Why don't you "hate" Obama?

That’s a provocative headline, I know, but it is not meant to provoke. It’s a real question, inspired by some of my emails from people taking me to task for insufficient appreciation of our current president, and for unseemly appreciation of our previous president, whom they and the world “hate.”

The question is also inspired by something I noticed while I was digging up articles on the good President Bush has done in Africa – that many people who wish to give Bush anything resembling even the faintest praise, are compelled to preface that praise with a condemnation of the man, himself:

“I am heartbroken overall by the Bush administration,” Ruxin said in a telephone interview. “But from my perch here in Rwanda, it is impossible to deny the results and achievements of PEPFAR. Many Rwandans were made Republicans because [President Bush's] was the first administration that has taken an interest and done something here.”

“I am heartbroken overall…” You see echos of that or something akin to, “he was a horrible, evil person and an incompetent moron, but…” or, “I am second to none in my loathing of Bush, but…”

It’s such a cowardly thing to do, this reflexive serving up of one’s Bush-hate bona fides: “don’t hate me for saying something good about him, but…”

It takes no courage at all to jump onto a bandwagon, just the fear of being left behind.

So, these people castigate me for not loving Obama enough (I’ve more than once pointed out that I dislike the president’s policies and am rather agnostic on the man, himself, but you know -that’s “hate”) while proudly proclaiming their brave hatred of Bush, and I cannot help wondering, “why, exactly, do you hate Bush?”

Oh, I know what the answers will be – we’ve heard them over and over. But in the face of this new presidency, let’s change the question a little:

You hate Bush because: “He stole the 2000 Election!”
Well, not really, but if that’s the case, why are you not troubled by President Obama’s long and close association with voter-fraud-lovin’ ACORN? Why don’t you “hate” Obama?

You hate Bush because “he tortured people!”
All indications are that the torture was very limited in scope and that -whether we are comfortable with it or not- information gleaned through waterboarding saved lives. But the thing is, after making a big noise about “ending” torture, Obama has still left the door open even if it’s just the tiniest bit, to its use, if needed. Why don’t you “hate” Obama?

You hate Bush because “he created extraordinary renditions and indefinite detentions!”
Well, actually, that was President Clinton’s baby, but yes, Bush continued it. And um…it seems Obama is expanding renditions, and continuing the indefinite detentions, too. Why don’t you “hate” Obama?

You hate Bush because “he wiretapped the American public & shredded the Bill of Rights.”
Well, that is a highly overdramatic and rather inaccurate charge, but indications are that the terrorists and terrorism supporters who were being studied under the NIE policy have been stopped from blowing people up on American soil, and um…after making a lot of noise about how evil the man and how rights-eroding the policy, Obama has decided to keep it all in place and he is becoming seriously worrying on free speech, the most fundamental of our rights. Why don’t you “hate” Obama?

You hate Bush because “he spent the Clinton surplus and put us in debt and cut taxes for the rich!”
You’re kidding right? The “surplus” was a projected only, a projection that the GAO eventually admitted was optimistic by 30% and the mythical surplus never factored in an attack on our soil. The big, bad tax cuts (which the Congress voted in a second time, soundly) seem to have propelled us to spectacularly low unemployment rates (remember, when Clinton was in office we accepted that 5.6% unemployment was “virtually full” employment). And even, yes, the New York Times admitted that 2006 tax receipts were at record highs and were lowering the deficit. President Obama has ushered in a failure of a stimulus plan, he’s going to raise taxes on everyone (those Bush tax cuts end in January, btw) so that will be nice, and if you hated the “Bush debt” then you should be vociferously objecting to the nation-killing “Obama-debt.” And yet, you seem rather unconcerned by it. Why don’t you “hate” Obama?

You hate Bush because: “someone in his White House exposed Valerie Plame!”
No, someone in both Clinton’s and Obama’s White House, Richard Armitage, exposed Valerie Plame. But if that story bothered you, then you should have been livid at the Obama administrations potential exposure of our undercover people, and their apparent leaks of same to the press. Why don’t you “hate” Obama?

You hate Bush because: “He Lied Us Into War with Cherry-Picked Intelligence!”
Well, whether President Clinton and other Democrats will agree with that is an interesting question, but if believing bad intelligence is “lying” and cherry-picking is deceitful, then what do you think about President Obama’s insistence that he must destroy our economy in order to save the environment, all based on “cherry picked” climate bombast which every day looks more and more like snakeoil salesmanship that is unworthy of belief? You hate Bush for believing bad intelligence and moving forward with a plan based on those flaws, so, why don’t you “hate” Obama?

