In response to a comment on my previous post, I should clarify that I'm still voting for John Kerry, even though I think the thing with Mary Cheney was obnoxious and dishonorable. The truth is, I have never liked John Kerry--I've lived with him as my senator for nine years now, all of which I have had not a shred of respect for the man. I didn't support him in the primaries, and if he won and was challenged by a better man (of which there are many) in the primaries in 2008, I support the other guy.
But I don't have a choice--it's called the two-party system, and we're stuck with it, and therefore I'm stuck with John Kerry. I'm a Democrat, and for better or for worse, we nominated this guy and now we all have to just suck it up and vote for him. Conversely, there are a lot of Republicans out there who genuinely think there are a dozen or more folks out there in state governorships or Senators who would do a much better job than Bush, but they're stuck with their guy. In their heart of hearts, what Republican wouldn't trade Chuck Hagel, John McCain, Bill Frist (even though he has a history of cruelty to cats), Rudy Giuliani, Dick Lugar, Lamar Alexander, or Mitt Romney, for the guy we've got? All good Republicans (and I know lots of them) support Bush anyways, because he's the nominee of their party, and ultimately it is the party attachment of the president that matters, in terms of what the government will actually do over the next four years.
It is that party attachment that determines (along with the composition of Congress, of course) whether we will raise or lower taxes in the next four years, and on whom. It determines whether we'll expand the role of government in health care, or try to and restrain it by creating things like Medical Savings Accounts. It determines whether we'll move toward private accounts in Social Security, or keep the system more or less as it is. It determines who will fill the innumerable appointed positions in the federal bureaucracy, with all the consequences that has for federal regulation. And it determines who will fill the multiple vacancies on the Supreme Court that will come up in the next four years.
So despite the fact that (be honest) there are lots of Republicans who think they could do better than Bush, and lots of Democrats like me, who thought we could have ended up with someone a hell of a lot better than Kerry, the rational decision on who to vote for was clear a long time ago. Party is the most rational cue for voting that there is--now more than ever. I'm voting the party, not the man, without remorse. And so should you.