WWW Opinion Times

Monday, November 08, 2004

Love Won the Election

Democrats spent four years attempting to twist George Bush's "Compassionate Conservatism" into a religious takeover of government. "Faith based institutions working with government," liberals and elite media said? "It's a back-alley entrance avoiding the Church/State front door to which we have the key."

"Bush is divisive causing the country to be split," they whined after they found their pet programs would no longer receive presidential support. Yet through economic downturn exasperated by the most destructive attack on our country from outside our boarders, President Bush kept moving forward with a plan acting positively on circumstance.

It was a labor of devotion to a country by a President who didn't sit on the sidelines pandering to the most mundane instincts typically brought to political life. And he built a strong following of people who believed he had a solid heart while lacking a deft tongue.

Thus, as Michael Barone notes in his most recent column,
"Love is stronger than hate. That is the lesson of the 2004 election results. Millions of Democrats and leftists have been seething with hatred for George W. Bush for years, and many of them lined up before the polls opened to cast their votes against him--one reason, apparently, that the exit poll results turned out to favor Democrats more than did the actual results. But Republicans full of love, or at least affection, for George W. Bush turned out steadily later in the day or sent in their ballots days before."

People respond to leadership founded upon character; the law within. Peggy Noonan once noted:
In a president, character is everything. A president doesn't have to be brilliant; Harry Truman wasn't brilliant, and he helped save Western Europe from Stalin. He doesn't have to be clever; you can hire clever. . . . But you can't buy courage and decency, you can't rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him. If he does, they will give meaning and animation to the great practical requirement of the presidency: He must know why he's there and what he wants to do. He has to have thought it through. He needs to have, in that much maligned word, but a good one nonetheless, a vision of the future he wishes to create. This is a function of thinking, of the mind, the brain.

President Bush has shown this through some of the most difficult times our country has seen. And as he has navigated the ups and downs of his approval ratings and a struggling economy, it seems the American public has largely admired his willingness to stick it out thorugh tough problems. They have seen that he has not spent his time and effort wrangling about the origins of the problems except where that effort could be spent in coming to a solution. And the 2004 election, as with any mid-term presidential contest, became a referendum on the man as much as on the policies. And Barone notes,
"The results of [the 2004] election closely resemble the 2002 House results. Bush beat Kerry 51 to 48 percent; the popular vote for the House appears to be about 51 to 47 percent Republican. Voters knew the stakes--polls showed majorities thought this was an important and consequential election--and both candidates had plenty of opportunity to make their cases. Thanks to the 527s, more money was apparently spent against Bush than for him. So the results cannot be dismissed as an accident. We are now a 51 percent nation, a Republican majority, as, once again in America, love has proved stronger than hate."

. . . and history once again proves that when leaders act, the wisdom of representative democracy rewards them with responsibility they never considered "something to be grasped."

Michael Barone's column is here