Oh, and you hate Bush because “He Refused to Sign Kyoto & Probably Killed the Planet”:
The Kyoto Treaty that our Congress rejected unanimously and Clinton subsequently shelved. President Bush decided to work out an alternative to the Kyoto treaty; it addressed environmental concerns without wrecking economies. Since Obama is pledging to design alternatives to a congressionally unpopular plan, why don’t you “hate” Obama?

For that matter, it looks to me like we have a Convenient Boondoggle being exposed, here. Yesterday the BBC asked “whither global warming” and today the media is heralding the virtues and values of shale processing, which, ummm…was not to be seriously discussed while there was an “oilman” in the White House, but is now going to save the world! Do you climate true-believers who are willing to wreck the economy for a dubious cap-and-trade plan feel “played” yet? Bush was never played by these people and because he wasn’t neither were you.

In reviewing all this, it does seem to me that this passionate “hate” of George W. Bush is based not on substance but on style. Obama swagger is cool; Bush swagger was arrogant. Obama arrogance is “confidence.” Bush confidence was “ignorance.” Obama’s misspeaks and gaffes are ignored, Bush’s were magnified. Obama looks good. Bush looked goofy. All that “hate” seems to be part of an adolescent values system that is willing to overlook a multitude of sins as long as you get to belong to the jock/cheerleader clique, and not the Nerd/AV gang.

Although some seem to be tireless in their efforts to convince me that I should “hate” President Bush as much as they think I “hate” President Obama, I don’t think we should “hate” anyone, and I am not seriously suggesting that you “should” hate President Obama. I am simply wondering why two men can do very similar (sometimes exactly the same) things, and the first man’s actions can garner your life-long, cockle-warming hate, while the other man’s actions go overlooked and your cockles go agreeably cold.

“Obama might be doing all those things, but at least he’s not Bush!” You say. Right. And Bush was bad again, because…why? Oh, yeah, all those things I mentioned plus the bad economy!

Why would I ever expect consistency, that “hobgoblin of small minds” when your minds are so wide-open and huge. Stupid of me.

I know I’ve just wasted my time asking this question, that you will continue to simple hate Bush; you’ll do that because it’s the easy, mindless thing to do, because it will keep you aboard the bandwagon with all the cool kids, and never mind where the wagon is going. But please don’t expect me to take your flaming righteousness all that seriously.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Karen

    Whew! Well done!!!

  • Extraneus

    Right on.

  • dry valleys

    Style Over Substance

    BTW there has been some kind of storm over Obama not being pro-gay enough- Andrew Sullivan has gone into a rage about it. I don’t follow it closely myself as I’m STILL not an American ;) & I’m not particularly interested in gays to begin with.

    I’d like to see him move towards a more rational policy on the “war on drugs”- I actually think a lot of conservatives, especially the libertarian-minded ones, are becoming aware that prohibition doesn’t work & in fact top law enforcers privately don’t believe in the authoritarian measures they are ramming through.

    I keep forgetting to compile an archive. But it is interesting that on the right, many are seeing through prohibition. I regard it as a logical step & a welcome one. Maybe not on this blog, but others are turning :)

    [Well, I don't actually blame the gay community for being upset. They were promised an end to "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and really that's about as simple a move Obama could make, and yet he is not making it. They helped bring him to the party, and now he'll bring them a glass of punch, but won't do a jig with them! -admin]

  • elmo

    All indications are that the torture was very limited in scope and that -whether we are comfortable with it or not- information gleaned through waterboarding saved lives.

    Anchoress, do you realize that Catholics can never endorse or excuse torture according to Gaudium et Spes?

    [Uh-huh. Do you see me "endorsing or excusing" torture? I'm simply saying what is we know. But I did expect to get the subject redirected from Obama to me. It's the Alinsky thing, again. -admin]

  • Chris

    You’re hinting at it, but all presidential politics these days seem to be high school student body elections on a larger scale. Seems to me that started some time in the late 80′s.

    Perhaps that isn’t a surprise… the baby boomers and beyond all learned how an election is “supposed” to work in high school–why should the real world be any different…

  • http://www.savkobabe.blogspot.com Gayle Miller

    I don’t hate President Obama; nor did I have a lot of tolerance for those pinheads who made up and prattled all the scurrilous bilge about that good man, George W. Bush.

    Hate is a destructive and demeaning emotion and it isn’t one I’m willing to permit into my life. It poisons the hater much more than it does the hated. All you have to do is look at the faces of the haters (La Pelosi, Harry Reid, Janeane Garofalo amongst them) and you will see that it is manifesting on their faces – and not in a good way. I love my fellow man always, even the worst of them. That doesn’t mean that I LIKE them all that much, some of the time anyway, nor does it mean that I have any respect for the output of their so-called brains!

