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Exit Polls

So why were the exit polls wrong? Here’s a guess. Perhaps most of them were conducted in cities, not small towns and rural areas, skewing the results toward Kerry. Urban voters are more likely to be Democrats, after all. This is just a guess, though. As far as I know, media outlets haven’t published their exit poll methodologies.

Repeal Jane’s Law

My esteemed temporary Insta-colleague Megan McArdle goes by the handle “Jane Galt” on her blog. I first discovered her when she coined Jane’s Law.

Jane’s Law: The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.

Now that we have a fresh start, of sorts, can we try to prove her wrong? She’s been right for as long as I’ve been paying attention to politics. But all things must someday come to an end.

Left-wing Blogosphere Reactions

John Kerry’s side of the blogosphere offers a diverse range of views of Bush’s victory.

Marc Cooper: Could there possibly have been an incumbent more easy to knock-off than George W. Bush? A real-life opposition party would have been insulted to be matched with a such an unworthy and frail rival. The Democrats, by contrast, got their lights punched out.

Tbogg: I look at the big map and all of the red in flyover country and I feel like I’ve been locked in a room with the slow learners.

Andrew Northrup: The national Democratic Party needs to shift to the right, culturally, in order to compete nationally. No choice. Wah wah wah, I’m going to go vote for Nader, wah wah. You should have voted this time.

Jeff Jarvis: Good for you, Kerry, for conceding. Thank you.

Daily Kos: [I]t’s clear the Democratic Party as currently constituted is on its deathbed. It needs reforms, and it needs them now. Quite frankly, the status quo simply won’t cut it. Howard Dean for DNC Chair.

Oliver Willis: We’re telling the world that we endorse the last four years, and give thumbs up to more evil. Sick.

Ezra Klein: I, like most of us, fell for the echo chamber. Daily Kos, MyDD, Steve Soto, Pandagon, and all the other blogs are run by good people with positive intentions, but if they’re you’re primary source for information, you’re outlook is perverted by an overwhelming amount of good news and a general disdain for the factual accuracy of bad news. It perverts your perspective and, because the sample group is so totally different than most of America, it begins to twist your political predictions and assumptions of what works…

Kevin Drum: MOST IMPORTANT EVENT….RECONSIDERED… I’ll plump for the Massachusett’s Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage. The result was nearly a dozen initiatives across the country to ban gay marriage and a perfect wedge issue for Republicans. For the second election in a row, it looks like the president was chosen by the courts.

Matthew Yglesias: With a majority of the popular vote and expanded margins in the House and Senate, we’re going to see Bush Unleashed — something that will probably be much crazier than what we’ve seen over the past four years.

Andrew Sullivan: George W. Bush is our president. He deserves a fresh start, a chance to prove himself again, and the constructive criticism of those of us who decided to back his opponent.

Who and What I am Not

Michelle Catalano speaks for me.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to address the throngs of Chicken Littles who seem to be out in full force on the net today. I just want to clear up a few things, as you all seem to be pretty misguided in more than one area today.

I voted for George Bush.

I am not a redneck.

I do not spend my days watching cars race around a track, drinking cheap beer and slapping my woman on the ass.

I am not a bible thumper. In fact, I am an atheist.

I am not a homophobe.

I am educated beyond the fifth grade. In fact, I am college educated.

I am not stupid. Not by any stretch of facts.

I do not bomb abortion clinics.

Why Kerry Lost

It may be presumptuous to say John Kerry lost the election for the reasons I personally voted against him. But I’ve decided to say it anyway.

I didn’t vote for George W. Bush in 2000. I’ve never voted for any Republican president. This time was my first. And I did so because of the Terror War.

I know quite a few people who didn’t support Bush last time but did support him this time. And every single one of them did so for the same reasons I did. Because of the Terror War. Because Kerry could not be trusted.

I don’t know of anyone, anywhere, who swung from Al Gore to George W. Bush because of gay marriage, tax cuts, or for any other reason. I’m not saying they don’t exist. But if they do exist, I haven’t heard of ’em. They’re an invisible, miniscule minority.

