A blog by an American expatriate living in the heart of New Europe

"It's a lateral transfer" -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

And So. . .

Everything that can be said about the election has been said. But this post is for us to commisserate.

A great football coach of mine had a great way of taking each win or loss:

24 hours.

24 hours to celebrate or mourn. 24 hours to gloat or whine. Get it out of your system.

At 24:00:01, you start concentrating on the next game. You start putting in the work.

And by that, I don't mean that we start concentrating on 2008-- that's not the next game. The next game is tomorrow, or next week, or next month. We can't stop fighting for a freer, fairer, safer and more accountable America.

Get it out of your system, then wake up fresh, ready to go again.

Use the comments thread to exorcise the demons: angers, worries, and whining will be tolerated for 24 hours after this post.

And then it's back to work.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed your blog and found it to be honest and intellectually stimulating. As a somewhat reluctant Bush voter I too am looking for greater acountability in government as well as other changes. I did not vote for Senator Kerry but would have supported and respected him as my President had he prevailed. Thank you for the work you put into Warsaw Station and for making the effort to agree to disagree at times. Never lose your passion for what you believe and are willing to fight for. I too practise the 24 hour rule and preach it to my children in defeat as well as in victory. It's time to get to work and fix, refine or eliminate the challenges we face as Americans.
A fiscal conservative,socially moderate and environmentally left of center friend of your fathers.

11/04/2004 04:49:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I realize practice is spelled incorrectly and the term is fiscally conservative in the sentence it's in.
i guess I've listened to our President a little too often:)

11/04/2004 05:02:00 PM  

Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks for the good pre-election discussion Gus.

11/04/2004 11:01:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Well, the good news is, there's been no whining. That either means that virtually no one reads this blog (certainly true), or that everybody who reads this is ready to get back to work (probably true), or both.

I'm glad you enjoyed the discussion, Andrew. Since the guys from over at Redneck's Revenge were the only ones who came over to argue with us, I hope you went over there just to check out what they've been saying. I enjoyed the discussions here with both Red and Stomper, but I've been posting over there, and their lording over their win has since put a bad taste in my mouth. In these past two months, I've come to the conclusion that these folks are really on the fringes of the conservative philosophy. Just read the comments, and you'll see what I'm talking about. They consider a 1% majority a landslide and believe that since they've won, we ought to adopt their skewed vision of the world. They associate the word "understanding" with "appeasement," and advocate military control of the media during wartime (including now, when there is no declared war, no clear enemy, and no clear goal, no matter whether we're in the middle of a Presidential election or not). The terrible part is they're winning which means that more folks are beginning to believe their load of "we-can't-criticize-the-Commander-in-Chief-during-a-time- of-war" bull.

I hope that most conservatives in this country are more like our friend anonamous. And anon, don't worry about the spelling and grammar mistakes, you've probably noticed that in the post I've spelled "commiserate" incorrectly. As our friend Red says, "those in glass houses. . ."-- I think our domiciles are all pretty fragile on this point.

Anon, I respect your opinion, or rather, your right to that opinion, but I cannont respect your vote-- especially since you admit that you've been coming here and reading about Bush's miscalculations, lies, and desperate blunders. Fortunately the majority of Michiganders didn't agree with you, and my state is still a blue one. Unfortunately, 51% of the country doesn't have as much sense as that 51% of Michiganders.

So what I'd like, if you don't mind, is an explanation of why you voted for George W. Bush. I know now that many of the ultra-conservatives I've been speaking with did so because they believe that they possess an "uber-morality" to be adopted not only by the rest of the country, but by the rest of the world. I assume you know that belief systems don't work that way Anon, and since I believe you represent conservative America much more accurately, I'd like to know what it is that convinced the moderates in this country to vote for a politician who sits on the "far right bank" (to borrow a phrase) of American politics.

Since you say that you are environmentally left of center, I know you didn't vote for Bush for environmental reasons. I assume that you know that the general consensus among 90% of scientists is that Global Warming is changing our climate as we speak. You know that the media's presentation of "both sides" by saying that some aren't sure, and that the Earth goes through cycles of climate change are nonsense. Of course, the Earth does go through cycles of climate change, but if those cycles are consistent, then we are actually overdue for an ice-age-- not a period of extended warmth-- but you already know that.

You also know that Bush has gutted our clean air and water acts, and when he says that the number wetlands has grown during his term, you know that it's only because he's changed the definition of "wetland" and that he's done nothing to make sure those "wetlands" are protected.

