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Saturday, October 09, 2004

Reading Mickey Kaus is like picking at a scab. I just can't help myself sometimes.

This one is, in a nutshell, everything that is wrong and fake and scummy about him.

Kerry's tortured, intellectually bogus answer on abortion--'I think it's murder but I would never base legislation on morality!'--suggests that one of my co-watchers was right to think the way to trip him up is on "smaller," discrete values questions like abortion and capital punishment. Update: Saletan has more detail on why Kerry's abortion answer was "awful" politicking.


I thought Kerry's answer was probably bad politics too. What it most emphatically wasn't was "tortured (and) intellectually bogus." It was conflicted, sure -- which is where the bad politics comes in -- but it was also incredibly honest, which is why it must have given Kaus a rash.

Of course legislation is based on morality. Rape is wrong, therefore it is illegal. But that's not what Kerry said. Kerry's point is that legislation cannot be based on his individual morality. It must reflect the morality of the country and the time. If, as leader of the country, he can bring enough people around to his way of thinking, great. If not, he's got to go with the flow.

What were LBJ's personal feelings on civil rights? It doesn't matter. He did what was unquestionably the right thing. That was the point Kerry was making. His personal morality can inform his actions as a leader, but it must not inform his actions as president. There is a distinction between the two that is lost on Kaus (not to mention Bush).

I had a great snark line about Mickey and being intellectually bogus, but fuck it. Kaus is wrong, but more than that. He's lost. He's not just wrong, he is incapable of being right on this. It's just not part of his self-image. Kaus is so desperate to be the journo's journo that a statement like Kerry's ends up being completely alien to him. It doesn't compute. He can't let himself recognize it.

No wonder Kaus hates him so much. If a guy like Kerry is actually capable of being genuine, then Kaus' pose is a sham. And every time Kerry rubs Kaus' nose in it by being genuine, the bile rises just a little bit higher in Kaus' throat, and the life he has chosen for himself seems a little more hollow.

But of course, thinking something like that just makes me 'naive'. Everything a politican says is a priori an angle, an attempt to gain a vote from somebody somewhere, and I'm just a sucker for falling for it.

Right, Mickey?

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