My hate is bigger than yours

Much ink has been spilled over the differences between Clinton and Bush 'hatreds'. Conservatives have mostly played wounded, i.e., what did we ever do to deserve this? Mean ol' crazy-ass liberals. Oh well, they'll get theirs. Liberals have responded indignantly: now they're going to go and take our knee-jerk disgust away? What happened to just ignoring us?

Middle-of-the-roaders tut-tut that Democrats will never win an election if they insist on venting their frustration in a childish manner bound to alienate moderates. No doubt a valid issue, even if argued in a really smug tone by people who should spending their time investigating Bush.

Now, just for the record, Bush hatred is NOT the same as Clinton hatred, at base. The right wing hardcore of Clinton haters was composed of opportunists and sleaze mongers trying to destroy him by any means necessary: condemning him for adultery, saying he murdered people, and hysterically pushing any number of scandals peripheral to the actual business of policy making.

Bush haters, on the other hand, are composed of the elite of the liberal intelligentsia, people with real professional reputations to protect. Furthermore, while there is certainly no end to snipes about Bush's intellectual curiosity (and even those accusations have footnotes) Bush haters' real anger is focused on actual policy. Their most heated accusations are leveled directly at the administration's flagship initiatives and public political strategies.

Some have said that the it's just Bush's success that drives Democrats mad with hatred. Like Clinton, Bush can't be touched despite the huge risks his administration has taken and the criticism always snapping at his heels, the logic goes. There may be further truth to this, since, like Clinton, much of Bush's success has been based on his ability to coopt his opponent's rhetoric and policies, thereby grabbing a broader swath of public support. Only difference is, Clinton was actually a centrist, and when he stole ideas and language from the right, he went out and actually made policy that incorporated both sides. Not to say this wasn't a huge political advantage for him, but nonpartisan conservatives actually got some of what they bargained for. Bush, on the other hand, rips off the language of the left, and then wraps it around radically conservative policies. Thus, while Clinton haters had good reason to be angry that he was getting away with policies they should have been enacting, Bush is just getting away with murder.


Post a Comment

<< Home