SLATE ROUNDUP….It’s not a surprise that the staff and contributors of Slate lean heavily toward John Kerry, but 45-4? (Plus one Canadian who’d vote for Kerry if she could, a Libertarian voting for Badnarik just because he always votes that way, and one vote for David Cobb.) Virtually everyone from the office manager to the editor-in-chief is voting for Kerry. Some highlights:

Most Unexpected Endorsement: Christopher Hitchens for Kerry. WTF? But despite three years of relentless haranguing about liberal fecklessness vs. Bushian moral clarity regarding our confrontation with radical Islam, in the end he decides that “Bush deserves to be sacked for his flabbergasting failure to prepare for such an essential confrontation.”

Most Unexpectedly Correct Endorsement: Mickey Kaus, “because I think Bush is prosecuting the fight against terrorism in a way that will make us dramatically less safe unless we have a conspicuous change at the top.” Domestic considerations aside, that’s exactly the right reason.

Most Galactically Incomprehensible Endorsement: Steven Landsburg, who is voting for Bush because “the xenophobe John Edwards” is morally equivalent to the racist David Duke. Where do they find these guys?

Most Likely To Be Disappointed: Gretchen Evanson, who says, “I’m voting for Kerry/Edwards because I’d like a change from all the meaningless rhetoric and lack of plans for the future.” I guess we can hope.

Least Enthusiastic Endorsement: This one is a tough call, but I give it to Timothy Noah: “Sen. John Kerry is the least appealing candidate the Democrats have nominated for president in my lifetime. I’m 46, so that covers Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, and Gore.” Still, he says, “a C-minus beats an F.”

Why was this such a tough call? Consider this collage of Kerry endorsements from the rest of the staff:

I’m voting for Kerry, with no great belief that he will be a first-rate president….If he wins I’ll skip the victory party….Sen. Kerry hasn’t fully shown that he will improve on all these fronts….It’s like being forced to decide whether The Matrix: Reloaded or The Matrix: Revolutions is the better movie….I don’t expect Kerry to be a successful president in any other respect….Is he a strong candidate? No….Kerry’s election-year straddles have left me cold….I remain totally unimpressed by John Kerry….He’s a long way from being the Messiah….

Genuinely enthusiastic Kerry endorsements were hard to find, but there were a few desultory efforts. Fred Kaplan says that he “generally admires Kerry,” Mike Steinberger seems almost surprised that “I actually like Kerry,” and Dana Stevens says, “he’s won me over.” Laurie Snyder at first appears to be the most enthusiastic of all (“Kerry, Kerry, Kerry!”), but then admits that she’s mostly just terrified about another four years of Bush.

Hey, good enough for me.

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