Sunday, January 02, 2005

The unpopular winner

I'm wondering when the cognitive dissonance in the brains of those Americans who can't admit that the American election was rigged will cause their heads to explode. The exit polls all showed that Kerry won (by the way, the raw exit poll data has been suppressed). There are thousands of known incidents of vote suppression and vote fraud. Many votes were collected on computers expressly set up to ensure that a proper recount is impossible. Despite this, the key state of Ohio is doing everything possible to avoid having its legally required recount. Now we find out that mere weeks after an election in which George Bush supposedly received the largest number of votes ever received by a Presidential candidate, surpassing even the sainted Reagan, Bush will have the lowest job approval rating in the last 80 years of any President at the time of his inauguration! Eric Boehlert writes:

"According to an analysis posted on the Gallup Web site in mid-November, Bush's current 53 percent approval rating 'is actually the lowest of any of the last seven presidents who won a second term in the first poll conducted after their re-election.' Right after securing their second terms, Bill Clinton received a 58 percent approval rating, Ronald Reagan 61 percent, Richard Nixon 62 percent, Lyndon Johnson 70 percent, Dwight Eisenhower 75 percent, and Harry Truman 69 percent.

Not only is Bush's 50 percent approval rating dismal for a two-term president, it's arguably the worst for any president about to be sworn into office. The only other modern-day president with such shaky approval ratings immediately following an election win was Reagan. According to a January 1981 Gallup poll, his job approval rating stood at just 51 percent. (Since Gallup began polling in 1937, Bush and Reagan are the only two presidents to take office with job approval ratings that low.) The difference between Reagan and Bush, though, was that Reagan's disapproval rating at the time was just 13 percent. Today, Bush's negative rating hovers in the 40s."

This result is described by presidential historian Richard Shenkman as "astonishing". We distinguish the 'reality-based' world from the Bushian world of mythology by the existence of possible facts which could disprove our beliefs. In the real world, we test our beliefs. If there are no possible facts which could refute our beliefs, those beliefs are mythology. Given what we know about the election, what possible set of facts would cause those who think it fairly reflected the will of the electorate to change their minds? Americans are so keen to continue to believe their collective mythology, including the part that the United States is a democracy, that they refuse to admit the reality of facts staring them in the face. Kerry won. In fact, it was Kerry who received the largest number of votes ever received by a Presidential candidate. Democrats who want to completely re-make their party in order to be elected would be smarter to spend their efforts ensuring that the election system is fair and is seen to be fair. Kerry didn't lose the election. It was stolen from him.