- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 7, 2004

Mustn’t gloat, mustn’t gloat. Instead, we must try and look sober and reflective and then step smartly to the side and let the Democrats tear themselves apart.

I am reluctant to intrude on family grief, especially as the Dems are doing such a sterling job all by themselves. But, when big shot Democrats look at last Tuesday’s results and instantly announce the reason they flopped was because… .

Whoa, hang on a minute, my apologies. There’s been a clerical error here: That was my postelection column from 2002. My postelection column from 2004 goes like… well, actually, it goes pretty much the same.

It would be easier just to take the second week in November off every two years and let my editors run the timeless classic whither-the-Democrats? column. All that changes is the local color. In 2002, I was very taken by the band at Missouri Democratic headquarters attempting to rouse the despondent faithful with Steve Allen’s peppy anthem, “This Could Be The Start of Something Big,” and noted that the party faced the opposite problem: This could be the end of something small.

As they’ve done for a decade now, the Democrat bigwigs worried about it for a couple of weeks and then rationalized it away: In 2000, they lost because George W. Bush stole the “election”; in 2002, they lost because of that “vicious” attack ad on Max Cleland. The official consolation for this year’s biennial bust hasn’t yet been decided, but Tom Daschle’s election eve lawsuit alone offers several attractive runners, including the complaint Democrats were intimidated by Republicans “rolling their eyes.” Could be a lot more of that if this keeps up.

So it seems likely — just to get my 2006 postelection column out of the way here — that in a couple years’ time the Democrats will have run on the same thin gruel as usual and be mourning the loss of another two or three Senate seats. You want names and states? Well, how about West Virginia? Will the 88-year-old Robert C. Byrd be on the ballot in 2006? And, if he’s not, what are the Dems’ chances of stopping West Virginia’s transformation to permanent “red state” status?

It also seems likely — just to get my 2012 postelection column out of the way here — that in eight years’ time the Dems will have run on the same thin gruel as usual and, thanks to the 2010 census and the ongoing shift of population to the South and West, lost another five House seats and discovered the “blue states” are worth even less in the electoral college — though in fairness their only available presidential candidate, the young dynamic Southerner, 94-year old Robert C. Byrd, managed to hold all but three of Mr. Kerry’s states.

I had a bet with myself last week: How soon after election night would it be before the Bush-the-chimp-faced-moron stuff started up again? Forty-eight hours? A week? I was wrong. Bush Derangement Syndrome is moving to a whole new level. On the morning of Nov. 2, the condescending left were convinced Mr. Bush was an idiot. By the evening of Nov. 2, they were convinced the electorate were idiots. Or as London’s Daily Mirror put it on Page One: “How Can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?”

Well, they’re British lefties: They can do without Americans. Whether an American political party can do without Americans is more doubtful. Nonetheless, MSNBC.com’s Eric Alterman was mirroring the Mirror’s sentiments: “Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the ‘reality-based community’ say or believe about anything.” Over at Slate, Jane Smiley’s analysis was headlined, “The unteachable ignorance of the red states.” If you don’t want to bother plowing your way through Mr. Alterman and Miss Smiley, a placard prominently displayed by a fetching young lad at the postelection anti-Bush rally in San Francisco cut to the chase: “… Middle America.”

Almost right, man. It would be more accurate to say “Middle America… ” you, and it will continue to do so every two years as long as Democrats insist that anyone who disagrees with them is, ipso facto, a simpleton — or “Neanderthal,” as Teresa Heinz Kerry described those unimpressed by her husband’s foreign policy. In my time, I’ve known dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and other members of Britain’s House of Lords and none of them had the contempt for the masses one routinely hears from America’s coastal elites. And, in fairness to those ermined aristocrats, they could afford Dem-style contempt: a seat in the House of Lords is for life; a Senate seat in South Dakota isn’t.

More to the point, nobody who campaigns with Ben Affleck at his side has the right to call anybody an idiot. H.L. Mencken said that no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Well, George Soros, Barbra Streisand and a lot of their friends just did: The Kerry campaign and its supporters — MoveOn.org, Rock The Vote, etc — were awash in bazillions of dollars, and did they get to show for it?

In this election, the plebs were more mature than the elites: They understood war is never cost-free and that you don’t run away because of a couple of setbacks; they did not accept that one jailhouse scandal should determine America’s national security interest; they rejected the childish caricature of their president and paranoid ravings about Halliburton; they declined to have their vote rocked by Bruce Springsteen or any other pop culture poser.

All the above is unworthy of a serious political party. As for this exit-poll data that everyone is all excited about, what does it mean when 22 percent of the electorate say their main concern was “moral issues”? Same-sex “marriage”? Abortion? Or is it something broader? For many of us, the war is also a moral issue, and the Democrats are on the wrong side of it, standing not with the women voting proudly in Afghanistan’s first election but with the amoral and corrupt United Nations, the amoral and cynical Jacques Chirac, the amoral and revolting head-hackers whom Democratic Convention guest of honor Michael Moore described as Iraq’s “Minutemen.”

At some point in both the 2000 and 2004 campaigns, your typical media liberal would feign evenhandedness and bemoan how the choice came down to “two weak candidates.” But, in that case, how come the right’s weak candidates win? Because a weak candidate pushing strong ideas is better than a weak candidate who has had no ideas since Roe vs. Wade.

Mark Steyn is the senior contributing editor for Hollinger Inc. Publications, senior North American columnist for Britain’s Telegraph Group, North American editor for the Spectator, and a nationally syndicated columnist.

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