Jewish World Review Nov. 5, 2004 / 21 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765

Jack Kelly

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The era is over | For about eight hours Tuesday, his many fans in the news media imagined John Kerry was going to be the next president of the United States.

"The word here is a Kerry blowout, and almost everyone here is happy," said the web logger John Hinderaker (Power Line) just before 2:00 p.m. He was part of a panel of bloggers recruited as commentators by NBC.

But the news media had been bamboozled by their own fishy exit polls.

"It takes a deliberate act of fraud or bias to get an exit poll wrong," said former Clinton political guru Dick Morris. "Since the variables of whether or not a person will actually vote are eliminated in exit polling, it is like peeking at the answer before taking the test."

"My own suspicion is that some Democrats ...had an election day project of slamming the results," said political analyst Michael Barone.

The margin of victory was narrow enough for some Democrats to contemplate fighting on (Kerry, thankfully, was not among them). But Bush became the first president since his dad 16 years ago to win an absolute majority of the popular vote.

And though Bush's majority pales compared to the landslides racked up by Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, Bush did something neither of them could do. He brought his party along with him. Republicans gained four seats in the Senate and four in the House, giving the GOP firm control of both the elected branches of government.

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The relatively small size of Bush's victory should not obscure the magnitude of his triumph. He defeated far more than just John Kerry and the Democratic Party:

    A vast amount of money was poured into anti-Bush "527" committees, made possible by the badly misfiring McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law. Three billionaires alone — George Soros, Peter Lewis and Stephen Bing — spent more than $60 million to defeat the president.

  • There was unprecedented foreign meddling against Bush. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan made some snarky speeches. Mohammed el Baradei, head of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency, collaborated with CBS and the New York Times to fabricate a story about missing munitions from the al Qaqaa facility south of Baghdad. Even Osama bin Laden tried to influence the election.

  • Left wingers in the CIA fabricated a story that Bush misled the country when he said Saddam Hussein had attempted to acquire weapons grade uranium from Africa, and leaked it to friendly reporters. "One has to hope that, in his second term, the president will take pains to insure that America's diplomats and intelligence officers support the government for which they are working," said Clifford May, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

  • Most important, the news media emphasized anti-Bush stories (even if they were false) and buried anti-Kerry stories (even though they were true) throughout the campaign. The nonpartisan Project for Excellence in Journalism found in a study released Oct. 27th that 59 percent of the stories about Bush in the news organs they covered were negative, while only 25 percent of stories about Kerry were negative.

The news media, for instance, considered it highly important that a young George Bush had missed four drills with the Alabama Air National Guard, but thought it unworthy of mention that a young John Kerry had met twice with America's enemies in time of war and coordinated some activities with them; attended a meeting where the assassination of U.S. senators was discussed, and (apparently) originally received a less than honorable discharge from the Navy.

"The media want Kerry to win," Newsweek Editor Evan Thomas said in an unguarded moment on a Washington D.C. talk show last summer. "They're going to portray Kerry and Edwards as young and dynamic and optimistic and all...That's going to be worth maybe 15 points."

This was more media hubris. Thomas reduced his original estimate to a more realistic five percentage points last month. But — extrapolating from Thomas — if the media had played it straight, Bush would have beaten Kerry by an additional six million votes, and won a landslide in the electoral college.

The entire liberal establishment — not just in America but worldwide — tried to beat Bush, by means foul as well as fair. They failed. A political era has ended.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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