Monday, December 06, 2004

Argentina

Wlad Godzich recommends greater attention to Argentina to comprehend the present. In his spirit, I make a small list of some materials.

Books:

Articles:

  1. "Helping Themselves," In these Times November 26, 2004
  2. Paul Krugman - Borrow, Speculate and Hope
  3. Argentina's Economic Rally Defies Forecasts
  4. Hold the Applause: Argentina Isn't Well Yet - - WSJ
Films:

  1. Fernando Solanas’ 2004 documentary Memoria del Saqueo
  2. Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein, The Take

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Titles on Current Crisis

I will try to keep a reasonably current list of titles that come to my attention and strike me as worth reading. I will also attach reviews or comments. I hope you will all add to this effort.

PAB

Books:

  1. Benjamin Barber, Fear’s Empire. Norton, 2004. For a review see, "The Kantian imperative and the war on terror," Nicholas Lezard Saturday, November 27, 2004. The Guardian http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/politicsphilosophyandsociety/0,6121,1360575,00.html

Articles:

  1. "Taking back America," Anatol Lieven. LRB Vol. 26 No. 23 dated 2 December 2004
  2. "Interrorgation Policy Proves Elusive," WSJ December 13 2004

Monday, November 22, 2004

Los Angeles Times: GOP Plants Flag on New Voting Frontier

Los Angeles Times: GOP Plants Flag on New Voting Frontier

Tony Bogues wants to give attention to regionalism in the US. This is the second report in major papers to cover the emergence of voting blocks outside urban aggregations. Not quite country, but certainly not city, these people and these living clusters represent an important anti-modern and anti-urban viting block, whose economic life seems determined by modernity's 'virtues'--cars, satellites, cable, internet, etc. PAB

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Neo-Cons Consolidate Power, Retain Foreign Policy Ambitions

Reuters News Article

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Neoconservatives Gain Strength in New Bush Team
Wed Nov 17, 2004 02:31 PM ET

By Alan Elsner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Neoconservatives, seen as the ideological architects of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, appear to be gaining strength in President Bush's second administration, foreign policy analysts said on Wednesday.

The "neocons," as they are known in Washington seemed in ideological retreat a year ago after the U.S. occupation of Iraq was shaken by a bloody insurrection.

Led by Vice President Dick Cheney, they argued that U.S. interests and values in the Middle East were best pursued through "regime change" in Baghdad. They predicted that U.S. troops would be welcomed as liberators and that a democratic Iraq would quickly emerge and lead to the spread of democracy throughout the region.

Although these rosy scenarios have not played out, at least not yet, Bush seems more than ever committed to them and to those who advocated them.

"The neocons are feeling quite confident right now. Things are breaking their way. A group of people who in any rational culture should be looking for other jobs are being promoted," said Jonathan Clarke of the conservative Cato Institute, co-author of a book on the neoconservative movement.

Many key appointments in Bush's second term remain to be made. But analysts believe the replacement of Colin Powell as secretary of state by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has already strengthened the neocons' hand.

Many are watching to see whether undersecretary of state John Bolton, a hard-liner on confronting Iran and North Korea, is promoted to the number two position at the State Department. Meanwhile at the Pentagon, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and undersecretary Douglas Feith, both key neocons, remain firmly in place.

"Bush has made it clear he wants to fight and win the war against various radical Islamic terrorist movements and he wants to expand the boundaries of the free world. He will use all available tools but diplomacy is always more effective when backed by the credible threat of force," said Clifford May, a former communications director for the Republican Party, now with the Center for Defense of Democracies.

Gary Schmitt of the Project for a New American Century, a neoconservative think-tank, said it did not matter much who in the administration took which position. What mattered was what Bush himself believed and said.

SUCCESS IN IRAQ POSSIBLE

"Bush has never moved away from his policy agenda and since winning reelection has asserted it again. He thinks success is possible in Iraq and he has no intention of allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons," he said.

Iraq was a key issue in the U.S. presidential campaign with the defeated Democratic challenger John Kerry arguing that decision to invade was based on false premises and that the U.S. occupation had been badly mismanaged.

"Bush regards the election as a vindication of his Iraq policy. All the nay-sayers, the doubters, the defeatists have emerged as losers," said Clarke.

Some argue that the Iraqi experience has made it virtually impossible for Bush to contemplate another such war. With its troops badly overstretched and the costs of the occupation mounting, it is hard to imagine he would enjoy much domestic support, let alone international backing.

"Whatever some hawks might like to do, the reality is that the Bush administration will face a series of constraints -- military, diplomatic, political and economic -- that will curb its ability to launch new preventive wars," said James Mann, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in an online article for Foreign Policy Magazine.

In the case of Iran, Bush might have little appetite and little ability to launch a full-scale invasion. However, he could still order lesser military action, such as massive air strikes to destroy the Iranian nuclear program.

"That could happen. It's absolutely feasible," said Foreign Policy editor Moises Naim.

Naim noted that U.S. administrations for decades had employed air strikes as an instrument of policy. Former President Bill Clinton used air power against Serbia and launched missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan.

"There's nothing new about using air strikes. That would be the continuation of a traditional tool of U.S. foreign policy," he said.

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The New York Times > Arts > Frank Rich: Bono's New Casualty: 'Private Ryan'

The New York Times > Arts > Frank Rich: Bono's New Casualty: 'Private Ryan'

Rich analyzes far beyond the Ryan incident itself. PAB

LRB | Corey Robin : Dedicated to Democracy

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n22/print/robi02_.html


[London Review of B]

LRB | Vol. 26 No. 22 dated 18 November 2004 | Corey Robin

Dedicated to Democracy
Corey Robin

The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War by Greg Grandin
Chicago, 311 pp, £40.00

On 5 December 1982, Ronald Reagan met the Guatemalan president, Efraín
Ríos Montt, in Honduras. It was a useful meeting for Reagan. 'Well, I
learned a lot,' he told reporters on Air Force One. 'You'd be
surprised. They're all individual countries.' It was also a useful
meeting for Ríos Montt. Reagan declared him 'a man of great personal
integrity . . . totally dedicated to democracy', and claimed that the
Guatemalan strongman was getting 'a bum rap' from human rights
organisations for his military's campaign against leftist guerrillas.
The next day, one of Guatemala's elite platoons entered a jungle
village called Las Dos Erres and killed 162 of its inhabitants, 67 of
them children. Soldiers grabbed babies and toddlers by their legs,
swung them in the air, and smashed their heads against a wall. Older
children and adults were forced to kneel at the edge of a well, where
a single blow from a sledgehammer sent them plummeting below. The
platoon then raped a selection of women and girls it had saved for
last, pummelling their stomachs in order to force the pregnant among
them to miscarry. They tossed the women into the well and filled it
with dirt, burying an unlucky few alive. The only traces of the bodies
later visitors would find were blood on the walls and placentas and
umbilical cords on the ground.

Amid the hagiography surrounding Reagan's death in June, it was
probably too much to expect the media to mention his meeting with Ríos
Montt. After all, it wasn't Reykjavik. But Reykjavik's shadow - or
that cast by Reagan speaking in front of the Berlin Wall - does not
entirely explain the silence about this encounter between presidents.
While it's tempting to ascribe the omission to American amnesia, a
more likely cause is the deep misconception about the Cold War under
which most Americans labour. To the casual observer, the Cold War was
a struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, fought and
won through stylish jousting at Berlin, antiseptic arguments over
nuclear stockpiles, and the savvy brinkmanship of American leaders.
Latin America seldom figures in popular or even academic discussion of
the Cold War, and to the extent that it does, it is Cuba, Chile and
Nicaragua rather than Guatemala that earn most of the attention.

But, as Greg Grandin shows in The Last Colonial Massacre, Latin
America was as much a battleground of the Cold War as Europe, and
Guatemala was its front line. In 1954, the US fought its first major
contest against Communism in the Western hemisphere when it overthrew
Guatemala's democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz, who had
worked closely with the country's small but influential Communist
Party. That coup sent a young Argentinian doctor fleeing to Mexico,
where he met Fidel Castro. Five years later, Che Guevara declared that
1954 had taught him the impossibility of peaceful, electoral reform
and promised his followers that 'Cuba will not be Guatemala.' In 1966,
Guatemala was again the pacesetter, this time pioneering the
'disappearances' that would come to define the dirty wars of
Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil. In a lightning strike,
US-trained security officials captured some thirty leftists, tortured
and executed them, and then dropped most of their corpses into the
Pacific. Explaining the operation in a classified memo, the CIA wrote:
'The execution of these persons will not be announced and the
Guatemalan government will deny that they were ever taken into
custody.' With the 1996 signing of a peace accord between the
Guatemalan military and leftist guerrillas, the Latin American Cold
War finally came to an end - in the same place it had begun - making
Guatemala's the longest and most lethal of the hemisphere's civil
wars. Some 200,000 men, women and children were dead, virtually all at
the hands of the military: more than were killed in Argentina,
Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua and El Salvador combined, and
roughly the same number as were killed in the Balkans. Because the
victims were primarily Mayan Indians, Guatemala today has the only
military in Latin America deemed by a UN-sponsored truth commission to
have committed acts of genocide.

