"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce...

As ever, weakness has taken refuge in a belief in miracles, had fancied the enemy overcome when he was only conjured away in imagination, and lost all understanding of the present in a passive glorification of the future that was in store for it and of the deeds it had in petto, but merely did not want to carry out yet."

-Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (say what you will about Marx and his followers, they were masters of the put-down)

I'm not, I don't think, an unquestioning supporter of the Bush administration. They're screwed some stuff up (less, on balance, than I think everyone thinks they have right now), and to the extent that they have, I'm not so fond* of them. But, by and large, if democracy promotion's your thing (and if it isn't, why not?), you know that your man in the White House is going to be George W. Bush.

Which is why the prospect of a Kerry election terrifies me. It's not as if I'm choosing between a unilateral idealist foreign policy and a more sedate multilateral idealism: I can stick to my guns (democracy has to be promoted around the world), or I can fall back into a morally equivocating realism which cares more about economies than people (read up on Kerry's plans for China or North Korea and you'll see some of what I mean). But there's more.

As Marx (and Lenin and Trotsky) could've told you, revolution begets counter-revolution**. So I don't think it's merely the case that Kerry would revert to the occasionally realist occasionally idealist stance of the Clinton years--the ascendant faction in the Democratic party at the moment is that of hard-core realism, and there's little to no principled, unwavering support for democracy as a primary foreign policy principle. As a matter of fact, you'll have a hard time finding any foundational principles at all.

So, I'm voting for Bush: he may not always do what I'd want him to do, but I see the alternative, and I know it'd be far, far worse.

*I think you could probably argue that the torture stuff would be passable if it actually appeared more that Bush really cared about it, but you could probably say this about every political scandal (Whitewater anyone?)

**If you want to find anything remarkable about the American revolution, it's that it seems to be one of the few (if not the only) exceptions to this rule.

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