Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 2004 / 25 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765

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Consumer Reports

Bush won — get used to it | Psst. Hey, buddy, wanna hear a secret? President Bush won the election. Big-time. Pass it on.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so we may soon need to send out smoke signals or bang on jungle drums to spread the news. Somehow, we've got to get the word out to John Kerry supporters that their guy isn't going to be President.

They seemed to have missed the election returns. How else to explain the avalanche of puzzling demands that Bush move leftward so the polarized nation can "heal" and "come together"?

Even before all the votes were counted, dire warnings poured forth from pundits and pulpits that Bush must abandon his agenda and principles. It seems too many Americans are so upset over his win that he must become the nanny-in-chief. Or they're just gonna cry and be really, really mad.

The usual suspects, left-leaning media and Democratic-affiliated groups who daily demonized Bush, are also suddenly concerned about the President's legacy. Why, he'll go down in history as the great divider if he doesn't move to their idea of the middle!

Color me confused. I thought elections were about winning and losing. You know, the old-fashioned idea that you put forth your plans and promises, the other guy does the same - then the voters decide which one to hire. The winner gets the job and the right to carry on with his plans. Indeed, he has an obligation to, since that's what he promised. The loser licks his wounds and accepts the verdict.

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Apparently, I'm mistaken. To judge from the blasts of blather, Bush is now obligated to give Kerry supporters exactly what Kerry promised them. Kerry said he would work with allies before making decisions about terror and would appoint judges The New York Times approved of and would raise taxes on the rich, so Bush better do all that or else. And, most important, the openly religious Americans the Democrats despise should be sent to the back of the bus.

Extra, extra! Here's real news: Elections matter. That's why we have them. Bush won. Get over it.

The President, to his credit, said he would work to mend the nation's wounds by working with those who voted for Kerry. But he also made it clear he earned "political capital" and that "I intend to spend it."

"When you win, there is a feeling the people have spoken and embraced your point of view," he said.

Pretty articulate for such a dumb guy, huh?

Although Bush correctly draws the distinction between reconciliation and capitulation, it will be lost on those who sit on the other side of the culture divide. The left, especially the press, likes mushy leaders who will compromise on anything if only the wailing is loud enough. Bush clearly ain't their kind of guy, even though a majority of Americans voted for him.

That makes their demands all the more ridiculous. Especially when they come from people who bear much of the responsibility for the rancid tone of the campaign in the first place. Did any of those now warning Bush tell Kerry to stop calling him a liar about Iraq? Did they tell Michael Moore or Howard Dean to shove it?

Of course not. They encouraged the low road, thinking it would fire up the Democratic base.

There is a way for the losing side to get back into the game. Bush has already said he would work with those who share his goals - whether it's defeating terror or fixing Social Security. Those are good starting points for all Americans who care about their country.

There's something else the Bush bashers can do. They can study the election returns and spend time listening to ordinary Bush supporters about why they voted for him.

And they can ask what Democrats, having lost five of the last seven White House races, can do to connect with the heart of America.

Or they can just keep banging their heads against the wall, hoping the wall wises up.

Michael Goodwin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Daily News Comment by clicking here.


10/29/04: This isn't an election, it's a living nightmare
10/27/04: Why Teresa Heinz Kerry is such a flake
10/14/04: Kerry's scary on terrorism: Unchanged by 9/11, he says, and no real ideas about what to do
10/05/04: The Big Mo still looking for its lover
09/28/04: What we're up against: The war on terror & the war in Iraq are now one and the same
09/14/04: Media bias is doing nation a disservice
08/18/04: Kerry confusion will soon be unforgivable
07/29/04: Why are the wackadoos still dear to Dems' hearts?
07/21/04: Kerry couldn't say no: Hillary waffle was just part of a wimpy week

© 2004, New York Daily News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.