The Left

Hitchens again

Picking up on some of the earlier discussion here about Christopher Hitchens and his stated preference for GW Bush in the 2004 election:

Hitchens may support Bush, but he won’t be able to vote for him unless he obtains US citizenship. And it seems Attorney General Ashcroft pesuaded him not to do so. He explained in December 2001, “I wrote a piece immediately after September 11, saying that after 20 years of being a Green Card holder I thought it was time to take out the papers and, as an act of solidarity, become a U.S. citizen. Then the attorney general informed me that if I remained a Green Card holder, I could be arrested and executed without knowing the charges against me, and in secret. So in solidarity with the 20 million other people who have had their habeas corpus taken away, I say you can have my body but my habeas corpus not.”

I agree that Hitch seems to be putting the struggle against fascism, Islamic and otherwise, ahead of every other consideration. But it’s worth pointing out that three of the main contenders for the Democratic party nomination– Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt and John Edwards– supported Bush on the Iraq war. (Another candidate, John Kerry, apparently still hasn’t decided if he supported the war or not.) Lieberman, to his credit, isn’t cutting Bush any slack on the failures of postwar reconstruction and security. And Gephardt has taken on Bush for his kid-gloves treatment of the regime in Saudi Arabia. These are issues that could haunt Bush next year, and deservedly so.

Hitchens seems to be saying that on domestic policy, there isn’t much to choose between Republicans and Democrats. I know it’s fashionable to say this, but it’s wrong on a whole host of issues: taxes and who pays them, health insurance, workers’ rights, appointment of federal judges and members of boards and commissions. There are real differences here, and they matter to millions of ordinary Americans. I wonder if Hitchens, in his justifiable crusades against Kissinger, Clinton and Islamofascism, sometimes loses touch with these more mundane concerns.