As George Bush toddles off into the sunset, his problematic legacy an issue for historians to hash out, I find myself in a deep depression - a full-blown, down in the dumps, near-suicidal, serotonin choking, crusher case of the blues. It is at times like this I wish I still had my Zoloft prescription although I could do without the weight gain and zombie-like side effects.
No more George Bush means no more daily dose of liberal derangement about him. And no more liberal derangement about Bush means I will have to find some other avenue that can match the sheer entertainment value of watching while otherwise (nearly) normal Americans made gargantuan fools out of themselves by blaming the president for everything from acts of God to the acts of terrorists.
Toward the end, the left hit upon an explanation for their out of control moonbattiness; Bush was so awful that anything said about him was probably too good for him. He bollixed things up so badly, the reasoning goes, that it can hardly be called “derangement” when these truths are pointed out.
If that were only true. Clearly, reasoned critiques of the Bush presidency - many of which you will find on this site - do not denote “derangement” in any sense of the word. The problem is, even respected voices on the left like Yglesias, Klien, and Drum all succumbed to wild exaggeration, gross hyperbole, and outright falsehoods to describe what they saw as the president’s failings.
Filling the Justice Department (and most of government) with cronies and party hacks is stupid governance, not criminality. Initiating controversial programs to spy on overseas terrorists and their American contacts, interdicting and tracking the flow of money to terrorists, and tearing down artificial walls between domestic and foreign intelligence is not “shredding the constitution.” It never was and it never will be. If the Constitution were “shredded,” I daresay liberals who pointed this out would not be free to continue to spout such inanities for many years but would instead be comfortably ensconced in those camps built for American “subversives.”
No matter. If intelligent critiques of these and other programs were forthcoming from the left (and there have been precious few) an arguement could be made that “Bush Derangement Syndrom” is nothing more than conservative push back against the vitriol - a way to dismiss criticism and not grant it legitimacy.
But Holy Baby Jesus, how can anyone with a scintilla of reason and logic not have read lefty blogs - all major lefty blogs - for the past 8 years and not come to the rational conclusion that the folks engaged in unreasoning conspiracy mongering, exaggerated warnings about a coming dictatorship, proclaiming imminent attacks on countries like Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, and ascribing evil intent to either innocent or inept actions, should be taken seriously by anyone with half a brain?
BDS has nothing to do with criticism of Bush. Those who practice BDS are marked by the gross contradictions in their “analysis.” Bush is both an incompetent clown and an evil genius - and interesting combination and, when you think about it, a logical fallacy. And beyond the wildly exaggerated rhetoric, there lies a resolute shallowness - an inability to grasp ideas in more than one dimension. Hence, you get obscenity-laced screeds like this one:
People HATE George W. Bush. A lot. Why? Because he’s a hideous little shit who fucked everything up, that’s why. He made a lot of people dead and even more people poor. And everyone knows it.
Our country has had problems acknowledging how black people are humans with brains and ability; we’ve had difficulties admitting the same when it comes to women; I’m not taking anything away from Obama’s skills in asserting that if Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic nomination, she’d have approval ratings in the same ballpark as his are now. And I’m not taking anything away from either in saying that if we’d nominated Bill the Motherfucking Cat it would be about the same.
Looking back through the Bush years for his Positive Accomplishments is, for me, like picking through my toddler’s diaper for the undigested corn. Everyone hates that asshole. Bush Derangement Syndrome, it emerges, was sanity all along.
Defending one’s derangement in a deranged way may be a first - even for this lefty. But to those who take me to task for regularly lumping all liberals in with the worst of them, I would point out that this is not an isolated case nor is it atypical of the kind of exaggerated, unsupported nonsense one hears from the left about Bush. From Krugman, to Yglesias, to T-Bogg, the primary view of Bush is that of a cartoon character - Snidely Whiplash, Elmer Fudd, and Boris Badanov all rolled into one. Of course, there is a little wider vocabularly employed to describe this one dimensional Bush stick figure by “respected” lefties. But the theme remains the same; George Bush has never done anything good, is not capable of doing anything good, and in fact, is an evil monster of a president.
