A Liberal Democrat Who Hopes Bush Wins

I am a liberal Democrat who has voted pretty much a straight ticket since 1972. That being said, I am beginning to think that the Party would be much better off if Bush wins this election. Consider this:

It is unreasonable to expect that the Democrats can, or will, win every Presidential election from here on out. Sooner or later, the law of averages says we’re gonna lose one. Now, if you look at the last two times a party had a two term president (Reagan and Nixon/Ford), they were followed by a relatively weak single term administration (Bush and Carter). It could be argued that the political pendulum will always swing back for at least one term after eight years of one party’s agenda.

I am beginning to think this would be a good election to lose, and focus on 2004 as the opportunity to begin another 8 year Democratic Whitehouse. Whoever wins this debacle faces some enormous obstacles that pretty much guarantee gridlock with Congress, and a mediocre record at best. If Gore wins, he faces incredible hostility in the Republican dominated Congress.

If Bush wins, he serves under the shadow of the popular vote. The Congress will be a very narrow majority in the House, and maybe a dead heat in the Senate. Bush will never be able to pass his most conservative hot button issues, because the votes in both houses will be controlled by the Moderate Republicans. Without them, he can do nothing, and there are enough that one or two votes that cross the aisle would be enough to derail his platform promises (big taxcut, SocSec privatization, school vouchers). Even his “strict constructionist” nominees to The Supremes are likely to be turned down.

Couple this with the recession (maybe mild, maybe not) that every reasonable observer knows is coming (do you really believe the economy will go up forever?), and I say we let Dubya take the fall for a normal market swing, and catch it on the up tick in 2004.

Everything says to me, that whoever prevails, will win the battle but lose the war. I think of a ineffectual Dubya administration like a vaccination of weak virus that will stimulate the political immune system of the country, and kill the right-wing conservative infection once and for all. Sure, we may lose some ground on the environment and other issues, but in the long run, we will be much stronger, with the net effect of a longer period of progressive, liberal change.

I’m a… something (technically Republican, but that’s mostly because I find conservative propaganda much more amusing to read), and I, quite literally, hope that they eventually figure out exactly who’s supposed to be the President-elect. Whether it’s Gush or Bore, it makes no difference… if he got the votes, congrats to him.

Personally? I think “killing” the “right-wing conservative infection” (gosh, what kind, gentle, and tolerant terms you use) would probably be the worst thing that can happen to a country. Ever chop somebody in half? How long’d they survive after that? Just a thought for those who are more militant than intelligent.

Stoidela? Is that you in there?

I have heard many Dems say that it might be better if Bush wins. I have heard many Repubs say that it might be better if Gore wins. In general, I agree with both sides who are thinking that it might be better because this presidency will be a weak one and probably a 4-year term only.

That said, when Clinton had his problems early on in his first term, many people (myself included) were predicting that he would be a one-term president. And one of the main reasons Clinton ever got into the White House was that the elder Bush seemed unbeatable when primary time came around and many of the big shots didn’t want to waste their time running. Voters often seem to have a very short memory.

Not that any of this matters now, of course – the votes have already been cast. It’s just a matter of trying to figure out who the hell won…

I have been hearing this argument, and it makes a lot of sense. It is what I shall comfort myself with if Bush does win. This, and the continuing pleasure of knowing that his fun has been completely spoiled.

On the other hand, Bush has this weird ability, which remains completely mysterious to me since I am immune to it, to charm people and get them to like him. Eewww…like I said, I am immune. But heaven forfend he would have 4 years to work his voodoo on the country. (In much the same way that Clinton has, btw. I’ve heard lots of people say that Dubya has much more in common with Bill than with his dad, personally).

The problem is…who would the Democratic candidate be in 4 years? I feel pretty sure it ain’t gonna be Al. He was never that exciting to begin with, for most people. (Although I always liked him.) And it couldn’t possibly be Hillary, not if we want to win. So who?

I dunno. I know what you say is true about the white house swinging back and forth…it’s gotta go back sometime, and now is probably the very best time possible.

Sigh…this whole thing is giving me a headache.