The Last Colonial Massacre reminds us that when we talk about
America's victory in the Cold War, we are talking about countries like
Guatemala, where Communism was fought and defeated by means of the
mass slaughter of civilians. But Grandin is interested in more than
tallying body counts and itemising atrocities. The task he sets
himself is to locate this most global of contests in the smallest of
places, to find beneath the duelling composure of superpower rivalry a
bloody conflict over rights and inequality, to see behind a simple
morality tale of good triumphing over evil the more ambivalent
settlement that was - and is - the end of the Cold War. Mounting the
most powerful case to date against the know-nothing triumphalism of
Cold War historians and the smug complacency of the American media,
Grandin's book also performs a modest act of restorative justice: it
allows Guatemalans to tell their own stories in their own words. In a
series of remarkable biographies Grandin shows how men and women made
high politics and high politics made them, demonstrating that the Cold
War was waged not only in the airy game rooms of nuclear strategists
but 'in the closed quarters of family, sex and community'.

The book opens with an epigraph from Sartre: 'A victory described in
detail is indistinguishable from a defeat.' The victory Grandin refers
to here is singular and by now virtually complete: that of the United
States over Communism. But the defeats he describes are various, their
consequences still unfolding. First is the defeat of the Latin
American left, whose aspirations ranged from the familiar (armed
seizure of state power) to the surprising (the creation of
capitalism). Next is the defeat of a continental social democracy
which would allow citizens to exercise a greater share of power - and
to receive a greater share of its benefits - than historically had
been their due. Finally, and most important, is the defeat of that
still elusive dream of men and women freeing themselves, thanks to
their own reason and willed effort, from the bonds of tradition and
oppression. This had been the dream of the transatlantic
Enlightenment, and throughout the Cold War American leaders argued on
its behalf (or some version of it) in the struggle against Communism.
But in Latin America, Grandin shows, it was the left who took up the
Enlightenment's banner, leaving the United States and its allies
carrying the black bag of the counter-Enlightenment. More than
foisting on the United States the unwanted burden of liberal
hypocrisy, the Cold War inspired it to embrace some of the most
reactionary ideals and revanchist characters of the 20th century.

According to Grandin, the Latin American left brought liberalism and
progress to a land awash in feudalism. Well into the 20th century, he
shows, Guatemala's coffee planters presided over a regime of forced
labour that was every bit as medieval as tsarist Russia. Using
vagrancy laws and the lure of easy credit, the planters amassed vast
estates and a workforce of peasants who essentially belonged to them.
Reading like an excerpt from Gogol's Dead Souls, one advertisement
from 1922 announced the sale of '5000 acres and many mozos colonos who
will travel to work on other plantations'. (Mozos colonos were
indebted labourers.) While unionised workers elsewhere were itemising
what their employers could and could not ask of them, Guatemala's
peasants were forced to provide a variety of compulsory services,
including sex. Two planters in the Alta Verapaz region, cousins from
Boston, used their Indian cooks and corn grinders to sire more than a
dozen children. 'They fucked anything that moved,' a neighbouring
planter observed. Though plantations were mini-states - with private
jails, stockades and whipping posts - planters also depended on the
army, judges, mayors and local constables to force workers to submit
to their will. Public officials routinely rounded up independent or
runaway peasants, shipping them off to plantations or forcing them to
build roads. One mayor had local vagrants paint his house. As much as
anything Grandin cites, it is this view of political power as a form
of private property which confirms his observation that by 1944 'only
five Latin America countries - Mexico, Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica and
Colombia - could nominally call themselves democracies.'

And then, within two years, it all changed. By 1946, only five
countries - Paraguay, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the
Dominican Republic - could not be called democracies. Turning the
anti-Fascist rhetoric of the Second World War against the hemisphere's
old regimes, leftists overthrew dictators, legalised political
parties, built unions and extended the franchise. Galvanised by the
New Deal and the Popular Front, reformers declared, in the words of
the Guatemalan president Juan José Arévalo, that 'we are socialists
because we live in the 20th century.' The entire continent was fired
by a combination of Karl Marx, the Declaration of Independence and
Walt Whitman, but Guatemala burned the brightest. There, a
decades-long struggle to break the back of the coffee aristocracy
culminated in the 1950 election of Arbenz, who with the help of a
small circle of Communist advisers instituted the Agrarian Reform of
1952. This redistributed a million and half acres to a hundred
thousand families, and also gave peasants a significant share of
political power. Local land reform committees, made up primarily of
peasant representatives, bypassed the planter-dominated municipal
government and provided peasants and their unions with a platform from
which to make and win their claims for equity.

Arguably the most audacious experiment in direct democracy the
continent had ever seen, the Agrarian Reform entailed a central irony,
critical to Grandin's argument about the Latin American left. The
legislation's authors - most of them Communists - were not building
socialism: they were creating capitalism. Scrupulous about property
rights and the rule of law - peasants had to back their claims with
extensive documentation; only unused land was expropriated; planters
were guaranteed multiple rights of appeal, all the way to the
president - the Agrarian Reform imposed a regime of separated powers
that was almost as cumbersome as James Madison's Constitution.
(According to one of the bill's Communist authors, 'it was a bourgeois
law.' When grassroots activists complained about the slowness of
reform, Arbenz responded: 'I don't care! You have to do things
right!') As Grandin points out, the Agrarian Reform turned landless
peasants into property owners, giving them the bargaining power to
demand higher wages from their employers - in the hope that they would
become 'consumers of national manufactures', while 'planters,
historically addicted to cheap, often free labour and land', would be
forced to 'invest in new technologies' and thereby 'make a profit'.

Guatemala's socialists did more than create democrats and capitalists.
They also made peasants into citizens. While liberals and
conservatives have long claimed that leftist ideologies reduced their
adherents to automatons, Grandin shows that leftist ideals and
movements awakened peasants to their own power, giving them extensive
opportunities to speak for themselves and to act on their own behalf.
Efraín Reyes Maaz, for example, was a Mayan peasant organiser, born in
the same year as the Bolshevik Revolution. 'If I hadn't studied Marx I
would be chicha ni limonada,' Reyes told Grandin. 'I'd be nothing. But
reading nourished me and here I am. I could die today and nobody could
take that from me.' Where other peasants seldom ventured beyond their
plantations, the Communist Party inspired Reyes to travel to Mexico
and Cuba, and he returned to Guatemala with the conviction that 'every
revolutionary carries around an entire world in his head.' The
Communist Party did not require Reyes to give up everything he knew;
it gave him ample freedom to synchronise the indigenous and the
European, making for a 'Mayan Marxism' that was every bit as supple as
the hybrid Marxism developed in Central Europe between the wars. When
anti-Communists put an end to this democratic awakening in 1954, it
was as much the peasant's newfound appetite for thinking and talking
as the planter's expropriated land that they were worried about. As
Guatemala's archbishop complained, the Arbencistas sent peasants
'gifted with facility with words' to the nation's capital, where they
were 'taught . . . to speak in public'.

Hoping to stifle this riot of thought and talk, Guatemala's Cold
Warriors fused a romantic aversion to the modern world with the most
up-to-date technologies of propaganda and violence (imported from the
United States), making their effort more akin to Fascism than to a
fight for liberal democracy. Here, Grandin again breaks new ground,
capturing the delicate amalgam of reason and reaction, elitism and
populism, that was the Latin American counter-revolution. Relying on
the power of the Catholic Church, the regime that replaced Arbenz had
prelates preach the gospel against Communism and socialism, and also
against democracy, liberalism and feminism. Reaching back to the
rhetoric of opposition to the French Revolution, the Church fathers
characterised the Cold War as a struggle between the City of God and
'the city of the devil incarnate' and complained that Arbenz, 'far
from uniting our people in their advance toward progress',
'disorganises them into opposing bands'. The Arbencistas, they
claimed, were 'professional corrupters of the feminine soul',
elevating women with 'gifts of proselytism or leadership' to 'high and
well-paid positions in official bureaucracy'. Because the Church
elders were sometimes too fastidious to whip up the masses, emigrés
from Republican Spain, who were partial to Franco and Mussolini,
frequently took their place, calling for a more ecstatic faith to
counter Communism's appeal: 'We do not want a cold Catholicism. We
want holiness, ardent, great and joyous holiness . . . intransigent
and fanatical.'

