November 2004
New Republic;11/15/2004, Vol. 231 Issue 20, p9
The article analyzes the reaction of liberal leaders and voters to the outcome of the 2004 reelection of President George W. Bush. The convictions and the dreams of American liberalism have genuinely failed to carry the day. In the aftermath of this election, the president speaks about unifying the country, but he spoke that way in the aftermath of the last election, and he became the most spectacular disuniter of America in contemporary history.But there is a kind of despair, a glamorous pessimism, that liberals must at all costs avoid. The cartography of the electoral college may show a continent of red with some blue lesions at the extremities. But the popular vote in the election of 2004 was 51 percent for Bush and 48 for Kerry, and those are not the numbers of a political or philosophical rout. An internecine quarrel must now begin. But it cannot begin where there is only alienation, and the self-fulfilling confusion of the Bush administration with the United States of America. This country is bigger than its every president. This Constitution is not easy to destroy. This is not the apocalypse. But it is the most formidable challenge to American liberalism in our time.


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