Michael Kinsley, Editor: Gore.
Like most people, I start out with a predisposition. It would take a stellar Republican and/or a truly distressing Democrat to get me to change the voting habit of a lifetime. Al Gore is smart, experienced, committed to values I generally agree with. George W. Bush is not a temptation that's hard to resist.
I did make a list of Gore's issues and realized, to my horror, that I disagree on most of them. Bush is right that Gore's tax cut is a mess of gimmicky, pandering credits and deductions. His famous Social Security "lockbox" is a fiction, and the principle it represents (that Social Security revenues and benefits are sacrosanct, but general revenues should be poured into Social Security) is misguided. His demonization of the drug companies and of HMOs is a cheap evasion of real but complex problems. His absolutist opposition to school vouchers is unjustified. I even think he's wrong about abortion. I'm pro-choice, but I believe abortion rights should be protected by passing laws, not by abusing the Constitution.
Fortunately for my peace of mind, Bush's proposals are worse—either reactionary (repealing the estate tax) or fake have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too alternatives to Gore's (prescription drugs for seniors) or both (Social Security privatization). As I noted in the Oct. 23 "Readme," Bush's campaign rhetoric is a maze of self-contradiction. Bush's claim of credit for a Texas HMO-regulation law that actually passed over his veto outdoes any of Gore's real and alleged fibs. It would be interesting to know whether he's so dense that he doesn't realize he's talking bullshit, so lazy that he can't be bothered to think it out, or so cynical that he understands and doesn't care. But for voting purposes this distinction hardly matters.
Cyrus Krohn, Associate Publisher: Bush.
I voted blindly based on support of a yet-to-be-announced team. I'm voting for a Cabinet, an administration that will do the least amount of harm. I believe a Bush administration will put worthwhile change in motion for Social Security, education, energy, environmental policy, foreign affairs, and military readiness. The Justice Department and the National Security Council need immediate repair, too. I don't believe a devil will emerge after GWB takes the oath of office. The changes are bound to rile. I believe the Fourth Estate's stock is about to rise.
Steven E. Landsburg, Contributor: Harry Browne.
I'm beginning to think the only difference between the two major parties is the velocity with which their knees hit the floor when seniors demand prescription-drug benefits. After all, the Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress for six years and haven't even managed to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts. Therefore, I will vote for Harry Browne, the one candidate who stands for individual liberty and limited constitutional government.
I won't vote for Al Gore because he believes down to his marrow that nothing gets done unless the government does it. That's why he can't distinguish between politicians supporting the Internet and engineers doing the hard work of actually creating it.
I won't vote for George Bush Jr. because the sins of the fathers should be visited upon the sons, and Bush Sr. committed more sins in office than any other president of my lifetime except Johnson and Nixon. His last official act was to sign an energy bill that regulates the size of your showerhead. I don't trust anyone who was brought up by parents who believe that showerheads are an appropriate concern of the federal government.
Finally, I won't vote for Nader or Buchanan because they are the candidates of hatred and intolerance. Their antipathy toward trade with non-Americans is of a piece with David Duke's antipathy toward trade with non-whites and solidly in the most unsavory traditions of American politics.
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