President Obama is not a BDS sufferer. He proves himself a better man than all of Bush’s deranged critics put together:
“If you look at my statements throughout the campaign, I always thought he was a good guy,” the Democratic president-elect said on CNN about the Republican president whom he replaces Tuesday.
“I mean, I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country. And I think he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.”
Best decisions he could? Obama lambasted Bush on the campaign trail for his decisions on a wide range of issues, including the Iraq war, financial regulation, climate change and the treatment of prisoners.
Obama made reference to those, too.
“Over the last several years, we have made a series of bad choices and we are now going to be inheriting the consequences of a lot of those bad choices,” the president-elect said.
“That does not mean that I think he’s not a good person. And his White House staff has done an extraordinary job in working with us for a smooth transition.”
A rather more nuanced and realistic view of Bush that shows the man is not lacking in class. Politics is politics - a mudwrestling match where twisting knees and eye gouging are legal - but let’s give Obama credit for having more than a one dimensional view of his predecessor. That kind of reasoned acknowledgement of fact - a view the American people agree with - bodes well for the future.
But when their deranged memes are proved wrong, they simply move on to another without acknowledgement that they made a collosal blunder in logic and reason.
In traditional electoral terms, that may also be the case in 2008. Should things proceed as they are now, it’s hard to imagine any Republican candidate going into the election within striking distance. The potential variations are many, but the graffiti on the wall is clear.
What’s also clear is that this administration has a deep, profound and uncompromised contempt for democracy, for the rule of law, and for the US Constitution. When George W. Bush went on the record (twice) as saying he has nothing against dictatorship, as long as he can be dictator, it was a clear and present policy statement.
Who really believes this crew will walk quietly away from power? They have the motivation, the money and the method for doing away with the electoral process altogether. So why wouldn’t they?
The groundwork for dismissal of both the legislative and judicial branch has been carefully laid. The litany is well-known, but worth a very partial listing:
The continuation of the drug war, and the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act and other dictatorial laws prompted by the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, have decimated the Bill of Rights, and shredded the traditional American right to due process of law, freedom from official surveillance, arbitrary violence, and far more.
No, the 2008 election was not canceled - despite assurances from numerous lefties that such would be the case if it appeared the GOP was going to lose.
Nor has there been a military draft as was promised in the weeks leading up to the 2004 election.
Nor have the aforementioned “concentration camps” built by Haliburton been activated to house dissidents and anti-war protestors.
Nor has any proof whatsoever emerged that anyone in the United States government had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks.
Nor has there ever been proof of a plot by the Bushies to silence critics, intimidate dissidents, or eliminate dissent. No one who has spoken out against government has ben sent to jail for doing so.
Then why? Why the hyperbole, the overwrought invective, the tortured language, the sheer nuttiness from so many on the left?
In their worship of Obama is the answer. By pumping up the evil of the Bush Administration, it reflects that much better on them when they ride to the rescue to save us. The bigger the evil, the more aggrandizement befalls them as they stand upon the battlements, waving the bloody shirt while the rest of us peasants look up at them in doe-eyed gratitude.
Already we have read that the US has been saved, constitutional government restored, the rule of law reimposed, and American democracy rescued from the clutches of the evil Bushies.
I sure will miss that kind of idiocy.
It’s easy to ascribe evil to your political opponent when you never grant him the legitimacy of his office. Even after 2004, the majority of the left accused the president of stealing the election.
Why this would be true while the GOP lost so many close Congressional races in 2006 (14 races decided by less than 3 %) and especially in 2008 when 8 states were won by Obama by less than 5%, simply makes no sense. So of course, the left posits the meme that the GOP tried to steal those elections but were so far behind they fell short.
No explanation for why a bunch of evil election thieves would care what the margin might be. And if the GOP was so good at stealing in 2000, 2004, what the hell happened in 2008? Did they lose their mojo? Or did Democrats find ways to steal their votes back?
Bush Derangement has never, ever been about making sense. It has always been about self-aggrandization by elevating one’s opposition to an heroic level, far above the mundane of simple political disputes. It is a world that many on the right will now inhabit when it comes to Obama - a fate for which they will suffer as much as the left has suffered these last 8 years.