While the Cold Warriors' ideals looked backwards, their weapons -
furnished by the United States - looked forwards. (Indeed, one of the
Americans' chief justifications for their interventions during the
Cold War was that US involvement would contain not only Communism, but
also, in the words of the State Department, a right-wing
'counterinsurgency running wild'. Instead of a savage 'white terror',
US-trained security forces would work with the anti-Communist
'democratic left' - yesterday's third way - to fight a more
'rational', 'modern' and 'professional' Cold War.) During the 1954
coup, the CIA turned to Madison Avenue, pop sociologies and the
literature of mass psychology to create the illusion of large-scale
opposition to Arbenz. Radio shows spread rumours of an underground
resistance, inciting wobbly army officers to abandon their oath to the
democratically elected president. In subsequent decades, the CIA
outfitted Guatemala with a centralised domestic intelligence agency,
equipped with phones, radios, cameras, typewriters, carbon paper,
filing cabinets, surveillance equipment - and guns, ammunition and
explosives. The CIA also brought together the military and the police
in sleek urban command centres, where intelligence could be quickly
analysed, distributed, acted on and archived for later use. After
these efforts achieved their most spectacular results, with the 1966
disappearance of Guatemala's last generation of peaceful leftists,
guerrillas began seriously to organise armed opposition in rural
areas. In response, the regime threw into the countryside an army so
modernised - and well trained and equipped by the US - that by 1981 it
could conduct the first colour-coded genocide in history: 'Military
analysts marked communities and regions according to colours. White
spared those thought to have no rebel influence. Pink identified areas
in which the insurgents had limited presence; suspected guerrillas and
their supporters were to be killed but the communities left standing.
Red gave no quarter: all were to be executed and villages razed.'

Referring to a 1978 military massacre of Indians in Panzós, a river
town in the Polochic Valley, the title of Grandin's book brilliantly
evokes this mixture of modern and anti-modern elements. On 29 May that
year, roughly five hundred Mayan peasants assembled in the town centre
to ask the mayor to hear their complaints against local planters,
which were to be presented by a union delegation from the capital.
Firing on the protesters, a military detachment killed somewhere
between 34 and a hundred men, women and children. At first glance, the
massacre seems like nothing so much as a repetition of Guatemala's
colonial past: humble Indian petitioners ask public officials to
intercede on their behalf against local rulers; government forces in
league with the planters respond with violence; Indians wind up
floating down the river or go home. On closer inspection, the massacre
bears all the marks of the 20th century. The Indians were led by
leftist activists - one of them an indigenous woman - trained by
clandestine Communist organisers. They worked with unions, based in
the capital, reflecting the left's attempt to nationalise local
grievances. For their part, the soldiers firing on the peasants were
more than a local constabulary defending the interests of the
planters. They were a contingent of Guatemala's newly trained army,
spoke fluent anti-Communism, and wielded Israeli-made Galil assault
rifles, suggesting not just the nationalisation but the
internationalisation of Guatemala's traditional struggles over land
and labour.

Though the Cold War in Latin America began as a tense negotiation
between American rationalism and Latin revanchism, Grandin suggests
that it ended with the US careening towards the latter. In a rerun of
the fabled journey into the heart of darkness, US officials returned
from their travels south echoing the darkest voices of the
counter-Enlightenment. One embassy officer wrote to his superiors back
home: 'After all hasn't man been a savage from the beginning of time
so let us not be too queasy about terror. I have literally heard these
arguments from our people.' A CIA staffer urged his colleagues to
abandon all attempts at mass persuasion in Guatemala and instead
direct their efforts at the 'heart, the stomach and the liver (fear)'.
Seeking to destabilise Allende's Chile, another CIA man proclaimed:
'We cannot endeavour to ignite the world if Chile itself is a placid
lake. The fuel for the fire must come from within Chile. Therefore,
the station should employ every stratagem, every ploy, however
bizarre, to create this internal resistance.' As Grandin writes, 'Will
to set the world ablaze . . . faith in the night-side of the soul,
contempt for democratic temperance and parliamentary procedure: these
qualities are usually attributed to opponents of liberal civility,
tolerance and pluralism - not their defenders.' With this plangent
remark, Grandin concludes his remarkable tale, suggesting that the
greatest defeat of the Cold War could be said to be that of America
itself.

But there may have been one more defeat, which Grandin's book suggests
not by explicit argument but by the force of its analysis. For all its
violence and misery, the Cold War had the virtue of imposing on
Western intellectuals, Communist and anti-Communist alike, the duty of
historical intelligence. Marxism attracted its share of morally blind
and politically repellent followers, but its varied currents carried
scholars and writers - in happy or unhappy conveyance - to an
unparalleled appreciation of the effects of time and place. Whether it
was Lukács discerning the failed revolutions of 1848 in the stilted
realism and archaic dialogue of Flaubert's Salammbô or Louis Hartz
attributing American liberalism to the absence of feudalism in the
United States or George Steiner hearing the 'hoofbeats' of Napoleon's
armies in Hegel's Phenomenology ('the master statement of the new
density of being'), Marxism pressed intellectuals of varying stripes
to think about history's wayward intrusions. Even W.W. Rostow - the
most anti-Communist of anti-Communism's 'action intellectuals', to
borrow a phrase from Arno Mayer - was forced by the challenge of
Marxism to offer an economic and political programme that tallied,
however minimally, the persistent effects of colonialism throughout
the postcolonial world.

But the collapse of Communism and disappearance of Marxism have eased
the burdens of intelligence. With the market - and now religion -
displacing social democracy as the language of public life, writers
are no longer compelled by the requirements of the historical
imagination. Facing a new enemy, which does not make the same demands
that Communism once did, today's intellectuals wave away all talk of
'root causes': history, it seems, will no longer be summoned to the
bar of political analysis - or not for the time being. Mimicking the
theological language of their antagonists, contemporary writers prefer
catchwords such as 'evil' and 'Islamo-fascism' to the vocabulary of
secular criticism. Their language may be a response to 9/11, but it is
a product of the end of the Cold War. When Marxism was banished from
the political scene in 1989, it left behind no successor language -
save religion itself - to grapple with the twinned fortunes of the
individual and the collective, the personal and the political, the
present and the past. That Grandin has managed to salvage some portion
of that historical vision from the dustbin of history suggests not
only his resourcefulness, but also the timeliness of this most
untimely of meditations.

Corey Robin teaches at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.
He is the author of Fear: The History of a Political Idea.

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20 November 2004



--
Paul A. Bove
Professor of English
University of Pittsburgh
Editor, boundary 2

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

In Hideout, Foreign Arabs Share Vision of 'Martyrdom' (washingtonpost.com)If

In Hideout, Foreign Arabs Share Vision of 'Martyrdom' (washingtonpost.com)

If you resist a secular position, consider this story to understand what happens to 'men of faith.' P

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Liberals Dismayed by 'Moral Values' Claims

The New York Times > AP > National > Liberals Dismayed by 'Moral Values' Claims: "The New York Times

More reason than ever, I suppose, to become religious and compromise with religious feelings . . . . Woe are we secularists who dare not believe!


The New York Times

November 9, 2004
Liberals Dismayed by 'Moral Values' Claims
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 10:22 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Family values, traditional values and now, ``moral values.'' Most American adults would say they have them, and yet that two-word phrase is the focus of an ideological tug-of-war heightened by President Bush's re-election, with conservatives declaring principal ownership and liberals scrambling to challenge them.

``We need to work really hard at reclaiming some language,'' said the Rev. Robert Edgar, general secretary of the liberal-leaning National Council of Churches.

``The religious right has successfully gotten out there shaping personal piety issues -- civil unions, abortion -- as almost the total content of 'moral values,''' Edgar said. ``And yet you can't read the Old Testament without knowing God was concerned about the environment, war and peace, poverty. God doesn't want 45 million Americans without health care.''

Many of the advocacy groups that helped mobilize conservative voters for Bush concentrate on a narrow range of issues -- notably opposing abortion and gay rights. Conservative leaders say these were the main issues on voters' minds when many, in exit polls, designated unspecified ``moral values'' as their foremost Election Day priority.

