We’re not a nation divided… we’re a nation at the center

We’re not a nation divided… we’re a nation at the center

: The latest WSJ/NBC poll (free link) says that Bush holds a slight though statistically insignificant lead over Kerry but that his policies hurt him with undecided voters.

I’ve long been amazed at Bush’s insistence on playing to his right wing. He certainly wasn’t voted by a mandate! He did not have a right-wing revolution behind him. He gained strength across the board because of 9/11. If he had played to the center, he might have had a chance of getting votes he never could have gotten before (see: me) but he turned away those voters by swinging further right by appointing Ashcroft and lately by pushing the edge on gay marriage, stem-cell research, and by not pulling back his Vietnam attack hawks … well, you know the list. I used to think this was ideology but now I wonder whether it is odd political paranoia: a chronic need to “solidify the base.”

But my point isn’t about Bush. It’s about America. Once again, we’re portrayed at a nation of extremes, red v. blue, when the truth is that the closeness of our votes only indicates our strong preference for the center.

The other important note from the poll is that Bush trails Kerry in 17 key battleground states. Usually by this time in an election, I’m ready to start making bets, state-by-state. But not this year, not quite yet.

  • http://opinionpaper.blogspot.com Brett

    Bush has done several things there were almost left-wing. The money allocated towards AIDS, the No Child Left Behind Act (where he also referred to Ted Kennedy as a “fabulous” senator from Mass), he signed the Assault Weapon Ban, his embrace of immigration, the steel/lumber tariffs… no conservative who wants smaller government liked any of these things. And I think, to be fair, Bush has on numerous occasions tried to be non-partisan (the above mention of Sen. Kennedy, his generous tribute to Bill Clinton at the unveiling of the portraits, etc).
    But, in agreement with you, he has also done things which angered the left.
    America is a big country and not everyone can be pleased with everything the president does. But what boggles my mind is that people who lean toward Kerry can think of nothing good that Bush has done except for his response 9/11 – when they agree with that.
    So – just trying to jog your memory, Jeff, in case you might change your mind ;)

  • Robert Brown

    Add to that massive farm subsidies and a half trillion dollar new medicare entitlement. Yes, the left wanted to spend a full trillion and impose price controls on drugs, but Bush opened the door to a program that will soon explode in cost almost certainly leading to price controls in the future…lots for liberals to love here. And then he signed Mcain-Fiengold, another liberal wet dream

  • sickles

    I always love how you bring up John Ashcroft as if he’s some evil right wing lunatic.
    Ashcroft is a devout Christian, it’s true; does that disqualify him as incapable of enforcing the laws? Obviously not.
    Only your bigotry against Christians allows you to make such a statement. The United States is approximately 83% Christian
    http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/beliefnet_poll_010718.html
    but you consistently refer to them as right wing extremists and your vaunted Stern listeners the great middle.
    Sorry Jeff, but it’s the other way around, which is what you and much of the traditional media simply don’t understand. There’s a middle all right, just one that you don’t care for.

  • Kat

    My question would be –“What the hell is there on God’s green earth, that would make one vote for Kerry? And Kerry is against gay marriage–he just flip flops according to state–in Missouri he is against it, in Virginia he is for it–depends on the polls. Bush is honest. I’m against anyone forcing me to accept gay marriage. 3% of the population have no right to define marriage for the rest. Bush is not totaly against stem cell research–just uncontrolled harvesting of babies like lab rats. And Kerry didn’t pullback his Bush attack by condeming 911–he invited Moore to the convention–he sits with Sleaze. And you wrote the other day that Moore had dropped from view–he’s just preparing his democrat anarchists to rally in New York–they’ve been told that they can make the choice to break the law and wreck Central Park ,disregarding the law. I have to wonder how anyone can support a party supported by Moonbats like Moore, Dave(shit hurler) Matthews, Danny Glover, ANSWER, the Communist Party, and the list goes on. Yes, we are a nation divided–but it’s the anarchists that worry me more than honest dissent. That’s democracy–in a Communist state, or an islamofascist one, there’d be only one point of view–no division–just submission.

  • anne.elk

    I’ve long been amazed at Bush’s insistence on playing to his right wing. He certainly wasn’t voted by a mandate! He did not have a right-wing revolution behind him.
    You’re right about that. Especially since he’s a self proclaimed compassionate conservatie, a uniter, not a divider. Especially after Al Gore’s gracious bowing out asking America to support Bush, and we did.
    Well, it’s because he’s an entitled, elistist, idiot jerk with the one “good” quality of being very loyal to his buddies. In this case, he reveals that for Bush, Bush money is thicker than blood (Our American Blood.)
    It’s well summed up in this song, Idiot Son of an 4*shole I’m not sure if 4*shole is an FCC allowable word. My apologies if it is not, but that’s the name of the song — it’s art.

