Tuesday, October 26, 2004

"In a matter of months, the Bush administration lost its casus belli and its moral authority. Could it have run a worse war?"--Andrew Sullivan

(In a world where the liberals argue convincingly for Bush and the conservatives do the same for Kerry, is it any wonder there are undecideds?)

"The lack of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq remains one of the biggest blows to America's international credibility in a generation. The failure to anticipate an insurgency against the coalition remains one of the biggest military miscalculations since Vietnam. And the refusal to send more troops both at the beginning and throughout the occupation remains one of the most pig-headed acts of hubris since the McNamara era. I'm amazed that more war advocates aren't incensed by this mishandling of such critical matters. But even a Bush-supporter, like my friend, Christopher Hitchens, has termed it 'near-impeachable' incompetence."

"He has spent like a drunken liberal Democrat." (Bush as Ted Kennedy? Just a thought.) Fiscal irresponsibility.

"He ran for election as a social moderate. But every single question in domestic social policy has been resolved to favor the hard-core religious right." Indeed. Something Hitchens, despite his solidarity with the left, apparently doesn't see as a key issue.

"I fear Bush is too polarizing, too controversial, too loathed a figure even within his own country, to pull this off." This is key. This is, when it comes down to it, why I'm voting for Kerry.

"The convention was a remarkable event in that it pivoted the Democratic Party toward an uncomplicated embrace of the war on terror. Kerry has said again and again that he will not hesitate to defend this country and go on the offensive against Al Qaeda. I see no reason whatsoever why he shouldn't. What is there to gain from failure in this task? He knows that if he lets his guard down and if terrorists strike or succeed anywhere, he runs the risk of discrediting the Democrats as a party of national security for a generation."

Yes, and no. Kerry will surely do something to fight terrorism, rhetorically if not substantially, but it doesn't inspire confidence in Kerry when Sullivan has to resort to citing rhetoric from the convention as proof that Kerry has what it takes.

"Kerry has endorsed democracy as a goal in Iraq and Afghanistan; he has a better grasp of the dangers of nuclear proliferation than Bush; he is tougher on the Saudis; his very election would transform the international atmosphere."

It's in that last part--the transformation of the international atmosphere into one less hostile to the U.S.--that Kerry's real appeal lies.

"Obviously, Kerry's stand against a constitutional amendment to target gay citizens is also a critical factor for me, as a gay man. But I hope it is also a factor for straight men and women, people who may even differ on the issue of marriage, but see the appalling damage a constitutional amendment would do to the social fabric, and the Constitution itself."

Yes, the sanctity of the Constitution, and all that. Sullivan is a conservative, which might explain why he can't just come out, so to speak, and say that any law based solely on religious views--I maintain that there is no other way to defend the proposed amendment--is inconsistent with the Constitution.

All told, Hitchens's case for Bush and Sullivan's case for Kerry convince me only that you never know how things will unfold whenever either candidate takes office. How else could Hitchens and Sullivan both seem so right?

1 comment:

Molly said...

"they both seem so right"...but Hitchen's seems a little more right than Sullivan, right?

also, super funny Hitchens quote I just came across while trying to find out if he is actually an American citizen (because hey, how funny would it be if we were putting so much faith in the opinions of people who won't even be voting...it's sort of like outsourcing!), which he is (unlike Sullivan). This is what he says: "As an internationalist – which I will be until the day I f***ing choke." How cute, right?

I think they should give Sullivan honorary American citizenship or something. I'm assuming this won't be happening if Bush wins. Probably won't happen if Kerry wins either - Sullivan's piece reads more like a reason to vote against Bush than a rah rah Kerry thing. But I think that's what it's come down to.