The one statistic confounding pundits in this election is the number of gays who voted for George W. Bush. Polls show that the president received anywhere from 1.5 million to 2 million gay votes, up from 1 million votes in 2000 and double the number of gay votes for Bob Dole in 1996. This dramatic increase comes despite the fact that no gay organization endorsed him, no gay journalist editorialized on his behalf, and no gay leader supported him.
The post-election conventional wisdom fueled by gay leaders and the media is that President Bush won because he gay bashed. This notion serves all of their purposes: Gays can maintain their image of themselves as hated victims and liberal sections of the media can salve their wounds by admitting that because of their own tolerance they failed to appeal to America's intolerance.
Another perspective is that gay voters, like most swing voters, knew both candidates were saying things to get elected. The Kerry campaign thought that by opposing gay marriage, praising anti-gay-marriage initiatives, not showing up to vote against the Federal Marriage Amendment, speaking against a judge's pro-gay ruling in his home state, and making sure every American knew that the Republicans had a lesbian in their family, social conservative voters would be fooled.
No one was. Social conservatives aren't the yahoos the Kerry campaign took them for. Senator Kerry became a cartoon of what the Left thinks of the Right. His team believed that by gay-bashing, church-going, and geese-shooting, Kerry could make conservative voters believe he was one of them. It didn't work.
Here is the money quote:
Here was the crux of the election: No one, neither his supporters nor the swing voters, believed that Senator Kerry said what he believed or believed what he said. That's the moral issue that sank his campaign. Enough swing voters didn't trust Kerry no matter what they perceived his real beliefs to be.
In contrast, President Bush summed up his position this way: "You may not always agree with me, but you know where I stand." In an age of spin, that statement at the Republican Convention probably made the biggest difference in electing George Bush president.
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