Security Moms No More

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Is it a snapshot of a trend or a wishful thinking beltway spin piece? Jim VandeHei's Washington Post story on Republicans losing steam among "security moms"—those old Clinton 96 voters who switched to Bush for fear that an Osama emboldened by a Kerry victory would bomb Dayton—is worth reading either way.

Marylee McCallister, a mother of three who was a Republican for 42 years until this April, already has. She voted for Bush because she believed his warnings that the Democratic nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), would weaken the nation.

"I was dumb," she said. "Now, granted, they came here and rammed bombs into us, but I am afraid we have gotten into something full scale which perhaps did not have to be."

One of the most curious aspects of our post-9/11 polity isn't actually fading away. That is, New Yorkers and beltway denizens who had owner's box seats for 9/11 are anti-Bush and not afraid of terrorism, while voters far, far away from any terrorist targets can see the specter of Mohammed Atta in every Denny's parking lot. They still think they could be attacked by terrorists; they're just getting more pragmatic about it, and more fed up with the Iraq war. (For the people VandeHei finds who are still quaking in fear of terrorists, I confess to a fondness for a liberal blogosphere term: "Bedwetters." I.e., tough-talking voters and pundits who run screaming and crying to the executive branch whenever a woman brings facial scrub on a plane.)

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  1. This woman’s re-aquisition of her sanity is what warbloggers were trying to avert by demanding that we see more footage of the World Trade Center.

    Do you remember your mental state around 11:30 AM on 9/11? That’s how the War Party wants you to be, permanently. You’re more useful for their purposes with your mind in that state. We’re at Yellow. We’re at Orange. We’ve back to Yellow. We’re back to Orange. Oops, election’s over, nevermind.

    I was wondering how long it would last.

  2. New Yorkers and beltway denizens who had owner’s box seats for 9/11 are anti-Bush and not afraid of terrorism, while voters far, far away from any terrorist targets can see the specter of Mohammed Atta in every Denny’s parking lot.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. It pisses me off that Joe BillyBob Hickey is telling me what I need to give up to ensure…my security. Wake up, small town America: you’re completely safe from terrorism by dark men with beards. White clean-shaven men are your main threat axis, but somehow I don’t think you’re going to erect a wall around snake-handling churches to keep them at bay.

  3. Hey Sandy-Fuck you. I like you and you’re posts, but the sneering dismissal of those who don’t live in megapolisis as snake-handlers demonstrates nothing but bigotry and shoddy thinking.
    Out here in the boonies, there are freethinkers, eccentrics, Democrats, Republicans, and even a few libertarians. There are also plenty of idiots.

    Just like where you live.

    And no, I don’t expect to be attacked. I do think a smart terrorist would make someplace in Middle America his target, but that’s another discussion.

  4. I don’t think the WaPo really helps support the polling by going to OHIO for reax. The Buckeye State is running as fast as it can away from the GOP due to various scandal and ineptitudes that have nothing to do with national security.

    Other than that, yes, the polling clearly shows some fear fatigue and, hence, resentment from what were once solid GOP voters.

  5. That should be ‘your’ btw. If I’m defending the idea that literate folks exist in fly-over country, I should probably proofread.

  6. Number 6…right on.

    Wherever the next attack occurs, it will be (morbidly)fascinating watching partisans argue over the ashes.

  7. “New Yorkers and beltway denizens who had owner’s box seats for 9/11 are anti-Bush and not afraid of terrorism, while voters far, far away from any terrorist targets can see the specter of Mohammed Atta in every Denny’s parking lot.”

    I’m just glad that our national policy is formulated to court the votes of these upstanding middle-state individuals. Sure, they may be completely irrational and fear-driven, but they’re smart and intelligent just like the rest of us….only slightly less so. Thanks for the post, Sandy. For those who have seen buildings fall, it’s a bit insulting to stoically face each day while the fine upstanding folks in middle-America are willing to give up their freedoms in exchange for security. I’m not saying these people are disengenuous, just somewhat gullible, manipulated for political gain. Perhaps there’s a feeling in New York that we’re the ones at risk and our opposition to warrantless tapping should mean more than those who only think they are at risk. I’m not sure that’s the best way to approach it, but trauma causes weird rationales.

