IN DEFENSE OF PSEUDO-SOPHISTICATED IRONIC DETACHMENT….The gang at Slate has taken a lot of abuse from the liberal blogosphere for their insistence on telling us how little they think of John Kerry even as they’re penning their endorsements of him. And hell, maybe they deserve it. I don’t know.

But the flip side of this is the inexplicably cultlike devotion that George Bush receives from many of his supporters. I mean, sure, he’s a conservative and he’s a Republican, so conservatives and Republicans are going to support him, but let’s face it: he’s basically a pretty mediocre guy. So how does he end up getting described as “magnificent,” being compared to Abraham Lincoln, and convincing a quarter of the country that he was chosen by God? It’s kind of scary, really. Here is Slate’s Chris Suellentrop to demonstrate for us:

“I want you to stand, raise your right hands,” and recite “the Bush Pledge,” said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: “I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States.”

I know the Bush-Cheney campaign occasionally requires the people who attend its events to sign loyalty oaths, but this was the first time I have ever seen an audience actually stand and utter one. Maybe they’ve replaced the written oath with a verbal one.

Like a lot of Democrats, Kerry wasn’t my first choice during the primaries, but even so I think he deserves better treatment than he gets from most of the liberal punditocracy. On the other hand, if it’s a choice between pseudo-sophisticated ironic detachment and glassy-eyed mobs of oath-taking true believers ? well, ironic detachment is looking better all the time, isn’t it?

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