Here’s the nightmare, just in terms of our partisan desires: the hand count goes forward and Bush still wins. That would suck, because it would give his presidency much more legitimacy and make it easier for him to overcome the shadow that would otherwise darken his days. Better he should win by strong-arming it. That would guarantee an ineffective presidency and sure loss in '04.

Screw it… as long as Alaska is left alone, I’ll be ok.


From a UK perspective…

I don’t think that elsewhere in the world there is a great desire for the Florida count to be over and done with. Here in the UK most analysts can’t understand why deadlines are being set so early, when the electoral college doesn’t meet until 18 December. They also don’t understand (and this is something I’m desperately trying to grasp as well) why the hand recounts aren’t being conducted by a third-party group. (And I don’t mean representatives of Nader, Buchanan and Browne, but by non-governmental organisations or foreign election bodies. Most commentators can’t understand why the US “monitors” elections in other countries, but when the US election encounters problems, “monitors” from other countries are not consulted. Nor do I.)

I suspected that, when the absentee ballots were collated, that this would be the end of the Florida count. I don’t think it will happen though, so I’ll put up my feet until the 18th of December and let the lawyers slug it out. No need to get excited one way or the other about it now.

You bring up an interesting point. I was thinking last night that Bush might find the hand counts more palatable if we trucked in a bunch of Canadians to do the counting, since they are not invested in the outcome.

Kinda bummer news coming out on the count…seems they aren’t picking up much for Gore yet…<sniff>

It would so totally suck if we hand count a million plus more votes and Bush still wins…it would lend him more legitimacy than he deserves.


Yeah because he clearly lost already.

Duke I think its because the CIA riggs elections in overseas countrys to get whoever they want to win. Obviously we don’t want the same thing happening to us.

Well, whose dad was the head of the CIA? :rolleyes:

Stoidela said:

If Al loses this election (whenever it ends), I’d be willing to bet that he comes back next time.

After all, he can talk about how he won the popular vote (presuming it stands after all the counting is done), how he should have been president, etc.

I think it’s most likely Gore WILL run again…and if Dubya does a bad enough job…he’ll probably WIN!

Yeah, but what’s he going to be doing to stay in the public eye for 4 years? The American people have a pretty short memory. He can only milk the “I was the PEOPLE’S choice!” thing so long.

I doubt he will get the nod from the Dems to get the nomination in 2004. A lot of people saw Bush as a weak opponent and thought Gore would sweep the election. If he couldn’t manage to defeat Bush, I can’t see him getting re-nominated.

As a semi-Democrat, I am hoping Bush wins it. Whoever wins will not have an easy time of it, and will probably not be able to accomplish much. It seems to come down to being the winner or the hero. Me, I’d rather my guy be the hero.


tygre said:

He’ll be around, I’m sure. And even if he stays away for a couple years ('til the next primary season begins), he can just pop right up when it comes time.

Yeah, right. These are politicians – they can milk stuff forever.

Who thought Gore would sweep the election? Nobody with any real political knowledge.

Of course things may change, but as an insider (of sorts), I can tell you that at this point the DNC has absolutely no intention of backing Gore in '04. Who they would back, I’m not privvy to at the moment.

It’s important to note, I think, that the closeness of an election, historically, has had virtually no bearing on the performance of a particular president, or the eventual ranking of the quality of that president’s performance. Kennedy is the most recent one, but it goes back in history much further than that.

Thomas Jefferson, ranked as one of our greatest presidents, attained his office only after the election was thrown to the House, on the 36th ballot by House members. (I think this is right; someone please correct me if it isn’t.)

This election could be different, in that both sides are claiming unfairness, not just closeness. But if the president who gets the Oval Office chair is very “presidential” in his speeches, his dealings with Congress and his decision-making otherwise, the circumstances of his election, historically, fade to irrelevancy.

A potential recession could have more bearing than the political climate.

I was just going to say much the same thing Milossarian did. There are lots of presidents who got a lot of things done and are seen as failures, and a lot of them who did nothing at all and are seen as good presidents. Jimmy Carter actually passed quite a lot of what he wanted, plus he beefed up the military and appointed a Fed Chairman who broke the back of inflation. But that created deficits and a weak economy, and he was ousted in a landslide.

