From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Gimme something to believe in

January 10, 2005 9:28 AM

Mark Danner has a long piece in the New York Review of Books on "How Bush Won."

The facts did not matter -- not necessarily because those in the stadium were ignorant of them, though some certainly were, but because the President was offering in their place a worldview that was whole, complete, comprehensible, and thus impermeable to statements of fact that clearly contradicted it. The thousands cheering around me in that Orlando stadium, and the many others who would come to support Bush on election day, faced a stark choice: either discard the facts, or give up the clear and comforting worldview that they contradicted.

They chose to disregard the facts.

Steven Kull, author of the PIPA study on Bush & Kerry supporters: "Bush supporters cling to these beliefs because they are necessary for their support for the decision to go to war with Iraq."

More from the archive in Bush, Elections, Lies and Deceit.

Gimme something to believe in (01.10.2005)

Next Entry: Armstrong Williams: "This happens all the time" (01.11.2005)
Previous Entry: CBS fires four execs in 60 Minutes II debacle (01.10.2005)

Read the 14 comments.

Right Wing Robby:

You libs are going to come up with every single reason you lost except the right one. YOU. You'll never grow as a party until you make changes within your own party and stop trying to explain how misguided Reps are. All I read here is an unwillingness to realize your party's own faults. This is great news for Reps.

Mon Jan 10 2005 9:54 AM

Jim Gilliam:

Interesting, Robby. I actually look at this as a failure of Dems, and a success of the Reps. Not the other way around. While Dems had the facts, they weren't able to articulate a compelling worldview, and that's why they lost.

Mon Jan 10 2005 9:57 AM

Paul Stone:

Thanks for posting this, Jim. It's time for all progressives to get past our anger about the outcome of the war and turn our intellectual focus to understanding how the Republican Party is able to create a world view for people which is more compelling to them than reality. First, we need to understand it, then we need to replace it.

Part of the problem is the abysmal secondary education system in this country, which churns out citizens who don't think scientifically, but would rather believe in magic and mysticism.

Mon Jan 10 2005 10:43 AM

Paul Stone:

Democracy for America had a Meetup on framing. I didn't take part in it, but it looks interesting. There's a DVD by George Lakoff, as well.

This is exactly what progressives need to do in order to have a chance of rolling back the Republican tide.

Mon Jan 10 2005 10:47 AM

Right Wing Robby:

Wow. There my point exactly. Paul, we dont live in a land outside reality. In large part, we have a belief structure that contradicts the liberal platform. You are not going to make reps change their world view because its based on beliefs and core values.

It is very foolish to assume you will be able to frame a debate that will change this. Again, continuing the theme that the majority of the country is living in Oz and doesnt have a grasp on the real world. Its the same condescending tone we heard right after the election, just wrapped in velvet.

Most people see the world how it is, we just have different opinions about it. Those opinions are drawn from a set of values which no matter how hard your try, you will never change.

This is a terrible idea for dems to follow . You should be giving reason why republicans, as they are, should vote for democrats. Instead you are going to first try to change them(not gonna happen), then get them to join you.

If a square peg doesnt fit in the round hole, don't tell the square peg how bad it is and try to reshape it . Instead, just make the hole bigger.

Mon Jan 10 2005 11:09 AM

Paul Stone:

"This is a terrible idea for dems to follow ."

Usually when a die-hard Republican says this, it's a pretty good indicator that we're on the right track.

Mon Jan 10 2005 11:19 AM


Frankly I'm all for it. Don't suppose you guys will have Mikey Moore as a mouth piece will you? The more he runs his mouth the better the republican's numbers get.

As for the "Going to war" issue - Kerry must have been drinking the same Koolade as the Bush supporters.

"on Aug. 9, 2004, when asked if he would still have gone to war knowing Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction, Kerry said: “Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have.”"

The democrat's own candidate agreed with the war long after large stock piles of WMD where not found. I guess democrat voters are immune from believing what their candidate says.

Mon Jan 10 2005 12:48 PM


Democrats need to focus on getting their own message out. Self-proclaimed conservatives really have NOTHING to offer Democrats.

Republicans have made a lot of promises. They won't be able to deliver on most of them. Iraq is a disaster. Democrats need to hold them accountable.

The tax giveaway to the rich DURING A TIME OF WAR and corrupt government contracts are a legacy the Republicans won't be able to explain away. Democrats need to hold them accountable.

