May the Worst Man Lose

‘Tis the season to endorse presidential candidates — and then talk about the significance (or lack thereof) of said endorsements — and we found bloggers eagerly offering their own inside-the-blogway rendition of this election tradition.

The biggest drop in the bucket was the Kerry for President sign now staked in Andrew Sullivan’s front yard. Sullivan’s indictment of Bush’s record lies mainly with the president’s handling of Iraq. After a long pro/con ramble on the candidates, Sullivan concludes that “it is simply foolish to ignore what we have found out this past year about Bush’s obvious limits, his glaring failures, his fundamental weakness as a leader.” Sullivan signs off with this rousing enjoiner: “So give [Kerry] a chance. In picking the lesser of two risks, we can also do something less dispiriting. We can decide to pick the greater of two hopes. And even in these dour days, it is only American to hope.”

Sullivan’s endorsement produced more than a few ripples in the blogosphere. Unmoved by some of Sullivan’s arguments, Instapundit’s Megan McArdle makes a rather bizarre attempt at a rebuttal: “[I]t doesn’t strike me as very logical to imply that Democrats have abandoned national security issues, and then suggest electing them anyway as a way to force them to ‘take responsibility’ for national security, any more than I would employ a drug addict in a pharmacy on the theory that this would force him to ‘take responsibility’ for enforcing our nation’s drug laws.” Her Instapundit compadre, Ann Althouse sounds an unsurprised “ho-hum” at the endorsement, and attributes to Sullivan the notion that “it would be good for everyone if the Democrats had their president so that those who now sit on the sidelines and criticize would have a partisan motivation to support the war” — an argument she predictably finds unconvincing.

Over at The Corner, Jim Boulet’s tone flirts with Lady Shrill, as he pours vitriol on Sullivan via a series of rhetorical questions: “Bush acts to defend the nation’s marriage laws from a few judges run amuck and Bush is the problem? Bush still believes in all that ‘government by the people’ stuff we learned in school, while Andrew Sullivan is a ‘by any means necessary’ revolutionary on homosexual matters and Bush is the extremist?”

Matthew Yglesias takes issue with Sullivan’s contention that only under a President Bush could we be seeing Afghani women voting, suggesting that it’s pretty hard to imagine an alternative post-9/11 strategy vis-a-vis Afghanistan. On the other hand, he gives Bush credit where credit is due, quibbling with Sullivan’s contention that Bush U-turned on a 2000 promise: “In 2000 Bush promised to nominate judges like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia and that’s exactly what he’s done. You can characterize that as you will, but it’s certainly not a broken promise.”

Moving on from Sullivan-For-Kerry-Gate, Slate features a gaggle of endorsements from its staffers and contributors. Washington Monthly’s Kevin Druim, noting that it’s not surprising the verdicts are overwhelmingly for Kerry (or, at least, against Bush), nominates Steven Landsburg for the distinction of “Most Galactically Incomprehensible Endorsement,” and nominates Gretchen Evanson as “Most Likely To Be Disappointed.”

In that spirit, our nominees are:

1. Robert Wright for Most Concise Endorsement: “He’s a long way from being the Messiah, but at least he’s not the anti-Christ.”

2. Lee Smith for Most Equivocal Endorsement: “the president should lose his job — but not to John Kerry.”

Susanna Dilliplane

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Susanna Dilliplane is a contributor to CJR.