The Quipper

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Christopher Hitchens is, as usual, wrong.

I am really tired of hearing Christopher Hitchens talk about "The far left" and "anybody but Bush". Here's a quote: "The amazing thing is the literalness with which the mantra is chanted. Anybody? Including Muqtada al-Sadr? The chilling answer is, quite often, yes. This is nihilism."

Hitchens, eat my ass. Find me a voter who says they'd vote for al-Sadr over Bush and I'll find you someone with a sense of humor. Let me tell you what "anybody but Bush" meant. It was, very simply, a slogan the Democrats used in the primary to reassure each other that nobody was going to go Nader on the rest of the party. It was not a contentious primary after New Hampshire, to be sure, but we all knew that whoever won would have the full backing of the Democratic party.

That is the meaning of Anybody But Bush.

And as someone who knows the failings and missteps of this president with such detail, you should know the truth and importance of that sentiment, that statement against failure.

Since the convention, however, you may have noticed that nobody is saying "anybody but Bush." President Clinton, the most popular ex-president in 50 years, spoke to the largest crowd he had ever addressed in his life. They gathered together in Philadelphia, the birthpace of our great nation, to not see him, but to see the next great Democratic president of the United States, John Kerry. A man of complete integrity, a man of tremendous personal and political strength and courage. As a young man, he faced death in Vietnam. As a young protester, he stood up for truth and honesty, and took the words of those who could not speak them to their own nation they had struggled to defend, and made them be heard. As a young Senator, he took the corruption of Iran-Contra on head-first, when both Democrats and Republicans would not address the scandal head on. When he found a bank funding drugs and terrorism across the globe, he ignored its political connections and brought it down. When no one else would go back to Vietnam, he sat down next to a man who resented his actions 25 years before, and was able to convince him of the justice in what he said. If John McCain can forgive him for speaking against a war while he was a prisoner of it, surely anyone can.

At the same time, he was at the forefront of the Democratic party and the left moving through the last two decades. Was one of three Democrats to vote for a balanced budget in 1985. He voted against the first Iraq war, but saw that the military had moved past its failures in Vietnam. With that experience, he voted for military action in Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan and again in Iraq. In the last, he put his faith in a president who has shown himself to be manifestly incapable of holding anyone's sacred faith or trust, shown himself to be unfit for office, and profaned his position far more than the man who proceeded him.

John Kerry will not profane the Oval Office. Had he turned to Iraq in late 2002, he would not have used it as a political tool, as cheap domestic capital. He would not have turned away allies over childish peevishness. He would have been a man. And that is why I am voting for John Kerry. Because he is a man.

And let me take exception to one more thing you say, Mr. Hitchens. "I was asked if I would also say something here about my personal evolution. I took that to mean: How do you like your new right-wing friends? I can only return the question. I prefer them to Pat Buchanan and Vladimir Putin."

Sir, both of those men have endorsed your candidate for President, George W. Bush.