- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 6, 2004

The American people spoke loud and clear Tuesday and the so-called mainstream media still haven’t heard them. With nearly 60 million, President Bush received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history.

It is a clear mandate for a popular president to continue defending this country from terrorist enemies, strengthen our intelligence operations, continue the progress in Iraq and Afghanistan, reduce the tax burden on families and small businesses, reform Social Security and establish public policies reflecting the moral virtues that value human life and the sanctity of marriage.

Although nearly 60 percent of registered voters cast their ballots Tuesday, the Kerry team hoped for a higher turnout. With help from their Hollywood friends, they worked hard to energize young voters and college students who they hoped would be the “800-pound gorilla” voting bloc.

The Kerry team repeated their lie day in and day out that, under a second Bush term, a military draft was imminent and the only way for students to legally dodge the draft was to vote for John Kerry.

That would do it, Mr. Kerry thought. The way to win this election was to turn John Kennedy’s admonition on its head and appeal to the weak and cowardly, who ask only what their country can do for them.

But the students didn’t turn out. Instead, millions of Americans braved rain, snow and blazing sun to vote for their commander in chief, wanting their voice to counter Mr. Kerry’s appeal to craven pessimists. In some precincts, voters waited for hours.

Pundits who provided us with Election Day analysis believed these long lines, coupled with fatally flawed exit polls, would redound to the benefit of John Kerry — the antiwar candidate who would sound the call for retreat.

But the Americans who waited in line to cast their votes are the quiet patriots who live in small towns and rural communities in the so-called “Red States.” For them, standing in line is not the burden the elite media, who prize instant gratification, make it out to be. After all, these are the people who stand in line at Wal Marts for hunting and fishing licenses. They stand in line on Sundays at church to shake hands with the minister or receive Communion. And these are the same people who formed long lines in mid-September 2001 to give blood, donate time and energy, sift through rubble, put out fires, distribute Bibles and blankets and pour coffee.

The people who formed those long lines at the polling places on Tuesday are the friends, family and neighbors of those young people who formed lines in 2001 out the doors of the Army and Marine Corps recruiting offices.

On Tuesday, these quiet patriots came to the defense of their commander in chief; they came out to support the troops by casting a vote for the man in whom the troops put their faith.

So now President Bush will take his 58-million-vote mandate — more than any candidate for president has ever received — and begin working on the opportunities ahead. “I’ve earned capital in this election and I’m going to spend it,” the president said at his first postelection news conference Thursday.

The president will use that capital to continue working toward peace and stability in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East. While Mr. Bush prepared for his second term in Washington, U.S. forces in Iraq readied an offensive in Fallujah to kill or capture the remaining terrorists in that city and provide stability in anticipation of the next year’s national elections.

With Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat near death, a new opportunity exists in the Middle East to bring peace to the region. President Bush said he will “continue to work for a free Palestinian state that’s at peace with Israel.”

Mr. Bush also has many opportunities at home. Conventional wisdom holds that during the next four years as many as three seats could open on the Supreme Court.

During Mr. Bush’s first term, Democrats waged an aggressive, obstructionist campaign against his judicial nominees. If they are serious about wanting a bipartisan spirit of cooperation in Washington, Democrats must welcome jurists who value human life, the sanctity of marriage and our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Tax relief and tax code simplification are high on the president’s agenda and would be much needed improvements. Reform of the Social Security system is an issue no politician has had the courage to undertake seriously. Mr. Bush is about to embark on a historic effort to improve our retirement system and will need the cooperation of Democrats who, even in this latest campaign, tried to use it as a scare tactic and a wedge issue.

The people have spoken, they’ve given our president a mandate, and he is ready to go to work on their behalf.

The only remaining question: Have the Democrats learned their lesson, and are they ready to help President Bush, or will they simply appoint new obstructionists to replace the old ones like Tom Daschle and Terry McAuliffe?

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist and the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance.

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