I meant to put this up yesterday, but was busy and distracted, and had the mild fear that no one I know will ever talk to me again. The man I voted for won, but I feel no particular joy or despair over the outcome; Bush was not the man I would want in the White House at this time, but he was better than the alternative. Elections are a time for decisions, and my month-long fantasy of writing in Lieberman, Tony Blair or someone like that was just that: fantasy and not making decisions.

Basically, for this election, I was a single-issue voter, casting a ballot for the candidate who I thought was better suited to lead this country in what I see as a decades-long war against Jihadi terror, the spawn of the social pathologies of the Middle East. The Bush Administration has a mixed record in these first years that we’ve realized that we were at war: the fast campaign in Afghanistan that routed Al Qaeda from its state sanctuaries, the decision to go into Iraq that brought American power into the heart of the Middle East, the underlying theory of this campaign and its attendant reassessment of American foreign policy — these were all successes. The paucity of boots on the ground (for which Rumsfeld should have been fired), the bungled occupation, Abu Gharib (for which Rumsfeld should have been fired, again) are notable failures. I think I had already stated that the Bush Administration may have been the worst people to start on this campaign, but, in a real sense, they’ve been the only ones that were able to do it: at some level, Bush gets it.

The fundamental problem I had with Kerry is that he and large segments of his party did not believe that apocalyptic terrorism is larger in scope than a law enforcement problem, that we are at war in a larger sense than the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns, that this war will only be concluded decades from now when large segments of Middle Eastern states are transformed so that the murder of thousands of people are not an occassion for celebration, that Iraq was a necessary first step. I’m unconvinced that Kerry would not withdraw from Iraq before 2008 because a significant fraction of Democrats expect this (after all, it reverses Bush’s policies), long before our work there is done. This would be a disaster for both us and the people of Iraq, and would delay the project of transformation by bloody decades.

On other policy issues — economic, domestic, social — we are Americans, and these issues will sort themselves out over time, either on their own (the economy) or because we Americans will come to a better consensus on how to deal with them, if not now, then later. I dislike the Democrats protectionist rhetoric on economic matters (Fingerhut’s NPR interview), but voted for the party on the rest of the ballot. I see that I’m not alone.

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