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Reasons why George W. Bush won…
To all the people who think the 2000 presidential race resulted in an illegitimate president and were counting down the days until the 2004 election to “re-defeat Bush,” President George W. Bush could have borrowed a phrase used by John Kerry’s campaign: “Bring it on.”
Bush erased any questions of legitimacy with a convincing re-election victory last week. Democrats had staked so much of their emotion and their livelihood in seeing Bush defeated in this election that when he was re-elected by a solid majority of America, the anger and disbelief started coming out. They could not believe how this happened.
Well, I will tell you how. Most of America feels comfortable with Bush as their president for four more years. Contrary to liberal ideology, there are reasons for this. I believe four main points were considered.
First, although the immediacy of it has subsided, the aura of the 9/11 attacks still existed in the minds of voters. It was no accident that Bush had approval numbers in the 80s for weeks after the attacks. Americans were touched with his job of rallying the country together in that time of great crisis and many developed a lasting connection with him on a personal level for that.
Throughout the campaign, Bush’s highest poll numbers came on his handling of terrorism. That all comes back to 9/11, as much as Democrats did not want the attacks to be a campaign issue. They foolishly tried to tear down Bush for issues surrounding 9/11, even advancing the theory that he knew about the attacks ahead of time. That will never win you votes.
Secondly, while Democrats also want to run away from this issue, religion and values won the election for Bush as much as anything else. Never mind specifics like gay marriage. Just look at these basic voting results from a CNN exit poll:
Protestants voted 59-40 percent for Bush. Even though Kerry is Catholic, that denomination still chose Bush by a 52-47 margin. Evangelicals voted Bush 78-21 percent, weekly churchgoers by 61-39. And people who identified themselves as having no religion? They chose Kerry by a 67-31 percent margin. Does anyone really still think Democrats can afford to ignore and demean people with religious faith and expect to win elections?
The third reason why Bush won is because he knows what he believes and is not afraid to say so. He has a core outlook and set of beliefs that is easily conveyed to voters. Bush uses these to display presidential leadership and resolve even when the heat is on him.
Some may call this approach blind stubbornness, especially since Bush has, for some reason, refused to admit a mistake he has made in office. But most Americans chose to look at it this way: Yes, Bush may not be perfect, but we trust him more than John Kerry to move forward from mistakes that may have been made.
Which brings me to my fourth point. Kerry simply never met the test a challenger needs to meet – do you trust me better than the incumbent to clean up whatever messes there may be and lead you for the next four years? Kerry was chosen by democratic primary voters as a cipher that appeared “electable,” and for no other reason. Kerry never clearly defined himself, and voters never fully warmed to him. In the final analysis, voters chose Bush over “anybody but Bush.”
Kerry was a mess of contradictions on Iraq, and that has been well chronicled both in this space and in the national media. America did not want as president a man who truly could not make up his mind on the most important issue in the election. Thus, even though mistakes have been made in Iraq, people simply trust Bush over Kerry to get the job done right.
This election could have gone either way. But now that Bush has won, his opponents must accept the judgment of the voters. It would have been the same way had Kerry won, even if I have hurled a lot of criticism his way. He would have taken the oath of office and become my president, too. And I would have respected him as the president, even if I disagreed with the way the vote turned out.
George W. Bush is now everyone’s president for four more years. He is president to both Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. It does no good for his detractors to move to Canada, question how America could possibly have done this, or take another round of insults at Bush’s intelligence and that of his supporters. It is OK to be disappointed, but people who take it too far only come out looking like whiners and sore losers.
Everyone needs to respect the outcome of this election, even if they disagree with it. The challenges of the next four years demand nothing less. We are, and must remain, the United States of America.