The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, January 19, 2009
The End of Bush Derangement Syndrome? No.
There is one thing certain to go through Barack Obama's mind during the inauguration: at one point or another, while glancing at George W. Bush, he will consider the treatment that Bush got as president and hope to God he suffers nothing even vaguely similar.
It can be stated without fear of serious argument that no previous president has been treated as brutally, viciously, and unfairly as George W. Bush.
Bush 43 endured a deliberate and planned assault on everything he stood for, everything he was involved in, everything he tried to accomplish. Those who worked with him suffered nearly as much (and some even more -- at least one, Scooter Libby, was convicted on utterly specious charges in what amounts to a show trial).
His detractors were willing to risk the country's safety, its economic health, and the very balance of the democratic system of government in order to get at him. They were out to bring him down at all costs, or at the very least destroy his personal and presidential reputation. At this they have been half successful, at a high price for the country and its government.
Although everyone insists on doing so, it is impossible to judge Bush, his achievements, or his failings, without taking these attacks into account. Before any serious analysis of the Bush presidency can be made, some attempt to encompass the campaign against him must be carried out. I hope no one is holding his breath.You will want to read it all. Really.
Unfortunately the Left's "hate first" modus operendi seems unlikely to abate after Obama's inauguration. As evidenced by Nancy Pelosi's "unifying" statement yesterday (and you were expecting....what, exactly?), Pelosi, Conyers, Waxman and and the rest of the "Stalinist show trial" Left would apparently just as soon see the United States become a laughingstock; a third world banana republic where successive regimes' first act is to purge or lock up any supporters of the previous regime. If Pelosi and company get their way, historians will look back at America as more resembling mid-20th century Argentina or Chile (if not Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Stalinist Russia or the "Cultural Revolution" in Maoist China..) than resembling any previous notion of America since the 1860's.
In order to focus hate--the anarchist path to power--every movement needs a scapegoat. Hitler had the Jews--and indeed, anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, in no small part because the masses have chosen to look the other way as jihadism slowly engulfs us all. So the Jews will continue to be scapegoats for all that is wrong in the Muslim world, even though Israel has nothing whatsoever to do with Islamist violence in: Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines... and even Western Europe. Today the anti-Semitism is spreading to the Americas, even to places like Florida and Calgary.
But the American Left needs more than just Israel to fan the flames of its internal hatred of everything Republican or Conservative. Indeed, the Left must make a pretense of toleration for the Jews so they can continue to count on that important voting demographic. But actions speak louder than words--and quite frankly, I am clueless why decent, intelligent Jewish people continue to vote for Democrats.
Anyway, having established that every anarchist needs a scapegoat, let us move on to the topic at hand: the Left's unabated hatred of President Bush. For the past 8 years, the evidence of this hate has been everywhere: from MSNBC to the New York Times to the Lefty blogosphere. And all that negative energy and vileness has been focused on George Bush and Dick Cheney, decent human beings, but symbolic strawmen for all the Left detests in a free society. Another excerpt from J.R. Dunn's piece is germane here:
.... Bush hatred involves a number of factors that will be debated by historians for decades to come. But one component that cannot be overlooked is ideology, specifically the ideologization of American politics. It is no accident that the three most hated recent presidents are all Republican. These campaigns are yet another symptom of the American left's collapse into an ideological stupor characterized by pseudo-religious impulses, division of the world into black and white entities, and the unleashing of emotions beyond any means of rational control. The demonization of Bush -- and Reagan, and Nixon -- is the flip-side of the messianic response to Barack Obama.History will show that the intense, Leftist/Media-directed hatred towards President Bush was as undeserved and unwarranted as was the almost universal hatred of Lincoln in the 1860's. Was he perfect? Who is? But as Mark Impomeni put it:
There's nothing new about any of this. It's present in Orwell's 1984 in the "Five-Minute Hate" against the imaginary Emmanuel Goldstein, himself based on Leon Trotsky. The sole novel factor is its adaptation as a conscious tactic in democratic politics. That is unprecedented, and a serious cause for concern.