``Those who view the appeal to 'moral values' as mere political manipulation and ideological posturing have a basic misunderstanding of people of faith,'' said Janice Shaw Crouse of the conservative Concerned Women for America.

``The 'moral values' that were a top priority in this election -- abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, same-sex unions -- are rooted in deep religious beliefs.''

Such statements of moral grounding have frustrated Democratic-leaning activists -- in past campaigns and particularly this year. They question the vagueness of the ``moral values'' exit poll question and contend that their own political priorities, such as fighting poverty and discrimination, have moral weight and popular support.

Proponents of same-sex unions, for example, believe it is moral to afford partnership rights to two men or two women who have committed themselves to each other and, in many cases, are raising children.

``We have a thing or two to say about the 'moral values' involved with permitting a couple who wish to build a life together to enjoy full legal standing as a family,'' said Ron Schlittler, director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

Similarly, abortion-rights advocates believe it is moral to allow the option of abortion to a poor, newly pregnant woman, rather than compel her to bear a child she didn't plan for and cannot afford to raise.

``When the religious right co-opted the term 'pro-life,' that was a coup,'' said the Rev. Carlton Veazey of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. ``Sometimes 'choice' sounds too casual.''

``We have to go back and examine what we are we saying, why is it not resonating,'' Veazey added. ``We don't just cave in and say they've got a monopoly on morality.''

Asked if their rivals on the left indeed held viable moral values, several conservatives replied with a qualified ``yes,'' suggesting the liberals' social concerns were valid but not as important as opposition to abortion or same-sex marriage.

``We believe in biblical principles; I'm sure they believe in biblical principles,'' said Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America. ``But I don't understand how they can defend abortion and homosexuality. That's wrong.''

The Rev. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said poverty was far less urgent a problem then abortion, which he considers genocide.

``The other side has not been deprived of the opportunity to make their case,'' he said. ``Voters can think for themselves.''

Some put the issue even more starkly.

``There is no reconciliation between good and evil,'' wrote Mary Ann Kreitzer of Les Femmes, an organization of conservative Roman Catholic women. ``Voters rejected the party of gay activists, radical feminists, the Hollywood elite, pornographers, death-peddlers, anti-Christian bigots and apostate Catholics.''

For some moderates, the values debate is less simple -- they may oppose abortion and gay marriage yet share liberals' view on other issues.

Mike Allen of Catholic Charities of Trenton, which serves the needy in southern New Jersey, said his organization's mission entails seeking ``a more just and compassionate society'' on for the disadvantaged.

Regarding partisan promotion of ``moral values,'' Allen said, ``Oversimplifying is a technique that seems to win elections.''

The Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the Jesuit weekly America, said John Kerry could have been more effective at portraying his goals -- fairer wages, better health care -- as ``moral values.''

``The Democratic Party seems almost embarrassed talking about family issues or religion,'' he said.

A future battleground in the values tug-of-war will be for black and Hispanic support. Some conservatives believe wariness of gay marriage will enable Republicans to steadily win more of their votes.

``You're seeing a bridge being built between African-Americans and evangelicals who tend to be Republican,'' said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. ``Right now that dialogue is focused on marriage, but as we share and learn, you'll see it broadening.''

However, the Rev. Stephen Bouman, a New York-based bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, worries that conservative Christians' definition of ``moral values'' may be too narrow to accommodate those of different faiths and backgrounds, including new immigrants.

``One thing Jesus was absolutely clear about was helping the poor, and the welcoming of strangers,'' Bouman said. ``Maybe this election was a wake-up call to have a serious conversation about what morality means, to look at what sort of country we're becoming.''

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | RSS | Help | Back to Top

Monday, November 08, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Voting Without the Facts

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Voting Without the Facts

Herbert is the counter-Kristof and his attention to ignorance should scare us, but it also allows us to make use of 'stupidity' as a critical sign. PAB

Sunday, November 07, 2004

boundary 2: publishing agenda in the new age

Here is the new agenda for boundary 2, agreed largely in Pittsburgh, Saturdy, October 30, 2004.

"The editors of boundary 2 announce that they no longer intend to publish in the standard professional areas, but only materials that identify and analyze the new tyrannies of thought and action spreading around the world and that seek to suggest alternatives to these emerging configurations of power. To this end, we wish to inform our readers that, until further announcement, the journal will not be accepting unsolicited manuscripts from contributors."

Zizek, The Liberal Waterloo

The Liberal Waterloo

Mostly, Zizek gets it wrong. Here, he has several things right. PAB

The Liberal Waterloo
(Or, finally some good news from Washington!)
By Slavoj Zizek

The first reaction of progressives to Bush’s second victory was that of despair, even fear: The last four years were not just a bad dream. The nightmarish coalition of big business and fundamentalist populism will roll on, as Bush pursues his agenda with new gusto, nominating conservative judges to the Supreme Court, invading the next country after Iraq, and pushing liberalism in the United States one step closer to extinction. However, this emotional reaction is precisely what we should resist—it only bears witness to the extent liberals have succeeded in imposing their worldview upon us. If we keep a cool head and calmly analyze the results, the 2004 election appears in a totally different light.

Many Europeans wonder how Bush could have won, with the intellectual and pop-cultural elite against him. They must now finally confront the underrated mobilizing power of American Christian fundamentalism. Because of its self-evident imbecility, it is a much more paradoxical, properly postmodern phenomenon than it appears.

Take the literary bestsellers of U.S. Christian fundamentalism, Tim F. LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’s “Left Behind” series of 12 novels on the upcoming end of the world that have sold more than 60 million copies. The Left Behind story begins with the sudden, inexplicable disappearance of millions of people—the saved souls whom God calls to himself in order to spare them the horrors of Armageddon. The Anti-Christ then appears, a young, slick and charismatic Romanian politician named Nicolae Carpathia, who, after being elected general secretary of the United Nations, moves U.N. headquarters to Babylon where he imposes an anti-American world government that disarms all nation-states. This ridiculous plot unfolds until the final battle when all non-Christians—Jews, Muslims, et al—are consumed in a cataclysmic fire. Imagine the outcry in the Western liberal media if a similar story written from the Muslim standpoint had become a bestseller in the Arab countries! It is not the poverty and primitivism of these novels that is breathtaking, but rather the strange overlap between the “serious” religious message and the trashiest conventions of pop culture commercialism.

My next reflection concerns the basic paradox of democracy as revealed in The History of the VKP(b)—the Stalinist bible. Stalin (who ghost-wrote the book) describes the vote at a party congress in the late ’20s: “With a large majority, the delegates unanimously approved the resolution proposed by the Central Committee.” If the vote was unanimous, where then did the minority disappear? Far from betraying some perverse “totalitarian” twist, this paradox is built into the very structure of democracy. Democracy is based on a short-circuit between the majority and the “All.” In it, the winner takes all and the majority counts as All, obtaining all the power, even if this majority is merely a couple hundred votes among millions.

“Democracy” is not merely the “power of, by and for the people.” It is not enough to claim that in a democracy the majority’s will and interests (the two do not automatically coincide) determine state decisions. Today, democracy is above all about formal legalism—the unconditional adherence to a set of formal rules that guarantee society’s antagonisms are fully absorbed into the political arena. “Democracy” means that whatever electoral manipulation takes place all politicians will unconditionally respect the results. In this sense, the 2000 U.S. presidential election was effectively “democratic”: In spite of obvious electoral manipulations and the patent meaninglessness of the fact that several hundred votes in Florida decided who would be president of the entire nation, the Democratic candidate accepted his defeat. In the weeks of uncertainty after the election, Bill Clinton made an appropriate acerbic comment: “The American people have spoken; we just don’t know what they said.” This comment should be taken more seriously than it was meant. To this day, we still don’t know what they said—perhaps because there was no “message” behind the result at all.

Those old enough still remember the boring attempts of “democratic socialists” to oppose the miserable “really-existing socialism” by holding up the vision of authentic socialism. To such attempts, the standard Hegelian answer provides the sufficient response: The failure of reality to live up to its notion bears witness to the inherent weakness of the notion itself. Why shouldn’t the same hold for democracy? Isn’t it too simple to oppose the “really-existing” liberal capitalist-democracy to a more true radical democracy?

