Just feel that love for Kerry — not.
Slate has published the voting preferences of its contributors, editorial and business staff. Not surprisingly, it’s overwhelningly tilted to Kerry. Going through it, two things struck me: 1) I’m with Jim Lindgren — who is Christopher Hitchens voting for? In The Nation, it appears to be Bush; in Slate… well, it says he’s voting for ...
Slate has published the voting preferences of its contributors, editorial and business staff. Not surprisingly, it's overwhelningly tilted to Kerry. Going through it, two things struck me: 1) I'm with Jim Lindgren -- who is Christopher Hitchens voting for? In The Nation, it appears to be Bush; in Slate... well, it says he's voting for Kerry, but here's his statement:
Slate has published the voting preferences of its contributors, editorial and business staff. Not surprisingly, it’s overwhelningly tilted to Kerry. Going through it, two things struck me: 1) I’m with Jim Lindgren — who is Christopher Hitchens voting for? In The Nation, it appears to be Bush; in Slate… well, it says he’s voting for Kerry, but here’s his statement:
I am assuming for now that this is a single-issue election. There is one’s subjective vote, one’s objective vote, and one’s ironic vote. Subjectively, Bush (and Blair) deserve to be re-elected because they called the enemy by its right name and were determined to confront it. Objectively, Bush deserves to be sacked for his flabbergasting failure to prepare for such an essential confrontation. Subjectively, Kerry should be put in the pillory for his inability to hold up on principle under any kind of pressure. Objectively, his election would compel mainstream and liberal Democrats to get real about Iraq. The ironic votes are the endorsements for Kerry that appear in Buchanan’s anti-war sheet The American Conservative, and the support for Kerry’s pro-war candidacy manifested by those simple folks at MoveOn.org. I can’t compete with this sort of thing, but I do think that Bush deserves praise for his implacability, and that Kerry should get his worst private nightmare and have to report for duty.
People can say I used tortured logic to reach my decision — but at least I made one. [UPDATE: Apparently Hitchens did not intend to endorse anyone — click here for more] 2) Is there anyone out there — beyond the New York Times editorial page — who actually likes John Kerry? Compared to some of the other entries, Mickey Kaus actually comes off as warm and fuzzy towards the junior Senator from Massachusetts. Jacob Weisberg pretty much sums up the mood of the responses:
I remain totally unimpressed by John Kerry. Outside of his opposition to the death penalty, I’ve never seen him demonstrate any real political courage. His baby steps in the direction of reform liberalism during the 1990s were all followed by hasty retreats. His Senate vote against the 1991 Gulf War demonstrates an instinctive aversion to the use of American force, even when it’s clearly justified. Kerry’s major policy proposals in this campaign range from implausible to ill-conceived. He has no real idea what to do differently in Iraq. His health-care plan costs too much to be practical and conflicts with his commitment to reducing the deficit. At a personal level, he strikes me as the kind of windbag that can only emerge when a naturally pompous and self-regarding person marinates for two decades inside the U.S. Senate. If elected, Kerry would probably be a mediocre, unloved president on the order of Jimmy Carter. And I won’t have a second’s regret about voting for him. Kerry’s failings are minuscule when weighed against the massive damage to America’s standing in the world, our economic future, and our civic institutions that would likely result from a second Bush term.
UPDATE: This commenter sardonically points out the leap of faith those voting for Kerry are taking. Indeed, on foreign policy and on trade policy, even Kerry’s own advisors aren’t completely sure what the hell he’s going to do. So are Kerry supporters taking risk? No, I suspect they, like me, are adopting a minmax strategy. The question to ask is: assume both Kerry and Bush will completely embody their worst stereotypes — which candidate leaves the country better off? By a hair, I think it’s Kerry. UPDATE: I’ve finally found my voting bloc (hat tip to alert danieldrezner.com reader T.D.)!!
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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