Whose side are you on?

Whose side are you on?
: Someone I like and respect said this to me in email:

I would never say this in public, but you are happy to slam Dean and the other Dems on your blog but you never tell anyone who you are for. Just like negative campaigning doesn’t work, negative blogging has its limits.

Well, that person was too nice to say it in public but I will. What the heck.

My life is an open blog.

But the problem is, I don’t know who I’m for. (Hell, I can’t even say that without getting my knickers in a grammatical gordian knot: I don’t know for whom I am? Oh, well…)

In this blog, writing about politics, I’m just a voter and I’m transparently subjecting you to my process of selecting. I’ve done that in other areas. In the early days of this blog, my few readers watched me give up my cherished pacifism in the face of our generation’s Hitler (a comparison I make quite intentionally, unlike others who have lately used it glibly). I’ve gone from disliking and distrusting Bush to at least giving him a chance to do his job (and weblogs have helped me be more open-minded). And I’ve decided that I don’t like the new Burger King sandwiches after all. This is the transparent life. That’s one reason we webloggers get attacked — who the hell could care less what you think? — but we also get attacked if we’re not transparent. So I’ll be transparent. So call me the Invisible Man.

When it comes to politics, though, it’s not so easy for a journalist to reveal preferences; we have that beaten out of us at an early age. There’s no crying baseball. There’s no political preference in journalism.

But my email correspondent is right — and so, for the most part, is Roger L. Simon when he challenges us all to vote in public — and so I should at least give you the context of where I stand right now, in case you could possibly care:

I have been a life-long Democrat and liberal and I’ve enumerated various stands here (never enough for the satisfaction of some, but they can kiss my NWL ass). I’ve been disturbed by many trends on the left, leaving its roots and soul behind. Too often, the left cares more about PC than free speech; today it cares more about fighting Bush than fighting a tyrant like Saddam. I could go on and on but I already have. Unlike Simon or Totten, I haven’t left the fold; I just dyed my sheepskin black.

It’s no surprise that I don’t like Dean and the more I see of him the less I like him. I won’t hash it all over again because I’ve hashed him plenty but I think he is destructive, trading on bile rather than on building a future. I say he is wrong on the war and that ousting Saddam is a humanitarian and thus a liberal issue. I disagree what he says about many issues (including media) and agree about some. But in the end, I think he is far from inclusive and he is hot-headed and perhaps even a bit unstable; I do not think he would make a good President; I also think he has no chance of winning the election. As a voter, he turns me off and I say so. And as I’ve said here, I think his negativity is what has lost him the nomination. I am not alone. Far from it.

But because Dean was — through the fault of my fellow media travellers — so long the presumed front-runner and winner, I will admit that I was lazy. What was the point of studying the stands of a dozen other candidates when none of them will win or, at the least, most will not survive until my state’s primary? The primary system will do its job, I figured, and then I will do mine. But the last few weeks have changed all that.

I had hoped early on that Clark would be the alternative to Dean but he has, instead, tried to become Dean the Sequel. He harps on the war with the same shrill tone as Dean. He flipflops menacingly. He reveals himself to be an amateur and if this were American Idol, I might be forgiving, but this is the Presidency we’re talking about. Clark is not my man.

Lieberman would be my man — if only he could win. We agree on the war. He is the most mature and experienced of the entire field. He’s smart and practical. He’s a Clinton Democrat and so am I. We disagree about many issues — among them, government control of entertainment content. But all in all, he has come the closest to my weltanschauung. But he’s losing.

So now I turn to Kerry and Edwards and, quite frankly, I don’t know enough about either of them yet. Sure, I’ve followed Kerry over time but I need to study up on what he’s saying today, for politicians do morph, don’t they? And Edwards is impressing people but I fear that could be because he’s the one about whom we know the least, and thus he’s the one in whom many are now putting their greatest hopes. He is the blank slate. So I’ll watch him, too.

So I’m not engaging in “negative blogging.” I’m engaging in honest blogging. I don’t like or trust Howard Dean and I say so here. I have been unimpressed with Clark and I’ve said so. I am still figuring out the rest of the pack if the primaries don’t select for me.

And that, folks, is the way things are.

Should you give a damn? No. I’m just one voter. But since (some of you) asked….