Here's what I wrote about Bush when we disclosed our votes four years ago: "He's shallow, obtuse, and proud of it. He's disdainful of reflection and indifferent to work. ... Congress can restrain either of them, but a president can catastrophically botch a foreign policy crisis all by himself. I trust Gore in that situation. I don't trust Bush."
Looks like I was wrong about Congress.
Jack Shafer, Editor at Large:Michael Badnarik
Every since I became eligible to vote in 1972, I've cast my ballot for the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate. In 1972, the candidate was philosophy professor John Hospers, who I wrote in because he wasn't on the Michigan ballot.
A parade of numbskulls and geniuses have run for president on the Libertarian ticket since then: an oil company lawyer, the heir to Laura Ingalls Wilder's estate, a party gadfly, a member of Congress, a member of the Alaska House of Representatives, and a professional gold bug (twice). This year the nomination went to Michael Badnarik, another party activist, who won on the third ballot. I've already cast my absentee ballot in his favor.
Gerald Shargel, Contributor:Kerry
As a criminal defense lawyer, I am voting for John Kerry, among other reasons, because I cannot abide the Ashcroftian brand of "justice" that curtails civil rights and constitutional protections. Kerry seems to respect due process.
Lee Smith, Contributor:Bush
The Americans who say they are ashamed Bush is our president would no doubt be surprised that many ordinary Arabs actually like George W. Bush. Without any social, economic, or political space to create their own lives, they see the world the way he does: Radical Arab politics and the regimes that nourish them have only produced despair and exported terror; if that doesn't change, both Americans and Arabs are in for worse. As for the other reasons Washington took us to war in Iraq, the bad WMD intelligence relayed to the U.N. doesn't bug me. A much more serious issue is that the president did not explain to the American electorate some of the other reasons we're there, which is one reason why it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to realize them, like: 1) rearrange the oil equation so that Saudi Arabia had less leverage against U.S. demands to take on their homegrown jihadists; 2) prove that the United States can sustain successful military operations in the Middle East; 3) establish a presence bordering Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. For violating a basic principle of our politics and not selling this plan to the American public, the president should lose his job—but not to John Kerry. The problem isn't that Kerry doesn't really have "a plan" besides his junior-year abroad version of multilateralism, but that the people who would run his foreign policy do have a program. For close to three years White House critics, including many likely members of a Kerry foreign policy team, have claimed our Middle East policy is on course for catastrophe, without ever questioning what role the "realism" they want to restore to foreign policy played in 9/11. I know it is narrow-minded to base my vote on Middle East policy, but it is also a domestic issue since my hometown New York will continue to be a high-value terrorist target until jihadists are killed where they live, rather than where most of my friends and family live. I did not vote for Bush in 2000. I am this year.
Laurie Snyder, Copy Chief: Kerry
Kerry, Kerry, Kerry! Another four years with Bush-Cheney at the helm is a terrifying prospect.