He defends his support of Bush's re-election here. I didn't like Kerry either. Who did? But I wasn't crazy enough to give Bush-Cheney-Rove four more years. I regret my support for Bush in 2000. But it was honestly held, based on what he promised to do: cut taxes in a surplus, conduct a humble foreign policy, be socially inclusive.

I don't regret my support for the president after 9/11.

In such a crisis, a president of any party deserves the benefit of the doubt. I do regret deeply and indelibly my subsequent backing of the Iraq war. It was a terrible mistake. Again, it was an honest judgment based on the evidence then provided me. But it was an intellectually lazy position and far too passionately held. I have tried to atone since: on the war, on spending (which I was whining about in 2001), on torture, on the constitution, on Christianism.

But on the critical matter: I took a stand in 2004 and again in 2006. Others didn't. I took a stand in defense of real conservatism early in Bush's first term and wrote a book making my case in 2005. It has taken Chris Buckley until October 2008 to come to the same conclusion. That's not because I'm smarter than he is. It's because the conservative movement policed dissent very effectively. But I'm not the intimidated kind.

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