If Bush gets into power and the economy chugs along for four more years, he’ll be re-elected. And don’t discount the ‘legitimacy’ he’ll be afforded - he’s going to surround himself with a lot of people who just ooze legitimacy. You can bet that Colin Powell will be Secretary of State, and he has higher ratings than just about any politician in the country. You can expect to see him trotted out on a regular basis to add ‘legitimacy’ to the government. VP Cheney shares that same public fondness, but not to the same degree. I also expect a few other notables from the past to show up in various cabinet positions. It’ll be a continuation of Reagan/Bush, and the Republicans in the House and Senate will LOVE that. As will many of the people.

“It’s the economy, stupid”. Clinton accomplished almost nothing in office (through no fault of his own), but his approval ratings have always been sky-high simply because most Americans are having a good time. BTW, people were saying the same things about Clinton they are saying now, since he did not get the majority of votes. Once he was in power it made no difference at all.

With four more years of growth, the U.S. will have huge surpluses. Bush’s tax cut will stimulate the economy (which wouldn’t have been a good thing when he first proposed it, since the economy was already in danger overheating), and that might keep economic growth going for another four years.

Besides, it’s very dangerous to assume that the economy MUST go into recession, because it has a history of doing that. In case you haven’t noticed, things have changed. People have been predicting a stock market meltdown and a recession for 8 years now, and it hasn’t happened.

One reason why you don’t want this election to drag on until Dec 18 - forming a ‘transition’ government is a lot of work. Over 6000 people have to be hired or appointed. That’s one reason why the election is held two months before inauguration day. It’s in the country’s best interest to give the president-elect as much time as possible to form his government, so he has a chance at getting the best people.


Thomas Jefferson, ranked as one of our greatest presidents, attained his office only after the election was thrown to the House, on the 36th ballot by House members. (I think this is right; someone please correct me if it isn’t.) [/qoute] It was actually the 37th ballot. They (Burr and Jefferson) tied on the first 36 ballots cast. It took them 7 days to break the deadlock.

I only know this because I watched an excellent show called “The Duel” (about Burr and Hamilton) on American Experience on PBS last Wed.

You know what? AT this point, I no longer CARE who wins.

Presidents have all sorts of Executive powers that are not particularly memorable, but are important nonetheless:

  1. Congress tends to find it expedient to pass a budget with a similar surplus or deficit as the President’s. So a fiscally conservative chief executive (like Clinton) can make a difference.

  2. There’s a backlog of appeals court appointments that the Senate has tied up in the hopes of getting a new administration. I won’t bother mentioning the Supreme Court… (Hmm. I just did. oops)

  3. Clinton expanded the national park system via Executive Order (i.e. made much of it off limits to logging). Bush could open up Alaska wilderness to oil drilling (I think).

  4. On the other side, the Democrats IMO are in the pocket of the teacher’s unions. It is conceivable that making federal aid conditional on a minimum level of school performance could galvanize local pressure to reform failing and mediocre schools. The contrast between the US test scores and those of the rest of the industrialized world indicates that there very well may be room for improvement here. True education reform could yield enormous growth-related and anti-poverty benefits.

  5. In contrast to the 2 previous administrations, Clinton had the good sense to a) refrain from commenting on Fed decisions and b) avoid “talking down” the dollar. Result: happy bond markets, lower long term interest rates, ultimately higher investment. (Yes, it is the economy, stupid.) Whether Bush would show similar discipline is unclear.

  6. The recent controversy involving ergonomics standards is a great example. I trust that either administration will eventually hand down guidelines. Whether they have teeth for next 4-8 years could make a difference for millions who make their living in front of a keyboard.

I could probably go on, but even I’m getting bored. The point is that the party in power can make its presence felt in ways that aren’t particularly attention-grabbing.

I guess you missed my point. I wasn’t denigrating Clinton or trying to draw comparisons between a possible Gore or Bush presidency. I was merely pointing out that a president who doesn’t accomplish much (for whatever reason) can be re-elected.

When Clinton took office, he was a radical reformer. In his first year in office, he burned up all his political capital in silly ways - the failed health care plan, Gays in the military, Donna Shalala, Joycelyn Elders… That, plus the hammering he took from the right turned him into a lame duck that couldn’t accomplish much. And in my opinion that was a great boon to both his presidency and the U.S. Against his own will he turned into a good president, IMO.