There aren’t enough of us liberal hawks, disgruntled Democrats, neo-neoconservatives – or whatever else you might want to call us – to trigger a political realignment. But it does appear we can swing an election. At least we can help. And though I don’t think of myself as conservative (I did just vote for a Democratic Congress), my alienation from the liberal party is total. A political party that thinks crying Halliburton! is a grown-up response to anti-totalitarian war just isn’t serious.

I may vote for the Democratic candidate next time around. Then again, I might not. I’ll be watching what happens over the next four years, trying to decide if I’m part of the new wave of neoconservatives or if I’m just Independent. We shall see.

Election Day

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way before today’s votes are counted.

You have the right to vote. You do not have the right to see the man of your choice in the White House.

If George W. Bush wins the election, the world will still spin on its axis. Canada will not grant you asylum. If John Kerry wins the election, America will still be America. Australia will not grant you asylum.

People who vote for the other guy aren’t stupid, brainwashed, or evil. They are your friends and family. Someone you love will almost certainly cancel your vote. (My wife cancels out mine.)

If, by some chance, everyone you know votes for the loser it won’t mean the election was stolen, it will only show that you live in a bubble.

If this thing is close (the victor could easily win by 0.1 percent) try not to read too much into it. We’ll still be closely divided.

If the election doesn’t go your way, don’t pop off as though America were Guatemala under the generals. You’ll get lots of attention, but it won’t be the kind you want. People will laugh, not near you but at you.

For the Record

I voted last week by mail. (No lines. No waiting. No bullshit.) Here’s who I picked.

President: George W. Bush – Republican

Senator: Ron Wyden – Democrat

Representative: Earl Blumenauer – Democrat

Attacked

Jeff Jarvis says Instapundit, along with many other blogs, are suffering denial-of-service attacks today. I’ve noticed my own flickering in and out.

Call ‘Em Yourself

Drudge links to the realtime vote tallies for Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Hitchens is for Bush

Last week Slate reported that Christopher Hitchens favored the election of John Kerry. Slate was wrong. I thought that might be the case. I could hardly believe he was going to vote for John Kerry after all he has written over the past two years. I can’t vote for him either, for the same reasons.

The Boldest Prediction

Mark Steyn is a braver man than I. In three weeks I’m going to Libya, but he went to Fallujah after the fall of Saddam. And he went by himself decked out in a suit in a rental car.

Today he put his job, nay his career, on the line and said if Bush goes, he goes.

The Struggle of Ideas – Armed Liberal

The Winds of Change site is having technical difficulties and Marc Danziger (aka Armed Liberal) wrote something he wants to make sure gets out into the world before the election. I’ve agreed to let him guest blog it here.

Richard Clarke and the other experts in Middle East policy have set out an excellent case – for not letting their expertise guide our Middle East policy.

Their new work is sponsored by the Century Foundation, and is called ‘Defeating the Jihadists: A Blueprint for Action‘. Let’s take a look.

The international jihadist network of radical Islamic terrorist groups is far more extensive than just al Qaeda, and it has conducted twice as many attacks in the three years since September 11, 2001 as it did in the three years prior to that date. Defeating the Jihadists: A Blueprint for Action (Century Foundation Press, 2004), assesses the nation’s successes and failures on homeland security and calls for a stronger, more effective strategy for dealing with jihadists, including al Qaeda. The forthcoming report offers a detailed action plan for neutralizing the international movement at the core of worldwide terrorism. The report also describes the nature of the jihadist threat; provides comprehensive profiles of the various jihadist groups; and offers a rationale for the effort and money that would be needed to make the plan a success. The plan presented in the report builds on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and serves as a road map for winning the war against the jihadists.

The report’s authors are Richard A. Clarke, Glenn P. Aga, Roger W. Cressey, Stephen E. Flynn, Blake W. Mobley, Eric Rosenbach, Steven Simon, William F. Wechsler, and Lee S. Wolosky—all experts on various aspects of national security, intelligence, counterterrorism, military operations.

