Bush’s victory merely kicks off the second half

I thought Kerry would win, but I don’t find Bush’s victory particularly ominous.

A Canadian friend of minekept asking me the same question Nov. 3: How could President George W. Bush be re-elected as president? How? The answer it seems, without sounding too glib, is Bush got more votes than Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. It is safe to say a majority of the voting population in the United States really wants Bush to be president. I think it is also important to say that people who voted for Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are neither stupid nor moronic – they firmly believe in the president and his policies.

So, to Kerry supporters trying to find a Canadian to marry (my friend got three proposals over the phone), Bush’s re-election is not the end of the world. It’s not even close and way too early to know what a second Bush term will produce. I think Bush and Cheney should be allowed to follow their apparent mandate only because they have been handed the makings of their greatest undoing – a second term.

Had Bush only served one term, he would have left a deluge of problems for the new Kerry administration to negotiate, more or less allowing Bush an escape into history as a dead-end presidency. But with a second term, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Iraq is largely a disaster. I know supporters of Bush will say things aren’t great, but I’m not paying attention to the good news. Point taken. All those critics can fixate on the good news I’m missing. I’m more concerned about the creeping prospects of a civil war as freedom continues marching across Iraq. Four years from now, one of the main dilemmas facing the presidential candidates will be what to do in Iraq.

While other world leaders greeted Bush’s re-election with pragmatic applause, it’s clear other nations are looking to the European Union and China for global partnerships. The U.S. dollar continues to slide and it is only a matter of time before foreign investors begin dumping their U.S. dollars for other currencies. The U.S. debt is simply getting too big, too fast.

As well, a number of ongoing federal and Senate investigations will carry over into a second Bush term. For example, whether investigations into the leak of Valerie Plame’s name, the contracting and billing procedures in Iraq and the claims made by the president about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq yeild anything, is yet to be seen. These investigations would have effectively ended had Kerry won.

While the Republicans control both the Senate and the House, one party with too much power tends to implode in Washington. Party loyalty begins evaporating when federal investigations turn into criminal charges just shy of high crimes and misdemeanors.

I’m also skeptical of calls for bipartisanship since recent talk about working together meant the Democrats should do what the Republicans wanted. Maybe moderates in both parties can work together, but social conservatives were already smiting affable Republicans, like Arlen Specter, for not being conservative enough when discussing Supreme Court nominees.

I thought Kerry would win the election last week, but I don’t find Bush’s victory particularly ominous. In looking over the numbers of people who voted, it is clear while the Kerry-Edwards ticket did pull in a lot of votes, nothing any Democrat could say would swing Bush supporters.

One of my favorite stories about Bush supporters took place mid-August in my hometown, Hudson, Wis. During one of the campaign’s numerous invitation-only “Ask-the-president” events, a young man stated the following: “I’m a local youth minister, recently hired. And one of the things – two of the things we’ve talked about today are enemies and freedom. And I believe that the enemy that we need, the greatest freedom from right now happens to be Satan, and it’s the enemy that we also don’t necessarily always see.” While the president steered clear of saying anything about Satan in his response, it’s obvious vast numbers of Bush supporters see him battling evil.

Kerry supporters should not scoff at such a belief. I don’t care how often Kerry talked about being an altar boy; he would have never gotten the support of Bush voters who see the president as chosen by God. And as a response to these voters, the Democratic Party should take some cues from former President Jimmy Carter on how to discuss religion – as long as the conversations avoid exploiting theology which is what the Republican Party did during this last campaign.

How did Bush get re-elected? Simple answer: A majority of voters in the United States elected him. And Bush is exactly the president they deserve.

John Troyer is a University doctoral candidate. He welcomes comments at [email protected]