At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!
I was ambivalent about the Iraq war before the invasion, and I ultimately decided that if you're ambivalent about war you should be against it. The president and this administration apparently feel otherwise. They've put the burden of proof on peace rather than war. Their disdain for the global institutions that have projected American power overseas for 60 years has undermined not just our country's hard-earned reputation and moral authority but our hard-earned might. Their disregard for the Geneva Conventions is shameful and a dangerous international precedent. On the domestic side, Kerry seems a little too eager to spend taxpayer dollars, but I take his pledges of—if not his instincts for—restraint as a reason for guarded optimism. More important, on that score, he can't be any worse than Bush. Besides, this is a one-issue election for me. I don't hate President Bush. I think he's well-intentioned and a good man. He's just not a good president.
Maureen Sullivan, Copy Editor: Kerry
George W. Bush is not especially smart, and worse, he's not intellectually curious. The leader of the free world should be both. If that's not enough reason to vote against him (though I'm voting for Kerry as much as against Bush; unlike Gore, he has surprised me by being a much better alternative than I ever imagined), even Republicans consider him embarrassing. Said one friend whose husband was going to apply for a job at the White House, "I don't want to be a White House widow, especially not for this White House." I don't especially believe Bush went to war for oil, nor that Saddam was not at all a threat, but I also don't believe that, by adding to the deficit tremendously or lobbying to drill for oil in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he puts America's best interests first—just the best interests of a very select few. Not being one of those few, he won't get my vote.
June Thomas, West Coast Editor:Kerry
I've already voted for John Kerry. I wish he wasn't so happy to keep me in a separate but unequal category of civil rights, and I'm concerned by his vague promises to "internationalize" the war on terror (it'll take more than speaking their language to persuade the French to do their part, for example). However, I admire his record of service, and I believe the economy, the environment, science, and the Supreme Court will be safer with him in the White House.
Louisa Herron Thomas, Intern:Kerry
I can be as bull-headed as they come, but I know how important it is to admit when you're wrong. Strength isn't defined by stubbornness; it's the willingness to hold people—and oneself—accountable. It's a lesson that Kerry seems to understand, and that Bush refuses to learn. I wish Kerry would speak in declarative sentences; I wish he would prioritize changing our attitudes about energy and the environment; I wish he didn't seem so opportunistic. But far more so, I wish I didn't fear for the safety and health of myself, my country, and my planet. Under Bush, I do.
Julia Turner, Assistant Editor:Kerry
Kerry's election-year straddles have left me cold. If I hear him say "Marriage is between a man and a woman" again, I may start coughing up ice cubes. But I think Bush is bad for the country and the world—and for me. He has put my lungs at risk. He has put my reproductive rights at risk. He has put my retirement at risk. He has put my friends at risk, by sending them to Iraq on false pretenses. He has put all of our lives at risk: by neglecting homeland security; by ignoring al-Qaida, North Korea and Iran; and by lighting geopolitical fires, rather than putting them out. Plus I don't like him. He's unbearably cocksure. I'm voting for Kerry.
Garry Trudeau, Contributor:Kerry
Eric Umansky, Contributor: Kerry
Photograph of John Kerry on the Slate home page by Brian Snyder/Reuters.