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A progressive pastiche

John Kerry’s campaign offered some resistance to the nationalist tide but in the end failed to articulate a compelling alternative. His pragmatic appeals for socio-economic fairness couldn’t cut it against a nationalistic and religious fervor. After all, what’s poverty and corruption when Jesus is on your side and there’s a semi-automatic in the basement? Welcome to the 21st century. —Andrew Gumbel, Los Angeles City Beat


In short, we have old-style vote spoilage in minority communities. We have electronic voting machines losing votes and adding votes all over the country. We have electronic voting machines whose efficiency and safety have not been tested. We have electronic voting machines that offer no paper trail to ensure a fair outcome. We have central tabulators for these machines running on Windows software, compiling results that can be demonstrably tampered with. We have the makers of these machines publicly professing their preference for George W. Bush. We have voter trends that stray from the expected results. We have these machines counting millions of votes all across the country. —William Rivers Pitts,


Well, they can’t blame Ralph Nader this time.

On Tuesday the Democratic Party failed its truest believers for the third consecutive election. It’s the second consecutive presidential election where the party had a gift-wrapped opportunity to defeat an inferior Republican candidate ... and couldn’t do it.

The Kerry campaign and the Democratic Party could not provide an acceptable enough alternative. They could not close the deal with America’s swing voters.

Nov. 2 gave us a choice between war and more war, corporate globalization and more corporate globalization; the continuation of gifting billions of dollars to Israel, the Patriot Act and an expanded Patriot Act; a police state and a seriously growing police state, media monopoly and even bigger media monopolies; and wealth inequality or an even greater wealth divide. With the only alternative to these issues being minor candidates without a snowball’s chance, for many voting seemed meaningless. —Peter Phillips,


This was a pivotal moment in American history. It called for a Democratic challenger willing to lead, not follow. ... Above all, he had to address himself frankly to the faithful in America: that a secular state is not inimical to their deeply held values but best protects their respective faiths by staying neutral between various beliefs and no beliefs at all. —Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star



A sampling of conservative opinions

In the last analysis, then, President Bush won because of his religious convictions, his leadership in the War on Terror and his relentless fight for lower taxes.

John Kerry, despite the hours he spent in churches and the constant reminders he gave us that he had been an altar boy, could not convince traditional Catholics or evangelical Christians he was one of them in his beliefs, and not some closet secularist.—Pat Buchanan,


On Nov. 2, 2004, America said it was tired of activist judges legislating from the bench. It was the day America said that moral values meant more than empty promises. It was the day that America told the terrorists that they were losing. Indeed, that they have lost. The Osamas and Zarkawis of this world won’t be facing a new and untested liberal government led by the leader of the Vietnam anti-war movement. They will continue to face the same George Bush as before, only unencumbered by political considerations or special interest groups.
Hal Lindsey,


As much as anyone, the POW wives of Vietnam, who stood against the Democratic nominee for president and for the Republican, can claim credit for the Bush victory. Everyone with a computer in America, and a lot of people with TVs, saw their testimony about the 1970s, and their husbands and John Kerry. You could not come away from their white-haired, soft-faced, big-eyeglasses visages without thinking: He should not be commander in chief. —Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal


Kerry ran a high-risk “biography candidacy” based on a four-month period 35 years ago. His contrasting silence about his 20 Senate years echoed. He was an anomalous kind of challenger. The most important changes he promised would be either restorations or resistances. That is, he campaigned as the candidate of complacency, albeit a curdled, backward-looking complacency. Regarding foreign policy, he promised to turn the clock back, to the alliance-centered foreign policy prior to the intrusion of the “nuisance” of terrorism. Regarding domestic policy, he promised to stop the clock, preventing any forward movement on entitlement reform to cope with the baby boomers’ retirements. —George F. Will, syndicated columnist

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