This is not to imply that Bush’s victory was an accidental mistake, a result of fraud or manipulation. Hegel wrote apropos Napoleon that he had to lose two times: Only after Waterloo did it become clear to him that his defeat was not a military accident but the expression of a deeper historical shift. The same goes for Bush: He had to win two times in order for liberals to perceive that we are all entering a new era.

On September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers were hit. Twelve years earlier, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. November 9 announced the “happy ‘90s,” the Francis Fukuyama dream of the “end of history,” the belief that liberal democracy had, in principle, won, and that the only obstacles to this ultra-Hollywood happy ending were merely local pockets of resistance where the leaders did not yet grasp that their time was over. In contrast, 9/11 symbolizes the end of the Clintonite happy ‘90s, heralding an era of new walls—between Israel and the West Bank, around the European Union, on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In their recent The War Over Iraq, William Kristol and Lawrence F. Kaplan wrote, “The mission begins in Baghdad, but it does not end there … We stand at the cusp of a new historical era … This is a decisive moment … It is so clearly about more than Iraq. It is about more even than the future of the Middle East and the war on terror. It is about what sort of role the United States intends to play in the twenty-first century.” One cannot but agree with them. It is effectively the future of the international community that is at stake now—the new rules that will regulate it, what the new world order will be.

A new vision of the New World Order is thus emerging as the effective framework of recent U.S. politics: After September 11, America basically wrote off the rest of the world as a reliable partner. The ultimate goal was no longer the Fukuyama utopia of expanding universal liberal democracy, but the transformation of the United States into “Fortress America,” a lone superpower isolated from the rest of the world, protecting its vital economic interests and securing its safety through its new military power. This new military not only includes forces for rapid deployment anywhere on the globe, but also the development of space weapons that enable the Pentagon to control the global surface from above. This strategy throws a new light on the recent conflicts between the United States and Europe: It is not Europe that is “betraying” the United States. The United States no longer needs to rely on its exclusive partnership with Europe. In short, Bush’s America pretends to be a new global empire but it is not. Rather, it remains a nation-state ruthlessly pursuing its interests. It is as if U.S. politics is now being guided by a weird reversal of the ecologists’ well-known motto: Act globally, think locally.

Within these coordinates, every progressive who thinks should be glad for Bush’s victory. It is good for the entire world because the contours of the confrontations to come will now be drawn in a much starker way. A Kerry victory would have been a kind of historical anomaly, blurring the true lines of division. After all, Kerry did not have a global vision that would present a feasible alternative to Bush’s politics. Further, Bush’s victory is paradoxically better for both the European and Latin American economies: In order to get trade union backing, Kerry promised to support protectionist measures.

However, the main advantage involves international politics. If Kerry had won, it would have forced liberals to face the consequences of the Iraq war, allowing the Bush camp to blame Democrats for the results of their own catastrophic decisions. In her famous 1979 Commentary essay, “Dictators and Double Standards,” Jeanne Kirkpatrick elaborated on the distinction between “authoritarian” and “totalitarian” regimes in order to justify the U.S. policy of collaborating with Rightist dictators, while actively subverting Communist regimes. Authoritarian dictators are pragmatic rulers concerned with power and wealth and indifferent towards ideological issues, even if they pay lip service to some big cause. In contrast, totalitarian leaders are selfless, ideology driven fanatics who put everything at stake for their ideals. So while one can deal with authoritarian rulers who react rationally and predictably to material and military threats, totalitarian leaders are more dangerous and must be directly confronted. The irony is that this distinction encapsulates perfectly what went wrong with the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Saddam was a corrupt authoritarian dictator striving for power and guided by brutal pragmatic considerations (which led him to collaborate with the United States throughout the ’80s). But in removing him, the U.S. intervention has led to the creation of a “fundamentalist” opposition that precludes any pragmatic compromises.

Bush’s victory will dispel the illusions about the solidarity of interests among the developed Western countries. It will give a new impetus to the painful but necessary process of strengthening new alliances like the European Union or Mercosur in Latin America. It is a journalistic cliché to praise the “postmodern” dynamic of U.S. capitalism against the “old Europe” stuck in its regulatory Welfare State illusions. However, in the domain of political organization, Europe is now going much further than the United States has toward constituting itself as an unprecedented, properly “post-modern,” trans-state collective able to provide a place for anyone, independent of geography or culture.

No reason to despair, then. The prospects may be dark today, but remember one of the great Bushisms: “The future will be better tomorrow.”

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Truth Repeated

Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, had long believed that if he could draw out conservative and evangelical voters who stayed home four years ago, he could "make the pie higher," as Mr. Bush once memorably said of his goals for economic growth. Differences in the wording of exit-poll questions between this year and 2000 made a definitive early assessment of how well that succeeded difficult, but a third of all voters yesterday identified themselves as evangelicals, according to surveys of voters leaving the polls.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/03/politics/campaign/03assess.html?ei=5094&en=ef7a4aead2f32959&hp=&ex=1099544400&partner=homepage&pagewanted=all&position=

 

Paul A. Bové

Professor

English Department

Editor, boundary 2

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA  15260

 

WSJ.com - Early Betting Is Bush's Foreign Policy Will Remain Hard-Line

WSJ.com - Early Betting Is Bush's Foreign Policy Will Remain Hard-Line: "Early Betting Is
Bush's Foreign Policy
Will Remain Hard-Line"

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Time to Get Religion

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Time to Get Religion

Kristof continues his line that defeating religious hatred and authoritarian politics requires engaging the enemy on its own terrain, in imitation of Blair's usurpation of a Thatcherite line. Kristof seems unaware that Blair's cunning rested on his desire to continue Thatcher's policies while some of us hope to displace the neo-cons. PAB

The Truth Repeated

Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, had long believed that if he
could draw out conservative and evangelical voters who stayed home four
years ago, he could "make the pie higher," as Mr. Bush once memorably said
of his goals for economic growth. Differences in the wording of exit-poll
questions between this year and 2000 made a definitive early assessment of
how well that succeeded difficult, but a third of all voters yesterday
identified themselves as evangelicals, according to surveys of voters
leaving the polls.
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/03/politics/campaign/03assess.html?ei=5094&en
=ef7a4aead2f32959&hp=&ex=1099544400&partner=homepage&pagewanted=all&position
=
 
Paul A. Bové
Professor
English Department
Editor, boundary 2
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA  15260
 


Friday, November 05, 2004

The New York Times > AP > National > Books OK'd After Marriage Wording Changed

The New York Times > AP > National > Books OK'd After Marriage Wording Changed

The cowardice of capital and the power of theocracy bring more prejudice to education. PAB

The Truth Repeated

Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, had long believed that if he could draw out conservative and evangelical voters who stayed home four years ago, he could "make the pie higher," as Mr. Bush once memorably said of his goals for economic growth. Differences in the wording of exit-poll questions between this year and 2000 made a definitive early assessment of how well that succeeded difficult, but a third of all voters yesterday identified themselves as evangelicals, according to surveys of voters leaving the polls.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/03/politics/campaign/03assess.html?ei=5094&en=ef7a4aead2f32959&hp=&ex=1099544400&partner=homepage&pagewanted=all&position=

 

Paul A. Bové

Professor

English Department

Editor, boundary 2

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA  15260

 

The New York Times > AP > National > Election Reinforces U.S. Religious Divide

The New York Times > AP > National > Election Reinforces U.S. Religious Divide: "The New York Times
[]

The New York Times
[]

November 5, 2004
Election Reinforces U.S. Religious Divide
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 10:11 a.m. ET

President Bush's victory, the approval of every anti-gay marriage amendment on statewide ballots and an emphasis on ``moral values'' among voters showed the power of churchgoing Americans in this election and threw the nation's religious divide into stark relief.

``The churchgoers, those who voted along cultural lines, put (Bush) over the top,'' said George Marlin, author of ``The American Catholic Voter.''

Albert Menendez of Americans for Religious Liberty, which advocates strict church-state separation said ``Bush could not have won without the evangelical vote.''

Exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International showed clearly that the president draws much of his support from religious people:

--The president had the support of 78 percent of white evangelicals, 23 percent of the voters.

--Bush won 52 percent of the Roman Catholic vote on Tuesday, and got the support of 56 percent of white Catholics, defeating the first Catholic presidential candidate from a major party since John F. Kennedy. In 2000, Bush narrowly lost the Catholic vote.

--Bush was favored by 61 percent of people from all faiths who attend services weekly; they made up 41 percent of the electorate. Democrat John Kerry drew 62 percent of Americans who never attend worship, but they only accounted for 14 percent of voters.

