In retrospect, I'm glad that Kerry lost
Now, it could just be me rationalizing the loss, seeing it in the best light, but after the election I've not only come to accept a Bush victory, but even somewhat be thankful for it. It all boils down to a single issue: Iraq.
I'm pessimistic about Iraq. I always have been, for better or worse. Granted, the worst-case scenarios I imagined pre-war (Saddam drawing Israel into combat, the destabalization of Pakistan) didn't occur, but the general outcome up to now has followed more in line with my expectations than the Administration's. Here's what I see - the country will continue to destabalize. It is just too poor and too divided to share a country without a strongman. Because of this it will eventually collapse.
In 1949, China went red and Truman was President. These factors were only slightly related - it's hard to argue that, especially late in the conflict, that anything could've continued to support Chang Kai-Shek's corrupt, unstable regime - but for Republicans it still remains a powerful political tool. I'm sure Anne Coulter had a chapter about it in Treason. After that, Democrats were soft on communism. Many scholars claim that LBJ's intense escalation of the Vietnam War was done largely out of fear of losing the country. The Democratic party had already fucked up one conflict, it could hardly stand to lose another.
The stain of China and continued Republican assaults claiming Democrat weakness continue untli today. Even now the Democrats are soft on terror. Were Kerry given the impossible job of ensuring a safe Iraq, he woudl surely fail and make a huge target for Republicans. From here until eternity, the Republican party would maintain that Bush made a good decision to attack and oversaw a successful and prosperous time in Iraq only to have it all go to Hell because of a pansy-ass Democrat. Now Iraq is Bush's to lose. I heard more than a few people rationalize voting for him with "He started this, he can finish it." If/When he does a horrible job, perhaps then the public will realize that the Republican party is not the best party to handle the "War on Terror" and there will be a shift towards the Democrats that will benefit the party for years to come.
“It is a strange paradox that today’s central banks are generally staffed by economists, who by and large profess a belief in a theory which says that their jobs are, at the best, unnecessary, and more likely wealth-destroying. Needless to say, this is not a point widely discussed among respectable economists. Nevertheless, it is an issue worth pondering.”
George Cooper, The Origin of Economic Crises