  8. “They still think they could be attacked by terrorists”

    Perhaps because they actually could?

  9. Number 6, Sandy didn’t say all non-city people were snakehandlers; he said non-city people should build walls around the snake-handler churches if they’re worried about attacks by religious nuts.

  10. If you’re sleeping on a wet bed, you’re sleeping with Osama!

  11. If you’re sleeping on a wet bed, you’re sleeping with Osama!

    Shouldn’t that be if you’re NOT sleeping on a wet bed?

  12. I do agree with everything Number Six said about the implied difference between city dwellers and people who live in “fly-over” country. David, I love you, and I agree with most of what you said, but please, don’t go there. Stereotypes won’t really get us anywhere. As to what Number Six said here…

    And no, I don’t expect to be attacked. I do think a smart terrorist would make someplace in Middle America his target, but that’s another discussion.

    To the extent you have people in Ohio and Wisconsin who actually fear terrorism in their local areas, I think it’s this intuition – they see their malls, state capitols, and so forth, with relatively little security, and it’s obvious that a motivated and smart terrorist could strike there with very little standing in his way.

    But fortunately for those fearful people (I don’t know who they are – I live in Wisconsin, and never met anyone like that) – terrorists aren’t generally that smart. They’re much more transfixed with symbolic targets like major pieces of architecture in New York and DC, and planes.

  13. Kraorh- I hope you’re right, but I’ve got to think that at some point, they’re going to realize the propaganda value of hitting where they’re not expected. But I don’t worry about terrorism here except in my capacity as an emergency services/disaster planning type guy.

  14. Do you remember your mental state around 11:30 AM on 9/11? That’s how the War Party wants you to be, permanently. You’re more useful for their purposes with your mind in that state.

    What state is that, joe?

    Fully cognizant of just how much some people hate us and how bad they can hurt us?

    Fully aware of how vulnerable we are?

    Fully aware of how little the state can actually do to protect us against terrorist networks with safe havens in their sponsor states overseas?

  15. I’m w/ Number6 on this, too. I was living in DC on 9/11, but recently moved to Ohio. While the fear of terrorism doesn’t fill my life, I think I’m a little more observant when I get on a plane. Perhaps it’s hard to imagine, but people in these states do fly and planes departing from Cleveland Hopkins are just as lethal as those departing from Logan. Do I think Ohio should get as much money as NY for security? No. Do I think it’s reasonable for people who live in the fly-over states to worry a little more about boarding an aircraft, their children living on the coasts, and the security of their national government and economy? Absolutely.

  16. Sorry about the rant, but if anyone thinks that the only issue (or even the deciding issue) is national security, they are sadly mistaken.
    There’s more to it that just the national security angle, but I doubt anyone polling is digging that deep. There is a sense in a lot of otherwise moderately conservative women I know, including myself, that the GOP has gone far askew in several directions and doesn’t deserve or even want our support anymore. We aren’t pure enough – they make that perfectly clear every time conjure up a “moral” issue and put themselves on the side of righteousness and everyone else on the side of Sin.
    I will not vote for anyone who drapes themselves in the flag or the cross and makes gay marriage or gays in the military or flag burning or any other BS garbage a campaign issue ever again. They can play to the crazy Christian ultra-right, but I, speaking as a mom and as a religious person, won’t vote for them when they do.
    I will vote, though. I will vote to punish those who decide that these silly issues are worth more than what is important – the alarming increase in government intrusion into every aspect of our lives being at the top of my personal list.
    If the only difference between Republicans and Democrats is the Republican willingness to intrude in my bedroom and doctor’s office, I’ll do the only logical thing & vote for the Democrat.
    I know in talking to my fellow soccer mom (or security moms or whatever you want to call us this week) friends that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
    While security is important, we don’t want our sons dying on foreign soil for no reason. At the same time, we don’t want our daughters to die at the hand of a back-alley abortionist.
    And I’ve got news for them – the generation that comes next, including my college age daughter & her friends aren’t buying the BS they’re selling, either.

