BDS defined, in a shoe-throwing

Lots of talk, of course, about the shoe-throwing incident in Iraq. The point has been made, enough, I think, that this Iraqi reporter would never have been free enough to throw his shoes under Saddam.

In reading some of the forums, this commenter at Ann Althouse made a spot-on analysis that actually can be broadened.

Harsh Pencil wrote:

The reporter knows deep down that he can throw his shoe at Bush only because of Bush and it shames him. He can’t forgive Bush for that.

Yes. Spot-on. And when I read that, I realized Harsh Pencil had articulated the sense I have had, since 2001, that Bush Derangement Syndrome was rooted in shame and fear. I remember reading a Maureen Dowd column written shortly after 9/11 in which she blathered on about no longer being able to occupy her time discussing which nylons she bought (or something like that – I told you, it was blather). While I cannot remember the column clearly, I remember the odd (for then) tone of resentment Dowd expressed in it toward Bush, and at the time I thought:

she is resentful that it is Bush who she must look to for safety, that it is the parental, cowboyish Bush who is protecting her, and not the adolescent Gore.

I’m pretty sure Bush Derangement Syndrome is nothing more than adolescent angst because “their side” did not get to lead and reassure and hold-steady in a time of danger and uncertainty. It’s a larger demonstration of Bill Clinton’s regret that 9/11 did not happen on his watch, so he could have a chance to be a “great” and wartime president.

To some mindsets, there is shame in needing protection and rescue. In other mindsets there is resentment that the wrong person gets to be the hero. I will always remember Bill Clinton being asked about President Bush’s – by all measures – remarkable and well-reviewed speech to the Joint Houses of Congress after 9/11, and hearing him say, “I didn’t watch it.”

Right. The former president and political junkie did not watch a historic speech on a matter of grave concern to his country, while his wife sat rolling her eyes in the chamber. He didn’t watch it. Or, more likely, he watched it and resented the hell out of it, so pretended it didn’t exist.

And Bush Derangement Syndrome, which was already gestating even before the election, was born.

Thanks, Harsh Pencil, for the clarity.

Michael Totten, who spends a lot more time with Iraqis than most reporters, says he’d hate to see people get the wrong impression from one silly incident. His latest report is here.

President Bush is processing this with his usual collectedness and unflappability.

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think you can take one guy throwing shoes and say this represents a broad movement in Iraq. You can try to do that if you want to. I don’t think it would be accurate.

QUESTION: Well, then, separately from him —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s exactly what he wanted you to do. Like I answered on your question, what he wanted you to do was to pay attention to him. And sure enough, you did…

[There was a noise on board the plane.]

THE PRESIDENT: The other shoe just dropped. Look, I’m going to be thinking of shoe jokes for a long time. I haven’t heard any good ones yet.

Say what you want about Bush, he’s a cool cat. Faces down two shoes, warns off the Secret Service and makes a joke. It reminds me of when he saved his SS agent in Chile, then shot his cuffs, and smiled as he greeted his host.

Classy, cool cat. And fearless. We won’t see his like again.

And his troops are on his side:

Look at the American troops; every race, every sex, every age, from every sort of background. I love it.

And of course, the people sick with BDS are still throwing symptoms.

Not every Arab hates Bush.

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  • Revchuck

    My defining memory of President Bush is Thanksgiving 2003, with me sitting in an office in Bagram, Afghanistan, and seeing a picture of him in an Army PT jacket, carrying a turkey in a messhall in Baghdad. He didn’t have to do that, and took a considerable risk flying in there at that time, but he did it anyway.

    He wasn’t perfect, but the vast majority of my brothers- and sisters-in-arms supported him, because he truly cared about us.

  • http://www.therextras.com Barbara

    That second video brought tears to my eyes. How right you are, A. “We won’t see his like again.”

  • MikeOK

    The Anchoress wrote:

    “I’m pretty sure Bush Derangement Syndrome is nothing more than adolescent angst because “their side” did not get to lead and reassure and hold-steady in a time of danger and uncertainty.”

