I'm casting my vote as a referendum on the Bush national security policies since January 2001. When you pour billions into homeland security without achieving a significant net gain in security, I think there's a problem. When you mislead the country about our reasons for war in Iraq, and then fail to plan effectively for military and strategic victory, you simply don't get to keep your job. When you employ lawyers to eviscerate the rule of law and make America into the world's brigand instead of the world's leader, I don't think you should be allowed to keep your office. When you allow al-Qaida to mutate and evolve into a more lethal and survivable global terror network on your watch, you haven't done your job. Sen. Kerry hasn't fully shown that he will improve on all these fronts, but I do believe he will do better than President Bush.
Bryan Curtis, Deputy Culture Editor: Kerry
John Kerry, for shamelessly unoriginal reasons: a fresh start in (but not abandonment of) Iraq; more stem-cell research; another stab at health-care reform; fiscal sanity; some kind of energy policy; blah-blah-blah. I grew up in Texas, and I realized the other day that if Bush wins a second term, he will have been my governor or president for some 14 consecutive years. Now I know what my grandparents must have felt like around 1943, just as they were entering end-stage Roosevelt.
If Bush wins Tuesday, I'll tip my wide-brimmed hat to Karl Rove, the über-operative, who will have successfully turned two well-credentialed U.S. senators into liars, war criminals, or both. Democrats (especially Texas Democrats) love to wail about his under-handedness, but there's not an honest one that doesn't wish he was on their team.
Sara Dickerman, Food Writer:Kerry
I'm voting for Kerry, because Bush et al., have led us into a poorly executed war that has isolated us from the world, fixing the very hearts and minds we hoped to win over against us. Because, as if the costs of the war were not enough, the country is bearing the burden of massive tax cuts for the rich. And because I'd like to see the Social Security, due process, freedom of speech, and the right to choose when and if to have a family preserved for my newborn child and all children.
Daniel Drezner, Political Scientist and Contributor:Kerry
This is a foreign policy election for me, and I've never been less enthused about my choice of major party candidates—it's like being forced to decide whether The Matrix: Reloaded or The Matrix: Revolutions is the better movie. However, for reasons I largely spelled out in my last essay for Slate and fleshed out here, here, and here, I've reluctantly decided to back Kerry. As a Republican, I remain completely unconvinced that Kerry understands the limits of multilateral diplomacy. As a social scientist, however, I can't vote for a president with this track record on foreign policy who doesn't believe that what he believes about international relations might, just might, be wrong.
Jonathan Epstein, Software Development Engineer/Program Manager: Kerry
My biggest complaint about the current administration is its tendency to ignore the separation of church and state. I also have more confidence that John Kerry will help put a stop to the isolationism that this administration is promoting.
Gretchen Evanson, Office Manager: Kerry