Wednesday: 03.November.2004

Bush Re-elected: Blue-state Blues

Weeping & gnashing of teeth. As mentioned yesterday, this is the first time I've voted for a president who lost. As everyone expected, it was close (elected by the narrowist margin for a sitting president since 1916), but now I got a bad case of the blue-state blues. This election has given new meaning to the phrase shock & awe.

First off, I don't feel comfortable with electronic voting machines. Anyone who knows anything about hacking, knows they can be programmed to generate any results you want. No verifiable paper-trail exists. And the code is secret. What kind of krap is that?

continued

Next, I feel concerned .. concerned the President doesn't have the sophistication & insight necessary to deal effectively with the complex state of affairs in the world today. And if you ask the rest of the world, you'll find they have the same concerns .. that the President's destabilization of the middle east has made the world less-safe, not more.

One of his mantras during the election that rang most true for me was: "You may not agree with me, but you know where I stand." Every time I heard him say this, I said, "Yes." This is true for the Pres, and was one of Kerry's undoings, who was often unclear, especially on his stand on Iraq, in which he kept shifting political sails in an attempt to catch the prevailing popular winds. I agreed with Bush/Cheney that Kerry was guilty of this, but saw George's vices as worse (much worse).

But the flip-side to the President's simplicity is a lack of sophistication. Exit polls revealed that a surprising number people claimed to vote primarily for "moral" reasons ("guns, God & gays"), but the marriage of a gay couple, no matter how you feel about it morally, will not lead to the end of the world. I mean, gay people are going to live their lives the way they want, whether or not they're "married".

The Kerry campaign would've done well to send some its people into parts of the country they lost (red), and learned how these people think, and how strongly they feel strongly about moral issues such as gay marriage and abortion. It is relatively easy to address their concerns (which Dems failed to do). I've lived all around the country, so I have insights as to how people think in different parts of the country and what is most important to them.

So, it's clear Dems do not understand the psychology of the "moral" voter (or do not care). What concerns me however, is that the person who votes primarily for moral reasons does not understand the level of sophistication necessary to operate politically in the world today, and the magnitude of the dangers involved.

Granted, the president understands the straightforward simplicity of moral issues (either you're for gay marriage or you're not), but the flip-side is that he does not understand the complexity involved in other parts of the world. And we see evidence of his provincial mindset when we look at the mess in Iraq, where he obviously did not have the foresight to anticipate the situation there (remember when he stood on the USS Abraham Lincoln under the banner that declared Mission Accomplished? How many of our soldiers have died since?). This is why Colin Powell asked the President, "Dude, are you sure you know WTF you're getting the nation into?" (the Rad translation)

You also see more evidence of this in the way he has alienated much of the world with his "My way or the highway" attitude. This is how a bully acts, not a leader. And this is why many nations refuse to follow him (many of the same nations who gladly followed his father into battle in Kuwait). If you look closely, you even see evidence of it on 9-11, when the administration didn't have a clue this was coming.

So, my concerns today is that his provincial, ideological mind set, which appeals so much to the moral voter, is poorly suited to dealing with the sophisticated complexities around the world. Moreover, I am concerned that he does not know how to admit a mistake and adjust his course accordingly. Granted, it's not easy to admit a mistake, but what is the flip-side of continuing hell-bent down the wrong road? (anyone remember how high the bodies of our American boys piled up in Viet Nam?).

500 years ago, Erasmus said: "War is delightful to those who have no experience of it." Seems this still applies today to George W Bush, who chose to avoid serving his country in Viet Nam when he had the chance to go there and learn what its like to have bullets wizing by your head. This shouldn't surprise anybody, because he's always been a fortunate son of privilege.

In short, I think it was his plain-talking provincial simplicity that got him re-elected, but this will also be his un-doing. As with most things, strengths and weakness are just flip-sides of the same coin.

For example, we now know that North Korea has nukes. Iran will soon join them. I'm concerned that (without the necessary insight/foresight previously mentioned) this administration will do something that will have grave results. I hope I'm wrong, but I think the writing is already on the wall, characterized by an inability to deal with people who have a different mind set.

And this is precisely where Kerry excels. In a chess game, you need to be able to think ahead. The president has demonstrated a lack of foresight, and our nation is paying for it in both dollars & lives. We also paid on September 11th.

The optimist in me wants to give the President the benefit of the doubt. But the realist in me says: "He has already demonstrated what he is capable of. Give the President enough political rope and he will hang the entire nation". Let's hope I'm just being a sore loser. But I truly believe, I'll soon be saying, "Told ya."

