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It’s Hard To Believe Anne Applebaum

This is the sort of headline that rankles:

Why I Can’t Vote for John McCain: I admire the man, but his party has been taken over by anti-intellectual extremists.

Maybe this is cynical, but I find it difficult to believe that Applebaum was just right on the verge of pulling the lever for McCain until she got a load of Governor Palin and watched a Sean Hannity special. But that’s her story, and she’s sticking to it:

Though he is a true foreign-policy intellectual, his supporters cultivate ignorance and fear: Watch Sean Hannity’s “Obama & Friends: History of Radicalism” if you don’t believe me. Worse, in a fatal effort to appeal to the least thoughtful, most partisan elements of his base, McCain has moved away from his previous positions on torture and immigration. Maybe that’s all tactics, and maybe the “real” McCain will ditch the awful ideologues after Nov. 4 if, by some miracle, he happens to win. But how can I know that will happen?

Here’s what I do know: I would give anything to rewrite history and make McCain president in 2000. But in 2008, I don’t think I can vote for him. Barack Obama is indeed the least experienced, least tested candidate in modern presidential history. But at least if he wins, I can be sure that the mobs who cry “terrorist” at the sound of his name will be kept away—far away—from the White House.

She’s worried about the occasional kook at a McCain rally? Been to a Democratic rally lately? Been to an antiwar protest in the last five years? America is a big country, with a thriving Kook-American population. Are there really “mobs” who “cry ‘terrorist’” at the sound of Obama’s name, as opposed to a few scattered Kook-Americans in the crowd here and there? Show me the mob. And was McCain about to make some random Kook-American who shouted “terrorist!” at a rally secretary of state? What exactly is the story here, other than the usual upper-class horror at yahoos?

And, really, the Right is home to anti-intellectual extremists? Which side of the political spectrum is home to back-to-the-Earth, anti-market, animal-rights, New Age organic crystal-chakra millenarians who are presently organized not around a policy platform but a personality cult? Oprah is the great intellectual in this debate? Please.
There are all sorts of good reasons to not vote for McCain — e.g., if you prefer Obama’s policies — but this bit from Applebaum is shabby nonsense. And I find it difficult to believe for a moment that this was some sort of wrenching, soul-searching exercise for the one DC-born/Sidwell Friends-and-Yale-alumnus/Europe-dwelling member of the Washington Post editorial board who was seriously thinking about going Republican this year. Spare us the opera; you’re an Obama voter. Big deal.


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