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Saturday, July 10, 2004

When do differences make for polarization?

Roger Simon on Roger Simon and Mickey Kaus
When I read Mickey Kaus, a man I know and like, was voting for John Kerry, a man he pretty much despises, in the coming election, I was reminded again what painful times we live in (sometimes even more painful than most of us realize). And, yes, I know politics is about compromise (triple duh with a brass ring on top!), but the compromises people are making now are of a substantial nature.

Kaus tells us he's made his decision because he thinks the country and the world need a rest from Bush's militant foreign policy, if only to preserve the precarious gains of Iraq and Afghanistan. I won't insult Mickey by calling this a dressed up version of Kerry's "consulting with our allies." MK is smarter than that, although like most of us subject to a lifetime of pressures, conscious and unconscious.

As is well known to those with even a passing interest in this, I feel the opposite of Mickey for almost identical reasons. I am voting for Bush to preserve those gains. And even though I don't despise Bush personally the way Kaus seems to revile Kerry, I certainly condemn the President's views on a host of issues, principally social ones. I just think an electoral defeat of Bush will be seen worldwide as a rejection of the War on Terror and at this particular point in history that could have disastrous effects.

More ...

For those who didn't follow the link on Mickey Kaus, this from his kausfiles blog:
. . . America wants a respite from all the headstrong history-making of the past four years. Bush isn't responsible for 9/11, but he's still responsible for a lot of the sense that history's being forced. Even before 9/11, as a second-place vote-getter aided by a questionable court decision, he somehow leveraged his weak victory into an unexpectedly uncompromised Republican tax cut. Post 9/11, he leveraged the country into the Iraq War--a war in which we'll prevail, if we do, by the skin of our teeth. Next he'll try to abolish the estate tax, with potentially dramatic consequences for the social structure. It's all too morally complicated, strained, force-fed, disruptive, overheated.

We need a break--to steady ourselves at home and rebuild our standing abroad, to calm down the Islamic world's seething resentment, to prevent the "global war on terror" from becoming an all-consuming lifelong West/East conflagration. To digest the history we've just made.
This was added later for clarification:
The first version of this post said we needed a "time out" from Bush's strident global terror war. Several e-mailers point out, correctly, that this is a bad phrase to use, in that it seems to imply a pause in attempts to get at al Qaeda and similar groups. I mean a period of consolidation and lowered swagger and apocalypticism, not a halt in rooting out terror cells, etc. ...

I can't help but comment that John Kerry seems perfect, if it's "lowered swagger" you're looking for in the next president.