Friday, September 26, 2003
( 10:46 AM )
Hate is a Four Letter Word
I heard Juan Williams on NPR this morning interviewing Jonathan Chait and Ramesh Ponnuru regarding their "debate" about "Bush Hatred." (putting aside that I don't see how anyone can actually call the New Republic "liberal" - as for this being a "debate" - give me a break!!) Here's a taste from Chait:
We agree on a couple things. The main one
is whether Bush hatred is a good political
strategy for Democrats: It's not. Bush
remains personally popular, and most people
don't like angry, bitter candidates anyway.
The question that divides us is: Does Bush
hatred have a rational basis, or is it an
unreasonable prejudice? In other words,
does Bush hatred result from the peculiar
mentality of the Bush haters--as
conservatives have been arguing--or does it
result from Bush himself? I argue that
it's the latter.
They then go off and argue about whether this entire hate-strategy of the Democrats will work or not. Whatever. The interview with Juan Williams was almost surreal, in my opinion. The whole discussion with the two editors boiled down to both of them agreeing that the entire impetus for the Democratic front runner (Dean) is Bush-hatred, and that Dean has based his whole campaign on spewing hate-Bush language. What??! What campaign am I watching then? Because in the pubilc appearances I have personally witnessed to the tv coverage of speeches to interviews and debates, Dean and the other candidates are making very clear arguments against Bush's policies but I have not once heard a hatred for him being pushed on the masses. Have I missed something?
First of all, this meme that the hatred for this president is the most visceral, personal hatred ever expressed in this country for a sitting president is ludicrous! What were those eight years we just went through before Bush? A huge national love fest? I heard this same thing from Hannity yesterday (husband watches for fun, I usually have to stay out of the room) - he even quoted JFK in an argument saying Ted Kennedy's words about the war were offensive and mean. But going beyond Hannity's propensity for the insane, it was as if the entire rightist plan right now is to pretend the right's viscious attacks, disgusting language and political annihilation of Clinton during his presidency didn't exist...and the current dissent is the worst stuff they've ever heard and an affront to political decency!
So building on that theme, they have now decided that there is some vast, sweeping hatred of Bush himself that is driving the democrats and thus the Democratic Party has now made its entire strategy a hate-based plan. Suddenly we all hate him personally? Now, I confess I don't particularly like the guy, he comes across to me as smarmy, sanctimonious, patronizing and not very nice. But I don't know him personally, so I don't hate him. I may be way off here, but I'd venture to guess this is how most people feel. Now his policies, the way he runs the government, the people he listens to, the decisions he makes and what is happening to this country - that I can hold no pretense of happiness - I'm downright angry. I'm angry that he and his cronies have gotten away with so much crap. I'm angry that the citizens of this country seem so apathetic during times like this. I'm angry that the media seems to not care to search for the truth at all in what it reports. Sure. I'm mad as hell. And I'm doing something about it.
Like hundreds of thousands of democrats, progressives, independents, greens, and even conservatives and liberatarians are also doing. Arguing about whether the national hatred for Bush is rational or irrational is like arguing whether that big purple monster in the sky has one eye or two. There is no purple monster.
The right is going to keep trying to come up with codes and talking points to distract from Bush's falling numbers. But they're only fooling themselves. Their whining sounds more hollow every day and while they can argue about how much we hate George W. Bush, we're focusing on how much we like the other options that are in front of us and how we're going to choose one of them of our own free will and then put him in the White House because we know he will be better than what we've got now. It's not hatred. It's Common Sense.