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

    Hell’s bells, hopeful Mary – not only do I miss W, who, no matter what, had something horrible to deal with, and it changed everything, I miss that (so-and-so) Clinton, and I couldn’t even bear to watch him on tv – 8 years and every time he showed up, I had to turn it off or leave. Sheesh – it makes me ill that I just said that! :) Thanks for your prayers for all this – maybe I’ll get up the stomach to do it one day soon, too.

  • HT

    Not that it’s worth talking with people like you, Anchoress, you —-ing —-, but what exactly was ever admirable about W? One thing? Anything? Anyone? That he was credulous? That he had “gut feelings” (like my dog)? That he claimed to be “saved” (as any damn fool can)?

    A man who was a thundering sub-mediocrity, at best, and who was born with a super-platinum spoon in his mouth, which is the only reason he was ever given the opportunity to fail at the level he did. Am I supposed to admire the privileged oligarchy/plutocracy that the oaf represented? Why? Enquiring (non-Right) minds want to know.

    [Hmmm...so, you come in here, tell me I'm not the sort of person worth talking to, call me a ----ing --- (as though that makes it alright) and then demand some sort of reasonable good faith debate from me? No, I don't think so. But I'll let your comment through, since it says more about you than it does me...or for that matter, Bush or Obama. -admin]

  • Amie

    There are two standards in judging Obama and Bush; that is clear. Great work, thanks for the research! I think it may also be that media types believe it is OK to ridicule, name call, and viciously ondemn conservative white men and women (Bush and Palin), but everyone else gets a pass.

  • Dagwood

    Re: your reply to Hank concerning electrodes attached to the “gentiles” – I was still trying to figure out, Anchoress, what it meant that Chicago’s police department had a “rouge” unit.

  • Craig Payne

    Electrodes on the gentiles? You know, eventually the Jews get blamed for everything.

    [These are apparently heavily made-up Jews. :-) -admin]

  • Bender

    Please. Think of what your saying.

    Please don’t insult those you disagree with by accusing them of not thinking about the issue.

    A good many of us HAVE thought about the issue of torture. Indeed, we have thought about it much more than those who flippantly condemn the United States of engaging in torture (and who quote Treasury officials in support).

    And having engaged in such a substantive legal analysis, considering both the actual statutory law, case law, and the known facts, it is clear beyond argument that THERE WAS NO TORTURE engaged in as a matter of policy or in any of the enhanced interrogations at issue. I’m not going to repeat that rather extensive analysis, which was posted in these pages some months ago when the matter last came up (go search for it yourself), suffice to say that there has been no additional information to alter that considered legal analysis and conclusion.

    And the fact that Eric Holder — attorney of record for Gitmo detainees — has not and will not ever obtain a conviction, or even seek a prosecution, rather than a persecution, is because he and the rest of the Justice Department know that there was no torture. All that there has been is people like Holder and Obama shooting their mouths off about things they know nothing about and, characteristically, attacking and slandering good American people.

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

    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?

    Anchoress, Fannie and Freddie are not the only ones in the lending business. All these lenders did just fine under the usual interest rates that we’ve seen since at least 1980–rates pegged to permit a very moderate amount of inflation during periods of prosperity.

    Lenders are actually borrowers, too. They borrow from the Federal Reserve and when the Fed reduces the rates at which they lend, it is an inducement for the lenders to borrow more and re-lend it. That’s how the lenders make money and make much more money than they could just lending their own deposits. .

    Moreover, lenders borrow from other lenders: Diddledy Squat Bank in Topeka hasn’t enough capital in deposits to lend what they feel they can make money on because Microsoft just relocated to Topeka [how's that for liberal fantasy?]. So they borrow from Chase, or Citicorp, or some other mega-bank. Diddledy Squat is the “downstream” lender, Chase is the “upstream” lender, and the Fed is the source of the stream.

    So when the Fed encourages borrowing at the level of 2000-2004 it has a massive ripple effect throughout the entire financial community. The banking business is purely a matter of confidence and trust, and that trust is based on the banker’s judgment–weighing the cost from the bank borrowing from upstream, the profit to be made by relending it, and the safety factor of being able to seize and resell the collateral.

    Judgment is always uncertain. Real property has always had a very high safety factor as collateral. If something changes that then the banker’s will be deceived into lending too freely. And the more loaned cash the Fed has released downstream, the higher the stakes for everybody if conventional judgments are becoming less accurate.

    The Fed is the key player, not Congress. In fact, one of the reasons the Fed exists is to keep Congress from manipulating the economy in the interest of politics.

    However, the Executive Branch has to cooperate. How much they borrow has one set of effects. What they do with the money has another. Not only did Bush borrow extensively, most of the extra money was poured into the Middle East and largely did not circulate through our economy.

    Generally speaking this pattern tightens all credit since the lenders have the choice of lending to the US at a good rate of return and much higher safety. To keep credit flowing for business, the Fed then has to lower it’s interest rates as an inducement to more lending.

    But Bush didn’t just do this. He also cut taxes, which means he had to borrow still more to make up for the short-term revenue loss. Hence Greenspan’s dilemma: release more money in the stream and run the higher risk of a crisis if judgment starts to go sour. Or release less and starve business for capital.

    Tax cuts induce expansion, but on a much longer time frame than lending because the money has to circulate through consumption. So the flight of the US borrowed money abroad and out of domestic circulation has a strong dampening effect on what a tax cut can accomplish, because it’s pull on the credit markets is faster and harder than push of consumer spending can ever be.

    I have no idea whether what Obama will do will succeed. But we must all understand the essential difference in what he is doing. His deficit will fund things like domestic medical care, if some bill for it passes. This will put the money into immediate circulation here rather than draining it off abroad.

