Many Democratic voters marveled at the election results. George W. Bush, they argued, has transformed a projected $5.6 trillion, 10-year Bill Clinton surplus into a projected $1.4 trillion deficit- a 7 trillion shift in wealth from our national treasury into the pockets of the wealthiest Americans, particularly the president’s corporate paymasters. Any discerning observer, they argued, must acknowledge that the White House has repeatedly lied to the American people about critical policy issues- Medicare, education, the environment, the budget implications of its tax breaks, and the war in Iraq- with catastrophic results.
– excerpted from Crimes Against Nature by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., to be published in July by HarperPerennial.
Vanity Fair has an extensive excerpt from RFK Jr.’s book in its May 2005 issue. I recommend taking a look. He explains Bush’s re-election as the result of “a breakdown in our national media.” He cites some amazing statistics from the Program on International Policy Attitudes. See below the fold.
72% of Bush supporters believed Iraq had WMD. 26% of Kerry voters did.
75% of Bush supporters believed Iraq was providing substantial support to al-Qaeda. Thirty percent of Kerry voters did.
82% of Bush supporters erroneously believed either that the rest of the world felt better about the U.S. thanks to its invasion of Iraq, or that views were evenly divided. 86% of Kerry voters accurately understood that a majority of the world felt worse about our country.
Most Bush supporters believed the Iraq war had strong support in the Islamic world. Kerry voters accurately estimated the low level of support in Islamic countries. Even Turkey, the most Westernized Islamic country, was 87% against the invasion.
Most significant, the majority of Bush voters agreed with Kerry supporters that if Iraq did not have WMD and was not providing assistance to al-Qaeda the U.S. should not have gone to war. Furthermore, most Bush supporters, according to PIPA, favored the Kyoto Protocol to fight global warming, the Mine Ban Treaty to ban land mines, and strong labor and environmental standards in trade agreements, and wrongly believed that their candidate favored these things. In other words, the values and principles were the same. Bush voters made their choice based on bad information.
I’ll say they did. Conservatives don’t spend all that money on losing ventures, like the Moonie Times and the New York Post, because they are bad businesspeople. They do it to deceive the American public. They play on our worst instincts, our latent xenophobia and homophobia. They appeal to our love of our country by pushing a pig-headed jingoistic parochialism. They undermine the work of scientists by publishing junk-science and pseudo-religious bullshit. And they do it because it works.