Elite journalists promised not to invest any faith in exit polling in this election. But they did. In the tank for Kerry all along, they took great heart from ill-informed pro-Kerry buzz early in the day based on exit polling. But results in Florida exposed the early reports as flaky conjecture, and as they did, the press corps looked quite hurt that exit pollsters had dashed their hopes again.
Republicans will hold the House, Senate, and White House. Yet reporters said ad nauseam that the country is "divided." Apparently not. What does all this talk of division really add up to? Aren't reporters really just saying that they feel divided from the country they cover? If the country is as divided as they eagerly assert, why don't the Democrats control half the branches of government? Why did they lose, not gain, votes in Florida? Why did Bush improve on his popular vote numbers so significantly? The country-is-divided chatter is not a journalistic report, but a wish -- the media's attempt to create the appearance of division so as to create division which might obstruct the progress of conservatism in the country.
The Democrats at this point are a bi-coastal party, claiming elite, populous pockets on the two coasts, but the rest of the country isn't interested in their effete agenda. Try as they might, the Democrats and the media can't divide the red sea that runs through much of the country.
What will the media conclude from this election? We know what they won't conclude: it certainly won't be that the Democrats are too liberal for America. No, no, that's never the problem. Perhaps elite journalists will even conclude, as they did after the Democrats' disappointing results in the last election cycle, that the Democrats aren't liberal enough. How long before the silent Hillary Clinton becomes quite vocal about the need for a party that "provides a real contrast to the Republicans"? The Kerry decals on the campaign buses will be peeled off as the Al Frankens begin work on the Hillary in 'O8 stickers.
When Republicans lose, the media say, "Republicans need to become more liberal, more accommodating," and so on. But when Democrats lose, they say that the country is "bitterly divided" and that the Republican president has a solemn duty to adjust his agenda to the wishes of Democrats. The media will of course demand that Bush bring more Democrats into his cabinet and make this or that compromise. Why should he listen to them? They don't represent the mainstream of the country.
The elite were so out to lunch that it came as great revelation to them last night that many Americans named as their most important issue not Iraq, not the economy, but "moral issues." This was an election about "God, guns and gays," to use Howard Dean's phrase, and Kerry with his newly-bought Red Sox cap batted 0 for 3.
The American people did not want to entrust one nation under God to a Massachusetts liberal who campaigned with Bruce Springsteen and Peter, Paul, and Mary, a Senator who voted with NARAL 100% of the time, and a renegade Catholic who wouldn't recognize a moral teaching of his own church if it hit him coming around the corner.
It was quite a dismaying revelation to the media that so many traditional marriage propositions passed across the country. Reporters treated the numbers like a curious anthropological finding. Kerry was of course tone-deaf on this too. His clumsy appropriation of Mary Cheney for polemical purposes didn't help him one bit, and his contrived goose-hunting just confirmed to middle America that he was a patrician phony, posing for the peasants while the help collected the fowl he pretended to shoot.
It chafes on reporters that the American people voted for George Bush not in spite of his faith but because of it. They work hard to conjure up a "divided" nation on moral and religious matters, but again this is more a reflection of their feelings than the country's. The American people don't have a problem with Bush's faith; the media do. The aging heads of CBS -- Dan Rather, Ed Bradley sporting an earring, Lesley Stahl, and Bob Schieffer -- looked at the results with puzzlement. They had never seen the country so divided -- from their agenda.
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