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November 03, 2004
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WINNERS is to be responsible for their vote. Now that Bush has won, to my frank surprise, I've been denied the pleasure of being in opposition, which is to say the pleasure of disclaiming responsibility for any stunts the president may get up to in the next four years.
What's more, those of us who voted for Bush, warts and all, haven't even the excuse that Kerry voters would have, which is to say declaring they had no idea he'd do that. Bush voters walked into his next term with eyes wide open. Even if we voted not so much for Bush as against Kerry, we still have to be willing to accept that if he screws up, we put him in a position to do so knowing exactly what he was like.
That gives us, I think, a special responsibility not to gloss over his policy flaws, but rather to hold him to account as much as possible, to make sure that we can be proud of our choice. That means getting on the phone to the white house, congressmen and senators to block bad legislation. That means being honest about his mistakes, rather than trying to gloss over them in order to make ourselves look better. It means, in short, thinking about what's best for the country, rather than What's Best for The Team.
That's the responsibility of anyone who voted for the guy in office, whether he's a Democrat or a Republican. It's the responsibility of the people who voted against him, too, but they generally don't need reminding. We've put all our eggs in one basket, guys--so in the words of Mark Twain, let's watch that basket.