As the results of last week's presidential election trickled in and Four More Years began materializing, there was an overwhelming sense that many Democrats were getting schooled.
It's one thing to not have your man win the election. It's another thing entirely to feel blindsided by the results. Sure, wartime incumbents never get booted from office. But this was George W. Bush, the man who, to most on the left, seemed to have more credibility as a party joke than a president.
Here in New York, Kerry-voting Dems sprinkled their disappointment with a general sense of bewilderment: Fool us twice?
But the real question is: Who's so out of touch? Are people in the Red so disconnected from the worsening situation in Iraq, the struggling economy, and Bush's malapropisms that another four years makes sense? Or have the people in the Blue spent so much time talking among themselves that they literally have no idea --- barring any scandals at the polls --- how Bush could win reelection?
The fact is Reds and Blues don't talk any more. In the days after the election, City Newspaper spoke with three of Monroe County's 158,856 Bush voters --- three very different people. Beyond their Bush allegiance, none fit into tidy categories.
Dave Bogdan is a 54-year-old security guard who works nightshifts for Northeastern Security. Originally from Buffalo, Bogdan has lived for the past 18 years in one of Rochester's blue-collar neighborhoods, near the intersection of Ames and Campbell. He was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, and he has a son serving in the military.
Suzanne Strauber, 41, grew up in Penfield and now lives with her husband and 7-year-old daughter in Pittsford. She's a stay-at-home mom who spent seven years as an interior architect and space planner in New York City, where she met her husband. Strauber's "Bible-based, church-based" family attends Browncroft Community Church, the same church Strauber went to as a child.
Elliott Chun is a 21-year-old English junior at the University of Rochester from Honolulu, Hawaii. A member of the College Republicans and the descendant of an immigrant grandfather who was a small-business owner, Chun says his pro-Bush views are frequently a lone voice in his liberal surroundings.
Following are edited transcripts of the discussions with the three.