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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

from Michael J. Totten's blog:

Bush Vs. Kerry

So it looks like John Kerry is it.

And therefore I’m out.

I would have voted for John Edwards had the Democratic Party chosen him as the nominee. Heck, I would have voted a straight-Democratic ticket next year if that’s how it went down. But it didn’t, and so I won’t. I can’t.

Until further notice, this blog officially supports George W. Bush for president in 2004.

I will not be his cheerleader. Though I will defend him from scurrilous charges, I don’t like the man, and I never have. I appreciate very much what he has accomplished in the realm of foreign policy, as anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows. And there is simply no way I can vote for his opponent who has spent the past year whining about every good thing we are doing and have done in the Middle East. This is by far the most important task now and ahead of us.

I am not about to join the right-wing bandwagon. I will support a Democratic Congress as I always have.

The Christian Right can take its hysterical reactionary agenda and stuff it. They are not my comrades, and they should not come looking to me for support. They will get none.

I cannot and will not be a team player for the Republican Party. None of the partisan “responsibilities” apply to me because I do not accept them. When I side with the liberals I am not a “traitor.” I could be plausibly accused of heresy for siding with conservatives as a Democrat. But that’s because I actually was a Democrat. I am neither a Republican nor a conservative. I will vote a split ticket this year because the way I see it, each party gets some things right. The inverse of that statement is obvious. Each party gets some things wrong.

I hope the Democrats spend the next several years, whether in the White House or out of it, getting themselves a serious foreign policy. Right now they don’t have one. Some individual Democrats are exceptionally sharp on this subject. But the party as a whole is lost. It hasn’t always been this way, and there is no reason to expect it to remain this way forever. I may very well support the Democratic candidate in 2008. It depends on who they nominate, and it depends on what happens between now and then.

It’s also entirely possible that John Kerry will win in November and I will come around to his side. He may win and govern well, and if he does, I will notice. I’ll be grateful and relieved.

Until then I oppose him, and I do it without malice. I don’t hate the man, and I doubt I ever will. Hatred destroys people emotionally and intellectually. The pitched level of anti-Bush hatred is shocking to me, just as the fury from the right against President Clinton was shocking. The asinine bluster from political haters is surely the dumbest commentary on any subject I’ve ever heard and read from adults. Get a life, haters. This is just politics.

I am the same person I was when I wished Al Gore were president. And if I change my mind about Bush in the meantime, or if I warm to a President Kerry, I’ll be the same person then that I am today. Some people make the funniest judgements about others because of who they support as a president. It’s not until you change your mind about a president that you come to realize how petty that is.

Posted by Michael at March 2, 2004 10:25 PM
[Excerpts from] Comments:

I was a dem all my life but am voting Bush for a much-deserved 2nd term. I don't agree with everything he's done (or not done) but I don't feel like I have to hold my nose either.

As mentioned, the FMA will start a dialog/discussion and that's why it's good. It won't pass...no way. But let us feel we're part of the process. When gays do marry it will be because we as a society embrace them, not because gay marriage was forced by fiat.

The WoT is the most important issue of our time and Kerry basically mocks it. He still believes HE could have gotten France to go along with us which shows he's either naive, or ill-informed about the dynamics of Europe post cold-war.

There may be a few hawkish foreign policy wonks around among the Dems, but, quite frankly, most of them left the party during the 80's. Why do you think they're called neo-cons?

Kerry seems to have some 'expertise' or at least interest in drug cartels, which is why I suspect he emphasizes policing and intelligence. But that's only part of the WoT. We're not just playing whack-a-terrorist here but up against a huge worldwide fascist movement.

And with more than 100 radicalized mosques here in America, we can't afford to gut the Patriot Act either.

Posted by: Syl at March 3, 2004 03:23 AM

Michael: Thank you for summing up my thoughts completely. There are many issues on which I don't agree with Bush and the thought of campaigning for him gives me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I will be a single issue voter in this election- security. And I'll vote for a Republican for president for the first time as a life- long Democrat. Kerry's comments last night about Bush's "reckless, inept..." foreign policy make it clear where Kerry stands - he'll roll back the progress that has been made over the last two years. If we don't get this issue right on this country, the other issues won't matter.

I continue to be profoundly disappointed in my party as they continue to ignore what I believe to be the most profound issues facing our country. Yet they still churn out bumper stickers urging us to "Beat Bush". This isn't a sporting event.

Thanks again.

Posted by: Ann at March 3, 2004 05:09 AM

Michael T.:

Excellent post. Those are my sentiments exactly, except the part where you wrote, "It’s also entirely possible that John Kerry will win in November and I will come around to his side. He may win and govern well, and if he does, I will notice."

I suppose I just differ in my estimation of the likelihood of that occurrence. I'll allow that there's a theoretical chance I might come around to his side too, but I think Kerry is too old to change his stripes. I think Kaus has infected me.


You wrote that Kerry "will end up giving us an enormously fuller and, most likely, more honest vision of his foreign policy than Bush ever gave us in '00," and that "[p]erhaps those who really are 'independent' should wait till the campaign plays out a bit before making their committments?"

I think you missed Michael T.'s comment that "Kerry can't make up for a year of petulant carping by paying lip service to me. I am not stupid, and I have a long memory."

Posted by: Michael Hall at March 3, 2004 06:53 AM


Great post. It asbolutely sums up the feelings of many many people from center-left to center-right. . .

Posted by: Eric Deamer at March 3, 2004 06:55 AM

Michael, well said, and quite congruent with my own feelings on the subject.

The most difficult thing this year will be the Us vs. Them demonization by partisans of both sides. That one can be a reluctant supporter of one side or the other will not go down well with the Bush Can Do No Wrong crowd, nor with the Anyone But Bush gang. Stick to your guns.

Posted by: *** Dave at March 3, 2004 07:26 AM

As a Libertarian for Bush, I can say you join good ranks in the "You have my vote by default" crowd. Survival first, and then we can start arguing about the best way to handle pressing issues like toothpaste regulation.

Posted by: Phelps at March 3, 2004 07:38 AM

Michael, I'm in complete agreement with you.

Posted by: Finnpundit at March 3, 2004 07:55 AM

I couldn't agree more. I am a democrat who will also be voting for Bush b/c I see the WoT as being the most important issue right now, and I see Bush as the only one who finish this war. The anti-bush hatred that exists now astounds me. Most of my friends and family think i'm nuts when I say I am going to vote for GWB in November. I think there are a LOT of people who will vote for Kerry primarily b/c of their hatred of Bush. They won't even take the time to hear out the issues. I live in NYC and so it seems like this is how the majority of the people here feel. I just hope the rest of the country has some sense.

Posted by: Al at March 3, 2004 07:57 AM

Welcome to the creamy middle.

Posted by: Brandon at March 3, 2004 08:28 AM


Once again you have captured my sentiments exactly. I have been greatly disappointed to see the implosion of the Dems over the last 4 years in particular. However, regardless of what Kerry does or says over the next several months I will be voting for GWB. I just don't trust Kerry. Never mind the waffling, he does not offer any reasonable alternatives for the Bush policies and positions he rails against.

Posted by: BeckyJ at March 3, 2004 08:29 AM
Of course there were comments that differed, and you should go read them too, but I thought the extent of this sentiment, roughly a quarter, was impressive.