--When respondents were asked to pick the one issue that mattered most in choosing a president, ``moral values'' ranked first at 22 percent, surpassing the economy (20 percent), terrorism (19 percent) and Iraq (15 percent).

Gay marriage bans were handily approved in all 11 states that held referendums, and analysts said that issue drove up turnout. ``This was a high stakes election for those who support traditional moral values,'' said Geoffrey Layman, a University of Maryland political scientist.

Another index of evangelical support: Republicans seeking open congressional seats who were endorsed by Gary Bauer's conservative Campaign for Working Families. They won all 12 contests, five in the Senate and seven in the House.

A leading conservative activist, the Rev. D. James Kennedy of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said the voters ``have delivered a moral mandate.''

``Now that values voters have delivered for George Bush, he must deliver for their values,'' Kennedy said.

More liberal believers, meanwhile, found the results deeply disconcerting, but also saw them as a call to action.

``This election confirmed that we are a divided nation, not only politically but in terms of our interpretation of God's will,'' said the Rev. Robert Edgar, a former Democratic congressman and general secretary of the National Council of Churches.

The Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State put it more starkly. ``The culture war may go nuclear,'' he said, as ``millions of Americans oppose the theocratic agenda of the Religious Right.''

The problem, said Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun magazine, is that too many fellow liberals are ``trapped in a long-standing disdain for religion and tone-deaf to the spiritual needs that underlie the move to the right.'' They need to shed a core belief that Bush voters ``are fundamentally stupid or evil.''

The left, he and others argue, has to show the religious basis for its policy positions and not let the right define morality.


Each side courted the Catholic vote aggressively, with Kerry forced to buck the leaders of his own church over his support of abortion rights. A handful of bishops said politicians like Kerry shouldn't receive Communion, and many others emphasized church teaching against abortion.

``To run in the Democratic Party you have to be pro-choice, but the church says you have to be pro-life,'' said Marlin, a Catholic conservative.

Layman, the Maryland political scientist, said that meant Kerry couldn't ``use his Catholicism as a strength to appeal to Catholics. He was put in this box by the bishops.''

In the end, the majority of Catholics preferred an anti-abortion, Methodist incumbent to one of their own -- underscoring that today's religious divide cuts across denominational lines.

The election shows that Democrats in 2008 ``are going to have to say they are religiously attuned to America and make it stick and make it authentic,'' said Michael Cromartie, an expert on evangelicalism at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. ``All future political consultants are going to have to understand religious sensibilities as part of the resume.''

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | RSS | Help | Back to Top

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Former President George W. Bush Dies

City Pages: Obituaries

Greil Marcus writes George W. Bush's "Obituary"

Los Angeles Times: Democrats' Losses Go Far Beyond One Defea

Los Angeles Times: Democrats' Losses Go Far Beyond One Defeat

Please note how Merle Black, not only an historian of the south, but himself a southerner, easily speaks of the Confederacy. PAB

latimes.com
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/2004/la-na-assess4nov04,0,7877293,print.story?coll=la-home-headlines
NEWS ANALYSIS
Democrats' Losses Go Far Beyond One Defeat
By Ronald Brownstein
Times Staff Writer

November 4, 2004

In the struggle for political power, Democrats now face a stark threat: Under George W. Bush, Republicans are consolidating their control over the culturally conservative regions of the country.

The 2004 elections underscored that the nation's so-called red territories — areas that support the president — are becoming redder. And that threatens to leave Democrats at a long-term disadvantage in future races for the White House and battles for Congress.

Although Bush in Tuesday's vote made some inroads among swing groups such as Latinos and married women, exit polls and voting results in key counties across the nation suggested he won his second term mostly by increasing the GOP strength in places where the party was already strong — especially rural, small-town and fast-growing exurban communities.

Bush successfully defended 29 of the 30 states he won in 2000 — and increased his margin of victory in 19 of those 29. Exit polls showed he dominated among the same groups central to his much narrower win in 2000 — including regular churchgoers, married families and gun owners. And both the exit polls and voting results make clear that he inspired a huge surge of Republican turnout — just as he did in the 2002 midterm elections.

Just as important, his strength helped carry the GOP to substantial gains in congressional races across the red states. All six of the Democratic House seats that Republicans won Tuesday came in red states. (Four of them came in Bush's home state of Texas, where a new redistricting map benefited the GOP.)

Even more dramatically, Republicans captured six Democratic Senate seats in states that Bush carried twice, while losing only one red state seat, for a net pickup of five in those states. With those gains, Republicans now hold 44 of the 58 Senate seats in the 29 states Bush has carried twice, bringing the party to the edge of a majority even before contesting seats in the blue states that voted for Al Gore and John F. Kerry.

Adding to the concern for Democrats is that the GOP made all these gains even while Kerry reached many of the targets his campaign set. The results suggest this wasn't an election Kerry lost so much as one that Bush won.

Kerry inspired millions of new voters and established a clear advantage among young people, according to exit polls by the Los Angeles Times and Edison/Mitofsky for the National Election Pool. His campaign engineered huge turnouts among minority voters in such key cities as Cleveland and Philadelphia. And he held almost all of the upscale, socially moderate suburban counties in the Northeast and Midwest that shifted from the GOP to the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Yet in the key states — especially Ohio — all of that was overwhelmed by Bush's ability to expand his vote among culturally conservative constituencies, especially rural and exurban voters.

Compounding the problem was Kerry's inability to compete for any Southern state except Florida: That left him with few options for reaching 270 electoral votes, especially after his bid to open a new front in Western states such as Arizona, Nevada and Colorado fell short.

"Democrats face this terrible arithmetic in the Electoral College where if they don't carry any of the 11 Southern states [of the Old Confederacy] they need to win 70% of everything else," says Merle Black, an expert on Southern politics at Emory University.

The math is just as daunting in the battle for Congress. Republicans will now control 18 of the 22 Senate seats in the states of the Old Confederacy, plus all four in Oklahoma and Kentucky. In the past two election cycles, the two parties have competed for nine open Senate seats in the South; with their sweep of five Democratic-held open seats Tuesday, Republicans have now captured all nine.

"The only reason the Democrats dominated [Congress] for as many decades as they did is their advantage came from the South," said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who specializes in Southern races. "When the South essentially left the Democratic coalition, that's when we had the national shift [in Congress] to the Republicans."

To many Democratic analysts, the clear message of these results is that even with its growing strength among upscale social moderates, the party will find it virtually impossible to reach a presidential or congressional majority without regaining at least some ground with socially conservative voters.

"We've got to close the cultural gap," said Al From, founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, a leading centrist party group.

And even as Bush solidified his hold on culturally conservative voters, more social moderates appeared to drift away from him, especially along the two coasts.

According to both the Times and the National Election Pool exit polls, Bush ran only about even or slightly behind with independent voters — making him the first winner since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to lose with that critical swing group. Bush also fell short among voters who called themselves moderates and slipped a step among voters with college degrees, the exit polls found.

To some extent, Bush may be a prisoner of his own success: It won't be easy for him to expand his party's appeal with those sorts of swing voters while meeting the demands of the conservative coalition that powered his victory on issues such as potential appointments to the Supreme Court.

"Their coalition is very stable but it's very narrow," said John C. Green, a University of Akron political scientist who specializes in the relationship between religion and politics. "It will be interesting to see if any Republican besides Bush can succeed without finding ways to expand it. There's not much margin of error in this coalition."

Yet Bush's unshakeable hold on his own voters allowed him to challenge for far more Democratic-leaning terrain than Kerry could contest on the Republican side. By the campaign's final days, Kerry was seriously bidding for only three states that Bush carried last time — Florida, Ohio and New Hampshire.

Bush, meanwhile, seriously contested twice that many states won by Gore in 2000.

Although Bush ultimately fell short in at least 18 of the 20 states Gore won in 2000, he reduced the Democratic margin in 13 of them. And although Bush continued to run poorly among socially liberal constituencies such as single women or voters who rarely attend church, the Times exit poll found that he significantly improved his performance among married white women (especially those without a college education) and Latinos.

As in the 2002 midterm elections, Bush demonstrated that he could inspire a remarkable Republican turnout. Both the Times and NEP exit polls showed that Republicans constituted about as large a share of the voters Tuesday as Democrats.

That erased a 4-percentage-point Democratic lead in 2000 — and fulfilled the goal set before the election by Matthew Dowd, the Bush campaign's chief strategist. These patterns come into sharp relief looking at Ohio, the state that ultimately decided the presidency more than any other.

