LIBERTARIANS FOR KERRY….Now that John Kerry has chosen someone other than Dick Gephardt as his running mate, libertarian supporter Jacob Levy plans to vote for a Democrat for president for the first time in his life:
I’ve had leanings in previous races, but they were uncertain, and typically mitigated by a sense that both major-party candidates had crossed some threshold of unacceptability. This time, it seems very clear to me that the Bush Administration has failed basic tests of competence in policymaking and execution, and of trusteeship of long-term interests like alliances and trade negotiations and moral credibility. I expect to dislike an awful lot of John Kerry’s policies. But I don’t expect that kind of failure of the basic responsibilities of the office. Four or eight or twelve years ago, I guess I wouldn’t have known how important I found those considerations, as I hadn’t seen a president who had failed along those dimensions. Now I have, and I do.
I don’t imagine that this kind of “competence” argument is going to sway many voters, but Jacob is dead right: it’s not just his ideology that makes Bush a bad president, it’s his seemingly utter contempt for policymaking of any kind. He just doesn’t care whether specific facts are true or false or whether specific policies will work or not.
It’s something that’s frankly hard to get your arms around, this idea that Bush apparently doesn’t think that policy analysis is even a valid field of study. And yet it seems to be true: he has about the same respect for policy that creationists do for, say, carbon dating, and with the same disastrous results for his ability to understand and influence the real world.
We’ve never really had a president before ? at least in recent history ? who thought this way. The resulting mess is going to take someone a long time to clean up.