Like never before, I sense a genuine unsettledness about the direction our nation (and the world) is headed under the auspices of President Bush. His inclination to seek a military solution to every foreign problem is disturbing. Or maybe it's his inability to produce a political solution. I'm not sure, but there's actually a sense of dread about 4 more years of Bush. And I've never seen that before. Visit some of the politically-oriented blogs around the 'Net and you'll see I'm not alone. I mean, people (not me) actually want to MOVE to other countries, such as Canada, Australia & New Zealand.

After considering the map of red/blue states, and comments from our neighbors around the globe, it seems that America has never been so divided at home -- at least not in my lifetime -- and so alienated from the rest of the world. I'm not sure what omens these developments portend, but it appears the man responsible is none other than George W. Bush, who in the 2000 election claimed he wanted to be a uniter, not a divider. Some civilizations had leaders such as Alexander the Great. Some had Vlad the Impaler. We happen to have George the Divider. =/

After considering the effects of decisions made by this administration, and the widening rich/poor gap, with more Americans falling into poverty, and our military stretched too thin, such that we need to expand stop-loss measures, and seeing the way Iraq is beginning to look like Viet Nam (we're getting bogged down), and the biggest federal deficit in history ... does anyone else see similarities with the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire?

Hey, but at least we won't have any gays getting married .. gays who pay taxes, obey the law, employ people, and even served their country in combat, something the President chose to avoid doing. Give the President 4 more years and he'll make Kerry look like a godsend.

I would vote for Kerry again. He just needs to spend a little time with Evangelical ministers, and dialogue with them, because they tell their congregations how to vote (even tho they're not supposed to do that).





Posted by Rad at November 3, 2004 11:33 AM

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I couldn't help but read between the lines as
simple = stupid and sophisticated = smart

and

the red states = where simple people live
the blue states = where sophisticated people live

or maybe I have an inferiority complex and am dreaming this all up

Posted by: jim at November 3, 2004 12:35 PM

Hi. I never used the words "stupid" or "smart" to describe red/blue states. But I can see how you might infer this. I am merely commenting on what exit polls showed as the #1 reason many voters claim for choosing their candidate (i.e. "moral values"), and contrasted it with the empirical evidence we have (the unanticipated problems in Iraq & other items previously mentined) that shows the administration's trouble operating outside its own cultural comfort zone.

Please accept my apologies if I was not clear. I have lived many years in red states and found them to be genuinely lovely people. But I *am* concerned that these people are ignoring (or do not see) the troubles brewing beyond their own geoghaphic horizons. I agree with the moral values of the Bush administration, but I also think it's naive to put the issue of gay marriage ahead of North Korea's nukes or the death's of our soldiers in Iraq. You see no reason for concern here?

No matter how one feels about gay marriage, everyone should agree that North Korea's nukes (which the administration is doing *nothing* about) is a far more important issue, which could bring about the end of the world. Sometimes I feel this is what the President wants, at least when I comtemplate his ACTION is the absence of his rhetoric.

I'm talking about 'priorities' and what's more/most important. The fact the Kerry did not visit red states says to me he was not concerned with learning what is most important to the people who live there. It's obvious now that this was his undoing.

But it's obvious from looking at the map that there is a "cultural divide", and I feel like the time I've spent living around the country makes me well-qualified to comment on the differences. Each side has its own set of strengths & weaknesses. Both are important, but not equally so at all times. The answer, I feel, lies somewhere between the two extremes.

Posted by: Rad at November 3, 2004 12:51 PM

You have a great site by the way.

No apology necessary - you are entitled to your opinion. As a matter of fact it may be possible that the blue states have more educated population. But I share many of your same concerns and I'm not a Bush supporter.

my hope is that our government and country have the right people/controls in place for corrective actions when things get out of hand. I am not politically literate so can't discuss much and in an indirect sort of way, I may even be partly to blame for current state of affairs.

Posted by: jim at November 3, 2004 01:31 PM

"But it's obvious from looking at the map that there is a "cultural divide"."

But it is interesting how close the voting was in most states. Maybe a map that was shaded instead of all red or blue. I bet there would be a lot of purple states.

Posted by: jim at November 3, 2004 01:45 PM

Re: "But it is interesting how close the voting was in most states."

Yes, that's what gives me hope. We didn't have any 90/10 states. You are correct that many people who live in red states voted for Kerry (and vice-versa). I need to ponder the implications of that fact a little more.

On some level, I see the election as having boiled down to "moral values vs leadership competence", and moral values won. The next four years will tell us if this was a mistake, and if so, how big a mistake.

If we compare resumes of the two men, I don't think anyone will (honestly) argue that John Kerry was simply more qualified for the job, and by a wide margin. He was also less "likeable", but likeability should never usurp competency as a qualification for the presidency. It's like someone getting promoted at work because they're a better "schmoozer".

