Let the Gloating Begin
The ConWeb wants you to believe that winning a smidge over half the vote is somehow a clear mandate for Bush.
By Terry Krepel
One thing was inevitable about the Nov. 2 election, as ConWebWatch previously noted -- if John Kerry won, the ConWeb would be screaming about vote fraud.
We are now seeing another inevitable ConWeb outcome -- if President Bush won re-election, the ConWeb would claim it as a great victory and a clear mandate, now matter how small the win. And it was small: Bush won 51 percent of the vote, a bare majority, just three percentage points more than Kerry.
Nevertheless, the ConWeb is touting the win as nothing less than decisive; the fact that 49 percent of the electorate did not vote for Bush has been declared irrelevant. NewsMax most aggressively articulated this view in a Nov. 3 e-mail to its readers:
The major media are very angry George Bush won the presidency by a significant margin.
Shades of NewsMax's post-9/11 declaration that "Real Americans support [Bush] 100 percent." But this time, NewsMax followed up its reality-defying assertion with a plug for Bush tsotchkes from its online store.
NewsMax CEO Christopher Ruddy joined in the exaggeration, insisting in a Nov. 3 column that " Yesterday the American people voted decisively to re-elect President Bush." (Italics his.)
Ruddy also passes along another fable in his column. Writing of NewsMax's efforts to make a partisan political statement by buying airtime the weekend before the election to run the anti-Kerry film "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," Ruddy claims the film "was a factual account of what Kerry did during his anti-war days." Hardly. A Nov. 2 NewsMax story similarly -- and erroneously -- insists that "the accuracy of the documentary has never been challenged on its presentation of facts."
At WorldNetDaily, a Nov. 3 story claims the Bush win means a "moral mandate" from voters. One minister called it an "astonishing electoral triumph," and another is quoted as saying his organization's immediate goal is to "focus on the nomination of a pro-life Supreme Court Justice." (Wait -- aren't conservatives opposed to litmus tests for judicial nominees?)
WND's Joseph Farah, meanwhile, still hates Kerry with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns. Farah, adding to his long list of anti-Kerry epithets, called Kerry a "certifiable seditionist unworthy of tying the shoes of most of America's presidents, unworthy of sitting in the U.S. Senate, unworthy of running for president on a major party ticket." He added: "Nevertheless, he won many key states. ... He did not embarrass himself or his party. And that's a shame."
CNSNews.com offered an unmistakable contrast on its Nov. 3 front page: one story headlined "Bush Reaches Out With Message of Unity, Hope," another headlined "Kerry Campaign Party Turns to Tears and Bitterness."
But before things looked good for Bush, CNS managing editor David Thibault penned a Nov. 1 commentary urging Bush to "bow out gracefully" if he lost. Yet his commentary was littered with attacks on anyone who committed the unfathomable act of supporting Kerry, calling them "chumps," "simply naive" and holding an "unfortunate political mindset that cares not a whit about the cultural erosion in America."
And that national political split that limited Bush to just a bare majority of the electorate? Not Bush's fault at all, Thibault says. "Not only did Bill Clinton, through his reprehensible personal conduct and failure to resign when he got caught, split the country in half, the refusal of his party to show some grace and concede defeat in 2000 has ensured that American politics will remain this divisive for the foreseeable future."
Thibault's not exactly embracing Bush's call for unity, is he? But it appears endemic to the ConWeb. As long as conservatives continue to insist that a bare majority win is a license to run roughshod, it all but ensures that the split won't go away anytime soon.
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A little post-election Then and Now:
-- NewsMax story, Oct. 24
-- WorldNetDaily story, Nov. 3