I’m off on politics for a while
UPDATE***Because I am feeling a little mischaracterized by some bloggers, let me re-iterate:
My weariness of several days ago had little to do with President Bush and everything to do with both my fellow conservatives and the press.
I try to fairly and accurately represent what other bloggers are saying in their posts, and I’m disappointed to see that some bloggers will not accord me the same consideration. You have to be willfully misreading me to conclude that I am “exhausted” with Dubya. See “related” posts at bottom. *** END UPDATE
I’ve decided that if I’m going to keep blogging, I’m going to have to leave off writing or reading about politics for a little while, because it’s all making me sick.
But as I put the subject away, I just have to ask all of you people – on every side – who have decided that immigration is one man’s burden, and that every good thing President Bush has done is to be negated because he hasn’t snapped his fingers and done what YOU think is the solution to the immigration problem…what did Clinton do about immigration, what did Bush 41 do? What did St. Reagan do? What did Carter do? What has any president, congressperson or senator done about immigration for the last 30 years, except kick the issue down the road for someone else to deal with?
Reagan, if you remember, was the amnesty president. Clinton was the “borders? What’s borders, everyone is our pal” president.
Lots of bills that were ignored by past presidents, particularly during our “vacation from history” have come due on Dubya’s watch. The whole world seems to be coming due on his watch, and damn him for not handling everything perfectly. What a loser, eh? And it’s easy to kick a guy when he’s down, isn’t it? AJ is getting weary of it, too.
Energy. We were promised back in the 1970’s by President Carter that we would cease to be dependent on Middle East for our energy. How’s that been working out, all these years, all these presidents, later? Oh…Bush DID try to get a comprehensive energy bill passed in congress. No go. Congress kicked it down the road for someone else to deal with. Whatever happened to expanding and strengthening the grid? What will we say this summer when the blackouts and brownouts occur? That bastard Bush…he didn’t fix this. No mention that congress kicked and kicked that ball away.
Social Security. We’ve been told it’s the “most important issue” – or at least we hear it every election year…but everyone knows it’s going to hell. Oh…Bush DID try to get a comprehensive reform of Social Security passed in congress. No go. Congress kicked it down the road for someone else to deal with. Social Security is a joke, but it’s a joke with a lockbox, and the key’s long throw-away.
Terrorism. We’ve essentially been at war with Islamofascism since our countrymen were held hostage for 444 days, since our soldiers were slaughtered in their barracks. Since Saddam tried to kill a former president. “This will not stand,” yeah, yeah, yeah…we heard it all. What did Carter do about it? What did Reagan? What did Bush 41? What did Clinton do – particularly when AlQ began to attack American interests, holdings and naval vessels on an average of every 20 months? What? Are those crickets I hear chirping?
And now, immigration…one man is to blame, one man is at fault, one man must find the Solomonic solution. And if he doesn’t, he’s a bum no matter what else he’s done. Meanwhile, the press can’t get over the president who smiled and cried his way through two terms, and they still work on his legacy. Can you ever recall a time in history where 6 years after an administration ends, the ex-president is still breathlessly being polled-on, still being given (on most days) as much press as the current president? I can’t.
When Clinton was being waylaid, his party closed ranks. Now Bush – a good man despite his flaws, (and what president is not flawed) is being attacked on all sides, and his party just jumps in with both feet and kicks away. It just doesn’t seem right to me. And I know, I KNOW…he’s been a job to defend for all these years against unprecedented attacks – I’m tired, too. But I cannot go along with the “get Bush” mentality from the right. The question I keep asking myself is…right now, at this moment in time, who is BETTER than him? Giuliani? The religious right will never go for him. Allen? Mush-mouthed bore, the religious right will love him, and the rest will turn the page, and neither of them will be elected in this atmosphere – and if they could be, it won’t be for two more years. Bush is what we’ve got, the best we’ve got…but you know, maybe he’s too punch drunk, after 6 years of abuse, and a feckless party that squanders its majority again and again…one year ago, on May 10, he was dancing with free Georgians…but none of that counts, anymore, right? We forget the good stuff pretty easily, it seems to me.