Being a Democrat, Obama has little to worry about, even with the far-left elements of his coalition beginning to sour on him. The ideological machinery is too unwieldy to swing around in order to target a single figure. Even if circumstances force him to violate the deeper tenets of his following, personal factors -- not limited to skin color -- will serve to protect him.
For the country as a whole, the prospects are bleaker. The left is convinced that hatred works, that it's a perfect tactic, one that will work every time out. They have already started the process with Sarah Palin, their next target in their long row of hate figures. They're wrong, of course. In a democracy, hatred is not a keeper, as the Know-Nothings, Radical Republicans, segregationists, Birchers, and many others have learned to their eventual dismay. But the process can take a long time to work itself out -- nearly a century, in the case of racial segregation -- and no end of damage can occur in the meantime. One of the byproducts of the campaign against Bush was to encourage Jihadis and Ba'athists in Iraq with the assurance of a repetition of Saigon 1975 as soon as the mad and bad Bush 43 was gotten out of the way. This time, the price was paid by the Iraqi people. But in the future, the bill may be presented somewhat closer to home.
And as for the "worst president in history" himself, George W. Bush has exhibited nothing but his accustomed serenity. Despite the worst his enemies could throw at him, his rehabilitation has already begun (as can be seen here, here, here, and here). He will be viewed at last as a man who picked up the worst hand of cards dealt to any president since Roosevelt and who played it out better than anyone had a right to expect. As Barack Obama seems to have realized, there is much to be learned from Bush, a man who appears to personify the golden mean, never too despondent, never too overjoyed, and never at any time overwhelmed.
Other presidents may encounter the same level of motiveless, mindless hatred, others may suffer comparable abuse -- but we can sure that no one will ever meet it with more equanimity than George W. Bush.
Sooner than later I think, a majority of Americans will realize exactly what they have lost with the retirement of President Bush. Beginning tomorrow they will have a new President to compare him to, no matter how much sunshine the New York Times and MSNBC and CBS try to shine up our collective derrieres. Perhaps President Obama will be more able to "articulate message" than Bush was; after all Clinton also was a great "articulator", and is generally regarded by most "skin-deep" observers as having been somewhat successful. But never forget that Bill Clinton would never have been successful in balancing budgets, welfare reform, etc. had there not been a Republican Congress minding the purse strings. Hillary wanted National Health Care then--if she had succeeded the "Roaring 90's" would have been a very different story... Also never forget that the job of staying on message is much easier when you have a media worshipping your every move than one which scorns you for every breath you take.
It is perhaps ironic that the left wing has settled on the characterization of President George W. Bush as a megalomaniac, obsessed with power and willing to trample on anyone or anything to achieve his evil aims. Ironic because it is President Bush’s refusal to even forcefully counter his critics, let alone trample on their right to criticize him, that has allowed the left to build its portrayal. George W. Bush is a man obsessed not with power, but with duty – the old fashioned notion that leaders have a responsibility to lead, whatever the consequences to them personally. It is a testament to the deep seated nature of this belief in him that in eight years as president he has garnered so many enemies on the left, and disappointed so many allies on the right.George Bush came to Washington pledging to change the tone, to unite not divide. He arrived, however, after a bitter and bruising election contest in which liberals and Democrats concocted myriad ways to try and steal the election from under him, in broad daylight and with the consent of the courts. Foiled in their efforts by the Supreme Court, the left vowed that Bush was not their president, and set out from day one to illegitimize him. But if he could not change the tone in Washington, President Bush did not let the tone change him. Displaying more class and grace than his adversaries combined, Bush never engaged in the hyper-partisan bickering, much to his supporters chagrin. That is not to say that he did not engage in the political process. He did, and many times outmaneuvered and defeated Democratic opposition both when it was in the minority and the majority. He did it with a smile, not a snarl. And they hated him all the more for it.