Posted by: Rad at November 3, 2004 02:04 PM

Simple vs sophisticated, eh? Your arrogance is amazing. The people who live in the "red states" aren't any more simple or less sophisticated than you. They simply have a different set of values than you folks on the West Coast (or Northeast for that matter). As you might expect I am from the deep (and I mean deep) South. Someplace where common courtesy still stands for something. Someplace where a gentleman holds a door open for a lady and is not chastised for it. Someplace where there is a common sense of community and nation. It's not only a place to live, it's a lifestyle. Caring, honest and decent people.

The reason Kerry lost is no one knew what he stood for. His demeanor was driven explicitly by polls. At least with George Bush you knew what you were getting. With Kerry, who knows.

Do yourself a favor and stick with what you do best, technology. Leave politics to others.

Posted by: Chris at November 3, 2004 03:00 PM

Rad says: "On some level, I see the election as having boiled down to "moral values vs leadership competence", and moral values won. The next four years will tell us if this was a mistake, and if so, how big a mistake."

Assuming this was the central issue of the election . . . can we ever claim that choosing moral values over "leadership competence" is a mistake? If we abandon morality (for example, respect for human rights and liberties) in favor of "leadership", where can the leader take us that anyone will actually want to go? What do we have left to share with the rest of the world besides more of the corruption and injustice they have already in sufficient quantity on their own doorsteps?

Just finished digging through a bunch of your SCSI pages. A lot of it was review, (I worked with various SCSI systems) but I picked up some useful information that may apply to building my next home system. Thanks!

Posted by: Tim at November 3, 2004 05:40 PM

Re: "can we ever claim that choosing moral values over "leadership competence""

I think therein lies the problem, or at least part of it. Because "morals" by definition are subject to interpretation. For example, I am much more offended by the unnecessary deaths of our soldiers in Iraq, than I am by Janet jackson flashing her boob on national TV (the Super Bowl). But many people who claim to be morally superior have no qualms with the administration's (false) assertion that Iraq definitely possessed WMDs as their justification for a "need" to invade Iraq.

To give you another example, here in California, there is/was an initiative on the ballot (Proposition 68/70) in which Indians sought more-fair tax treatment. Some might claim I was voting for (immoral) gambling, but I voted FOR the Indians (the measure was defeated) because I feel we (our country) have treated the Indians so badly (the early US government nearly wiped their entire race off the face of the planet) .. that no Indian should ever have to pay another penny in tax the longest day they live. They should be able to attend the university of their choosing .. for free. I did this because I felt it was the "moral" thing to do. If you're interested, I talk more about this here:

http://radified.com/blog/archives/000079.html

and here:

http://radified.com/blog/archives/000069.html

The point I'm making is that true "morality" is not always simple (gambling vs Indians) .. or at least not as simple as some would like to believe. To be a truly moral being, you need to have all the facts. And this is where I feel some fall short. They have a pre-determined mind set about certain issues, and fail to seek a deeper understanding. And it's this superficial understanding of the issues that leads them to take positions they truly believe are moral, but which, in fact, are not.

I was much more offended by the administration sending our boys to Iraq without the proper equipment (un-armored Humvees, lack of body-armor, night goggles) than I was if every gay couple in the country were to get married. No soldier has ever died as a result of a gay couple marrying. Even if every gay couple in the entire country were to marry, this still wouldn't cause even a single soldier to shed blood. See my point?

My point is that morality is subjective. I don't think the Bush administration is moral. But it is obvious that their brand of "morality" resonates with voters .. (especially so with voters in red states).

The Republican right does not have a corner on the "moral" market, altho they obviously think they do. I think that brand of morality is false morality, because there are issues far more weighty than Janet Jackson's boob. People are dying every day because of lies told by the administration. If you do the research, you'll find theat they knew the Iraq-9/11 link never existed.

Cheney rode that (false) horse all the way up to his debate with Edwards, where he finally dismounted and admitted (on national TV) that there never was any Iraq-9/11 link, and denied he ever took that position. But we have footage of him stating that very point, repeatedly. And polls still show that most people believe there is in fact an Iraq-9/11 link. Why? Because it's easier for them to believe that disinformation than the (horrifying) notion that their Pres/VP lied to them so they would be more apt to buy their war.

The adminsitration also knew that Iraq likely possessed no WMDs. However, they "massaged" the data until it looked as if "might/possibly" became "definitely so". I call that lying. And most people feel that lying is immoral .. especially when people die as a result of that lie. People here think the President is (quite frankly) a bold-faced liar. So maybe you can understand our sense of disbelief when voters exited the polling booths and stated their #1 reason for voting for President Bush & Dick Cheney was "moral issues". Seems hypocritical.

