Steve outlined his reasons for voting for Kerry as follows:
I'm voting for Kerry because: a) I'm furious that Bush screwed up a war that was justified and could have been a serious step for transformation of the Middle East; b) I'm still pissed off about the Bush tax cuts and; c) I'm much more confident in the sort of people that Kerry will appoint to the thousands of positions under presidential control.
I agree completely with that and would add that Bush's support for the federal marriage amendment is an outrage. Let me also add that I've always voted Democratic and never before had reason to seriously consider doing otherwise.
So why am I ambivalent about Kerry? Because the biggest issue for me is Iraq. The U.S. will make it through the next 4 years regardless of whether Bush or Kerry gets elected in November. But consequences of this election for Iraq are far more extreme. I'd love nothing more than to punish Bush for the way he's screwed things up there and, perhaps more importantly, his seeming unwillingness to acknowledge problems and attempt to put things right going forward. I'm afraid that the only way Bush will wake up to reality is if he loses the election.
But I'm not sure electing Kerry will put things right in Iraq. His varying statements have let me uncertain about exactly what he would do to try to improve things. I also think the pressure on him to pull out quickly will be enormous. First, the sooner he gets out, the easier it will be to blame Bush if things go to hell. Second, the Democratic left will give him about 6 months to a year before they start talking about "Kerry's War" or "Kerry's Occupation." If he doesn't begin pulling the troops out by then, the latter day versions of Gene McCarthy will start lining up to take him on.