  • clarice

    Well done, but I think it is more a psychological thing. They hate Bush because 9/11 frightened them so and shook their world view that they preferred to blame him in the ways you outlined rather than face up to the fact that those fears were well-founded and theor foundational world view had been built on a pile of sand.

  • Scott Brooks

    I think they hate Bush for a reason that you have side-stepped entirely. And I really can’t blame you for doing so, because it is a very ugly reason.
    They hate him because he is a true Christian with Christian values and was looked to by the American Christian Right to support Christian values.
    Obama is a phony Christian, whose theology is embedded in hatred of other groups. That’s why they love him.
    This is unsettling and disturbing, to say the least.

    It brings to mind the Scripture: He was a murderer from the beginning: and he stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. 45 But if I say the truth, you believe me not. 46 Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me: 47 He that is of God heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God.(Jn 8:44-47)

    [I don't know if I agree. Not saying you're wrong, but I don't know that I agree. Don't know if they are thinking even that much. -admin]

  • Bill Smith

    All true enough.

    Alas, a man convinced against his will
    Is of the same opinion still.

    “Facts” are just decorations for these peoples’ preconceived FEELINGS. Discredit their “facts” and they find some other “fact” to justify their firmly felt irrational feelings

  • Kit

    Maybe we have better things to do than walk around obsessing about politicians to the point of frothing at the mouth (or we just don’t care to be one of the bleating sheeple). Trust me, I have lots of issues with all sorts of things Obama is doing — and have very little good to say about the Pelosi/Reid politburo — but hate? Maybe for a minute or two every now and then, but no politician is worthy of that investment of emotion. Get a grip, Bush-haters, and try to have a little better perspective on life.

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  • Leslie
  • T. McDonald

    I don’t hate bush: I personally liked the guy a lot, and voted for him twice. But I was very disappointed by the end, and I think he damaged conservatism.

    He did nothing to curb spending, did a poor job at articulating conservative principles, chucked the pro-life movement (and women everywhere) overboard by allowed “Plan B” to go over-the-counter, and moved too fast on Iraq.

    TARP was the last straw for me. It was a terrible decision, and will just encourage more irresponsible behavior in the future.

    [I didn't like TARP (I almost wrote TRAP) either, but I think succumbed to "bad intel" again on that one, myself. -admin]

  • skeeton

    I think it all comes down to sex in the end, Mrs. A. Obama supports the ultimate fall back protection – abortion – from the consequences of sex. Bush did not support it. Until the 60s generation is cold and in the ground, this culture will not have a fighting chance to overcome the toxic soup left behind by Woodstock and Roe. Consequence-free intercourse is the holy grail to those folks – to the point that they have described “a woman’s right to choose” in ritualistic almost sacramental language – and I don’t see them changing.

    But that’s just me.

  • Bender

    All indications are that the torture was very limited in scope

    All indications are, as a matter of law and a matter of fact, that THERE WAS NO TORTURE.

  • elmo

    I’m reminding you what Gaudium et Spes said because the entirety of your comment breezes right past Catholic teaching in Gaudium et Spes and into excusing waterboarding (“limited in scope”, “saved lives”).

    And yes, I am pro-life, outspokenly so. And since you brought it up, not a fan of Alinsky. My comment wasn’t about politics or an attack on you. But you turned around and attacked me because what I said was a simple truth that the pope himself wrote: We can’t excuse wrongdoing in order that good may come of it.

    [I wasn't talking about Gauium et Spes or anything Catholic, and I wasn't "excusing" anything; I was simply putting out the facts as we know them, as part of a much larger discussion. I was talking about Obama, politics and what facts we have. If I wanted to discuss my own conscience, church teaching and torture, that's what I would have done. For me to have wandered into an exposition of Catholic teaching with appropriate qualifiers exonerating myself sufficiently for the concerns of others, that would be a very messy piece, don't you think? You were the one who redirected the issue. I did not attack you; I simply made the point that I did anticipate someone turning the topic away from Obama, and onto me. Your may not have pivoted from an Alinsky point; you pivoted from a "don't you know Catholic teaching" point, but the end result was the same - you succeeded in taking the focus off of the point of the whole piece. If you wanted to read my post as an "excuse for wrongdoing" well, as I have said before, it's interesting how people receive things, but this post wasn't about any of that. If I wanted to debate torture, I'd have written a post about torture. -admin]

  • http://rsmccain.blogspot.com/2009/10/why-bother-wasting-hate-on-obama.html smitty

    Linked and replied here.

