July 28, 2004

DEAN ESMAY offers an interesting question for conservatives: If Kerry is elected, will they try to support him if he does the right thing, or will they degenerate into partisan backbiting as Democrats did after 2000 (and as Republicans did after 1992):

I don’t want to hear why you think it won’t happen. Indulge me: pretend it might. How many of you will have the patriotism to say, “I disagree with many of his policy directions, I do not think he is conducting our foreign policy in the right way, but I will do my best to get behind him and support him until elections come around next time?”

I’m genuinely curious. For that is the stance I intend to take. I will refuse to call him traitor, loser, liar, incompetent. He will be my President, my Commander In Chief, the Chief Executive of a great nation, elected by the will of a majority of the electors in these 50 great united States. So even if he does things I disagree with in conducting foreign policy, I will say, “I respectfully disagree with the President’s directions, but I will do my best to express my dissent respectfully and hope that I am mistaken and that he has made the proper decisions after all.”

That’s my pledge. How many of you will take a similar one?

Although I’m a liberal blogger, that’s certainly how I intend to act, should Kerry be elected. There’s some interesting stuff in Dean’s comments, where most people seem to take the same line. It does, however, raise the problem identified in this comment to Bigwig’s pro-Kerry post:

Aren’t you basically saying that Republicans can be counted on to support the country and the WoT if a Democrat is in office, but not vice versa? This argument lets the Democrats who would rather control the White House than have the U.S. remain safe and secure off the hook. Not a good precedent. Rather Kerry and the Democratic party should be punished for undermining Bush and creating the division in the country, not rewarded!

I’ll still take the pledge, but this is worth thinking about. That sort of incentive structure seems dangerous.

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