Since you say that you are socailly moderate, then I'm sure you didn't vote for Bush due to social reasons. You know that Bush wants to pass a Federal Marriage Amendment, effectively placing the federal government not only in our bedrooms, but also in our hearts (despite all that lip service Republicans give to "getting the government out of our lives"), not to mention making it much harder for companies to extend (or, much easier for states to make illegal) partnership benefits to employees who are homosexual. Since you are a social moderate, it's easy for you to see that this is government sponsorship of discrimination. Since you are a fiscal conservative, you know that this would also be terrible for the job market.

Since in our country you can be a social moderate and be either for or against abortion, I don't know which you are. If against, then you voted the wrong way, Anon. You must know that Chief Justice Renquist is extremely ill at the moment, and probably doesn't have much longer. Of course, since Mr. Renquist is very conservative, when Bush has the opportunity to appoint a new, very conservative Chief Justice, it won't matter much (except that we will continue to have a very conservative Cheif Justice for the next 30 years or so). But you must also know that the oldest member, John Paul Stevens, probably doesn't have much longer either, and when Bush appoints another judge to replace him, the balance will be tipped against abortion. Of course, you also know that Ruth Bader Ginsberg, another liberal member, has also had cancer, and you know that Sandra Day O'Connor-- perhaps the most moderate of all the judges, and the one who most believe represents the 5th vote to keep abortion legal-- is also nearing the end of her life.

If you're against people making difficult moral choices for themselves, then you voted for the right man.

Since you say that you're a fiscal conservative, you must be appalled at the continued level of uncontrolled spending during this period of record-breaking deficits. I'm sure you didn't vote for Bush based on those beliefs. If you did, then you surely didn't read the The Economist's endorsement of Kerry. Indeed, the endorsement isn't glowing, but that just says more about how awful Bush has been for our country. More importantly, it makes the point that Kerry is a fiscal hawk who has a record of voting for fiscal responsibility and free trade. If you don't believe the Economist, maybe you would have believed some other fiscal conservatives, one of whom, John Eisenhower, President Eisenhower's son, said:

"The fact is that today's 'Republican' Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word 'Republican' has always been synonymous with the word 'responsibility, which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today's whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion."

And if you didn't believe them, then perhaps you would believe these 10 Nobel Prize Winning Economists who endorsed Kerry.

Or perhaps you voted for Bush because you believed his argument that Kerry is a flip-flopper. After reading my blog, you shouldn't have believed such a charge, especially as something that distinguished Bush from Kerry. a voter in Maryland put it perfectly:

"The charge that Mr Kerry is a flip-flopper is phoney. An intelligent man dares to change his mind when the context changes. Mr Bush didn't want a Department of Homeland Security; then he did. He didn't want a 9/11 commission; then he did. He didn't want Condoleezza Rice to testify before it; but he relented. He didn't want to testify; but he did. He didn't approve of nation-building; but he's building nations, of a sort, in Iraq and Afghanistan. He doesn't want to import drugs from Canada because they might be unsafe; but he'll cheerfully take flu vaccine from Canada because the shortage is a political liability to his campaign."

Maybe you voted for Bush because you believed that Bush would make us safer. But many moderate (and even not-so-moderate) conservatives like yourself knew better. Here are some examples you could have found here prior to the election:

"I think that we are less safe today than we were three or four years ago. And I’ll tell you something else: I have recently had discussions with several former national security advisors -- people who were national security officials in former Republican administrations -- who have told me they feel the same way. They fear that the administration’s policies are further endangering and undermining the security of the United States," said Reagan administration veteran Clyde Prestowitz.

"I will swallow a lot of petty policy differences...to get a man in the White House with brains enough not to blow up the world and us with it," admitted conservative columnist Charley Reese."

And finally, perhaps you voted for Bush you believed his line about being a "strong leader." But here's what Scott McConnell of the American Conservative Magazine had to say about Bush's "strong leadership:"

"Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation’s children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliché about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy."

Not all of these were on my site, but many were. I hope you followed the links and read carefully. If you didn't, please do so at your earliest convenience-- they show why a moderate like you should never have voted for an extremist like Bush. But obviously, 51% of Americans agreed with you. So please explain to me why exactly was it that you voted for this dangerous man who, it seems to me, doesn't even represent your beliefs. If we learn why, maybe we can prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.

11/07/2004 07:28:00 PM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

I've come to the conclusion that these folks are really on the fringes of the conservative philosophy..

Hey Gus, while my guest list definitely leans right, I dont think most of them are on the fringes. In fact Gus, my POVs are rather typical for my local demographic.

You just need to accept the fact that most people dont agree with your worldview, and that everyone that dont agree with you isn't an uninformed dumbass Redneck. At some point you got to recognize that we understand exactly what you are saying, and that we have given it serious honest consideration, and have ultimately decided to reject it in favor of a world view that simply appears more reasonable to us than yours.