  • elmo

    Anchoress: Alinskyite? Moi?? I didn’t even vote for Obama. I guess I hit a nerve. Sometimes you can’t be partisan and be in communion with the Catholic Church.

    Because I am guess that you know as well as I do that torture is a non-negotiable even if it did save lives — which I doubt, by the way. Your statement is an excuse for it. How is it not?

    Not a single part of your comment acknowledged any problem with waterboarding other than maybe being “uncomfortable with it” and not that it is a non-negotiable Catholic teaching.

    [Okay, I'm going to say this one more time, and then I think I am done with this. I was not writing about torture, I was making a larger argument. You may feel that the piece needed a long and extended qualifier on my part, explaining Catholic teaching and clarifying my position on torture, but I did not. -admin]

  • SjB

    Here is a new one to add to the list:

    Why is it OK for Obama to declare war on Fox news, set up a blog paid for by taxpayers to address their complaints against Fox news, and name it as an opponent and refuse any interviews to Fox news? Are not the news agencies called the fourth estate for a good reason – an estate to put another check and balance on the use of governmental power?

    Is it OK to wield the power of the executive branch of our government against a news agency? Is that not a gross abuse of executive power by the White House. It is more than a gross abuse, it is a frightening attack on free speech.

    Does anyone remember Watergate and Nixon’s war on the Washington Post? Not only is Obama fair game to be compared to Carter, but now Nixon aka Tricky Dicky.

    [I just think it's amusing that the WH spokesperson said Fox was "not a real news organization, like you at CNN"...right after CNN did a "fact check" on an SNL skit! :-) admin]

  • Clinton

    Anchoress, your post was carved out of a
    large and flawless block of excellent. I do
    think that Mr. Brooks, in his 5:00 pm comment,
    is onto something. The perception of President
    Bush as a man whose Christian faith influenced
    his actions infuriated many people. Those same
    people are content with President Obama’s
    profession of Christian faith, knowing it will
    have little influence on his actions in office.

    It is the same sort of contrasting reception the
    opinion makers gave the nominations of
    Justices Scalia and Roberts on one hand, and
    Justice Sotomayor on the other. Remember
    raised eyebrows concerning the men’s Catholic
    faith? When Ms. Sotomayor was named, we
    were reassured that she was the ‘right’ sort
    of Catholic, who would not let her religion
    influence her worldview.

  • http://ginnnnsane.blogspot.com/ Ginnnnsane

    Very, very good! I enjoyed reading this and don’t feel so alone anymore!

  • cathyf

    All indications are, as a matter of law and a matter of fact, that THERE WAS NO TORTURE.

    I’m going to repeat what Bender said, only in italics!

    (That’s almost always a wise move. We’re getting to have a whole squad of Bender’s cheerleaders around here!)

  • Brian English

    “Not a single part of your comment acknowledged any problem with waterboarding other than maybe being “uncomfortable with it” and not that it is a non-negotiable Catholic teaching.”

    You are assuming waterboarding is torture. We have subjected tens of thousands of our own troops to waterboarding as part of their training. Do you believe we torture our own troops?

  • http://rogerhunt1.blogspot.com/ Roger

    “Snakeoil” (re: Global Warming hype). Thanks! I’ve been looking for that word. For critically-thinking, interested parties, the late Michael Crichton wrote an entertaining and scholarly novel on this topic, titled “State of Fear”, with twenty pages of bibliography.

  • http://datechguy.wordpress.com datechguy

    Ah the truth shall set you free and if your discourse on the truth sets a single mind free from their fear of acceptance it is well worth it.

  • http://westernchauvinist.blogspot.com Western Chauvinist

    Yes, Bender – there was no torture! And the very few (only one that I know of) who stepped over an ethical line were prosecuted and served time or received a black mark on their record.

    But really, Bush hatred, like Palin hatred, is not about Bush or Palin. It is about the hater and his/her moral vanity – or animal piety – or situational ethics – whatever. As I think you’ve said A, Palin could be everything she is (hard working, intelligent, moose hunting, honest, of humble background mother of five), but if she had liberal political positions and a “D” after her name, she’d be a hero to those who now spit her name. Just spent a week with a couple of those in my family. Interesting difficult times.

  • EJHill

    Sometimes I wonder if the leaders on the Democratic side really “hated” George W. Bush but merely used him as a conduit to rile their base, raise money and take power.

    Because neither he nor his father ever possessed the communication skills of a Reagan, and DID possess the civility that they all claim is lacking in politics today, they knew that he would not get into the gutter with them. That made him a VERY easy mark.

    When they start crying racism and hatred, that usually translates into, “You’re making a valid point in opposition and I need to shut you up.”

