The 51 Percent Nation

That’s the title of Michael Barone’s U.S. News column today. No one knows the nuts and bolts of American politics better than Barone, and he’s usually a pretty buttoned-down guy. But today he looks at the bigger picture, and unburdens himself of thoughts that closely mirror ours:

[President Bush] has been the target all year of vicious and biased coverage from old media, many if not most of whose personnel saw their job as removing this scourge from the presidency. The 60 Minutes story about Bush’s Air National Guard service, which was based on obviously forged documents, is only the most egregious example. Old media have headlined violence in Iraq and reported almost nothing about positive developments there; they highlighted the charges of self-promoter Joseph Wilson and spoke nary a word when they were proved bogus; they have given good economic news far less positive coverage, studies show, than they did when Bill Clinton was in office.
Yet the results of this election closely resemble the 2002 House results. Bush beat Kerry 51 to 48 percent; the popular vote for the House appears to be about 51 to 47 percent Republican. Voters knew the stakes–polls showed majorities thought this was an important and consequential election–and both candidates had plenty of opportunity to make their cases. Thanks to the 527s, more money was apparently spent against Bush than for him. So the results cannot be dismissed as an accident. We are now a 51 percent nation, a Republican majority, as, once again in America, love has proved stronger than hate.

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