They divide the problem into segments:

1. Focus on Winning the Struggle of Ideas.

2. Invest in Education and Development in Islamic Nations.

3. Implement Tailored Strategies for Key Countries.

4. Defuse Sources of Islamic Hatred for the United States.

5. Improve U.S. Intelligence and Law Enforcement Organization.

6. Reinvigorate Efforts to Combat Terrorist Financing.

7. Bolster Special Forces and Improve Their Coordination with Intelligence Community.

8. Accelerate Security Investments for Ports, Trains, and Chemical Plants.

9. Strengthen and Improve Oversight of Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Efforts.

10. Improve U.S. Energy Security by Reducing Reliance on Middle East Oil.

Looking at their point, one by one, we begin to see a very different strategy than the one pursued by President Bush, and one that is likely to be close to the center of what a Kerry Administration might do.

I don’t have time to go through these point by point, but let’s touch on the areas where I have significant problems.

They open with “Winning the Struggle of Ideas.”

I’ve said for quite a while that we will ultimately win this war when we win the battle of ideas. Their idea of how to do it and mine are quite different, though. The summary of their proposal looks like this:

The U.S. must erode support for the jihadists in the Islamic world through what the 9/11 Commission called the “struggle of ideas,” but we cannot do it alone. Traditional propaganda mechanisms…international broadcasting, for example…are a small part of the solution. U.S. activities in Iraq, as portrayed by the Islamic news media, make it difficult for the United States government to successfully promote its values and ideas among the world’s Muslims. The messenger is as important as the message…and right now any message delivered from the United States is greeted with suspicion in the Islamic world.

Therefore, other countries, respected non-governmental organizations, and individual Islamic leaders must take the lead in appealing to Muslims to denounce intolerance and terrorist violence committed in the name of Islam. These efforts need to celebrate our common values in order to overcome misunderstandings and neutralize terrorist propaganda. The role of the U.S. government should be to stimulate these groups and then wait backstage.

As part of this struggle of ideas, the United States and Europe must demonstrably welcome Islam as a part of their cultures. On this front, the European Union should have two priorities: fighting anti-Islamic discrimination in its member countries and initiating discussions on Turkey’s accession to the European Union.

Their argument is simple: the US government can’t fund or otherwise encourage radio or televison networks that will have any significant impact on public opinion, because being associated with the U.S. is deadly. So let’s go their own detailed discussion of the impact of U.S.-funded media. Talking about al-Iraqiya, Al-Hurra, and Radio Sawa, they say:

…all three of these outlets have quickly achieved significant market share and at least a modicum of credibility among their listeners and viewers (see Figures 5.1 and 5.2, page 96). Polling data show that 74 percent of Iraqis watch al-Iraqiya on at least a weekly basis and 21 percent of those consider it “objective.”9 Al-Hurra, though not boasting ratings as high as al-Iraqiya’s, still claims a respectable average adult viewership of 29 percent in a dozen urban areas surveyed in North Africa, the Levant, and the Gulf region. Just over half of its viewers rate its news coverage as “very reliable” or “somewhat reliable.” Finally, Radio Sawa has staked out a weekly following of 38 percent of listeners polled in six Arab countries, including a high of 73 percent in Morocco. Remarkably, four of five listeners feel its news meets the same reliability criteria. Thus, on the basis of both market penetration and trust, these initiatives certainly appear successful at first glance.

While they next explain away these statistics as due to ‘novelty’ or limited by the limited availability of satellite TV in Iraq, the facts are the facts; with a very limited effort, we’ve got a substatial amunt of attention from the Arab world – and it’s certainly not the case that there will be fewer satellite dishes in Iraq next year than this.

Back to their key point; they say: “Therefore, other countries, respected non-governmental organizations, and individual Islamic leaders must take the lead in appealing to Muslims to denounce intolerance and terrorist violence committed in the name of Islam.” How, exactly, is this supposed to happen?

Well, they touch upon it in this section – a big part of the obstacle to mainstream Islamists combating terrorism is the assumed fact that disdain for the West comes about in part because we don’t do a good enough job of accepting Islam.

As someone who lives a mile and a half from an Islamic Center, I’m puzzled by this. How, exactly, is the U.S. and Europe not doing a good job of accepting Islam and it’s practitioners? And – more important – do they see any concern in setting the bar at we accept them – but they are free to, as they do in Saudi Arabia – freely discriminate?