  • Mutnodjmet

    Brava! The most enjoyable compare-and-contrast piece I have read in some time.

  • http://eclecticmeanderings.blogspot.com/ Hank

    To expand one of the points:

    You hate Bush because “he tortured people!”
    All indications are that the torture was very limited in scope. . .

    A rouge unit of the Chicago Police in a district whose boundaries substantially overlapped State Senator Obama’s district tortured a number of people to get confessions, not waterboarding but electrodes to the gentiles and similar activities. While some were guilty many weren’t, recently an innocent man was finally acquitted after 20 some years on death row. While the torture took place before Obama was elected, the basic facts were in the press and there is virtually no indication that he did anything to help his constituents.

    Why don’t you “hate” Obama?

    [electrodes attached to the gentiles? -admin]

  • Bob

    I think the president is a front man. I know they said this about Bush too, (VP as Bush’s Brain). But this huge clique seems to follow ideology above all, and has a plan– shock and awe ruination of the economy, assuring elders have no nest egg, young people are 53.4% unemployed, grandchildren in hock. With the neutering of our armed forces, the incursion into blogland, the goal seems to be to bring America low.
    So I hate. I hate Leftest ideas. I think they’re cruel.
    Thanks for your great post.

  • http://www.doodooecon.com Charles

    That is a pretty good article. I gave up long ago arguing against “Bush derangement syndrom” as it is referred to on talk radio.

    Attacking Bush was a political ploy, and it is pretty obvious that it worked so well, the left is terrified the same thing will happen to there guy.

    It probably will work, so there terror is justified. The question is, after Republicans and Democrats are discredited via vile hatred, who will emerge?

  • Dee

    Everything T. McDonald said and throw in the drug entitlement Gbush hoisted on us. I think Skeeton and Scott Brooks have related points. Darned ol Christianity frowns on free-wheelin’ yahoo sex. Gbush represented for the Christian folk.

  • Barbara

    The level of contempt that each side so fervantly wants the other to feel is awful.

  • TheOldCrusader

    I have only occasionally looked in at this blog. Today I popped in from InsideCatholic.

    I am a traditional (Extordinary Form) Roman Catholic.

    I do not hate Mr. Obama, Mr. GW Bush, Mr. Clinton or Mr. GHW Bush. But none of them was fit to be President. I could say that I hold each one in contempt. Mr. Obama – a Democratic party hack straight from the Chicago machine. Bush fils – a spoiled rich kid and general screw up who avoided any “Kopechne” incidents and managed to fall into the Presidency. Mr. Clinton – a chisler and confidence man writ large. Bush pere went to all the right schools, had all the right entries on his resume, but didn’t seem to know why he wanted to be president and broke his most solemn promises and then wondered why he was a one termer.

    But let’s cut to the chase.

    The comments apall me. There are one or two brave souls who will denounce torture. The rest of the crowd fall over their feet either justifying it or simply denying it outright.

    Please. Think of what your saying. Look at the article link and excerpt below and remember that Paul Craig Roberts was assistant secretary of the Treasure under Ronald Reagan – hardly a flag burning hippie.

    If Only US Law Applied to the US Government

    by Paul Craig Roberts

    The U.S. government does not have a monopoly on hypocrisy, but no other government can match the hypocrisy of the U.S. government.

    It is now well documented and known all over the world that the U.S. government tortured detainees at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and that the U.S. government has had people kidnaped and “renditioned,” that is, transported to Third World countries, such as Egypt, to be tortured.

    [Right. And all I am saying is that if it was wrong under Bush, it should be wrong under Obama, too, yet somehow he escapes criticism. Btw, whether you think any of these men were worthy to be president, the fact is, we can only elect the folks who run. Our selections are what they are. :-) -admin]

  • elmo

    Is waterboarding torture? Well, let’s see what Gaudium et Spes says about the matter. I have bolded the relevant text:

    Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.

    The Anchoress stated that waterboarding is torture but says that doing it saved lives. Catholics may not excuse evil by saying the outcome was good, and when called on this denied it and said I was an “Alinskyite” for pointing it out.

    I hate neither Bush nor Obama and wouldn’t dream of entertaining the notion to hate either, though both of them have fallen short as presidents.

    My politics is informed by the Magisterium and therefore I have no home in either political party and resist all attempts to make the Catholic Church the Republican (or Democrat) party at prayer.