  • onecent

    Adding to Kat’s comments, stem cell research is still an unsettled issue in Europe. So is gay marriage. Religious factions in Israel haven’t reached a consensus either. The moral/cultural debate on these issues is ongoing across Western civilization. Too bad, Jeff, we all can’t be secularized and lobotomized on schedule and reside in “the center” that comfort zone where the voices of human debate don’t scare others. But, then your vote for Kerry will get you there. The Democrats squeal, ignore the First Amendment, and threaten to sue when their comfort zone is threatened.

  • http://www.englishandwhite.com/id8.html RattlerGator

    What George Bush has figured out is that Jeff Jarvis, and folks who think like Jeff Jarvis, ultimately are the problem. By all appearances, and objective facts, they should be on board. But they just can’t do it.
    He’s never going to win over the majority of America’s “urban” middle no matter how much compassionate conservatism he displays. He can, however, win over the true middle. And has. People who are quite representative of the country. People who could never in a million years say that a fraud of a military officer desiring to be Commander-in-Chief is irrelevant.
    Never.
    The undecideds who are going to vote this November don’t think it’s irrelevant. They think it’s quite relevant. Percentage-wise, the people who DO BELIEVE IT’S IRRELEVANT — more of them are going to stay home come November.
    Thank God for that.

  • shark

    CAPS MINE:
    I’ve long been amazed at Bush’s insistence on playing to his right wing. – AS OPPOSED TO KERRY PLAYING TO HIS LEFT WING? HYPOCRITE. He certainly wasn’t voted by a mandate! - SURE HE WAS. HE WAS ELECTED, AND HIS “MANDATE” WAS TO GOVERN AS HE SAW FIT. He did not have a right-wing revolution behind him. NO, NOT A REVOLUTION, BUT A STEADY, YEARS-LONG TRENDING OF THE COUNTRY TOWARDS CONSERVATISM He gained strength across the board because of 9/11. NO, HE GAINED STRENGTH BECAUSE OF HOW HE HANDLED THE AFTERMATH OF 9/11. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE! If he had played to the center, he might have had a chance of getting votes he never could have gotten before (see: me) HAHA! YOU’RE SUCH A LIBERAL HACK YOU WOULD NEVER CONSIDER VOTING FOR HIM. TOO BAD THE DEMS. STARTED PLAYING POLITICS WITH 9/11. but he turned away those voters by swinging further right by appointing Ashcroft and lately by pushing the edge on gay marriage, stem-cell research, and by not pulling back his Vietnam attack hawks YOU NEVER TOLD KERRY TO CALL OFF HIS MOVEON ATTACK HAWKS. I ALSO LOVE THE WAY YOU USE ASHCROFT AS THE BOOGEYMAN. LIKE I SAID, YOU ARE TOO INTELLECTALLY DISHONEST TO HAVE EVER CONSIDERED HIM. YOU VOTED FOR GORE BUT YOU NEVER LEARN. … well, you know the list. I used to think this was ideology but now I wonder whether it is odd political paranoia: a chronic need to “solidify the base.” IF YOUR BASE ISN’T SOLDIFIED YOU CAN’T WIN. WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR HERO KERRY HAS TO CONSTANTLY PLACATE THE GORE/DEAN WING OF THE DEMS?
    But my point isn’t about Bush. COULD’VE FOOLED ME It’s about America. Once again, we’re portrayed at a nation of extremes, red v. blue, when the truth is that the closeness of our votes only indicates our strong preference for the center. AS LONG AS IT’S LIBERAL, RIGHT JEFF?
    Are you sure you’re not being paid by Soros like Oliver and Atrios? Because you’ve been doing of conforming to DNC talking points lately.
    Or maybe you’re just another hard-core liberal set in his (wrong) ways.
    You voted for Gore. Remember how ashamed you admitted you were after he started to go psychotic? LEARN YOUR GODDAMN LESSON ALREADY.

  • shark

    Especially after Al Gore’s gracious bowing out asking America to support Bush, and we did.
    That’s funnty anne.elk. Of course, coming from you, it’s a disgraceful lie. You never even made a pretense of supporting Bush. And Gore “gracefully” bowed out after his lawsuits bought us to the brink of a constitutional crisis. But hey, by Dem. standards, that’s gracious I guess.
    Anne, go back to defending the KKK. Crap like that is what you do best.

  • stable dictum

    To say the race is “tied” misses the point.
    The polls coming out now — seemingly delayed as the mainstream media tried to shout down the Swift Boat veterans — *clearly* show a statistically significant degradation in the standing of John Kerry.
    A trajectory downwards that may be in its initial phases.
    Alas, it’s always “a statistical dead heat” when Bush is ahead in the numbers, and “a slight lead” when Kerry is ahead without statistical significance.

