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    Addendum to 投票 (scattered thoughts)

    The title, BTW, means that the post contains scattered thoughts. The compound 投票 doesn’t mean “scattered thoughts.” It means “vote,” literally “cast” + “ballot.”


    Ann Althouse has been writing about her idea of independent political views. She describes the people that partisans are getting impatient with for just being plain dithery when they know they’re going to vote the way they always do anyway, and then says:

    I’m really not one of those people. I’m one of the people whose politics were changed by 9/11. Prior to 9/11, my disagreement with the social conservatives kept me from having much of any interest in Republican presidential candidates. After 9/11, I became quite bonded to George Bush. If I had to vote today, I would vote for Bush, because at this point, I cannot trust Kerry on security matters. Kerry has allowed himself to stand for so many different things, according to what is expedient at the moment. I didn’t buy the strong-on-security pitch of the convention, which I know was aimed at shoring up support from centrists like me. The problem there is that I just don’t believe them. (And I note that I’ve just written “them” and not Kerry. I was going to edit that out, but I’m going to leave it in, because it signifies my queasy feeling that Kerry is a device for returning to power a party that doesn’t stand for much of any of the things that were promoted at the convention.) What would appeal to me from the Republican side, along with a convincing case that they really are competent about the security issues we assume they care more about, would be a more libertarian approach to social issues.

    There certainly are those who seem to get off on calling themselves “independent” because it connotes free-spiritedness, which makes them feel dashing. Others want to cobble together a set of beliefs on policy that feel good to them but aren’t consistent with each other, and they’re too lazy (or fearful of giving up comforting but untenable ideas) to sort them out.

    Personally, I have no objection to being easily categorizable. I don’t want people just presuming without basis that I think this or that, but I don’t think eclecticism is a political value in and of itself. From reading Prof. Althouse, I think I may be somewhat to the right of her on social issues, though she would probably find it easier to be welcomed into the Republican Party if she defected. In any case, I feel much the same about the Presidential candidates and the Democratic Convention as she does. I don’t mind that I don’t agree 100% with either party’s platform; that’s life. I don’t mind that there are people with whom I probably agree on 95% of policy issues who still see me as an enemy because of the gay thing. Well, I mind, but they have as much right not to budge as I do.

    What I mind is the say-anything-to-get-elected-and-start-worrying-about-what-to-do-after-you’re-handed-the-goody-bag mentality. I’m nothing close to a Bush fan, though he’s a very likable kind of guy. It’s hard to buy that all the compromises he makes are actually part of a grand rope-a-dope scheme to triumph over his opponents. I’m also not sent by the designation “man of faith,” though I recognize that sincere religious conviction is often a welcome indicator of non-flakiness.

    Perhaps Kerry would, once installed, be a non-flaky President, too. But at this point, I feel as if voting for Kerry would be buying a pig in a poke.

    [Wait a minute. We don’t talk like that where I grew up….]

    I feel as if voting for Kerry would be an act of faith in and of itself. At least I know what I think Bush does well and badly, and I can be pretty sure we’ll be in decent (not great, but decent) shape when he leaves office. This whole thing–never thought I’d see the day when I said this–is making me nostalgic for the 2000 election.

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