Slate posted the endorsements of every contributor and staffer that they could round up yesterday, including Gerry Shargel, the Mafia defense attorney who participated in their dialogues on the Sopranos a few times. (He endorses Kerry.) I wasn’t surprised to see Slate’s Middle East commentator, Lee Smith, endorse Bush. He’s in the group of people who support Bush because he talks about bringing democracy to the Middle East, in other words, the people who really infuriate me.
I’m 100% in favor of bringing real democracy to the Middle East. I’m a believer in the idea that one of the biggest reasons why jihadist groups grow in popularity is that people in various Islamic countries are not provided with any legitimate outlet for political expression if they don’t support the powers that be. President Bush certainly talks a good game about transforming the Middle East, about a struggle that will take decades. But ultimately, if your project is remaking an entire region of the world as a group of states that are democratic, tolerant, and open, I can’t imagine a worse way to start than invading one of them, slaughtering thousands of its citizens, and seeing it go over to utter and complete chaos. Oh, and setting up a puppet government and a torture program didn’t help either. Not only have we not brought democracy to Iraq, but we have alienated just about anyone working for democracy in any of the other countries that are of concern. So even though President Bush and I may agree on the project, I can’t imagine a worse President to carry it out.