Dynamist Blog

How Can You Vote for a Guy Like That?

"How can you vote for Bush?" my old roommate asked me during the last go-round. "You hated guys like that in college."

Actually, I ignored guys like that in college. (It was the Eliot Spitzers and Bob Giuffras who gave me the creeps.) They were fine in their place. I just didn't want to date them.

Which brings me to this election. I'm not picking a boyfriend here either, or, for that matter, an intellectual mentor. Given the current balance of power in Congress, there are only two things the president can significantly affect: foreign policy and regulatory policy. I prefer Bush to Kerry on both. It's a cold calculation.

Though I supported the war in Iraq, I never thought it would be easy. In fact, I thought things would be worse. It was a high-risk venture, requiring long-term commitment to secure long-term, strategic gains. I wish Bush had warned the public more about the inevitable difficulties, but I do not feel betrayed. I feel no need to lash out at the president.

Voting is an expressive activity, but it need not be emotional. Andrew Sullivan's invocation of "The deep emotional bond so many of us formed with the president back then" does not apply to me. Bush leaves me cold and always has. I never wanted to hang out with him, so I don't take our policy differences personally. I never idolized his leadership, so I don't feel he's failed me. He gets my vote in part because I don't identify with him. He's just a hired hand, and he's better than the alternative.

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