Andrew Sullivan apparently received a “torrent of abuse and mockery” for his statement yesterday that he was considering voting Democrat.
Why can’t a grown-up have a complicated position? I’m a fiscal conservative, social/cultural liberal and foreign policy hawk. Neither party provides a comfortable home for people like me.
Fair enough. Of course, as Sully notes, any of the Democrats would likely spend even more than Bush. The fiscal responsiblity issue is a therefore a wash; it comes down to what you’d like to go into debt for. So it comes down to deciding whether choosing a president marginally more in favor of gay marriage–an issue over which presidents have about as much control as they do over, say, steroids in professional baseball–is worth dumping one whom you vastly prefer on national security. Especially given the polling data Sully cites in the next post?
Is the blogosphere turning against Bush? A little, I’d say.
I’m pretty sure Atrios is leaning toward the Democrats, too. Seriously, as Sully notes, people with complicated thoughts on politics are are unlikely to support a given politician 100%. Do I dislike any of the silly domestic initiatives listed in the SOTU–many of which won’t actually become public policy–enough to vote for John Kerry, John Edwards, Wes Clark, or Tarzan? No. And neither does Glenn Reynolds.
This time around I’ll actually get to decide. I’ll actually make a choice. It isn’t predetermined by anybody, not even myself. Democracy is all about choice, and those who are rigid party supporters don’t get to know what that feels like. I feel more powerful having a choice, like what I say and think actually counts. I can think for myself in ways I only thought I could before. No one feeds me opinions with a spoon. No one I care about insists that since I believe X I must also believe Y. It was lonely for a while, but now it’s nice. I like it. I’m free.
But we’re all free. I’ve voted for a handful of Democrats for statewide offices and even voted for Howell Heflin for the Senate once. (My apologies for Heflin; I was young. He would have won anyway.) It’s just that the choice has always been rather easy for me. The presidential elections in my years of voting eligibility:
- Reagan vs. Mondale
Bush vs. Dukakis
Bush vs. Clinton
Clinton vs. Dole
Bush vs. Gore
Bush vs. Any of the 8
I wasn’t enthusiastic about Dole and even agreed with Clinton on some important issues, but believed Clinton had to go. Their foreign policies were essentially identical, Dole was slightly preferable on domestic policy, and he would have likely appointed judges that I’d have been happier with.
In all the other cases, the contrast was rather stark. It wasn’t close. Had the Democrats picked, say, Sam Nunn in 1988 or 1992, I’d have given him serious consideration. Ditto a Zell Miller or even a John Breaux. Similarly, if the GOP ever nominates a Pat Robertson, I’d vote for almost any Democrat that’s up against him. But the nominating electorates of the two parties generally make it pretty easy for me.