The Right Coast

February 01, 2004
Drezner on Bush: Should We Support the President?
By Michael Rappaport

Dan Drezner explains why he is ambivalent about Bush:
    Here's my position -- I'm genuinely unsure of who I'm going to vote for. More and more, Bush reminds me of Nixon. He's not afraid to make the bold move in foreign policy. On domestic policy, Bush seems like he'll say or do anything, so long as it advances his short-term political advantage. If Karl Rove thought imposing wage and price controls would win Pennsylvania and Michigan for Bush, you'd see an Executive Order within 24 hours. Andrew Sullivan and others have delivered this harangue, so I won't repeat it. If -- a big if -- the Democrats put forward a credible alternative, then I could very well pull the donkey lever.
That is an interesting and powerful way to frame the issue. I must admit that I can imagine Bush failing the executive order test. And with the cost of Medicare reform bill increasing by 33 percent a couple of months after it was signed, I am beginning to lose trust in Bush.

But the key question, if we are to avoid the Nirvana fallacy, is the alternative. For me, any Democrat would attempt to grow government even bigger than Bush is and would be far worse in fighting the war on terror. This even includes Joe Lieberman, who might want to pursue better policies but would be constrained by the fact that he must govern as a Democrat with Democrats in charge.

Of course, if there were a Democratic President and a Republican Congress, that would probably lead to less spending, but it would be far worse as to the war on terror and the appointment of judges. All in all, then, I feel compelled to support Bush, especially since I believe the war on terror is the most important issue these days. But as I have suggested before, it is such a shame that Bush has pursued this mediocre course, since he could have been so much better.