Don’t rush me off the fence!!
As I’ve said before, my vote is still up for grabs this year. However, it’s getting harder to maintain my Hamlet-like indecision.* A lot of people I respect make compelling arguments against pulling the elephant lever this year. Mickey Kaus — who will never fall under the category of “Friends of Kerry” — says he’s ...
As I've said before, my vote is still up for grabs this year. However, it's getting harder to maintain my Hamlet-like indecision.* A lot of people I respect make compelling arguments against pulling the elephant lever this year. Mickey Kaus -- who will never fall under the category of "Friends of Kerry" -- says he's not only voting for the Democrat -- he gave him money. Why?
As I’ve said before, my vote is still up for grabs this year. However, it’s getting harder to maintain my Hamlet-like indecision.* A lot of people I respect make compelling arguments against pulling the elephant lever this year. Mickey Kaus — who will never fall under the category of “Friends of Kerry” — says he’s not only voting for the Democrat — he gave him money. Why?
I plan to vote for him because I think a) we need to take a time out from Bush’s strident public global terror war in order to prevent it from becoming a damaging, lifelong West vs. Islam clash–in order to “rebrand” America and digest the hard-won gains we’ve made in Iraq and Afghanistan (if they even remain gains by next January). Plus, b) it would be nice to make some progress on national health care, even if it’s only dialectical “try a solution and find out it doesn’t work” progress. I could change my mind–if, for example, I thought Kerry would actually sell out an incipient Iraqi democracy in a fit of “realistic” Scowcroftian stability-seeking (an issue Josh Marshall’s recent Atlantic piece doesn’t resolve). But I don’t intend to agonize like last time.]
Hell, even Peggy Noonan echoes point (a) of Mickey’s logic in her last Wall Street Journal column:
History has been too dramatic the past 3 1/2 years. It has been too exciting. Economic recession, 9/11, war, Afghanistan, Iraq, fighting with Europe. fighting with the U.N., boys going off to fight, Pat Tillman, beheadings. It has been so exciting. And my general sense of Americans is that we like things to be boring. Or rather we like history to be boring; we like our lives to be exciting. We like history to be like something Calvin Coolidge dreamed: dull, dull. dull. And then we complain about the dullness, and invent excitements that are the kind we really like: moon shots, spaceships, curing diseases. Big tax cuts that encourage big growth that creates lots of jobs for young people just out of school. No, I am not suggesting all our recent excitement is Mr. Bush’s fault. History handed him what it handed him. And no, I am not saying the decisions he took were wrong or right or some degree of either. I’m saying it’s all for whatever reasons been more dramatic than Americans in general like history to be…. The American people may come to feel that George W. Bush did the job history sent him to do. He handled 9/11, turned the economy around, went into Afghanistan, captured and removed Saddam Hussein. And now let’s hire someone who’ll just by his presence function as an emollient. A big greasy one but an emollient nonetheless.
Plus, it’s becoming less clear what the GOP stands for this year. Andrew Sullivan paints the following picture:
[W]hat is a “Bush Republican”? I think it has to be a combination of the social policy of the religious right (the FMA, bans on embryo research, government support for religious charities, etc), the fiscal policy of the Keynesian left (massive new domestic spending combined with “deficits don’t matter”), and the foreign policy of liberal moralism (democratization as a policy in the Middle East).
I believe in the last component — one reason why I’m still undecided — but the first two make me think, “ewwwww.” Readers are welcomed to try and sway my vote in either direction. UPDATE: Virginia Postrel’s post does some decent swaying. *Actually, it’s not that hard — the primary reason I’m still undecided is that the current domestic and international situations are both in extreme flux at the moment. There’s no point in making a choice now if the state of the world is completely different three months — in a way that makes one of the two principal candidates suddenly look really good or really bad. [Why not vote for a minor party candidate?–ed. Jacob Levy explains]
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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