11/15/04 — OPINION -- No single key

View Archive

OPINION -- No single key

By Gene Price
Published in News on November 15, 2004 1:57 PM

The State of Ohio provided the “decisive” vote in the re-election of President George Bush. Four years ago it was Florida.

And almost immediately last week there was the observation that the “deciding votes” were cast by “Christian conservatives” expressing their support of the president’s emphasis on family and moral values.

Some veterans pointed to the effect of commercials sponsored by Swift Boat veterans opposed to John Kerry.

The National Rifle Association could boast of its relentless crusade supporting Mr. Bush.

And across the full spectrum, supporters could rejoice in the fact that their candidate not only had won the electoral vote but carried a comfortable margin in the popular vote.

Time for some sober reflection.

No one state or group “won” the election for President Bush. The electoral votes in North Carolina or South Carolina or Georgia or any of the other southern and mid-continent states were every bit as important as those from Ohio.

And votes cast by Bush supporters amid harassment and taunts in such strong Kerry states as California and New York were essential to the president’s amassing a strong popular vote nationwide.

Neither the NRA, the religious conservatives nor any veterans group can lay claim to having been the ultimate decisive factor in the election’s outcome.

That would be as hollow as a quarterback being credited with winning a football game. The best quarterback in the world can’t complete a pass if he doesn’t have time to throw it. If linemen miss their blocks, the quarterback is sacked. And no team wins unless its defense holds the opponent in check.

Contrary to what some have suggested, George W. Bush cannot be expected to embrace any one group as having been the “key” to his victory.

He is beholden to them all — collectively. And between those diverse groups, there will be some differences of opinion on some issues.

It will not be easy to fit all the parts of the montage into a definitive mandate.

But those who supported the president can take heart that ,on the issues important to them, George W. Bush shares their concerns.

Even so, they must recognize that he isn’t just “their” president; he is the president of all the people — including those who worked hard to defeat him.

Somehow, one senses that Bush is the kind of down-to-earth, totally honest person who will do his best to embrace that challenging responsibility.