Stateside

“Votenfreude”

Writing recently about current and former liberals intending to vote for George Bush, I suggested that their motives had “something to do with their loathing for some of Bush’s obnoxious opponents.” And I added, “But Kerry has his share too, doesn’t he?”

The author Tom Wolfe talks of voting for Bush because “I cannot stand the lock-step among everyone in my particular world. They all do the same thing, without variation. It gets so boring. There is something in me that particularly wants it registered that I am not one of them.”

Now Kerry supporter Andrew Sullivan writes about the temptation to vote for Bush just to piss off those of the President’s opponents he particularly detests:

The assimilation of other voters’ agony has had a bumper year in 2004. Call it “votenfreude”: the notion that you’re voting to enjoy other voters’ electoral misery. I had a bout of it a while back, when I read the novelist Amy Tan’s comment in Slate on the reason she’s supporting John Kerry. “I’m voting for Kerry, because I have a brain and so does he,” she wrote. There’s a part of me that wants George W. Bush to win just so that Amy Tan will have a bad day. Oh and Michael Moore. And Noam Chomsky. And Paul Begala. And Alec Baldwin. And that sanctimonious lesbian I harangued at a “peace” demo in Provincetown last year. And Paul Krugman. I could go on and on. In fact, I think I’ll spend today compiling a list of people I can’t stand and imagining their expressions if Bush pulls it off. Did I forget Barbra Streisand?

But he comes to his senses at the end:

… a better idea is to forget what Osama believes. Ignore Michael Moore. Do your best to put images of a grinning or suicidal Rick Santorum out of your mind. Just figure out who you think is best for the country. Grit your teeth. And vote. Then let the gloating begin.

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