Friday, 10 September 2004

Sentiments repeated

I think Alex Knapp has a winner:

I’ve got no dog in this fight. As I’ve said before, I don’t think Bush or Kerry would be qualified to make sure that I got my fries with my drive-thru order. I don’t know who I’m going to vote for, and honestly I don’t really care. (Given that last time I looked, Bush had a 18-point or so lead in my state, it doesn’t much matter, either.)

But I will say this: the Kerry campaign over the past six weeks or so has shown the potential to wreck the Democratic party. This is what happens when the rallying cry is “Anybody But Bush” (a sentiment that I sympathize with) without much concern as to whether you’re actually electing someone better than Bush. In the race to find someone “electable,” the Democrats ended up with someone who really isn’t. And if Kerry loses, I fear that the result might be a substantially weakened Democratic Party as infighting among groups takes hold. The resulting fallout might be a decade or two more of Republican dominance over the government. I don’t want that. I want two competitive parties constantly battling for dominance. I want divided government, and I want it all the time.

I think the fundamental problem the Democrats have is that “Anybody But Bush” isn’t anybody; it’s John Kerry, a man with no meaningful record in politics to speak of that is unconnected with Southeast Asia, and who can’t figure out what the hell he wants to do when he’s elected—or at least can’t communicate that plan to the public in any sense other than “I’m not going to do what Bush does,” which is fine for the 35% of voters who will support literally “anybody” but Bush but hasn’t done a darn thing to impress the rest.

Not that being the “Anybody But Kerry” candidate does much for Bush, mind you, but at least Bush has something approaching a record—even if a lot of it is a series of complete cock-ups. What Bush does have on his side is the credible fear that turning over the country to John Kerry is a vote for capitulation on virtually all fronts—Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, North Korea, Iran, and Kyoto—to the more learned views of our European “allies” (on which they bat 0–6 in terms of having the right ideas) and a recipe to cripple our economy with the sort of massive entitlement programs that have France and Germany circling the drain. All Kerry has going for him, from the libertarian-leaning conservative perspective, is the possibility that divided government might lead to more fiscal conservatism and a more socially liberal Supreme Court (although the latter institution seems to be at a pretty sane point already, if you ask me).

It’s not just Alex saying this, mind you; there’s more on the same theme from von of Obsidian Wings and Hei Lun of Begging to Differ.


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All Kerry has going for him, from the libertarian-leaning conservative perspective, is the possibility that divided government might lead to more fiscal conservatism and a more socially liberal Supreme Court.

Even the Supreme Court is a stretch. One aspect of a “more socially liberal” Supreme Court would almost certainly be the de facto repeal of the Tenth Amendment, which was thoroughly gutted in the FDR era, and only barely revived in U.S. v. Lopez and U.S. v. Morrison. Both were 5–4 decisions, which would almost certainly go 5–4 the other way as soon as President Kerry had replaced Justice Rehnquist or O’Connor (assuming Justices Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas won’t be going anywhere anytime soon). The result would certainly please left-liberals, but ought to give pause to any libertarian or conservative.


I don’t know what the term is for thinking that other people think like I do, and I might have this condition, but it’s so obvious to me that if Lieberman were in the race he would be up on Bush right now (and I’d be voting for him), I don’t know how the Democrats ended up with Kerry on the basis of electability. Unlike Kerry, Lieberman can actually pull off the “I’ll do what Bush did on Iraq, but better” line, and I would believe him. What’s Bush going to attack Lieberman on? Being too boring? Too much of a prude? All the reasons that the Dems don’t like Lieberman are the same ones that would innoculate him from being pigeonholed as a liberal by Bush.

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