Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Democrats, post-election

Well, George Bush won the election, not in a landslide, but handily. He is the first President since 1988 to be re-elected with more than a 50 percent vote total, he won by a solid three percent margin and by more than three million votes, and when you look at all the red on the Electoral Vote Map you understand why the Democrats feel blue.

Following the 2000 election, which was by no means a mandate, Bush understood that while he squeaked through to victory, he was nonetheless the duly elected President, even if by an odd series of events. His job was to be the President he should be, and he proceeded to govern as if he had won in a landslide.

“How can he be so bold,” the Democrats demanded, “since he barely won the election?” Some were less charitable in their evaluation, claiming that the Republicans had stolen the election, or that the Supreme Court had delivered the Presidency to Bush through a fraudulent process. Most Americans recognized those charges for the hogwash they were, but that is all beside the point. George Bush was the President, and he gained that office through the constitutionally prescribed method.

But such silly charges cannot be made this time. The election ran pretty smoothly, and the winner cannot be disputed. The Democrats, however, still sing the same old tired song: “Bush must reach across the aisle to bring unity to government.” And one suggested with a straight face that since Bush only won by only three-plus million votes, he needed to pay attention to the wishes of Democrats in setting the agenda for his second term.

To the Democrats, who still don’t get it, here is the message. “You lost. The Republicans won. They get to set the agenda, not you. If you had won, you could call the shots. But you didn’t. You lost. So sit down and shut up, and try to find a way to contribute something positive during the next four years.”

You can start by playing fair on judicial nominations, and not opposing nearly every nominee because he or she does not share your liberal views and will not make law from the bench. Next, you can give up your petulant and childish sniping at George Bush. He’s the President, and he’s entitled to a certain amount of respect because of his position.

This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. The Republicans are in charge. They have the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. It’s up to Democrats, not President Bush, to reach out and unite for the good of the country.

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads. It is in disarray following the election, and can’t understand what happened. The answer to this dilemma is that the Democratic Party is in one place, and most Americans are somewhere else. The party has drifted so far left that a majority of people who consider themselves Democrats no longer identifies with it.

As I said in a previous post, the nation repudiated the liberalism of the Democrats with a fairly resounding defeat on Tuesday. Still, the party leadership hasn’t apparently heard the message that that defeat is sending so loudly and so clearly.

We conservatives may rightly relish both the Bush victory and the triumph of conservative values over liberal ones. But unless and until the Democratic Party is reclaimed by people with a realistic view of what the American people consider right and proper, the bickering and sniping will continue, and not much progress will be made on important issues.

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