Kerry did almost everything he could have hoped in the state. He accumulated a margin of nearly 218,000 votes in Cuyahoga County (including Cleveland), an advantage nearly one-third larger than Gore managed in 2000.

Kerry even carried all three of the classic suburban swing counties that analysts watch closely in the state: Stark (Canton); Montgomery (Dayton) and Franklin (Columbus).

Yet Bush still overcame Kerry with the political equivalent of a death by a thousand cuts. Bush crushed Kerry and expanded his margins from 2000 in the rural and exurban counties that stretched across the state's southern boundary and up its western edge to the Michigan border. Those results point to an ominous possibility for Democrats: that Dowd is right when he argues that white rural and blue-collar Midwestern voters are now committing to the GOP.Kerry's losssuggests that the Democrats may not be able to recapture the White House until they find a nominee who can reverse that current in both regions.

*

Times staff writer Richard Rainey and Times Poll Director Susan Pinkus contributed.

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX) Times national exit poll results

Data from the Los Angeles Times exit poll show how various groups of voters in the nation cast their ballots in the election. The two columns of percentages for Bush and Kerry are read horizontally. For example, of all the men who voted for president, 53% voted for Bush and 46% for Kerry.

Presidential choice
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Bush/Cheney 51% 100% --
Kerry/Edwards 48 -- 100%
Other 1 -- --
Gender
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Men 49% 53% 46
Women 51 49% 50
Gender and marital status
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Married men 31% 59% 40
Single men 16 40% 58
Married women 30 57% 42
Single women 19 35% 64
Age
% of all voters Bush Kerry
18-29 20% 43% 55
30-44 32 52% 47
45-64 36 54% 45
65 or older 12 55% 45
Race/ethnicity
% of all voters Bush Kerry
White 79% 57% 42
Black 10 14% 86
Latino 5 45% 54
Asian 3 34% 64
Education
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Less than college 48% 54% 45
College degree or more 52 49% 50
Income of voter
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Less than $20,000 10% 46% 51
$20,000 to $39,999 20 47% 52
$40,000 to $59,999 20 51% 48
$60,000 to $74,999 15 53% 46
$75,000 or more 35 54% 45
Political ideology
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Liberal 32% 19% 79
Moderate 29 45% 54
Conservative 39 82% 18
Party affiliation
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Democrat 40% 12% 88
Independent 19 48% 49
Republican 39 94% 6
Party ideology
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Liberal Democrats 22% 5% 95
Other Democrats 18 19% 81
Other Independents 13 36% 60
Conservative Independents 6 77% 22
Other Republicans 13 89% 11
Conservative Republicans 27 96% 4
When decided presidential vote
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Today/yesterday 8% 45% 52
Over the weekend 2 47% 46
Before the weekend 43 37% 62
Always knew 47 65% 34
Military affiliation
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Household with a
veteran and/or family
active in military 46% 54% 45
Not in military,
nor a veteran 50 48% 51
Religion
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Protestant 51% 61% 38
Catholic 25 55% 44
Jewish 4 26% 74
Attendance at religious services
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Weekly or more 42% 65% 34
Less than that 58 42% 57
Gun ownership
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Own guns 36% 65% 34
Don't own any 64 43% 56
Voting status
% of all voters Bush Kerry
First-time voter 11% 42% 57
Voted before 89 53% 46
Locality
% of all voters Bush Kerry
City 36% 43% 56
Suburb 32 52% 47
Small town 20 58% 41
Rural 12 62% 37
Region
% of all voters Bush Kerry
East 24% 42% 57
Midwest 24 54% 45
South 32 57% 42
West 20 49% 50
Union household
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Union households 27% 43% 56
Non-union households 73 54% 45
Sexuality
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Heterosexual 96% 53% 46
Gay/lesbian/ bisexual 4 17% 81
Do you think the country is on the right or wrong track?
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Right track 51% 89% 11
Wrong track 49 11% 87
Do you think the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over, or not?
% of all voters Bush Kerry
Worth it 50% 88% 12
Not worth it 50 14% 84
Note: numbers may not add up to 100% where some answer categories are not shown.

How the poll was conducted: The Los Angeles Times Poll interviewed 5,154 voters who cast ballots in the general election Tuesday as they exited 136 polling places across the nation, including 3,357 California voters as they exited 50 polling places across the state. Precincts were chosen based on the pattern of turnout in past primary elections. The survey was a self-administered, confidential questionnaire, in English and in Spanish. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for all voters, including California voters. For some subgroups, the error margin may be somewhat higher. Fieldwork provided by Schlesinger Associates of Edison, N.J. and Davis Research of Calabasas.

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Source: Times Poll



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Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times

Unity on Bush's terms

"I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals," George W. Bush, Washington DC, November 4, 2004

OpinionJournal - REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Please note how the WSJ like the Christina Right sees the election as a reason to run rough shod over the defeated. We know the limits of politics as war, but these people are imposing the struggle. PAB

OpinionJournal - REVIEW & OUTLOOK

WSJ.com OpinionJournal

REVIEW & OUTLOOK
The Bush Mandate
Justice Miguel Estrada, and other second-term possibilities.

Thursday, November 4, 2004 12:01 a.m.

So the lawyers didn't decide this election after all. The voters did--including millions of conservative first-timers whom the exit polls and media missed--emerging from the pews and exurban driveways to give President Bush what by any measure is a decisive mandate for a second term.

Never mind the closeness of the electoral vote, this time Mr. Bush easily won the popular vote, the first President to win more than 50% since his father in 1988. The Republican gains in both Houses of Congress mean Mr. Bush also had coattails, unlike Nixon in 1972 and even Reagan in 1984.

While holding his margins among white men and married women from 2000, Mr. Bush expanded his vote among Jews (24% from 19%), and notably among the key swing blocs of Hispanics (42% from 35%) and Catholics (51% from 47%). He also rolled up larger margins in his Southern and Western base, while improving his vote in such "blue states" as Pennsylvania and Iowa. Just because an election is close doesn't mean it isn't decisive.

The huge voter turnout of some 120 million--the largest as a share of the electorate since 1968--adds to the mandate because it means the country was fully engaged in this national debate. No one can say he didn't know what was at stake. The President's opposition went all-in, as they say in poker, with the most relentlessly partisan performance by elite cultural institutions that we've ever witnessed. Hollywood, CBS, and the New York Times threw everything they had at Mr. Bush, and the country rejected their values and agenda, not his.

We trust that the President will not now let those same opponents interpret his mandate for him. The effort is already under way to diminish the victory by insisting that Mr. Bush "move to the center," which is code for giving up the agenda that voters just endorsed. The country remains "deeply divided," we are told, so Mr. Bush is obliged to make concessions to Nancy Pelosi and George Soros.

Yet it wasn't Mr. Bush but Senate Democrats whose obstructionism was repudiated on Tuesday. South Dakota voters rejected Tom Daschle expressly on the grounds that he had made the Senate a "dead zone," as we once put it, for the Bush agenda. Mr. Daschle responded by saying he could bring more pork back home, but by blocking so much legislation he undercut his own credibility as a politician who could deliver. The men who really defeated Tom Daschle were Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer and the Filibuster Democrats.

Mr. Bush now has an opportunity to achieve much of what his opponents blocked in the first term. No doubt he will, and should, seek out coalitions of the willing among Democrats--on Social Security private accounts, tort and tax reform, and creating a larger private health-care marketplace, among the other things he campaigned on. But we hope he and the GOP majorities on Capitol Hill don't flinch from large ambitions even if most Democrats rebuff their overtures. The center-right voters who just elected them are expecting progress on their priorities.

One of those is the federal courts, where voters sent a clear signal about the kind of judges they want. Referendums opposing gay marriage went 11 for 11 on Tuesday, winning even in Oregon where the 57% to 43% landslide was the smallest majority among the 11. This is not a message of intolerance toward gays; it is a rebuke to those liberals who insist that courts impose their values on venerable American institutions. Our guess is that the marriage referendums were partly responsible for driving pro-Bush turnout in Ohio, and for making the race as close as it was in Michigan.

Mr. Bush could send an early message here if Chief Justice William Rehnquist decides to retire soon due to illness. He could do worse than elevate Antonin Scalia to Chief Justice and nominate Miguel Estrada as an Associate Justice, even as a recess appointment if that becomes necessary. Mr. Estrada is a distinguished lawyer who had the support of enough Democrats to be confirmed for the federal bench but was filibustered by Mr. Daschle. Mr. Bush's voters do not want another David Souter.

