Saturday, July 31, 2004

Fence Sitters

It's the season. I'm sure we'll see a bunch of "reasonable" conservatives writing that if Kerry could just somehow say the magic combination of words, appealing to their idiosyncratic sense of what the Democratic should be (regaining what it has lost, blahblabblah), that they'd support him. Here we have Bobo being upset that Kerry's convention speech wasn't an elaborate foreign policy document. Kaus (who I met, annoyingly), is apparently voting for Kerry even though he hates him, and Crazy Andy has apparently sort of maybe said the same.

One thing it's important to remember with all of these people - their public personas, their public writings, are to a great degree a pose. The only way to hold onto your reputation as being something other than a partisan hack is to make sure to provide enough public statements to back that up. Similarly those who really are supposed to be partisan hacks are only "allowed" a few chances to stray from the reservation, particularly on the conservative side of things. Ostracism from the movement can be quick and painful.

But, the truth is a this point anyone who pays attention (as it's their job) should have a very good idea what a 2nd Bush administration would be like, and a pretty good idea how a Kerry administration would differ. They should also understand that campaign rhetoric is what it is, and has little bearing on how a Kerry administration will actually govern, relative to what we already know about the guy.

So, "conflicted conservatives" and faux-moderates can have their fun. But, pretending to support Kerry while doing little but bashing him, or supporting Kerry with the caveat that "we may all die if he's elected!!!" is mostly a way of preserving your street cred on both sides...