Hell man, I would love to live in a world where your preferred ideology COULD work. But other inhabitants of this planet are not ready to play by your rules. If America did not have enemies actively pursuing the destruction of the entire conservative / liberal lot of us, your man would have had much broader appeal.

To be honest, I personally preferred your candidate's POVs on Science Research, Health Care, Abortion, Separation of Church & State, and many other issues, but he still had too many holes in his character, and flaws in his ideas for me to trust him with my children's security.

I'm sorry if our "voting our conscience" irritates you so badly, but we felt we owed it to our children not to risk their future by taking a chance that your candidate wasn't just lying through his teeth to get elected, because it sure seemed that way to us illiterate dumbasses.

11/08/2004 01:30:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Man, thinking that y'all are on the "fringes" has nothing to do with you voting for Bush. Plenty of moderates did the same.

It has everything to do with 4 things, mainly.

1. The views on Muslims and Arabs sometimes expressed on your site. Remarks about them "understanding" your culture are completely off base. Remember, I'm immersed in another culture, and I celebrate American holidays here all the time. Instead of Poles complaining about me not respecting their culture, they ask me about mine, and are interested in learning more. Believe me. I have known many Muslims, and they love American culture, and accept it. They live with it every damn day. They only ask that Americans educate themselves just a little bit about their religion. When we refuse to believe that Muslim terrorists are not representative of Muslims as a whole, we are refusing to eschew prejudice. That's what I'm talking about when I talk about different experiences Red.

2. Man, you and your comrades' droning on and on about not criticizing our Commander in Chief during a time of war really pisses me off. Somebody probably should have told the media not to do that back in 1862 while Lincoln was trying to tie this country back together, 'cause elements of the press, including in the North, really railed on him. Surprisingly, he managed to succeed and get reelected to boot. Are you so unimpressed with Bush that you don't think he could succeed without military censorship of the Press? Man, your suggestions bring to my mind visions of that Iraqi media guy who kept trying to tell everybody that the Iraqi Army was soaking the sands of Iraq with American blood. I can see it now: There's a terrorist attack in St. Louis, Missouri, and "General of the Media" Tommy Franks gets on the TV and tells us that the American Armies have scored a fantastic victory, everything is fine, and we can all go back to shopping and eating at McDonald's.

3. The penchant of folks over at your site to believe conservative propoganda groups and site their misinformation as "facts." Sorry Red, but the Swift Boat Vets have been thoroughly debunked-- yet your commenters still cite the nonsense they find over at that site. You say that I can't face the "facts"-- of course! How can I present you with any of the real facts, when my sources (mainstream media) are controlled by unseen "communist" forces?

4. Comments about "rewarding our most aggressive troops with court marshals," and about winning at all costs, even if it means not playing by the rules. Please ask a Pole next time you get a chance about liberators who come to win without playing by the rules. It happened twice to them from 1939 to 1989 and you know who lost? The Poles. You know who won? Nobody. If we don't play by the rules we've created in order to make sure war is justified, we lose. Undermining our own democratic values is just what our terrorist enemies want us to do.

And oh yes, torture is never to be tolerated. Never. And I'm pretty sure moderate America is with me on that.

Interesting that the issues you cited are those most important to me, behind foreign policy. I disagree that Kerry had a character problem, especially compared with Bush's (see "torture" above)-- but that indeed is an argument which does not lay on the fringes, but dead center in this election. But no point in debating that anymore, is there?

Please note that I never, never insulted your intelligence. So you can stop it now with the "illiterate dumbasses" crap.

Nor did I ever questions that you ever had anything other than the best intentions for our country. A courtesy not shown me on your site Red. I do not put my political beliefs above my values of justice and democracy.

You're very defensive about your beliefs Red-- something I've noticed before. Do I detect "a guilty conscience" ;)

Don't worry. I'll be back over to visit. I read your blog every day. Keep me in mind when you're making those posts. I'm reading. . .

11/08/2004 02:47:00 AM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

Well Damn, I thought after the political season we could find more common ground on our external enemies. Apparently not.

Look Gus, all I do is say what I honestly think about things. I cant pretend to be anything but myself. I dont really feel that I am an evil monster, I just try to look at things from what I consider to be the most logical angle. It amazes me that we cant find anything to agree on. I cant believe our minds are that different, but obviously they are. Sorry if that offends you so much.