    [What I said -specifically- was this: All indications are that the torture was very limited in scope and that -whether we are comfortable with it or not- information gleaned through waterboarding saved lives. That is not an endorsement of it, not an excuse of it, it is a simple statement of the facts as we understand them, made for the purpose of a larger argument. You are welcome to comment here, but not to take something I said and either mischaracterize it or impugn my motives. Your morals are admirable, but you're highjacking a thread and a discussion to fixate and lecture on one sentence that you appear to be willfully mischaracterizing as me making a moral argument. The bottom line -as much as you appear to wish to continue focusing on me, is that for many suddenly quiet people waterboarding and rendition -under Bush- was a reprehensible evil. That same under Obama is apparently something less objectionable. Ken, is that you? -admin]

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ That One Girl a.k.a Bender’s Cheerleader

    (That’s almost always a wise move. We’re getting to have a whole squad of Bender’s cheerleaders around here!)

    Cathy – you are the official co-captain of the squad!! :)

    The level of contempt that each side so fervantly wants the other to feel is awful.

    Barbara, I really don’t like feeling contempt towards any of my fellow Americans, but it gets to the point that reasonable thinkers are trumped by sheep. The flocks are driving the shepherds in both parties, but I think we can all admit that the conservative sheep are a whole lot less vitriolic than the dems. Maybe I’m wrong.

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  • http://theglobalnewsportal.blogspot.com/ Joseph Marshall

    Now Anchoress, you know darn well that I’m not going to be scared away by waving around the word “hate”.

    Nor am I going to approach the “Waterboarding For Fun & Profit” crowd. If they aren’t convinced by or refused to view the Keith Oberman/Sean Hannity charity bet on the matter, nothing anyone else says is going to make that much difference.

    Really, the matter is simple: there is nothing in your post that addresses any serious historical criticism of Bush’s actions or his words. You have chosen the fluff to make a point–that the people who are fixated on the fluff generally have fluff between the ears and are using the fluff as an excuse for indulging personal dislike of the man.

    I would agree with almost all of what T. McDonald said, and what he said was emphatically not fluff. And both you and anyone who calls themselves “conservative” should listen and learn from him.

    I am not conservative, so much of what he has to say is less compelling to me than I think it should be to you, but it’s real, it’s right, and everyone should think very carefully about it.

    Bush took a country that had just experienced the longest single period of continuous prosperity in its history and that clearly was going to need careful management through a downturn. And he led it into its worst economic collapse in 80 years, provoking a worldwide collapse in the bargain.

    Now this post is too focused elsewhere for me to burden it with the specific and destructive things that were done on his watch to the economy, but I assure you I can present them in detail for another post should you require them. Or details of any of my other assertions.

    And I hope you will refrain from any foolish claim that 8 months of action by Barack Obama has anywhere near the impact on our situation as 8 years of bad management by George W. Bush.

    He waged war badly and unintelligently because he was seduced by the appearance of infinite power that our fancy weapons create. He divided his forces without need when he needed to concentrate them most–when our main enemy had just slipped beyond our grasp.

    Now, don’t give me any business about “bad intellegence”. In 2002 Saddam Hussein was in no position to do anything immediately dangerous with whatever weapons he may or may not have had, whether they were “mass destruction” or not.

    And no sensible military man would have asserted that Saddam was able to or had been able to for ten full years. And I don’t think you will find any military assessment of the time that says he was.

    Also don’t give me any business about the “liberation” of the Iraqi people from a tyrant. Tyrants are a dime a dozen around the world, and if any Democratic President had made the massive military blunders of George W. Bush to liberate the suffering citizens of Myanmar, you and most of your commentors would be demanding that President’s scalp.

    But even worse than that, in two separate wars Bush made exactly the same mistake of dawdling and allowing the recrudescence of resistance to our military that has made these two wars the longest in our history.

    He took a situation in the Middle East where our military power to dissuade the bad actors in the region was absolutely dominant and he frittered that dominance away. And that situation of dominance of the region was at it’s apogee after the invasion of Afghanistan and just before he went off on the wild goose chase in Iraq. So it was not a matter of his merely having made war. It was hubris and overconfidence after having made war successfully.

    So no implications by anybody, please, that my politics makes me too weak and impotent to ever consider using military force.

    He constantly asserted, either himself, or by proxy that the power of the Presidency was absolute and above the law. He issued executive orders contramanding and refusing to enforce any law that did not please him, and asserted his right to set aside any constitutional protection of any American citizen whom he labeled a “terrorist”.

    No extralegal application of executive power was not in play, from abuse of material witness detention, to outright refusal to abide by the legal principle of haebus corpus and the American guarantee of a speedy trial by holding of a citizen without trial and with the clear intention of never bothering to try him. There were apparently even plans drawn up to send American troops immediately to any city where any “terrorist plot” was suspected without even bothering to rely on law enforcement agencies like the FBI.

