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Brian

Actually I think it is somewhat of a mandate. It is very rare for the Presidential popular vote to stray outside of 52%-48% or 53%-47%. But I feel what is indicative of the mood of the country is the inrease in Senate seats picked up by the Republicans. There was also an increase in House seats. What this shows me is that the Democrats underestimated the importance of cultural issues in our society. More important to the results of yesterdays election; more important than the Bin Laden tape, may have been the failing health of William Rehnquist. The President may be appointing as many as four justices during this term. Early data shows that evangelicals turned out to vote in massive numbers, expressing their feelings on long term cultural and moral erosion/evolution taking place in society.

Dylan

You are absolutly right, Brian. When I went wrote that post before I went to bed, it seemed a bit closer, but as the morning rolled by, it became a mandate.

It is quite surprising to me that moral/social issues took a front seat to Iraq and the Economy. It should have been "the war, stupid" but it just wasn't. Karl Rove proved himself to be a much better reader of the national psyche than probably even his staunchest supporters gave him credit for. That map looks very, very red.

Brian

The map always looks red, with a few variable states: Forida, Ohio, maybe the Great Lakes states. It shows where the split really is; there is the northeast and west coast(blue), and the rest of us in fly-over country. It is important for the parties to get a grasp on whether the pockets of concentrated population or the vast geographic expanse is more indicative of the country's mindset and values.

Maybe a semantic interpretation, but Bush has promised to nominate CONTRUCTIONIST judges, whereas liberals may favor activists. It is a mindset we discussed earlier as to whether the SCOTUS(I feel so Westwing insider) should interpret the law according to the Constitution, or interpret the Constitution according to the law.

Maybe it isn't the economy, which people are learning is cyclical regardless of who is in power. And if people view the war(however managed or mis-managed) as a harsh, but necessary reality in post 9-11 America, then it is the culture. Faith matters; patriotism (in the traditional WWII sense) matters; family and values matter. Is the face of the Deocratic party too far outside the mainstream?

chuck

Yes, I was a little surprised that "moral issues" were such a huge issue, but it came up in class on occasion with my students. And, yes, Rove totally played the gay marriage issue, with all eleven states voting for discrimination by a wide margin.

Dylan

It is possible... however, 48% of America voted for Kerry. That isn't an indication, to me, that the Democratic Party is outside of the mainstream.

Here is the difference in the values vs. economy/war argument. Perhaps what the President and Karl Rove did so effectivly was making the war a value, and not just a situation. They were able to make it to where the war was about character and leadership, and therefore unpatriotic if you are against it. Right or wrong, as strategy goes, it was effective.

The court is a huge issue. I have zero faith that Bush will truly appoint "strict constructionists" as opposed to activist conservative judges. Stare decisis (thanks to my high school Government teacher, Ms. Mize) is a doctrine that the court has attempted to govern itself by. It is translated to something roughly meaning "don't undecide what has been decided" or "undo what is done." I believe Bush 2's (I mean 2 in reference to a second term, not the man) goal will be to pursue a social agenda through the courts that is ulterior to my point of view, and I think, wrong for America.

But most of America doesn't think so. At least not on this day. And I accept that.

Ty

I will be crossing my fingers for the health of all of the justices for the next four years. My grandmother is 81. She's still doing great...hopefully all of the justices will take her lead. And for those with cancer, may the chemo work for them.

David

I've been struggling to respond to the elections on my blog, too. And I agree with you Dylan, Dubya seems to have won this election more or less fari and square. He's our President. But now what do we do? I've been going back and forth with some friends, and I've got a post on the beginnings of my response to the situation in the nation now. Let me know what you think.

Aubrie

David, I was interested to read your post on "the beginnings of my response" and the thread about fundamental values. I think the important thing to remember is that fundamental values are different for each person. Right or left, the things that we stand up and fight for may be different sides of the same coin depending on personal experience. I can agree that the supreme court and its judges are a fundamental value to me, but only because of some of the issues the are currently faced with: abortion and stem cell research for example. I don't know that even a year ago I could have said that. So I think the question of fundamental values is one that can't be answered, except in your own heart.

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