For the record, after the latest bile from the Corner, I went back and checked my endorsement of Kerry. It was larded with reservations but it was focused entirely on foreign policy and fiscal conservatism. I was still clinging to the hope of the transformative effect of democratization in the Arab world, but I was able to see how unconservative Bush's position was. Here's the link to a whole swathe of the Dish from this time four years ago. Money quotes:
It's clear Kerry believes that countering Jihadist terrorism is primarily a matter of international police work, alliance building, terrorism, monitoring financial transactions, use of special forces and special ops. But Bush believes all this as well. It's just that he also believes in the transformative effect of regime change and democratization in the Arab world, and Kerry appears to be a skeptic in this respect. Count me with Bush on this one (with a few reservations). But notice this irony: Kerry's is clearly the more conservative position here.
Conservatives have traditionally been doubters with regard to the transmission of Western values easily onto non-Western societies. They certainly don't believe it can happen overnight. Bush is therefore running as a Gladstonian liberal in foreign affairs, which is why it's strange to hear some conservatives writing as if Kerry's candidacy is the equivalent of Armageddon.
I'm not saying this is obvious. I am saying it is perfectly possible to be pro-war and pro-Kerry. Especially after the mishandling of the last year in Iraq, our frayed relations with important allies, and the president's fiscal undermining of our future military capacity.
I venture to guess that from the vantage point of the distant future, people will determine who was actually a principled and honest conservative these past few years by seeing if they endorsed Kerry and why.
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