    I believe that liberals suffered from the same malady during the Reagan years. They were especially disgusted with the fact that their man, Jimmy Carter, had so thoroughly fouled up the economy, only to have it roar back under Reagan’s leadership. I believe this is why they invented the “trickle-down” economics straw man, and “draconian budget cuts” myth. Liberals will still prattle on about all the things that Reagan *wanted* to cut, but ask them to name specific items that actually had money taken away, and they will very quickly try to change the subject.

    I only hope that conservatives have the maturity to avoid a similar kind of “Obama Derangement Syndrome” if his first term turns out to be a success.

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  • http://jscafenette.com Jeanette

    My blog partner and I are going to be working on a joint
    post highlighting the Bush years. Already we miss him, but
    wish him a well-deserved break from the heavy burden he
    carries for so many who don’t care. People will miss him
    as soon as he leaves office and we are put into the hands
    of the Inexperienced One.

    I was thinking of that “journalist” and it occurred to me
    that if he had done that under Sadaam he might have been
    lucky and been shot in the head or he might have been
    unlucky and fed, feet first, into a shredder. How soon we
    forget.

    God bless you, Mr. President, and thank you for your
    devoted service to the citizens of the United States of
    America.

  • Patrick

    “My defining memory of President Bush is Thanksgiving 2003, with me sitting in an office in Bagram, Afghanistan, and seeing a picture of him in an Army PT jacket, carrying a turkey in a messhall in Baghdad.”

    Actually, I remember seeing the video of what happened before that dinner. There’s a bunch of soldiers assembled to hear a speech sent in and the officers/officials at the podium mention something about it having to be read by the most senior (i.e., highest ranked) person present… and in walks the President.

    …and the crowd roars.

  • dmd25

    Great post, Anchoress. Nothing much to add except to say that I am so going to miss President Bush….

  • http://www.kylecupp.com Kyle R. Cupp

    I may just be ignorant of the evidence, but I don’t see how Harsh Pencil knows that this journalist feels shame and that he cannot forgive President Bush. Clearly this journalist won’t suffer the deadly fate he would have had he thrown shoes at and publicly insulted Saddam Hussein, and clearly President Bush removed the Iraqi tyrant from power and made it possible for journalists to protest the Iraqi government without fear that the government will respond with brutality and death. However, these external states of affairs in and of themselves tell us nothing conclusive about the interior motivations this journalist. It could be that President Bush shames him and that he cannot forgive the president for that experience of shame, but his act may have risen from motivations having nothing to do with his improved freedom to protest.

    Whatever the case, the image of a journalist throwing shoes at none other than President of the United States has the ingredients to become a very powerful symbol here, in Iraq, and in the surrounding countries. Symbols can shape political movements and even political identities. We all may be dealing with this event for a long time and in a variety of consequences.

  • jill e

    Too bad President Bush didn’t throw his shoes back! THAT would have been a hoot! I love him!

    Here’s a site he’d appreciate—take your turn throwing shoes at President Bush.

  • http://newine.wordpress.com ultraguy

    Spot on as usual, A. Kruschev’s shoe-pounding was also a kind of bluster to cover for shame and fear. The Austin Powers shoe-throwing incident may need to be filed under a separate heading however… :)

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  • Piano Girl

    I agree with Barbara (post # 4)…the second video brought tears to my eyes. The shouts from the troops were so loud that I had to turn down the volume on my computer. Another poster mentioned that “BDS” has been around since the Reagan years. He picked up the nickname of “teflon” president because nothing stuck to him, no matter how much the members of Congress and the alphabets tried to sling their dirt. They tried to take their hate to new levels with President Bush.

    As to “BDS” becoming “ODS”, I sent a note of congratulations to a couple of my most leftist friends after their guy won the election. None of them bothered to write back to thank me for the note. I wish Obama well, but only because I care about my Country. I have a feeling he’ll spend some of his time fighting with what tries to pass for “leadership” in Congress. I’m not surprised one bit that Dubya is doing extensive planning to help the new administration in case something happens. The left will never give him credit, but I am enormously grateful that we’ve had this dedicated man in the WH (and VP Cheney, as well) for the past eight years.

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