Now that the election is over, I am going to get back to object-fully criticizing our Islamic enemy at my blog. You are always welcomed to point out the flaws in my arguments. Thats why I blog man. I am challenging the world to prove me wrong. Thats why I value your participation there. You are the most articulate liberal I have ever met. I am not going to purge my threads of POVs that differ from yours to please you, but would throughly enjoy seeing you convince us your POV make more sense. The secret is to make sure you aint the only one on the thread that thinks you won the debate.

I respect your views on Muslims, please present me with your plan to make them stop indiscriminately killing us both, I await it with an open mind.

11/08/2004 05:27:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Well, I guess you wanted to know. . .

Look Gus, all I do is say what I honestly think about things. I cant pretend to be anything but myself. I dont really feel that I am an evil monster.I don't think you're an evil monster-- I am, remember? I'm the one who "can spend 18 months, dividing and weakening our country, and with the help of our media drag our commander in chief through the mud during wartime, only to shake hands now, and pretend that they were serving in the best interests of our nation." I also "abandon reason and ignore the facts" with my "asinine world view."

I just try to look at things from what I consider to be the most logical angle.I understand that you have certain experiences that lead you to your "most logical angle" you're peering at the world from. But I can't begin to convince you when you're over there in that angle when I'm over here on this one-- on this issue and the 4 I cited above. And again, I don't think that angle is in the center-- although it's true, some of your angles are.

Fair game to say that some of my angles aren't in the center either, much as I wish they were and hate to admit they're not.

It amazes me that we cant find anything to agree on. I cant believe our minds are that different, but obviously they are.Far as I can tell, we both love our family and our country. I love my God, and if you're a religious man you love yours too. We both love politics and blogging. We both want our country to be the best in the world, to live in and to do business in, and want it to stay that way. We want the best education for our children and our communities to be safe.

Like beer? Me too.

And my guess is, since you're from a big football state, you love the gridiron just like me. I read something you wrote once about your highschool football team. Nothing quite like the glory of those Friday Night Lights is there? One day I'll tell you about the Muslim kids who were a big part of helping my highschool team to a State Championship. There was a sweet goalline stand and a Muslim kid of Arabic descent who could really play outside linebacker. . .But I digress.

Point is, we've got these things to agree on. It's not a lot, but it's a place to start.

Sorry if that offends you so much.Actually, it was the "spend 18 months, dividing and weakening our country . . .only to shake hands now . . ." that I took offense to.

The Muslim/Criticizing CiC/Media/Torture-excusing isn't so offensive (I've heard it all before) as it is depressing and tiring. That's why I'm commenting less-- I don't have the energy.

But you've got me hooked. I'll be over to point out the flaws in your arguments enough. To get to all of them is too much work for me though. ;) Keep coming over here, and I'll keep coming over there. I value your participation here too.

Please present me with your plan to make them stop indiscriminately killing us both, I await it with an open mind.Patience my Rednecked friend. Patience. The time will come.

And finally:
You are the most articulate liberal I have ever met.Top 5 answers to this statement:

5. You don't meet many liberals down there in Texas, do ya? I know. Redistricting.

4. I'm telling Pass!

3. I'm, um . . . well, I mean,. . . jeez. I just. . .

2. From "asinine" to "articulate" in less than 24 hours: Gustav finally out-flip-flops Kerry!

1. Thanks man. I just wish I could make my point in less than 16 paragraphs.

11/08/2004 02:53:00 PM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

Well, the "spend 18 months, dividing and weakening our country . . .only to shake hands now ". was addressed at you personally, as much as it was towards Kerry, and the Democratic apparatus.

Look man, I'm human. I am not morally righteous enough to avoid hold a grudge. I honestly think this divisive election weakened our country. And the fact that Kerry's criticism of our President matched verbatim our external enemies propaganda on many occasions cant be overlooked.

My point being these political factions honestly hate each other. And to turn around and shake hands with the man that has drug you through the mud for 18 months in search of political power just seems disingenuous to me.

I know we are all still Americans and all, but in my eyes Kerry advertised setbacks in the war on terror to his political advantage, and that bordered on treason from my perspective. I cant just easily get over that just because thats the way American politics work these days.

I am all for outspoken political opposition. I don't want to live in a country were any ideology, especially a conservative one has total domination, I just wish we could limit the amount of damage a divisive campaign does to America during wartime, when we need unity to prevail.

Harping back to your Football analogy. My Dad and brother were / are HS football coaches, and I have observed that the main difference between a competitive HS team, and a championship team, is the coach's wiliness to subject his players and the opposition players to permanent injury for their career gains. The dirtiest playing team usually wins championships and those coaches prosper. I guess thats is a pretty good analogy to American Politics after all.

11/08/2004 04:28:00 PM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

was NOT addressed at you personallySorry

11/08/2004 04:30:00 PM  

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