I realized something important when I watched the debate on Wednesday night. I just internalize and gloss over my assumption that politicians almost never say what they mean. It doesn’t even bother me any more. I’m not sure if that’s a mature world view or a horribly cynical one. Let me give you an example. When John Kerry says, “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” I don’t believe him. I think he’s saying that because he thinks it’s what will get him elected. And to tell you the truth, I don’t even really fault him for it. Sure, I’d prefer to see him stand up there and tell us what he really believes in his heart of hearts, as they say, but politicians who do that don’t get elected. They get laughed out of town. People claim to want the unvarnished truth from politicians, but politicians are nearly always punished in the polls when they say what they really think.
But I think this explains President Bush’s appeal to his most ardent supporters. They think that President Bush is one of those mythical politicians who just says what he believes without considering the political consequences. I feel sad for them.