If I knew nothing else about this election or recent history, I’d vote for Bush based solely on who his enemies are. The anti-Bush roster includes: the international Left — including MSM, academia and much of the entertainment industry; the governments of France, Iran, Germany, Venezuela, Canada, Cuba, N. Korea, Syria, etc.; the Palestinians; probably the Saudis and the Chinese; the UN; the US State Department bureaucracy; and numerous intellectuals who have been getting the big picture wrong for years.
When you think about it that’s not a bad way to make complex decisions: look at what the groups that have big stakes in the matter are doing, then vote with the ones that share your interests and against the rest. That’s how I vote on issues I don’t know a lot about. For example, on a referendum item that would cap lawyers’ fees in medical-liability cases, I am split. On the one hand I think medical liability is out of control, on the other hand I oppose price fixing. But I know that the trial lawyers favor the measure and the doctors oppose it, so I vote against.
All I need to know about this election is that the UN crowd wants Kerry to win. (As the WSJ pointed out in today’s editorial, the UN has already voted, by ginning up the missing-explosives story.) So to all the clever bloggers who are publicly agonizing about whom to vote for, I say, look at the obvious. Figure out who your enemies are, observe their preferences in our election and take the opposite position.
UPDATE: One of the commenters raises the issue of rational ignorance. I agree that that issue overlaps the issue that I discuss, as my main reason for using my “enemy of my enemy” heuristic is that I don’t have the resources or ability to evaluate each issue by myself. However, the overlap isn’t complete. I argue that by observing the behavior of better-informed players I am able to obtain, more economically than by conventional methods, the information that I need to make good decisions. It is a little like trading stocks based on market behavior, as opposed to trading on fundamental analysis of underlying economic conditions. Maybe I could learn enough about each company’s fundamentals to trade its stock successfully. But if I can trade just as well, with less effort, solely by observing the stock’s behavior and making reasonable inferences, why not do so? It is similar with voting decisions, especially when I am having difficulty making up my mind using conventional decision criteria.
UPDATE 2: Here’s someone who gets it.