    Don’t give me any business either about the Patriot Act and the secret intelligence wiretapping court. I’m not even talking about the stuff he actually bullied Congress into giving him the legal authority to do. I’m talking about the stuff that was clearly outside any law and destructive to anyone’s freedom and rights should any President do them by mere fiat.

    Mere fantasies about Obama planning to destroy constitutional rights simply don’t cut it, if anyone sat idly by and justified these actions of the past 8 years.

    Finally, there is one last criticism that may seem small in comparison to what I have written above, but it means more than its mere presence would warrant. At no time in Bush’s 8 years in office was any citizen who disagreed with him ever allowed to even see the President in public.

    His speeches were packed solely with shills and his motorcades deliberately rerouted away from groups of citizens who disagreed with him while they were held essentially in preventive detention in so-called “free speech zones”.

    There is something still in this country called “the consent of the governed”. If you hide yourself in public from all but your own cheerleaders, you make it very clear that you’re not interested in it.

    ["And I hope you will refrain from any foolish claim that 8 months of action by Barack Obama has anywhere near the impact on our situation as 8 years of bad management by George W. Bush." Aw, come on, Joseph! Folks on your side were blaming Bush for 9/11 (he'd been in office 8 months) and refusing to look at the failures of the Clinton administration...and there were plenty...but thinking people understood that 9/11 was neither Bush's fault nor Clinton's but the terrorist's fault. Likewise, this economy, which was booming (and you know it was; we've had this fight for 4 years) did not suddenly suffer a world death because of Obama's 8 months or Bush's 8 years...but Obama is scaring the hell out of me with his debt. Why isn't he scaring you? And "free speech zones..." talk to me about those again in a couple years. Btw, these political discussions certainly do take their tolls on our serenity, don't they? ;-) -admin]

  • Emkay

    I tell you solemnly, if Bush had been pro-choice, all – ALL – would be ignored/forgiven/overlooked, just as it is for the current president. Why the loud, hideous expressions of hatred for a beauty queen or for an Alaskan governor or for a former senator (Santorum) and his family or for various talk-show hosts? Their enemies act as though the right to sex without consequences is the highest good, a right to be defended with screaming voices and flying spittle. Abortion infects everything it touches.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    I’ve thought for a while now that Bush was hated because he was 1) a devout Christian and 2) pro-life. That is all that is needed to be hated by the left. Try discussing the evils of abortion with a true leftist and see how far it gets you. The screams are deafening and the name-calling and hate aimed at you are incredible. Even if they liked you before.

    Nope. Bush was hated simply because he was a true Christian and pro-life. The two “unforgivables.”

  • T Harris

    Thanks Mr. Marshall for your comments. I appreciate them greatly. We are all human and each have our own strengths and weaknesses. I feel that we could have used someone with more reserve and intelligence during President Bush’s terms in office.

    [Did you think that the second time you voted for him? I'm just curious, why you did vote for him that second time, then? Why not go for Kerry? -admin]

  • T Harris

    Oh yes. As far as commenting to the actual subject of this post, 8 months is not enough time to judge someone in office, but I have to say that President Obama seems to be trying hard to get this country our of the mess that it has gotten itself into since the last depression. I have harsher criticism for our representatives in Congress who think on partisan lines rather than think what is good for the country. But, this is an unrelated argument.

    [Voted for Bush twice, were troubled by his policies (which I assume means his spending as well) but not troubled by Obama's similar policies or his incredible spending? Interesting. Tell me more...-admin]

  • T Harris

    Dear Anchoress:

    I did vote for Kerry the second time around for two reasons. One, President Bush does not have the intellectual scope that is required for POTUS witnessed by all of the mistakes he made during his first term. Secondly, his mistakes by the end of his first term were already obvious, and accordingly the war in Iraq was off focus from the original critical mission. Where is Osama bin Laden?

    [Wait, I am confused. Are you T Harris or T MacDonald, because you've both just shown up here, and T MacDonald was the one who said he voted twice for Bush and yet was disappointed, etc and he was also the one Joseph Marshall praised, but you heartfully thanked Joseph for his comments. Are you T MacDonald or T Harris? See, I'm a little dyslexic and all of these new T's are confusing me! I may have been teasing you unfairly! "Where is Osama bin Laden?" I don't know. Probably wherever US Forces are not, or where we soon will not be! :-) admin]

  • PD

    elmo, are you incapable of getting the point being made? It’s been explained to you multiple times now. Our host wasn’t making any statement about torture itself but about the similarities in different administration policies regarding same, and the vastly different reactions to those similarities.

    Get a clue, please.

  • elmo

    Anchoress, I do not believe I mischaracterized what you wrote — it still reads as an excuse or apologia for waterboarding based on whatever good you believe came of it. If you meant otherwise, ok fine. I stand corrected.

