The debate over what went wrong is still raging.
Everyone is talking about the “values voter” turnout and the gay marriage factor.
Others argue (as NYT’s Bob Herbert does) that the real issue was that millions of Americans went to the polls without a handle on even the most basic of facts. A huge percentage of Bush supporters poked chad fully believing that we found evidence of an ongoing WMD program in Iraq.
Another major group of thinkers seems to believe that what really cost Kerry the election was the terrorism gap.
Then there are those who believe that Hollywood provides a metaphor for why the reds abandoned the blues. Hollywood makes fun of reds. They look down on reds (just like those damn intellectuals do). They’re rich. They’re beautiful. They’re famous. Yuck.
So which one was it?
All of the above (and much, much more).
Yes, the so-called values voters made a big impact. It’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise.
Yes, millions of Bush voters went to the polls thinking (among many other fictions) that we found WMDs in Iraq.
Yes, Bush maintained, right up until election day, a sizeable advantage when it came to the question of which candidate was better suited to lead the war on terrorism.
And yes, Planet Hollywood seems to many to be somewhere other than Planet Earth.
Here’s a secret. All of these issues are the same issue.
It’s the positioning, stupid.
Let’s go down the list.
Morals Voters: In order for this to work, values had to be reduced to a few specific sexually charged issues. When voters think morals, they think GOP. But more importantly, they think about a handful of issues that those selling themselves as the value candidates want them to think about. Are tax breaks for the wealthy moral? Is limiting the rights of your neighbor a value? What about sending kids into war under false pretenses? Selling assault weapons? Are these representative of moral values? What about the unfortunate adminstration connections to companies likke Halliburton and Enron? None of this matters. Values have been framed around abortion, gays and Janet Jackson’s tit.
The Uninformed: They really did a number on this one. Step one, simplify every issue down to a basic phrase. The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein. The evil doers are really bad. Step two, criticize anyone who challenges voters to think deeply about these issues with words like sensitive and nuanced. To question anything that is connected to anything called the war on terror is to be weak and un-American. Step three, hack away at those institutions that try to inform. Liberal media. Intellectual elite. If you’re effective enough when it comes to steps two and three, you always end up back at step one. There are bad guys and us. Enough said.
Terrorism Gap: Same as above. You can’t trust a guy who thinks and deliberates when we’ve been telling you for years that those are the qualities of one who is weak and will endanger Americans. Will we be attacked the day after the election if Kerry gets your vote? Hell yes.
Hollywood: This one is proof that with the right positioning, hypocrisy can go undetected. Celebrities are terrible. Now here’s Arnold (the most celebrity celebrity of all time; narcism, violent movies, wild riches, ass grabbing, trailer rocking, elevator shoes, roids). Hollywood doesn’t share your values. Let’s have another tribute to Ronald Reagan. Actors want to hand this country over to terrorists. Except Ron Silver. He makes a lot of sense.
Forget about the fact that Americans love Hollywood’s output and fixate on qualities such as mansions, undeserved fame and smooth, young, scantly clad bodies.
These guys are so good at positioning, they can convince you to vote their way with one hand while masturbating with the other.