Saturday, April 26, 2003

Losing the shine of hero worship

Calpundit has some interesting thoughts on the question of how gay politics might effect the 2004 election. He looks at some of the polling data on the matter and finds that there might a not-so-insignificant number of Bush supporters who might lose faith in him if they come to believe that he is willing to look the other way at the kind of intolerance represented by Rick Santorum. Cal points specifically to the apparent disillusion that Andrew Sullivan is experiencing this past week. POSTSCRIPT: I know that Andrew Sullivan is not exactly a prototypical voter, but when he says this...
It is hard to express fully the sheer discouragement of this past week, capped simply by a calculated and contemptuously terse political gesture by a president I had come to trust. It makes me question whether that trust is well founded. And whether hope for a more inclusive future among conservatives is simply quixotic.
...it's hard not to believe that there are some fence-sitting moderate voters for whom this could be an issue that nudges them toward a Democratic candidate. (Can I just ask, though, what the hell has Sullivan been thinking? Whatever else you think of him, he's a very smart, very politically astute person, so what could possibly have lead him to believe that George Bush might actually be willing to take any kind of electoral risk to support gays? 9/11 must have really addled his brain for him not to understand something this basic and this obvious. I almost feel sorry for the guy.)
Who among us can stand to face up the reality that our heroes might have feet of clay? We might think that Sullivan was extremely naive for thinking otherwise, but perhaps we can find sympathy for him when we think back to past experiences of similar hero deflation in our own lives. Who among Clinton's supporters was NOT disappointed by his handling of the Lewinsky matter? How many of them grew so discouraged from the matter that they chose to vote for Bush over Gore in order to make a break with all the unpleasantness? And who, among Bush's supporters, would become discouraged, as Sullivan appears to be discouraged, and break from Bush in 2004? An interesting question no?

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