  • onecent

    Especially after Al Gore’s gracious bowing out asking America to support Bush, and we did.
    Hand me a kleenex. “Gracious”? Gore only bowed out after the Supreme Court said no to his naked attempt to SELECTIVELY recount the counties of his choice in Florida. I don’t really remember a period since 9/11 when you on this site or Gore weren’t sniping DNC toadies. Which makes your “and we did” all the more humorous.
    And, Jeff, it’s time you own up to your Andrew Sullivanesque behavior. Anyone from the starting point of 9/11 to today’s date that hasn’t gotten the full measure of sniveling Kerry, Michael Moore’s icon spot within the DNC, the real priority in the years to come – just staying alive and ahead of terrorism – and is still undecided doesn’t want to be decided. Most of us have long past the conflicted stage. So nudge yourself. We are eagerly awaiting your pro-Kerry manifesto……..

  • Kat

    I do think Jeff has not made his political leaning a secret. I respect his right to his views and choice. I do think if he claims impartiality it needs to be that–both sides of an issue.
    Andrew on the other hand used blackmailish techniques, pretending to be one thing when the only issue he was supporting was gay rights and to hell with all else. Andrew is dishonest when he blames religion and not gayetry on the priest abuse scandal. Andrew has a personal agenda–gay rights–he will vote for whomever gives him what he wants on that score alone. Jeff is a democrat and I knew that at the onset. By election time, he may vote Bush………………………………Andrew will not.

  • Harry in Atlanta

    There are true centers, theoretical centers, and self-delusional centers or imaginary centers. Practically everything has a center; from atoms to ideas. And sure the politics of America is shaped like the bell curve with extremes at either end and a huge glob of us in the center. But the true center of American politics is not where most “elite” journalists imagine it to be. Most journalist believe the true center of American politics is where their own political beliefs lie which is actually pretty much left of true center. Why? Well I believe arrogance has a great deal to do with their assumption, also occupational laziness and a lack of differing opinions among their social and work circles hastens to reinforce this belief among so-called elites and journalists.
    Oh well, look on the bright side. The left has ruthlessly controlled the culture and the dissemination of information in America for over forty years crushing anyone who dared challenge them or got in the way of the liberal message. But thanks to Al Gore’s inventing of the internet we in America now have a wide variety of information outlets and are able to receive our news without it first going through a left-wing filter and editing process if we so choose. But the right owns most of the guns. I’d say that’s an even trade with the way the world is today. So let ‘em have Katie Couric, I’d much rather have my model 1911 in a life or death pinch.

  • Chris Josephson

    Sure beats me how Bush is playing to his right wing. Many right wingers can’t stand him because Bush is too liberal for them. Some people who have been life long Republicans and self identify as right wingers have stated they will not vote this year. If Bush is playing to the right wing, I’d stop if I were him because he seems to be losing them.
    I think the intense dislike of Bush has something to do with the general dislike of Christians like Bush I see in our society. This is why, despite all that Bush has done to alienate his right wing, people paint him as this ultra-right kook.
    The common perception seems to be Christians like Bush are ALL right wing kooks with nothing much of value. It’s sad to see the prejudice against people like Bush believed by people who would be more tolerant of other faiths. It’s sad to see this prejudice against Bush exist in people who call themselves Christian as well. Bush just isn’t ‘their sort’ or ‘the right kind’ of Christian.

  • Kat

    The Dems hired some woman before Boston to be a Christian element–McAuliffe said this showed Democrats’ “commitment to reaching all people of faith,”but she quit when it was found she wanted God removed from the pledge. The Dems could be accused of playing to the right wing–albeit, deceitfully. The Dems would like to impose fundamentalist secularism on all of us…ultra left wing kooks.

  • http://www.demosophia.com Demosophist

    I don’t understand why opposition to gay marriage is necessarily “playing to his base.” Is it possible there might be sound policy reasons for such opposition? I think one can make a strong case that single parenthood is an enormous risk factor for child IQ (See Armor’s Maximizing Intelligence) and if it’s true that gay marriage were to “dilute the franchise” for marriage it might well contribute significantly to family dissolution. Now I know that Sully makes a circumstancial case for the opposite effect, but that says that he’s at least aware of the issue. Shouldn’t we know a bit more about that particular dynamic before declaring gay marriage a “civil right?”
    Moreover, I think the moderation of the position has emerged in Dick Cheney’s demural from the hard line position. The issue for me is, if there are policy issues pursuant to gay marriage then tagging it as a “right” places those with even modest concerns in the position of opposing it everywhere. I was hoping that France would institute gay marriage so that the theory could be tested where negative consequences could be tracked and quantified, but alas they were too smart for that. Would that we could have simply thrown the French into the breach…