  17. What state is that, joe? Fully cognizant of just how much some people hate us and how bad they can hurt us? Fully aware of how vulnerable we are? Fully aware of how little the state can actually do to protect us against terrorist networks with safe havens in their sponsor states overseas?

    RC, I am fully cognizant of the fact that every time I step outside my locked apartment I am vulnerable to people who can hurt me very badly, and furthermore the agents of the state probably won’t be able to protect me. Seriously–I’m about to go out for a drive, and I could be mugged, beaten, raped or killed before I even get to where my car is parked.

    But I daresay my current state of mind, as I consider these possible threats to my person, is far calmer and more rational than my state of mind would be if I were outside right now and some scary criminal had just finished brutally attacking me five minutes ago.

    In that case, my state of mind would be more along the lines of “overwhelming fear and a panicky inability to think calmly about how to face potential threats, or accurately judge their severity.” And I don’t think I’m alone in this–I thik anybody who had just been victimized minutes before would have similar reactions.

    I can’t speak for Joe, but I’ll bet that’s the state of mind he’s referring to.

  18. “Fully aware of how little the state can actually do to protect us against terrorist”

    The state could do a lot more to reduce terrorism if it would stop meddling overseas.

  19. Fully cognizant of just how much some people hate us and how bad they can hurt us?

    At 11:30 on 9/11, if the President had announced a nuclear assault on Afghanistan, I think I might have backed him.

    …afterwards, of course, I’d have been howlin’ mad at him for doin’ it.

  20. She voted for Bush because she believed his warnings that the Democratic nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), would weaken the nation.

    “I was dumb,” she said. “Now, granted, they came here and rammed bombs into us, but I am afraid we have gotten into something full scale which perhaps did not have to be.”

    Get the Soccer Moms mad and they’re as vicious as any voting block you can think of–remember Gremlins?. …but sure enough, these are the same Moms who turned against Gingrich and his Republican congress for being mean spirited, among other things. …and if they’re grinding their swords back into net posts, this bunch of Republicans can kiss their majority bye-bye.

    P.S. Think about the aftermath of Prop 187…better keep immigration reform on the DL.

  21. …they see their malls, state capitols, and so forth, with relatively little security, and it’s obvious that a motivated and smart terrorist could strike there…

    Hmmm…we declare WoT and they target us. Even our capitols (wow…is this allowed?).

    I must say I don’t think enemies that target those who have declared war on them can be classified as terrorists. Especially when they target Government buildings and the “innocent civilians” that populate them.

    (For the record, I am a governmet ‘worker’)

  22. Number 6:

    I came from Small Town America, living there for 18 years plus 7 more years in a religiously conservative state’s capital, so I know it intimately. Jennifer’s reading of my post is correct; you misread me.

    But yes, having some of the people I moved away from tell me they know more what’s at stake where I live does chap my hide.

  23. RC,

    You can pretend that “aware” is the best descriptor of people’s mental state that horrible morning, but you’re doing so at the risk of your own credibility.

    You know the rage, terror, parnoia, and thirst for blood that was in the air, and you know how corrosive those things are to rational, critical thinking. That you would try to hold that up as an ideal speaks volumes to why your movement is collapsing around your ears.

  24. Ken Shultz,

    I remember doing some quick math on 9/11 and coming up with about 30,000 dead civilians.

    I remember wanting Old Testament Justice, and “concluding” (if such a word can be applied to the outcome of such a mental process) that military deaths simply wouldn’t count as “an eye for an eye.” Ours weren’t military. Why should theirs be?

    I think I just might have been “aware” enough to satisfy R C Dean. What a horrible thought.

  25. That ultimate big government conservative, Il Duce, used to exhort his followers to “feel, don’t think” as the best way to understand the world.

    How many times have you read about George Bush following his gut, instead of the “intellectuals,” “academics,” or “bureacrats?”

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