It’s not just about the president, though. There is a terrible toxicity to our political and social exchanges – there is little real thought and lots of shrieking going on, lots of noise, little real discourse and precious little honesty. There is no way to debate because – no matter which side tries to get serious – a well-thought-out discourse is immediately shot down by the other side with a one-line-sneer, usually a specious one, that distorts or misdirects and never allows a thought to go forward. The disrespect between “sides” is staggering, and completely unproductive. But non-productivity seems to be what people like. It’s “safe.” If you don’t do anything, you can’t get blamed, right? More kicking things down the road. Let the guy who actually wants to take some action bear the brunt of your fear, your insecurity, your anger, your scorn, your impotence. If he doesn’t do it all perfectly, he’s a bum. Prof. Bainbridge and Ed Morrissey report that “conservatives are abandoning Bush.”
Ah, well…I never did think of myself as a conservative, anyway…more like a classical liberal without a home…
I wonder who all those principled conservatives are going to vote for in ‘08. We did this “he’s not conservative enough for me, I’ll vote principles or stay home” thing once before, in 1992, didn’t we? How’d that work out for you?
There are games within games, and strategies within strategies, and in the end, I wonder if anyone – anyone at all – is really looking out for America beyond their own interests. I think the president is. I think certain exceptional blogs and a few – very few – professional folks in the press are. But there is a great deal of stuff out there that is all about taking the easy route – cynicism is easy, sneering is easy, rabble-rousing is easy – in order to promote oneself or one’s cause…and it’s beginning to drown out the rest.
The roiling hate that is the driving force behind the MSM and some parts of the blogosphere and so much more cannot produce anything good. All of these negatives cannot create a positive. I can’t be the only one who is feeling increasingly ill – not ill-at-ease, but physically ill – when looking at it. I have to think that there are folks on both sides, GOP and Dem, Liberal and Conservative who are looking at all of this and thinking…I’m not walking into that insanity. I wonder how many GOOD people, on either side of political spectrum, are NOT considering running for office because of the atmosphere.
Seems to me both sides are completely infected with a blood-poisoning that could take down the nation. And I have no help to offer, because when I try to read about politics, lately – any story, be it a Kennedy car crash, or an imploding CIA, I want to puke. I physically want to vomit.
And so, for a while, I’m off the subject. We’ll talk sex, religion, baseball, opera and even – Lord help us – television. But to stay in the middle of the deleterious snakepit of politics…no…there be monsters.
I think for the summer, my little boat will sail in the other direction.
Post-script: Some emailers are telling me that various lefty blogs are carrying on that “The Anchoress is ‘packing it in’ because Bush is toast.” Apparently my citing the latest “Clinton-Bush” poll convinces them of this fact; the poll merely made me roll my eyes and wonder what past administration has ever been so incessantly written about and polled-on, fully six years after its demise, but whatever. I’m not fed-up with Bush. I suppose if you want to willfully misread me, you can come to that conclusion, but I like and admire him, and I am glad he is our president. I thought I had written that I was disgusted with the tone and tenor of political discourse – something I’ve been saying for over a month, actually – and with the conservatives who manage to forget all the good Bush has done because he’s not their boy on a particular issue. But if someone else wants to believe I’ve written differently, well, people will always believe what they want to believe, that’s just the way of the world. My policy has always been to leave other bloggers to their own work. How a blogger characterizes or mischaracterizes another is out of my control, so I don’t stew about it. We bloggers, like water, tend sink or rise to our own levels, and anyone can have a hot-headed day!
Ed Morrissey has more thoughts in a similar vein although he concludes differently, and Bruce Kesler wonders if there is PTSD at work, here. I don’t think so. I think some of us are just tired of all of the ugliness, on both sides.