Above all, we think Mr. Bush can claim a mandate on his handling of the war on terror. Mr. Kerry and the media both tried to make the election a referendum on Iraq, and the bad news from Baghdad was relentlessly amplified. Voters were also asked to choose on the question of U.S. action with or without the United Nations, and whether state sponsors are as culpable as the terrorists themselves and must be confronted. A majority of voters (54%) judged the U.S. to be safer now from terrorism and approved (50% to 46%) of the decision to topple Saddam Hussein.

This shows the fortitude of the public and its willingness to bear a short-term burden for the sake of long-term security. We hope Mr. Bush and his advisers also recognize it as a chance--a second chance--to finish the job in Iraq. Voters clearly had their doubts that Mr. Kerry could have done better than the President in Iraq. But they will not support Mr. Bush for long if they see U.S. soldiers under attack without going on offense against the enemy sanctuaries in Fallujah and elsewhere.

We won't know for years whether this really was "the most important election in our lifetime," as John Kerry so often said. We do already know, however, that Mr. Bush has been given the kind of mandate that few politicians are ever fortunate enough to receive. The voters expect him to use it.

Copyright © 2004 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


The New York Times > Washington > Election 2004 > Conservatives: Some Bush Supporters Say They Anticipate a 'Revolution'

I only hope that we and our allies will take seriously this line and not reject it any longer for being outside the mainstream or unthinkable in an American or populist account. Also, these reactionary remarks make ridiculous the Kristoff/Lerner line that we should move to religious terrain either to compromise or to displace this right-wing religiosity with something more socially enlightened. PAB

The New York Times > Washington > Election 2004 > Conservatives: Some Bush Supporters Say They Anticipate a 'Revolution': "The New York Times


The New York Times


November 4, 2004
CONSERVATIVES
Some Bush Supporters Say They Anticipate a 'Revolution'
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 3 - Exulting in their electoral victories, President Bush's conservative supporters immediately turned to staking out mandates for an ambitious agenda of long-cherished goals, including privatizing Social Security, banning same-sex marriage, remaking the Supreme Court and overturning the court's decisions in support of abortion rights.

"Now comes the revolution," Richard Viguerie, the dean of conservative direct mail, told about a dozen fellow movement stalwarts gathered around a television here, tallying up their Senate seats in the earliest hours of the morning. "If you don't implement a conservative agenda now, when do you?"

By midday, however, fights over the spoils had already begun, as conservatives debated the electorate's verdict on the war in Iraq, the Bush administration's spending and the administration's hearty embrace of traditionalist social causes.

Conservative Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, were first in line to stake their claims, citing polls showing that a plurality of Bush supporters named "moral values" as the most important issue and arguing that a drive to ban same-sex marriage boosted turnout in Ohio.

"Make no mistake - conservative Christians and 'values voters' won this election for George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress," Mr. Viguerie wrote in a memorandum sent to other prominent conservatives. "It's crucial that the Republican leadership not forget this - as much as some will try," he said, underlining the final clause.

"Liberals, many in the media and inside the Republican Party are urging the president to 'unite' the country by discarding the allies that earned him another four years," Mr. Viguerie continued. "They're urging him to discard us conservative Catholics and Protestants, people for whom moral values are the most important issue.''

Dr. James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and an influential evangelical Protestant, said he had issued a warning to a "White House operative" who called yesterday morning to thank him for his help.

Dr. Dobson said he told the caller that many Christians believed the country "on the verge of self-destruction" as it abandoned traditional family roles. He argued that "through prayer and the involvement of millions of evangelicals, and mainline Protestants and Catholics, God has given us a reprieve."

"But I believe it is a short reprieve," he continued, adding that conservatives now had four years to pass an amendment banning same-sex marriage, to stop abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, and most of all to remake the Supreme Court. "I believe that the Bush administration now needs to be more aggressive in pursuing those values, and if they don't do it I believe they will pay a price in four years," he said.

Dr. Dobson and several other Christian conservatives said they believed the expanded Republican majority in the Senate and the defeat of the Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle, put them in striking distance of both amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage and approving the appointment of enough conservative Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade and other abortion rights cases.

"I think it is a real possibility," said Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, a champion of social conservative causes. In the meantime, he said, he also hoped to pass other measures conservatives had campaigned for this year, including an "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act" requiring some women seeking abortions to be offered anesthesia for their fetuses.

Austin Ruse, president of the conservative Catholic Culture of Life Foundation, suggested that if Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist steps down, Mr. Bush could begin to repay his social conservative backers by naming Justice Antonin Scalia to replace him. "We'd love to see Scalia in that spot, and I think we have earned it," Mr. Ruse said.

The strongest argument that Christian conservatives played a decisive role in the election came in Ohio, where a ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage passed by an overwhelming margin. Conservatives said the proposal increased conservative turnout and helped Mr. Bush win a narrow, pivotal victory.

Phil Burress, the veteran Christian conservative organizer who headed the effort to pass the measure, said his campaign registered tens of thousands of voters, distributed 2.5 million church bulletin inserts and passed out 20,000 yard signs. His group called 2.9 million homes, he said, identifying 850,000 strong supporters whom it called again on Monday as a reminder to go to the polls.

"The president rode our coattails," Mr. Burress said.

Although the Bush campaign courted conservative Christians assiduously, the exact level of their turnout is not yet clear. Surveys of voters leaving the polls showed that "moral values" outweighed concerns about the economy or the war with more than 20 percent of the voters - more than chose any other issue - and about 80 percent of those voters supported Mr. Bush. But some pollsters cautioned that the multiple-choice format of the questions asked might have influenced the responses.

Sarah Chamberlain, a spokeswoman for the Republican Main Street Coalition, a group of moderates within the party, argued that high-profile moderates on social issues also played a pivotal role for the campaign in Ohio and elsewhere. Those moderates included Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York and Senator John McCain of Arizona.

"Frankly, he wouldn't have been elected without us either, and the conservatives need to remember that," she said.

"Social conservatives are a very important part of the base, but they are not enough alone," said Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a conservative strategist close to the Bush administration, noting that in Illinois, Alan Keyes had taken a drubbing in the race for the Senate after running a vigorously conservative campaign on social issues.

Mr. Norquist eagerly predicted the accomplishment of a long agenda of government reduction: repealing the estate tax, privatizing Social Security, restricting medical and other liability lawsuits, closing military bases, opening more government jobs to competitive bidding to lower costs and weaken unions, imposing new disclosure requirements on organized labor, and expanding health care and investment savings accounts.

Most conservatives, however, agreed that among the three arms of the right - religious traditionalists, opponents of big government and foreign policy hawks - it was the religious right that pulled the most weight in Mr. Bush's re-election.

Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a group that advocates limited government, said the Bush administration's spending had irked many of his members. "My fear is that Republicans will learn the wrong lesson from this victory and say, hey, we can spend and borrow hundreds of millions of dollars and the voters won't hold us accountable," he said. "There were a lot of conservatives who really had to hold their nose to vote Republican."

By all accounts, the war in Iraq only hindered Mr. Bush's re-election, renewing debate among conservatives over its wisdom, especially during the hours on Tuesday when early polls suggested that Mr. Bush might be headed for defeat. "We need a major national debate on, what kind of foreign policy is this country going to have?" said Paul Weyrich, founder of the Heritage Foundation and now chairman of the Free Congress Foundation. "Are we going to continue on the offense, where we make more enemies than we can defeat? Or are we going to return to the traditional foreign policy that we do not attack unless attacked?"

But some of the intellectual proponents of the war known as neoconservatives called the vote something close to a vindication of Mr. Bush's policy of pre-emptive action against potential sponsors of terrorism.

"The world saw this as a referendum on the Bush doctrine, and I think the world was right," said Charles Krauthammer, a neoconservative columnist.

Kenneth R. Weinstein, chief operating officer of the neoconservative Hudson Institute, was more cautious "Certainly," he said, "we have avoided the blood bath in the Republican Party that would have taken place if Mr. Bush had been defeated."

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Leo Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor

Leo Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor

Another piece by Shadia Drury. PAB

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Living Poor, Voting Rich

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Living Poor, Voting Rich

Joe and I were talking earlier. This is exactly the wrong strategy, which matters only if it misleads us into the wrong research and writing. PAB

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The New York Times > Washington > Prisoners: U.S. Action Bars Right of Some Captured in Iraq

The New York Times > Washington > Prisoners: U.S. Action Bars Right of Some Captured in Iraq

I recommend reading Weber's novel, HOMELAND, for a clear vision of what this system will look like in four more years.

Thursday, October 21, 2004