James Joyner’s Caveats
Blogging is an unusual form. My writing here is more considered than, say, a Tweet but less so than a submission to an online journal like War on the Rocks, much less an academic journal article or book chapter. (See “hierarchy of words” for a more detailed explanation.) Additionally, to the point of this page, it’s intended as a running conversation with the readership. This gets to be problematic, however, when you’ve been blogging since January 2003 and the readership is dynamic.
Because I don’t want to turn OTB into a set of self-published columns, where I have to assume readers have no idea of my priors, I’m creating this page, which I intend to update as needed, to list various caveats, stipulations, and disclaimers that I can simply reference.
Joe Biden: While I find him sometimes frustrating and think he’s too damned old to be President of the United States, I like the guy. I think he’s genuinely a decent human being, albeit a flawed one. (His tendency to hug women without permission, for example, is a bit creepy.) As I’m more conservative politically than him, I will often criticize his policy choices. At the same time, I voted for him in the 2020 Democratic primaries and again in the 2020 general election. If he’s on the ballot again in 2024, I’m incredibly likely to vote for him again given that I can’t fathom the current Republican Party nominating someone I’d consider a better alternative.
Donald Trump: I think he was easily the worst President of the modern era and did permanent damage to the country. I supported both impeachments and thought he should have been removed from office. Prior to his promotion of the Big Lie and attempt to steal the 2020 election, helping egg on the Capitol riot, I thought his corruption in office the most serious of his crimes.
Political Party: I was an enthusiastic voter for Republican candidates from my earliest eligibility, the 1984 election, through the 2002 election cycle and a decreasingly enthusiastic but reliable Republican voter through the 2012 cycle. The only Democrats for whom I voted in that time were to re-elect Howell Heflin in 1984 (he was essentially unopposed and had appointed me to West Point), Charlie Graddick in the 1986 Alabama gubernatorial primary (it was a one-party state until an incredibly arrogant move by the party leadership in that contest handed the general election to a Republican), and Don Siegelman in the 1998 Alabama gubernatorial election (he ran on but failed to deliver an educational lottery to fund higher education). The GOP primary of 2016, in which I voted for John Kasich in a futile bid to keep Donald Trump from taking over the party, was the most recent time that I have voted for a candidate of that party. I reluctantly endorsed Hillary Clinton late in the 2016 cycle and voted for her in the general. While I do not consider myself a Democrat—and do not now nor have I ever lived in a party registration state—I am effectively a member of the party, having voted exclusively for Democrats since that contest and participated in the party’s 2020 presidential primary.