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Why they lose

I caught about 8 minutes of Bill Maher’s I’m Swiss. It was all I could stand because he was wrong and (most importantly) not funny. In those 8 minutes, he blamed the fact the Democrats lost in 2004 on gay marriage. Seriously. Now, if anyone thinks that the Democrats lost because of gay marriage, they’re not paying attention. Remember John President Bush and I have fundamentally the same position on gay marriage. Same position Kerry? The Democrats tried it too. I could have toughed it out if the guy were funny.

11 Responses to “Why they lose”

  1. tgirsch Says:

    I think you’re oversimplifying the issue tremendously. Even though neither Bush nor Kerry supported legalizing gay marriage, only one of them — Bush — explicitly supported amending the Constition to permanently deny it. You’re also assuming that voters who opposed gay marriage believed Kerry when he claimed to oppose it, another huge stretch. Here’s a quick sniff test for you: Ask everyone you know who opposes gay marriage who they voted for in 2004, and I bet you they overwhelmingly voted Bush. Now what would that be if they “had the same position” and everyone believed they had the same position?

    No, gay marriage was not the lone reason Kerry lost (there’s also the fact that he has almost as much charisma as Gore), but I guarantee you it hurt him. That issue alone was probably enough to swing Ohio, for example, and that alone would have been enough to change the result of the election.

    In short, no I don’t buy the idea that gay marriage cost Kerry the election single-handedly, but at the same time it’s incredibly naive to say it wasn’t an important factor.

  2. Les Jones Says:

    And don’t forget: Cheney’s daughter’s a lesbian. Obviously, if you want to win the presidency it’s important for one of your children to be gay. That’s the lesson of the 2004 election. <sarcasm>

  3. EgregiousCharles Says:

    TGirsch, the thing about gay marriage as an election issue is that the people who oppose it hated Kerry for lots of reasons, not just that. I’m sure you’re right that they voted for Bush, but I’m also sure that Kerry would never have had a chance with them anyway; they are hardly swing voters.

  4. Captain Holly Says:

    Kerry lost because he was on the wrong side of alot of “hot button” issues, not just gay marriage (gun control, for one).

  5. tgirsch Says:


    That’s true enough, but you’re ignoring Rove’s “energize the base” strategy. So while those who opposed gay marriage weren’t going to vote for Kerry under any cirucmstances, some number of them, in particular ones who had become disillusioned with his bungling of the war, probably wouldn’t have voted at all if not for the gay marriage issue being so prominent.

  6. tgirsch Says:

    Cpt. Holly:

    There’s got to be more to it than that, because Bush was on the wrong side of just as many (abortion, right-to-die, social security reform, etc.).

  7. Captain Holly Says:


    I don’t know where you got the idea that being anti-abortion was a political liability. Indeed, in light of your contention that gay marriage was “an important factor” in Kerry’s loss, it doesn’t make any sense: Pro-lifers are essentially the same people who oppose gay marriage (ditto for right-to-die).

    If they’re powerful enough to defeat Kerry because of his support for gay unions, they’re also powerful enough to elect Bush because of his opposition to abortion.

    Kerry lost because he was on the wrong side of, or sometimes both sides of, virtually every “hot button” issue in 2004: gun control, taxes, the War on Terror, abortion, etc. If he had consistently supported the war and voted against the AW reauthorization he probably would have won.

  8. Captain Holly Says:

    AW reauthorization = Assault Weapons Ban reauthorization

  9. tgirsch Says:

    Cpt. Holly:

    Pro-lifers are essentially the same people who oppose gay marriage (ditto for right-to-die).

    I disagree with that assessment. According to recent abortion polls, 66% of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, and 59% of them believe abortion laws should be either less strict than they currently are (20%) or the same as they currently are (39%), with only 38% wanting more strict abortion restrictions. Contrast that against the number of Americans who oppose gay marriage — 66% according to most polls. Given that 66% support legal abortion and the same number oppose gay marriage, and knowing where the extremes line up, that leaves fully 33% of the population that opposes gay marriage while supporting at least some form of legal abortion.

    Kerry was on the correct side of the abortion issue, if you care about what a large majority of Americans want. He was also on the correct side of the tax issue, but did a poor job of framing. Given a choice between receiving a tax cut or cutting the deficit, Americans selected cutting the deficit by better than a two-to-one margin. He simply let Bush get away with asserting we could have our collective cake and eat it too, virtually unchallenged. That’s the problem when you have a populace that’s exceptionally bad at math — they buy transparent bullshit like “supply-side economics.”

    As for the War in Iraq (which, despite all attempts to classify it as such, is almost wholly unrelated to the War on Terror), Kerry had the misfortune of being about a year ahead of the nation on that one. Between Iraq, Social Security, and Katrina, if election year had been 2005 instead of 2004, even Kerry would have handed Bush his ass, despite his total lack of charisma.

  10. tgirsch Says:

    By the way, methinks you “misunderestimate” how the general public feels about guns. Being a gun rights supporter myself, I don’t like Kerry’s stance on gun control much, either, but if you want to take the populist view and maximize your potential voter pool, supporting some measure of gun control seems to be the politically expedient thing to do. Single-issue voter problem aside, the politically expedient thing to do is support the right to own a gun for defense, say, in the home, but also support various and sundry requirements and restrictions for such ownership.

  11. Xrlq Says:

    If 66% of the public really supports Roe, what are Feinschwein and the rest of the Senate Democrats so worried about? With support like that, they should have little trouble getting an amendment passed to codify the central holding of Roe, and end the controversy over abortion rights and the Constitution once and for all.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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