After hinting otherwise, he offers a backhanded and somewhat puzzling endorsement, suggesting that Kerry deserves the punishment of being president:
I am assuming for now that this is a single-issue election. There is one’s subjective vote, one’s objective vote, and one’s ironic vote. Subjectively, Bush (and Blair) deserve to be re-elected because they called the enemy by its right name and were determined to confront it. Objectively, Bush deserves to be sacked for his flabbergasting failure to prepare for such an essential confrontation. Subjectively, Kerry should be put in the pillory for his inability to hold up on principle under any kind of pressure. Objectively, his election would compel mainstream and liberal Democrats to get real about Iraq.
The ironic votes are the endorsements for Kerry that appear in Buchanan’s anti-war sheet The American Conservative, and the support for Kerry’s pro-war candidacy manifested by those simple folks at MoveOn.org. I can’t compete with this sort of thing, but I do think that Bush deserves praise for his implacability, and that Kerry should get his worst private nightmare and have to report for duty.
Paul Berman, another favorite of this blog, is also half-heartedly for Kerry, though less mean-spirited about it:
I’m voting for Kerry, with no great belief that he will be a first rate president. I cringe a little at where Kerry’s line on terror and Iraq has lately ended up. I think that Bush, in his rhetoric about democracy and ideologies of hate, has demonstrated a broader understanding of these matters. But Bush has got to be the most ham-handed president in American history. He is incompetent even at expressing whatever is valid in his larger worldview. The prospect of tumbling down the stairs for four more years has got me scared out of my wits. Better Kerry, then. Besides, I’m not a one-issue voter. On most social and economic issues, I would probably prefer Eugene V. Debs, if he were running and electable. No such luck. So, Kerry, yet again.
Harry adds: There are two new Hitchens articles on the web today:
And another in Slate looking at the increasingly weak anti-war argument that the ‘secular Saddam’ had nothing to do with Islamist terrorists.