Yes, looking good on TV and smooth talking does help to win elections--but that has nothing to do with character, principle, upholding the Constitution, and the other qualities which distinguish great Presidents from the crowd. It isn't so much how you look that ultimately matters, it is what you DO. Ask Abraham Lincoln.
If ideological zealots like Pelosi, Waxman, Frank and Conyers are allowed to have their way--e.g. with "show trials", heavy tax increases during a deep recession/depression, government programs for the purpose of a wholesale redistribution of wealth, surrendering geopolitical strategic advantage (often paid with blood) to our adversaries, disastrous "health care coverage for all" (which goes hand-in-hand with health rationing for all...) and otherwise sending America back to the economic Dark Ages to "save the planet" from a non-existent "man-made global warming threat"--then I suspect that President Obama may in two years have to deal with a Republican Congress too. And he will have earned that result.
Let me be clear: I am not rooting for our country to fail just because I happen to be skeptical of Obama's true intentions. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is just that I believe that it was the "unintended consequences" of the Left's stupidity that got us here in the first place. And I feel like I have room to talk about this matter, because one of the jobs that went away was mine (all offers of help appreciated!).
Why do I doubt the messiah? Because Obama ran under that flag--the flag that has in my opinion led to our country's economic ruin; so it is therefore logically difficult for an impartial person who believes as I do to imagine anything Obama tries leading to an economic turnaround, continued American strength abroad, andor adherence to the laws of Economics 101. Not because I don't want those things to happen--but because Obama ran his entire campaign opposing these principles.
If Obama turns away from those principles--and towards sanity, then I will support him every time he does: If Obama resists economy-poisoning creeping Socialism; if he resists the appeasement minded Left in all of its ugly pro-Islamist, anti-Semitic manifestations; if he can restore sanity and REAL SCIENCE to the climate change debate instead of unfounded money-seeking alarmism in the name of world Socialism; if he uses an "all of the above" approach to America becoming Energy Independent--including drilling for shale in the West and for Oil in ANWR; if he appoints judges that interpret the Law and the Constitution rather than trying to rewrite it; if he shows that he understands the Second Amendment--why it was written, and why our Founders insisted on an armed citizenry--and how law-abiding citizens with firearms can SAVE lives, PREVENT crime, and most of all PREVENT government tyranny; if Obama truly stands up for all these things (i.e. for what is RIGHT) to that extent I will be behind him. But if he continues down the path of those who have taken my country to the edge of the abyss? Why would any sane person support what he believes to be ruionous? That is nothing short of "religious belief".
Some of the very same people who have spent most of the last eight years openly opposing almost everything that President Bush attempted to do (much of it successful, btw...) are now questioning my patriotism for daring to express my doubts that Obama will be good for this country. Here is a fact: if Barack Obama gets one-tenth of the support from Republicans that Democrats gave to George W Bush ever since Al Gore tried to steal the 2000 election, the new President will be a very lucky man, indeed. Personally, I think he will get a honeymoon from manyRepublicans (at least from a much larger percentage than of Democrats who supported Bush)--that is until Obama starts doing destructive things. And if and when that point comes, he won't deserve our support. I'm hoping he won't reach that point--I really am...but I am not betting the farm on it. And no, he is not my God. Far too many have bought into that notion, and it is a very dangerous one for liberty.
So, to summarize: given my criteria for success as defined above--I do wish success to President-elect Obama (got that, guys?). If Obama does the right thing in all these areas, I will support him; hell I might even vote for him next time around. If he doesn't I probably won't.
That is much more leeway than 90% of Democrats EVER gave to President Bush.
It is the country that is important. Democrats seem not to have understood that for the last eight years. And we are all the worse off for it. If Obama's actions correspond to what I believe to be good for the country I will not criticize him for it. The election is over; it is time to put up or shut up.
Meanwhile the haters will no doubt continue their ways. Cynical? Perhaps, but can a zebra really change its stripes? Can a professional hater--to the point of conspiracy theorist insanity--suddenly become transformed overnight into a perennial optimist?
Don't hold your breath.
UPDATE: More sheer greatness from Rick Moran.