It's kinda deja vu-ish, cuz I am reading this book right now: Under the Banner of Heaven (by Jon Krakauer)

http://radified.com/blog/archives/000130.html

and the sentiment in the election mirrors events in the book .. eeriely so.

On another note, yeah: SCSI .. blazingly-fast, and enterprise-reliable. Take a look at the 10K-rpm WD Raptor. Some claim it gives SCSI-like perf for a fraction of the cost. I don't buy it, tho.

Posted by: Rad1 at November 3, 2004 08:42 PM

Cool site, very informative and fun to read.

I found it by chance looking around for information about Dell's ghosted partitions.
I read about your experience watching 'Secret Window' with Nick.

that was amusing.
But then I thought you were a guy at first.
Now, I'm really wondering...
Dare I ask?

So, ah, well er- ahh... are you man or woman?

oldmonahan

Posted by: oldmonahan at November 3, 2004 09:49 PM

Yeah, a guy. But I've been called much worse. =P

Posted by: Rad1 at November 3, 2004 10:28 PM

If you listen to the speech Kerry gave today in Boston, you'll hear him say that during his travels around the country, he's found the people he visited were "not only great, but *good*".

At first that sounds backwards. But I think what he meant (in his subtle New England way) is that the people who voted for him are "moral" too.

Posted by: Mitch at November 3, 2004 10:43 PM

Losing the election is probably the best thing to ever happen to Kerry. Iraq is a mess, the deficit looms like albatros, bin Laden is still at large, the world despises us.

Posted by: Spike at November 3, 2004 11:04 PM

Thanks for your comments on the recent election. Personally, I consider reading your political views no price to pay for the invaluable assistance your site has provided me in the past.

I tend to agree with your evaluation of Mr. Bush. But your assertion that morals are complex rings hollow with me. A proper moral fabric for mankind is relatively simple and derives entirely from the simple premise that a being has the right to live. The fundamental rights of freedom of speech, freedom of action (pursuit of happiness), and right to property all originate in the right of a being to be alive and the nature of it's pursuit of it's continued existance. When you begin with the premise that a human has the right to live and that the right to violate anothers rights doesn't exist, most any question regarding morals can be answered quickly and correctly; Which is not to say that we will be comfortable with the answer, but rather that truth is available and if we are of sufficient moral fiber, a moral course of action is always at hand.

Posted by: TechRat at November 5, 2004 07:49 AM

I realize my opinions are just that: opinions. And, for this election, they are obviously in the minority, at least in this country. And it's good, if nothing else, to know how the "other side" feels/thinks. I feel that, if someone doesn't like, or doesn't want to read my political views, or *any* non-technical ideas, they will simply skip them. No harm, no foul. My aim is never is offend, altho that doesn't mean I won't/can't be insensitive.

Posted by: Rad1 at November 5, 2004 11:07 AM

Don't be sad. Just think, more people voted AGAINST George Bush than for any other president in American history.

Posted by: Cromwell at November 5, 2004 10:00 PM

I was taken aback by the election as well. I agree with Rad speaking about people being informed. I received emails from my sister stating "information," pertaining to each candidate. I would read through them, then I would research it. After I felt I had sufficient information I would send it back to her.

I am a mother, a teacher, a Catholic, a graduate student, and I voted for Kerry. I wanted a president whom could form complete sentences, whom wasn't so completely intertwined with corporate greed, whom didn't play holier than thou! I am saddened by the fact that this President is seen by the rest of the world for what he is, and still half of America sees him as the $#@!ing Lone Ranger!

I needed write my thoughts, thanks for the forum!

Posted by: Pam at November 9, 2004 07:19 AM

Cromwell,

That's wrong. 59,515,688 people voted "against" Bill Clinton in 1992. That's more than voted *for* Bush this year (59,459,765 currently on CNN.com) and Bush won with a majority.

Don't believe everything you hear or read.

Posted by: David Loewe, Jr. at November 11, 2004 12:58 AM

David is correct:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election,_1992

Posted by: Patches at November 11, 2004 12:46 PM

Check out this correlation between average state IQ and voting:

http://chrisevans3d.com/files/iq.htm

Posted by: RJ at November 11, 2004 08:15 PM

RJ,

Snopes says the IQ thing is just bogus http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/stateiq.asp

OBTW, Bush is over 60,000,000 votes now.

To wordplay on the old Elvis album title - 60 Million Bush Voters Can't Be Wrong

Posted by: David Loewe, Jr. at November 12, 2004 08:47 PM

Further comments closed to prevent blog spamming.

Rad

Posted by: ADMIN at November 20, 2004 11:14 PM