I'm torn on how to feel about the upcoming election. On the one hand, I hate the thought of Democrats winning; on the other hand, I hate the thought of the Republicans not losing. It's a quandary. I find it hard to imagine that the Democrats would be worse than the Republicans, but my predictive record isn't good in that regard: I never thought Bush would be worse than Clinton, either. Just thinking out loud here, lots of wishy-washy indecision ahead:
1. When our Iraqi adventure goes down in flames, I think it would be good to have Republicans in full control. Not because the Republicans would handle it better, but so that they take full blame. Ten years down the line, I don't want to see the Republicans justifying some new intervention by saying, "Well, Iraq was going fine until the Democrats screwed it up." This seems like a cynical political calculation, but it could save lives in the decades to come.
2. I'm not convinced that the Democrats would be any less violent abroad. My concern here is that, since they are often perceived as the weaker party on foreign affairs, they might find it necessary to throw American military strength around to prove they're not the pack of wimps the Republicans say they are.
3. I think the Democrats are worse in regards to nanny statism. It seems like it's usually them behind smoking bans, attempts at food restrictions, etc. Republicans are worse on things like sexual freedom, but here's the thing: I don't think a Republican regime would be very likely to succeed in carrying out any significant restrictions on sexual freedom, whereas I think a Democratic administration would actually have a pretty good chance of getting their preferred forms of oppression passed and left intact by the courts. So, regardless of who is objectively more malevolent, I think Democrats are the greater menace in regard to personal freedoms.
4. On the other hand, I would also like to see the Republicans punished at the polls, to discourage them from future warmongering. This is a big consideration, potentially enough to outweigh the others. It is also, of course, incompatible with point #1.
5. It might be good for civil liberties in an indirect way if the Democrats win. More power for the Democrats might make the Republicans a little more cautious in embracing new police state measures, since it would serve as a reminder to conservatives that those powers could be wielded just as easily by some future Democratic administration. I may be giving Republican foresight too much credit, though.
So, who to root for? For the first time in my life, I honestly don't care. In every other election I've followed, I always preferred (or at least hated less) one side over the other, however slightly. My lingering preference for the Republicans has been beaten out of me by the last six years, but I don't find myself loathing the Democrats any less than I used to.And you want to know what really sucks? The elections fall on my birthday this year, as they did in 2000. So, once again, I'm getting whichever bastards will be screwing my country over for the next few years as my present. Happy birthday to me.