The myth of "Bush-hating" as an explanation for opposition

Saturday, February 18, 2006 at 08:32 AM

Lots of right wingers love to console themselves with the myth that opposition to the absurdly misguided policies of the Bush Administration are based on nothing more than some visceral "Bush hating."  How they manage to convince themselves that hate could spring out of nothing is beyond me, but then much of what they claim to think is beyond me.

One of the most dedicated advocates of "they just hate Bush" is the Weekly Standard, that exercise in neocon smugness  run by Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes, with lots of contributions from PJ O'Rourke, that "humorist" who suffers from fear of altruism.  One secondary headline over there in 2004 actually read "Amateur and professional Bush-haters gather in Washington for the Take Back America conference.".

If you are not as in love with your own cleverness, indeed your own rightness, as the Weekly Standard crew, you might actually evaluate this claim that hatred of Bush, totally apart from his policies and his character, motivates criticisms of the White House.  Do "we" really hate Bush apart from his actions and his character?  Would "we" vilify him even if he adopted sane policies that served all Americans instead of just his buddies in the Religion and Business groups?

As for me, the correct word for my feelings about Mr. Bush is not "hate" but deep, deep, deep disgust.  With the hypocrisy (loves vets in public, attacks vet programs in private, etc).  With the unfounded ideological commitment to an economic theory of free markets that is (a) totally unproven, and (b) likely (based on what historical evidence we do have) to produce the same widespread and intense misery for a large portion of the very citizens he serves as existed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  With the lack of honor in threatening and retaliating against federal officials and employees who are attempting to do their jobs honestly and in service to their country.  With the cavalier attitude toward starting a war on false pretense, oblivious to the potential harm to countless ordinary people, but not him or his.  With what I perceive to be his very character: easy with lies of all kinds, a privileged elitist who pretends to be a folksy old cowboy, and on and on.

In fact, I think I can sum up my feelings about George Bush with a simple analogy:  He's the door to door salesman who's suckering my national family into spending money it doesn't have on a product they don't need (which will probably cause them great harm), all while pretending to admire their house, their family, their appearance, their attire, their intelligence...anything to get my family to waste their money and their faith on a man who has only his own interests at heart.

I think the much publicized "Great Divide" between Americans is over what you see when you look at Mr. Bush.  It is between those who see him a plain man of the people and those who see him as a sly, insincere salesman who will pretend to be whatever you want him to be in order for him to sell an agenda that he never really talks about in public.

By the time this era of the Bush is over, I suspect that disgust will be the primary feeling toward him, eventually spreading to all Americans except those who share his interest in selling us that dangerous, crappy, overpriced product.

What will be left of America by the time that happens?