And it rages on for the mother who wants to know why her son was sent over there and will not come home.
The bit about the soldier's mother is particularly foul, especially when you remember that Edwards, like Kerry, voted for the war in Iraq and against funding the troops there. This seemed to be the opening act in Edwards's campaign speech, an appeal to Democratic bitter-enders like "perry227" who yesterday posted this to the Democratic National Committee's "Kicking Ass" blog:
Why did [Kerry] concede?!? If we weren't going to win, the next best thing would be a protracted legal battle to undermine Bush's presidency as much as possible on the way out! This is ridiculous, there's nothing to gain by taking the high road here!
In truth, a protracted legal battle would have been bad for the country and much worse for the Democratic Party, which if it wants to win in 2008 will have to expand its appeal. Declaring that "the battle rages on" does not seem the best way of doing so.
Didn't Know Teresa Was Gay
"Was Gay Marriage Kerry's Undoing?"--headline, Boston Globe, Nov. 4
He Had a Plan!
"Carville Says Kerry Needed a Narrative"--headline, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Nov. 4
From a Washington Post online chat with Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker:
Germantown, Md.: Do you believe the president will strive for unity? Or will he skew more hard right?
Seymour Hersh: in my view, he's got his mandate and he's going to carry on with his mantra--bringing democracy to the middle east. pretty scary.
on Terror, Year 25
A quarter-century ago today America suffered what was perhaps its first major attack by Islamist terrorists, when Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 66 hostages, 52 of whom were held for 444 days. Ken Adelman, who worked on the Iran issue as part of the Reagan transition team, wrote about the episode in The Wall Street Journal on the 20th anniversary, and we've reprinted his piece here.
Exactly one year after the attack, Ronald Reagan was elected president, and the terrorists released the hostages on Jan. 20, 1981, waiting until immediately after his inauguration apparently in order to thumb their noses at his predecessor, Jimmy Carter. A relieved nation didn't worry much about terrorism for more than two decades, until Arab terrorists staged a massive attack on our own soil.
Today, thanks to America's military and President Bush's resolve, terror-sponsoring regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq are no more. But Iran still has an Islamist regime that by some accounts is the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism. Let's all hope that changes too in the next few years.
You Thought Carter Was an Activist Ex-President
"U.S. Grant to Aid Removal of Land Mines"--headline, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 4
ID, No Bomb
"An international human rights group has called on Palestinian militants to stop using children in suicide bombings and military attacks," reports the BBC:
Human Rights Watch made the call after a 16-year-old bomber blew himself up in a Tel Aviv marketplace on Monday, killing three Israeli civilians.
The New York-based group claimed at least 10 bombers aged under 18 have attacked Israel in the past four years. . . .
"Any attack on civilians is prohibited by international law, but using children for suicide attacks is particularly egregious," said Jo Becker, advocacy director for children's rights at Human Rights Watch.
"Palestinian armed groups must clearly and publicly condemn all use of children under the age of 18 for military activities, and make sure these policies are carried out."
Only when Hamas, al Aqsa and the rest begin requiring Arabs to show ID before murdering Jewish children will the folks at Human Rights Watch be able to rest easy.
Dead or Alive
Generalissimo Francisco Franco may still be dead, but we aren't sure about Yasser Arafat. Various reports have the Palestinian Arab thug, who is in a Paris hospital, either brain-dead, in a coma or completely defunct. In any case, it doesn't sound as though he has much time left, which means we've just about run out the string on "Arafat won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994."
First we lose "the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam," and now this. For this column at least, it's been a rough week.
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