Slate votes.

Slate votes.

Slate votes.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Oct. 26 2004 6:32 PM

Slate Votes

At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!

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Many of those who support President Bush talk about his "grand vision": The "transformational power of liberty," as the president says, which is the "the best antidote to terror." I support that vision. If only Bush did too. With the partial exceptions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the president has not taken strong stands for democracy. Not in Pakistan, not in Libya, not in Egypt, not in Tunisia, not in Uzbekistan, and definitely not in Russia. To be fair, there's only one country in which I'm confident Kerry would actually push to improve things like governance, transparency, and accountability: the United States. That's good enough for my vote.

Jacob Weisberg, Editor:Kerry


I remain totally unimpressed by John Kerry. Outside of his opposition to the death penalty, I've never seen him demonstrate any real political courage. His baby steps in the direction of reform liberalism during the 1990s were all followed by hasty retreats. His Senate vote against the 1991 Gulf War demonstrates an instinctive aversion to the use of American force, even when it's clearly justified. Kerry's major policy proposals in this campaign range from implausible to ill-conceived. He has no real idea what to do differently in Iraq. His health-care plan costs too much to be practical and conflicts with his commitment to reducing the deficit. At a personal level, he strikes me as the kind of windbag that can only emerge when a naturally pompous and self-regarding person marinates for two decades inside the U.S. Senate. If elected, Kerry would probably be a mediocre, unloved president on the order of Jimmy Carter. And I won't have a second's regret about voting for him. Kerry's failings are minuscule when weighed against the massive damage to America's standing in the world, our economic future, and our civic institutions that would likely result from a second Bush term.

Owen West, War Stories Contributor: Bush

Al Gore stumbled because he did not know who he was. Now the Democrats have tapped a dyslexic version of Gore. Though Gore resembled a kid who somehow snuck past the height requirement on a lurching emotional roller coaster, he chose correctly under political pressure. He voted for the Gulf War resolution, was a vehement supporter of welfare reform, and selected an admirable moderate (and a hawk) as a running mate. Kerry has the same introspective vertigo but his track record after Feb. 28, 1969, stinks. Bush's handling of Iraq—not the decision to go to war but its aftermath—makes my toes curl. The thought of Kerry running a global war makes me want to chop them off. I have similar feelings about the economy. I'll take McCain. Oops, he and Lieberman were scorched by the wings. So I'll take Bush and ham-handed conviction over calculated cleverness. (If this smacks more of anti-Kerry than pro-Bush consider it 2 cents to balance the scale—the Democrat votes here are sure to be largely anti-Bush.)

Robert Wright, Contributor: Kerry

He's a long way from being the Messiah, but at least he's not the anti-Christ.

Correction Nov. 1, 2004:Due to an editing error, Christopher Hitchens' entry was originally mislabeled as an endorsement of John Kerry. As Hitchens explains here, he did not intend his contribution as a statement of support for either candidate. Our apologies to Hitchens for this mistake. ( Return to the corrected sentence.)