The real answer – in their case – is in their point #4 – “Defuse Sources of Islamic Hatred for the United States.”

They dance heavily in this part of the document; here’s the key step (from the summary):

Large majorities of those living in the Middle East and North Africa evaluate U.S. foreign policy as out of step with their own world-view. On no issue is the divide greater than with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not surprisingly, the Pew Center recently found that 96 percent of Palestinians, 94 percent of Moroccans, 77 percent of Kuwaitis, 99 percent of Jordanians, and 90 percent of Lebanese believe that U.S. policies in the Middle East “favor Israel too much.” Given the importance of this issue in the Arab world, there is little doubt that these sentiments fuel much of the animosity felt by Arabs toward the U.S. While our foreign policy should never be dictated by foreign publics, the effect on public opinion of specific policies..remember the importance of the third and fourth concentric circles…should be a consideration in the formulation and implementation of policy. To that end, the United States should not alter its support of Israel, but should seek to revive the Israel-Palestinian Peace Process. The United States should not withdraw from Iraq before indigenous security forces are in place, but should cease U.S. military operations against urban areas, transfer rebuilding activities to Iraqi entities, and reduce U.S. goals in Iraq so that a withdrawal can be achieved at an early date.

(emphasis added)

So, by reformulating our policies to sit better with the Arab publics – publics that have been whipped into rage by a generation of anti-American and anti-Israeli government propaganda – we have a chance of ‘defusing’ the sources of Arab hatred.

Dwight Eisenhower and Robert Kennedy surely took the feelings of the Southern sheriffs into account when they mobilized Federal resources to combat Jim Crow. But I don’t think they are honored today for ultimately bending their policies to make them more palatable to the most intransigent opponents of integration.

Not only do I find the approach offensive and immoral, but I don’t believe it will work.

It is my habit to simply believe what people say; and what the Islamist terrorists have said – and what the works at the core of their ideology support – is the notion that this is a war against the modern West for the creation of a totalitarian religious state.

This isn’t a view that’s somehow historically unique to Islam. The various Christian sects spent a few hundred years trying to bring the world to God through the sword. But they had this largely beaten out of them by the 18th Century – that was one the key events that made the Enlightenment possible.

Read the whole thing.

For me, it solidifies my discomfort with Kerry and his advisers, and further secures my vote for Bush. If this becomes Kerry’s policy toward the Middle East, we’re in trouble.

The Professor Returns

Glenn Reynolds is back from vacation and posting again on Instapundit.

Thanks, Glenn, for letting the three of us kids play on the Insta-lawn while you were out. And thanks for letting us stick around through the election.

Programming Note

Glenn Reynolds just emailed and asked Ann, Megan, and me if we want to stay on at Instapundit until the election. Of course I said yes.

Being Instapundit

Cows have four stomachs. Glenn Reynolds has six brains.

One reads the Internet. (Yes, the entire Internet.) A second brain thinks about what the first brain reads. A third answers his email. (I have access to his inbox. It gives a whole new meaning to the word “Instalanche.”) A fourth brain composes posts on Instapundit. A fifth writes columns for Tech Central Station, MSNBC, and The Guardian. A sixth teaches law.

So when Glenn goes on vacation he has to enlist at least three people (who only have one brain apiece, I might add) to fill in for him.

You know how it is when you click on over to Instapundit. He’s got links to seemingly everything over there. You’ll get a decent idea what’s going on in the country, in the world, and in his six brains just by scanning his list of links. If you click on over today and see what Ann Althouse, Megan McArdle, and I have posted you won’t get that. Sorry. We can’t cover everything. We need three more brains to do that.

Before I became one-third of Instapundit I didn’t know how he does it. Now I really don’t know how he does it. I’m kidding about the six brains. He doesn’t really have that many — I don’t think. He’s just a very talented person. It’s a good thing he makes decent money from blogads. Instapundit is a job.

Ann Althouse wrote about what it’s like for her to be another third of Instapundit. You and me both, Ann!

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