Bush's own cabinet defectors tell a very sorry tale of his mis-management of the country. If Democrats stick to a message of accountability they will do fine.

Mon Jan 10 2005 1:37 PM

Tom from Madison:

The last post is mine.

Mon Jan 10 2005 1:38 PM

Tom from Madison:

Transparency in government is a HUGE issue Democrats could use. Cheney's secret energy task force is yet another case of wealthy elite investors getting access to lucrative government contracts.

There is evidence that this group had designs on Iraqi oil fields before the invasion of Iraq. This lends credence to the Democratic case that Bush had other motives for going to war than the "liberation of Iraq".

To win on this issue, Democrats need to offer a vision of transparent government without corruption. Bush has instituted a plutocracy, i.e. government by and for the rich. Democrats can offer a return to government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Tue Jan 11 2005 6:19 AM


Hello again Jim.

I see the really enthusiastic "attack the media" efforts on the right part of this.

They "know" they are right, and they can't mentally bring themselves around to blaming their leaders and the war planners, so any bad news from Iraq must be a fault of the messengers.

Of course, part of the attack is likely orchestrated from on high, but, top-notch orchestration doesn't always result in the people getting behind it.

Sat Jan 15 2005 1:27 AM


Oh, but that's not why Bush won, imho.

You have to ask yourself, what does it mean when, for example, the networks run the "Dean Scream" almost 800 times in a two day period?

We can only imagine what a disinterested viewer thinks when they see the media repeat a message, over and over, but I imagine that the effort reads as "I guess they are trying to say he's crazy, without actually saying it."

Now, later, when the media covered Kerry, they ran stories out of the mouth's of the Swift Boat Liars over and over. Almost every day the media covered this as fact, when, in fact, there was no factual basis for any of it.

The American television media is pro-establishment, until they change their minds. And the official "change of mind" comes from the CEO level.


Re: Swift Boat Liars. O'Neill claimed a lot of things in his loony book, Unfit for Command, many of which are covered in the For example, only 1 living member who saw the action on the river when Kerry won his biggest medals contradicted Kerry and all official records. Although paper after paper ran stories on other people who were there that day, the media kept running with the story. O'Neill himself admitted to committing war crimes on the Dick Cavett Show, in 1971.

Sat Jan 15 2005 1:36 AM

Tom from Madison:


Thanks for putting the Swift Boat lies in proper perspective. An accurate history of the 2004 election should include Karl Rove's orchestration of a deliberate mis-statement of history as part of the Bush election strategy.

This election reminds me of 1972 in that McGovern also had a distinguished war record which was impugned by Nixon's propaganda machine.

It seems unlikely that anything remotely resembling a "success" will emerge from the Iraq invasion and possible Iranian campaign underaken by the Bush war machine. The cost is mounting in terms of lives, dollars, and world opinion. Bush is setting himself and the neo-cons up for failure. Democrats need to position themselves to offer reasonable alternatives.

Sat Jan 22 2005 8:09 AM


A few humble comments from a stupid lazy conservative.

A. The top 20% of wage earners pay 78.9% of federal income taxes.

B. Has a poor person ever hired you for a full time job?

C. Liberals insist on education, I am certified in both Microsoft and Linux, and write cross platform software, but I am a high school drop out, the great liberal state of Louisiana would not allow me to go faster than the slowest student in the class.

D. I served in a war that was spun up by Democrats and stopped by a Republican, and it accomplished nothing. In Iraq we have allowed several million people to vote, and from a former Marine infantrymans point of view that is well worth the cost of freedom. Before you howl yes I had kids of mine over there so I get the straight scuttlebut, yes they were infantry and we do not mind protecting your right to make fools of yourselves by opening your mouths.

E. I am not a Bush fanatic, I am a libetarian, but Kerry trying to be a hero with 3 purple hearts in 4 months just means he was in the wrong place 3 times in that short a period, not a lucky man, did you really want someone that unlucky as your president?

F. You ask whether or not a fetus is alive, I ask since liberals will pass laws protecting a single cell organism in a cave when does the sperm cell or the ovum die, if you can't answer that but still support abortion you are not being honest with yourselves.

G. Since this is a liberal site I truly expect this posting to be deleted, you are not interested in free speach if it contradicts your opinions.

Fri Jun 17 2005 10:13 AM

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