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FIRST-PERSON: After the vote, losers & winners

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–Casey Stengel once asked, “Without losers, where would winners be?” The rhetorical query posed by the baseball great underscores the reality that in all contests there are those who prevail victorious and those who emerge defeated. As it is on the baseball diamond, so it is in an election.

The obvious winners in the 2004 election are President George Bush and the Republican Party. The GOP not only secured the White House for the next four years, bit it also strengthened its control of both the Senate and the House by picking up four additional seats in each.

John Kerry and the Democrats have to search long and hard to find even a sliver of silver lining in the dark cloud of defeat that dominated their Election Day dreams.

Beyond the losses suffered by politicos, other losers in this year’s general election are:

— Michael Moore. The controversial filmmaker put on a full-court press in an effort to defeat President Bush. Moore’s so-called documentary, “Fahrenheit 911,” was a blatant attempt to undermine the president. While “911” made a gaudy profit, in the end the partisan propaganda piece turned more people off to Moore than on to John Kerry.

In the weeks just prior to the election, Moore took his “Slacker Uprising Tour” to 60 cities mostly within the so-called battleground states. His goal was to inspire young voters to go the polls in order to defeat President Bush.

Though Moore played to sold-out arenas in the cities in which he appeared, as the election unfolded it became evident he was ineffective in motivating the youth vote. The turnout for 18-29-year-olds in this election was approximately 17 percent, the same as it was in 2000.

— Homosexual activists. All 11 states with ballot initiatives seeking to protect traditional marriage passed –- 10 of them by overwhelming majorities. The narrowest margin came in Oregon where national gay-rights groups spent $2 million to $3 million trying to defeat the marriage amendment “Measure 36.”

In Massachusetts, homosexual activists failed to defeat the re-election of seven lawmakers who are battling court mandated same-sex “marriage.” Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, activists were unable to unseat the incumbents who are trying to bring an end to homosexual “matrimony” in the Bay State.

— The sanctity of human life. California approved $3 billion in funding over 10 years on embryonic stem cell research. The science is suspect because in the process of harvesting stem cells from embryos, the embryos are killed.

“For the first time, Californians have voted to use their money to finance highly controversial science that intentionally destroys nascent human life and will likely create cloned embryo farms,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

— Exit polls. Not only were they wrong, they were very wrong. Early polls indicated significant leads for John Kerry in key battleground states. It is clear the samples were skewed.

Among winners, beyond the Republicans, are:

— Hillary Rodham Clinton. The former first lady and current senator from New York most certainly will make a run for the White House in 2008. Had John Kerry been elected president, Senator Clinton would not have been able to make a presidential bid until 2012.

— The democratic process. The turnout for this year’s election was the largest in history. An estimated 121 million people cast ballots, which translates into approximately 60 percent of eligible voters. Could it be the beginning of the end of voter apathy?

— Traditional values. Cultural conservatives (also known as traditionalists and/or retros) said moral values were very important in determining their vote. This voting block is made up of those who attend church regularly and believe abortion and same-sex “marriage” are morally wrong.

“Whoever said, ‘It is not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost,” Martina Navratilova once observed. The winners and losers in this year’s election can well relate to the great tennis player’s maxim.
Kelly Boggs’ column appears each Friday in Baptist Press. He is pastor of the Portland-area Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore.

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  • Kelly Boggs