    But you stated it this way and that is why I made the comment about whether you were aware that torture is not compatible with Catholicism. The phrasing implied (maybe unintentionally) that what the Bush administration did wasn’t as bad as those Obama supporters/Bush haters are claiming they are. I am saying, and I believe that the teaching of the church backs me up, that waterboarding and torture is intrinsically evil, regardless of what good made come of it.

    I made and implied no statement whatsoever about your motives. You, however, called me an “Alinskyite”, so if anybody is impugning character or mischaracterizing statements, it is you. I did not intend to highjack the thread, but I wanted to defend myself against your slur.

    [Funnily enough, elmo, I was defending myself against what I perceived to be YOUR slur of me. Truce? Or must this go on until we all want to puke? -admin]

  • PD

    “Anchoress, I do not believe I mischaracterized what you wrote”

    You did.

    “it still reads as an excuse or apologia for waterboarding based on whatever good you believe came of it.”

    No, it doesn’t.

  • http://theglobalnewsportal.blogspot.com/ Joseph Marshall

    “Likewise, this economy, which was booming (and you know it was; we’ve had this fight for 4 years) did not suddenly suffer a world death because of Obama’s 8 months or Bush’s 8 years.”

    I meant what I said about details. The key is very simple: increasing war spending while cutting taxes [as he did in 2002-2005] will obviously induce a certain amount of immediate stimulus that may be reflected in a boomlet of the sort that happened 2005-2007.

    But what was far more important was that to manage the immediate stagnation that those debt and spending increases induced from 2000-2004, Alan Greenspan was forced to cut interest rates to levels not seen since the 1960′s. By doing this, he solicited the overeliance on credit that nearly collapsed the banking system.

    But he had no other choice given the ballooning spending and shrinking Federal revenue from 2002 forward. The US government was simply sopping up the credit market, which is what businesses actually rely on to capitalize–not sales. Greenspan had to keep lowering the interest rates to compensate and encourage lenders to extend more credit.

    The housing bubble was fueled by the exaggerated demand that this sustained low interest rate encouraged. And a good deal, if not all, of the so-called prosperity of 2005-2007 was fueled by people borrowing against their home equity while the rates were lower than they ever have been in the lives of most of us. Certainly the $ volume of the borrowing was much larger than the $ cut from taxes.

    And all other debt instruments, including credit cards followed exactly the same pattern. When credit is cheap and easy people will use it, and when the collateral for credit is real property even bankers can be, and were, deceived into thinking that the forecloseable collateral would hold its value.

    But the essential failure was trying to use tax cuts to stimulate while sharply increasing borrowing and the dumping the capital raised half a world away where it could have no impact on the domestic economy.

    [And yet even the NY Times admitted that our tax revenues were at a record high in 2006, and it was only in late 2007, when the recession began (umm...who controlled Congress, then) that we started tumbling, and as to this part: "The housing bubble was fueled by the exaggerated demand that this sustained low interest rate encouraged. And a good deal, if not all, of the so-called prosperity of 2005-2007 was fueled by people borrowing against their home equity while the rates were lower than they ever have been in the lives of most of us. Certainly the $ volume of the borrowing was much larger than the $ cut from taxes." Where did that derive from, Joseph, from which policies under which president? Did you forget that the Bush administration tried over a dozen times, to get Congress to rein in those loans and reform what was going on w/ Fannie and Freddie? No. You cannot pin it all on Bush, but I know you'll try to. The bigger question, rather than our continuing 5 year spat, is how will Obama's tax increases other increases -and they're going to be huge, and they're going to affect every facet of our lives- help to create the jobs that will be needed in order to once again create tax revenues and pay down the terrifying deficit? Your solutions to that? And what about this, Joseph? -admin]

  • clende3r

    Beloved Anchoress, you are utilizing logic. Liberals do not do so; they are limited to the ravages of emotion. God bless you for speaking the truth to (now) power. Keep on keeping on.

  • mary’s hopefull

    dear Anchoress,

    Thanks for your defense president George W., an honorable and good man, whatever the debate of what he could have done better. I do miss him.

    Yes, president Obama and the forces and folks who are bringing such a tide of dismay (vs hope) and distressing “change” are scarey and anger me, but I am reminded to pray for them in Scripture, and so I do (not enough, I’m sure!)

    Actually, when I do, my heart is eased. And maybe the Lord’s answer to such prayers will be amazing!

    Bless you for your site, mixing political concerns, faith contemplations, and general good stuff!

  • kelleybee

    A, the snark is back….
    I believe that Bush had the full Alinsky pulled on him.


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