Kmiecal reactions

Doug Kmiec is not a traitor, and neither are McCain Democrats.

I’m listening to Douglas Kmiec on “To the Point,” talking about his endorsement of Obama, expanding a bit on his Slate post. He doesn’t address his work for the Romney campaign, but it’s evident that his preference structure is Romney>Obama>McCain. I still don’t get it, but that’s his business. I prefer Minor Threat to Grand Funk Railroad to Gang Green. And I’ll happily go on Warren Olney to defend that.

If Obama supporters (and yellow-dog Democrats) are happy to welcome him to the fold, can we please not reflexively call crazy those Obama or Clinton supporters who say they’ll vote for McCain if their candidate doesn’t get the nomination? If it’s out of conviction, it’s inherently no more incoherent a posture than Kmiec’s. If it’s out of spite, maybe cutting off one’s nose is deemed worth the downside. If it’s out of rank ignorance (“Obama is a jihadi,” “Clinton killed Vince Foster”)…I got nothing.

Technical mumbo jumbo alert: Kmiec betrays no obvious violation of the usual axioms of rational (utility-maximizing) decisionmaking. That is, his preferences don’t appear to be non-transitive, nor to depend on irrelevant alternatives. You’re welcome to try to impute weights and values to Kmiec’s decision criteria, and whether he’s using a compensating or non-compensating decision rule.