Megan McArdle has a very well-expressed little essay on why she wouldn't swing to the Dems. I agree, and would like to add my two, cruder cents. These, then, are the reasons I won't be a jackass and vote for one:
(1) Democrats think babies are things, not people. (Incidentally, this is probably the biggest reason I'd never be a Libertoid, either.) The curious religious devotion required to achieve this result alone suggests to me that the Democrat Party is irrational and unworthy of my vote. Oh, I know, officially, the Dems have a "big tent" that encompasses people with a broad variety of perspectives on slaughtering infants in utero. (Someone might wanna tell Bill Casey's family this.) But the official Democrat platform (found here) states that:
The Democratic Party stands behind the right of every woman to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of ability to pay. We believe it is a fundamental constitutional liberty that individual Americans - not government - can best take responsibility for making the most difficult and intensely personal decisions regarding reproduction.So, the Dems are officially behind the position that some humans are other humans' property, and can be disposed of on a whim. (Some things never change.) The Big Tent is actually the Giant Abattoir.
Thanks, but no thanks.
(2) The Democrats hate free trade. Oh, I know, the Libertoids are (still) in high dudgeon over Bush's steel tariffs (uh, guys, that was a year ago), and some less-informed folks argue that the Jackasses are better on free trade because of it, but let's review:
Clinton signs NAFTA, rams it through Congress. Good.
Clinton helps (or, rather, fails to hinder) the GATT from becoming the WTO. Good.
Clinton maintains almost the entire Smoot-Hawley tariff regime. Not so good, but no one notices.
Clinton pushes for China's admission to the WTO. Good, if you think countries that deliberately employ slave labor should be admitted to the trading community of nations.
Clinton fails to get fast track. Not so good, but it's probably the evil Republicans' fault.
The EU imposes massive controls on GM foods. Clinton shakes their bleeping hands. Not so good.
Lunatics protest WTO meetings in Seattle, and Clinton says, in essence, Golly, that's not nice, but I see where they're coming from. Not good, and morally indefensible.
Clinton signs (but does not submit to the Senate) the Kyoto protocols. Bad.
Bush pushes steel tariffs. Bad.
Bush rejects Kyoto. Good.
Bush signs farm bill. Bad.
Bush leaves the Smoot-Hawley regime intact. Bad, but the only reason we notice it is coming up.
Bush gets fast track authority. Good.
Bush promptly uses the leverage of the steel tariffs and farm bill to expand free trade zones beyond what Clinton dreamed. Good.
Bush talks about undoing the whole protection racket that is our trade structure (link when I have the time). Damned good.
Bush sends his UN and WTO reps to file actions to end EU bans on GM products. Good.
Get the idea? Bush did two small, unprincipled things for electoral advantage, and used them to get what the bleeping Libertoids and I want. Clinton started strong, then faded. And I don't trust any of the (currently nine) dwarves running for the Donkey ticket to be even half as good as Clinton.
(3) Democrats think that a sneer works as well as a smile. Beginning with the sadly unlamented Adlai Stevenson, with the curious exception of John Kennedy, every Democrat on the national ticket has begun his campaign with the following set of assumptions:
I am smarter than everyone else.
No one knows what will work as well as I do.
I am so damned smart.
People who disagree with me are stupid.
Indeed, the people themselves are stupid.
Did I mention that I'm really smart?
Now, this doubtless appeals to certain groups, college professors among them, who share this sort of predisposition to grandeur. It appeals to those who need to be told what to do. It appeals to unrepentant Communists.
It doesn't appeal to me.
First, remember how during Gore's laugher of a campaign, they kept touting (and raising) his I.Q. in press releases? A couple of points there, kids. First, I.Q. 135 is functionally retarded in my household. Second, I.Q. is worth precisely jack in a President. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have high I.Q.s. They were the Presidential equivalents of Superfund sites. Neither Bush (this one), nor Kennedy, nor Reagan, nor Truman, was in line for Marilyn vos Savant's title, and their administrations turned out (and are turning out) just fine. Put simply: Assuming you're functional, your intelligence is relevant only in your ability to realize that you cannot specialize in everything. And the Jackasses keep missing that.
Then there's this: If you're at war, under heavy mortar fire, your position is pinned down, and you're sure as heck that the warm gushy feeling in your pants is not in fact a hot apple pie, do you want (a) someone who'll sit down and discuss the conflict between neo-realism and neo-liberalism in international affairs, and its impact on the international relationship that caused the battle around you, or (b) someone who'll yell, Gut check time! and get you the hell outta there? Just wondering.
(4) Finally, to cut this short: For all that Republicans are (officially, anyway) opposed to abortion (and this presumes that the argument over abortion simply reflects control over the mother, rather than control over murder), show me their insistence on having someone else watch over you. Sodomy laws? Give me a break. The war on drugs? Maybe, but that's a wash on both sides. Democrats have no God, save the State. I have a God, who is curiously dissimilar to the State.
So, that, in a nutshell, is why I won't pull the lever for whichever yutz comes out of the Dem primaries. Or for most Democrats in general. There's more, but this has dragged on long enough.