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Where's the outrage?

Kevin Drum, who's generally one of the more thoughtful liberal bloggers out there, answers one of the more puzzling questions out there: why all the Bush hatred? I mean, I understand that people dislike his policies, but they hate him personally. Why?

Why do I dislike George Bush? Because of his policies, obviously, and also because of temperament and personality characteristics that rub me the wrong way. But there's more. Whenever I think about this, one of the things that always settles into my mind is that he just doesn't deserve to be president. He never paid his dues.

It's not just that he got the job based partly on his family name. You could say the same thing about FDR, JFK, Bush Sr, and Al Gore, and it doesn't especially bother me about any of them. It's more that I just can't figure out how he managed to become a consensus party choice for president after a mere single term as governor of Texas.

For many cultural conservatives, Bill Clinton symbolized everything wrong with liberalism -- a career politician, whose background included draft dodging, drug use, and adultery. And worse, none of these things bothered voters. It's one thing to be a draft-dodging-drug-using-adulterer; it's another to be a successful one.

For many liberals, George Bush represents the flip side of the coin; he symbolizes privilege. Unearned privilege. Worse, unrepentent unearned privilege. George HW Bush was also privileged, but nobody could accuse him of not working hard; Bob Dole's criticism of him, after all, was that Bush offered a "resume." The current president, by contrast, just seems to have stumbled his way to success his whole life, getting by on his name and his charm when his behavior "should" have doomed him.

In many ways, not that different than Bill Clinton. Which explains why there's as much Bush hatred as there was Clinton hatred.


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Comments (4)

In many ways, not that different than Bill Clinton.

That's right, all that Clinton policy-wonkism was just an act. He just seemed like a Rhodes Scholar - of course, he got that because of his privileged background. He was just as disinterested and careless as W is.

Mithras, leaving aside your knee-jerk insinuation that George Bush is stupid, I didn't say that they were identical in all respects. I said in many ways and was talking about their personalities.

Each has, or is perceived by his respective opponents to have, serious character deficiencies which -- according to his opponents' worldview -- should in a just world disqualify him from political success. And yet the public doesn't see it that way. Liberals wouldn't hate Bush if he were a rich frat boy who lost elections; they hate him because they think he should lose but he doesn't. Conservatives wouldn't hate Clinton if he were a talk show host; they hate him because they think the public should reject him, but it keeps accepting him.

They hate him because he's openly Christian and he talks like a real man.


I think it is true that Conservative's vitriol toward Clinton was largely personal. But there was a conscious effort by conservative leadership to portray him that way because his actual policies were not very good targets.

I don't think Bush is hated in the same way. It is his policies that are hated. It is his unapologetic promotion of policies that serve his class that infuriates many people. He adds to that by acting as if he had been legitimately elected with a mandate to carry them out.

If Bush is a Christian its hard to find any evidence of it.


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