To the post-below.
Bush was certainly helped by the "Gay Marriage" thing, but let's be clear about the major reason he won.
Despite, IMO, his complete botching of the events that led to 9/11, he won because, after getting his bearings on 9/12 through 9/20 he made the right speeches and made the right appearances.
Those things had far less to do with Bush, than they had to do with the circumstances of the situation. Be it Al Gore or virtually anyone in Bush's shoes in that period, the desire of the American people to view their President as strong would overwhelm anything. Standards are lower, and almost any leader would emerge with a political victory.
We may not like this, we may now, three years on see the hollowness of it, but there are plenty who are, and I think the polls are right when saying they reflected Bush as being well-ahead on the question of the "war on terror". I, like most of you who read this blog and others, believe this is a ridiculous belief based on the facts, but on this issue the images of the week or so after 9/11 were too deeply emblazened to overcome.
That is the issue that caused Bush to win.
But the GOP isn't learning this lesson, they believe they have been given the blessings of the populace to launch a national "revival meeting". Further, Bush's supporters are going to demand he do so, and if the GOP wants their support in 2008 they are going to have to push it. They have bigger majorities now, Bush himself is chatting up the size of his win. Let that become the meme, the GOP controls all. The expectations upon them by their Rapture-contingent will become all the greater.
Bush is also going to push his economic plans, such as Social Security privatization that also do not enjoy public support.
They are going to blow it, mark my words, the Democrats will emerge stronger out of 2004 by 2006 and 2008 than the GOP. This election has sowed the seeds of their destruction.
The problem is that the ride to that eventuality is going to be a hard one.
Digby has similar thoughts on these things.