a moral victory, by andrew bolt

  1. 237 Posts.
    A moral victory
    Andrew Bolt


    President Bush has won, and that makes him a lot smarter than critics who jeer that he's simply a moron with blood on his hands.

    THIS will take some explaining by the kind of people who sobbed in grief on the ABC yesterday.
    How did President George Bush win so big, outpolling Democrat rival John Kerry by more than 3.5 million votes?

    To be specific, how did this "idiot" and "born-again fundamentalist" – who "can't even speak English" and is a "dry-drunk" and "coke-head" – manage to get himself re-elected, and with the most votes in any American election?

    How did this "war criminal" – who "stole" his election in 2000 and then "lied" to wage an "illegal war" to "steal Iraq's oil" – nevertheless win a bigger share of the vote, 51 per cent, than even Bill Clinton managed? Or John F. Kennedy? Or Ronald Reagan in 1980?

    How did this "moron" – so "retarded" that a few "powerful" Jews "manipulated" him into a "quagmire" in Iraq – still lead his Republican Party on Tuesday to even bigger majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives?

    These are questions that must flummox people like the dozen who rang me on Adelaide ABC radio on election eve, insisting over and over that Bush was not only an idiot, but a "new Hitler" and the "true terrorist".

    They must also mystify the customers at Readers' Feast who browse the dozens of books vilifying Bush and his administration, with titles such as American Gulag, How America Gets Away With Murder, Tyranny in America and The Bush Hater's Handbook.

    And they must stump the people who believe the lies about Bush in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, or berate his America at the Melbourne Writers Festival or gossip at polite dinners where hating Bush is a mark of good breeding.

    But these questions have no sensible answers, of course, because their premise is so lunatic – as lunatic as Michael Leunig's cartoon in yesterday's Age, drawing Bush as Osama bin Laden.

    The image of Bush promoted by the West's cultural elite is now a caricature so crude that it can't come close to explaining the real world. It certainly can't explain this election result.

    But surely now even the most committed activists of the Left must feel this gleeful Bush-bashing has to stop – that it just rots the brain and scares the decent.

    Yesterday, Kerry did his bit, graciously conceding rather than dirty Bush's win – as Al Gore did in 2000 – by challenging it in the counting rooms and courts.

    He noted "the desperate need for unity, for finding the common ground", adding: "Today I hope that we can begin the healing."

    Bush in turn promised Kerry voters: "I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can to deserve your trust."

    But it would be wrong to think this work is only Bush's to do. All our teacher-preachers who demonise Bush as sub-human must do a bit of healing themselves – even if only to make the Left less limp.

    And they can do that healing by abusing less and understanding more.

    They would be deluding themselves if they simply insist this result is some trick. The election was clean, the turn-out was huge, and the people spoke.

    I T would also be arrogant if they claim the voters are dumb. Americans have built themselves the richest economy, strongest military and most vibrant democracy. They also have the best film industry, and the most orchestras. These aren't signs of stupidity.

    It would also be yet more insane conspiracy mongering to say Bush won thanks to a compliant Big Media.

    The reverse is true – the Centre for Media and Public Affairs found, once again, the mainstream media leaned to the Left, granting Kerry the best press for any candidate since 1980, while giving Bush the worst coverage of any candidate on record – except, tellingly, Ronald Reagan in 1984.

    And this points to a great truth about politics in America – and here.

    The reports we rely on for our views of politicians come from journalists who tend to be to the Left of the voters. Which means the real Bush may not be much like the one you read about.

    But that's just one more sign of what really divides political parties and their supporters these days.

    We've long thought parties were divided by economic class – workers against bosses, poor against rich. That explains Labor's name, for instance.

    But now the parties in America, and increasingly here, are divided more by values than by economics or wealth. And this election proved that like few others.

    It wasn't the war in Iraq that won it for Bush. Exit polls show the war cost him almost as much support as it won – although clearly some voters thought it would send a bad signal to terrorists to change presidents just now.

    Nor did he win because of the economy, which is only just crawling out of a hole.

    What seems more likely to have tipped the balance are the social and moral issues Bush fought on – such as stem-cell research, abortion and same-sex marriage.

    On election day, for instance, 11 states held referendums to ban the gay marriages that Bush has opposed, and all were passed with huge majorities – six to one in Mississippi.

    Catholic leaders meanwhile criticised Kerry for being too liberal on abortion, which got him spending much of the last few weeks in churches, suddenly talking about God with almost the fervour of Bush.

    Almost, I said. Here is Kerry's reply when the New York Times asked him if God was on America's side:

    "Well, God will, look, I think, I believe in God, but I don't believe, the way President Bush does, in invoking it all the time in that way. I think it is, we pray that God is on our side, and we pray hard. And God has been on our side through most of our existence." Most?

    Two surveys confirmed Kerry's problem – the more often a voter went to church, the more likely they were to vote for Bush. And in no country do people go more often to church.

    This was, in fact, an election decided in large part by religion. The more secular, or even godless, parts of America – entertainers, urban elites, socialites, artists and journalists – tended to back Kerry, while the more deeply religious liked Bush.

    This is the America that Bush has won over, and which our own cultural elite should learn to understand.

    It is an America not of sinister plots, evil multinationals, conspiring Jews, oil-stealing generals, and war-mongering politicians.

    I T is an America that is trying to stay safe and free, and make a good living, too.

    And it is an America that meanwhile wrestles with serious moral issues that we are only beginning to face up to here – the cheapening of life, the killing of babies in the womb, the growing barbarity of the arts, the weakening of marriage, and the dissolving of the glue that keeps us stuck to each other, and to the ground.

    Bush knows this well, even if we may not agree with all his answers, and this alone makes him a lot smarter than the critics who jeer that he is simply a moron with blood on his hands.

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