Larison makes a strong case for not letting contempt determine political support:

It makes your loyalties hostage to the most idiotic of your opponents, and it compels you to ignore your interests and any semblance of independent thought.

I would add another point–even those who seem to break from the herd and back a candidate from “the other side” to repudiate all the worst elements on your own “side” are falling prey to what Conor calls the politics of Schadenfreude, as an important part of the rationale for conservatives backing Obama or conservative Democrats backing McCain is not that these candidates better represent them but that they function as scourges for elements in their own party that they find appalling.  We hear it all the time–an Obama victory would be a judgement on the neocons, or Democratic defections would be a repudiation of Obama’s progressivism–and somehow we do not see it as part of the same moral blackmail that keeps the two-party system functioning.  If we voted our interests and paid no mind to the kinds of people who would be outraged by the victory of one candidate or another, we would quickly realize that neither party represents us and serves mainly as a rallying point for our undefined grievances against other people, most of whom we have never met.

Agreed. But sometimes contempt is merited. And it is silly not to say it if one believes it. I do believe that the current GOP is contemptible in all its permutations - from the base to the intelligentsia. I can still call myself a conservative; I can still see Obama's flaws and where I disagree with him. But my political judgment, honestly held, proudly expressed, is that destroying this Republican party is essential if this country and the world are going to recover from our current morass.

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