Tuesday's Winners and Losers
by Christopher Westley
by Christopher Westley
The latest exercise in American mass democracy is ended, and for that we are all grateful. It may be safe again to venture outside and not be assaulted with the signage of strangers with vested interests in propagandizing for the welfare-warfare state. Maybe by Christmas this will all be a distant memory. One can hope.
But until then, now might be a good time to consider who were the winners and losers of Tuesday's election.
Winner: George W. Bush. Bush beat a Massachusetts liberal who shared the initials of John F. Kennedy but who actually was the second coming of Michael Dukakis. That qualifies as a victory, but only in the same sense as when the University of Oklahoma football team beats Tulsa Community College.
Losers: John F. Kerry and the Democratic Party. Kerry can now return to being an ignored and irrelevant northeastern liberal and the Democratic Party can now resume its lurch towards to minority party status. A cursory glance at the election map shows where the Democrats maintain popularity: the entire West Coast, pockets of the Midwest along the Great Lakes, and the Northeast.
This distribution corresponds with the geographic distribution of State-friendly economic schools of thought originally noted by Murray Rothbard in a 1989 Forbes article. The sharply divided America of 2000 is now gone; it is mostly red, although much of the Republicans' support is based on a redistributionist appeal made possible by concerns milked after 9/11. This is nothing to be proud of.
Winner: Hillary Clinton. Let's not forget that John Kerry was the clear choice of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party precisely because he was not seen as being as strong of a candidate as Howard Dean. A Democratic victory on Tuesday would have spelled doom for Clinton's chances of making a credible run for the White House. The next election will be her only shot. Look for Hillary to start making the rounds expected of a 2008 frontrunner later this spring.
Losers: The people of Falluja. The siege of Falluja, long on hold out of concern for the electoral costs of the assault, can now begin. While this is too bad for the many innocent women and children who will be murdered in the name of American Empire, it underscores the extent to which the Iraqi conflict exists primarily for the career advancement of politicians desperate for another Cold War (and the power, prestige, and funding that goes with it).
But who will cry for the innocents that are killed in the process? Those who access al-Jazeera for news will, if only because they are the ones most likely to know about it. The accompanying anger, and the terror it foments, will make losers of us all.
Winners: The American Catholic bishops. The bishops were apoplectic about the possibility of a pro-abortion Catholic in the White House. After all, Kerry's Catholic modernism, the product of the hip post-Vatican II Catholic culture, would have bitten the hands the fed it, both literally and spiritually, by legitimizing those who dissent from Church doctrine.
The bishops created "Kerry Catholicism" with the self-centered spirituality epitomized by the destructive imposition of a horizontal Mass and its sappy music, loose dress, and worldly priests. His loss on Tuesday allows the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to avoid dealing with the ramifications of its leadership, even if it forced it into an uneasy alignment with the War Party. Such uneasiness is bound to continue as long as the American Catholic church resumes trying to define the culture and stops trying to bend to it.
Loser: The state of Massachusetts. From its earliest days as a colony, the Bay State has been a dependable exponent of the government's role in solving every problem, and today, it is so far removed from the mainstream of American culture that it has now provided two pieces of fodder for the Bush family cause. The Curse didn't end with the Red Sox.
Take heart, Bay Staters. Bush is likely to continue expanding government at a pace that would never have happened under gridlock. But also take note that for every dollar you send to the federal government, you receive a mere $.78 back (according to the latest computations of the Northeast-Midwest Institute). If you were to secede, you could fund your current level of government spending at all levels and have money left over. Imagine a free and independent state of Massachusetts. Not only could you then have a President Kerry, your college basketball teams could win your national championship every year.
Winners: Everyone who knows that living a full life does not require a devotion to politics. We were sick of the election by the summer and are grateful that this quadrennial national nightmare is again over. In a free society, whoever is president is truly irrelevant, so urgent, angst-driven presidential elections only remind us of how far removed we have become from republican ideals. Those who strive to ignore sick DC culture can do so again much more easily now that this latest advanced auction of stolen goods is behind us.
November 4, 2004
Chris Westley [send him mail] teaches economics at Jacksonville State University, Alabama.
Copyright © 2004 LewRockwell.com