    My best guess would be that the greatest danger would actually be a sudden-onset overstimulation of the economy, forcing the Fed to raise interest rates sharply to clamp down on inflation.

    But this is just a guess. I did better than Alan Greenspan did in calling the Housing Crisis, but I don’t expect to beat the central banker at his own game ever again.

  • david

    Elmo has certainly clarified Church teaching, particularly citing Gaudium et Spes. The teaching about “coercion of will” obviously condemns advertising, most interrogations, and good old fashioned spousal nagging. If my coerced will can rebound I’ll cite this the next time I’m forced to attend a chick flick.

  • Andrew B

    I think the Left’s hatred of Bush (and the corresponding love for Obama) can all be traced to a fairly simple cause. Bush, for all his shortcomings, was an adult. He had admitted his “youthful indiscretions” and, from all that I can see, moved beyond them. He was constantly tarred as a “frat-boy”, but I never met one of them who was so consistently disciplined (not to mention home in bed–with his wife, no less–at 9pm).

    President Bush, for good or ill, was Dad. He was going to protect us, even when we didn’t want him to.

    President Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, is not Dad, but rather the Cool Older Brother. He seems like the type who, rather than going to bed at a reasonable hour, will stay up all night with a bottle of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine and engage us in an endless dorm room bull session. We won’t get much done, but we will listen in awe as he talks about Sartre and Camus and Chomsky.

    Some on the Left have never outgrown their fondness for such figures. Me? I have a family to protect and provide for, and so I don’t have time, energy or inclination to sit up all night and say “Wow, HEAVY, man!”

  • skeeter

    Joseph Marshall
    October 12th, 2009 | 11:59 pm

    As enlightening as your little lecture on the housing crisis was, you conveniently leave out some very important players – like ACORN, and Congress, bringing some serious pressure on banks to provide loans to those who could not pay for them, through providing real teeth to the CRA.

    Then with Congressional shepherding by the likes of Dodd and Franks, these little morsels of loans were packaged up and sold with the imprimatur of Freddy and Fanny and implied Govt. guarantees.

    Unlike you, I have some idea of Obama’s ideas succeeding or no. He is paying off unions, bloating Government jobs / spending and placing the country into a debt situation which threatens to destroy our economy and our military security. The injection of $$$ into the government is much less efficient than into the private sector, and moreover, this WH policy has driven investment, domestic and foreign, out of the market while waiting to see the when the other shoe, rising taxes and other onerous policies, will be made law, making this a terrible market in which to risk capital.

    We agree on inflation, but the cause is the endless printing press of the Fed producing cash.

    While I disagreed with many of the Bush moves, can’t say I suffered from BDS. Your mileage may vary on that.

    Back to our hostess’ primary point.
    I work hard at praying for this president. I don’t think I hate him, but I surely fear his behavior. He is either over his head, being controlled by Soros or other socialists, or he is destroying our infrastructure on purpose. Neither belief on my part engenders much in the way of trust of him.

    Now hate? My contempt and disgust is largely directed toward the dinosaur media, who betrayed this country by not vetting this cypher of a president, and even now suppresses information that citizens need to make sound decisions. They have long passed up bias and are so in the tank for this administration that they need fish food. Thank God for blogs and alternative media – the transition just isn’t fast enough.

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

    like ACORN, and Congress, bringing some serious pressure on banks to provide loans to those who could not pay for them, through providing real teeth to the CRA.

    Nobody is going to make loans that they think people will default on and the lender will not be able to recoup the loan value with the collateral–particularly when the lender has to borrow money to do it. It all depends on judgment of what the real risks of the lending are and no amount of “pressure” is going to force a banker beyond his perception of the safety level, Congress or ACORN or not.

    But, for all their articles of faith about the “free market”, conservatives really have very little understanding of how markets actually work. This is why they are running around under the illusion that Fannie and Freddie acted as if anybody who walked in the door was qualified for a loan–safety level or no.

    Lower the interest rates for everybody, and you encourage everybody–bankers, marginal home buyers, current home owners and businesses to assume more risk, thus creating more demand for loans.

    The market, and the problem, doesn’t just consist of marginal borrowers. One of the major components of this crisis was borrowing against equity purely for purposes of consumption–and it wasn’t the marginal borrowers who did this–they had no equity to speak of.

    It was all the fine folks, many of them “conservatives” who are always looking down their nose at those pesky marginal home buyers and pontificating to them about how spendthrift they are.

    The injection of $$$ into the government is much less efficient than into the private sector

    Now, frankly, this is a piece of a catechism that I have never heard anybody who avers it follow with a single scarp of evidence or an example that supports it. Catechisms are just fine when the issue is one where there is little empirical evidence–such as the Nature of God–but they really are out of place in economics.

    Money is money wherever it comes from and wherever it goes to. Nobody “injects” it into the private sector, they either lend the money at interest or purchase goods and services. Even the so called “government bank bailout” consisted of loans secured by the collateral of stock in the banks. I doubt that one in ten people who put up such a fuss over it even bothered to find this out.

    Moreover, wonder of wonders, the banks are actually paying the money back with all deliberate speed. Why? Because they can’t stay solvent and do profitable business hanging on to the debt and merely operating on the borrowed money.

    Does anybody who made the fuss even mention this? Do any of these fine people even know? Or are they still nursing a grudge that the Government printed up a bunch of “free money” just gave it to the banks.

    Another part of the catechism, I suppose.

    Now consider the matter of consumption. If the government pays me as a doctor under Medicare or Medicaid the money I get spends just the same way as the stuff I get from Nationwide paid out under their policies. So it has exactly the same impact on the economy in either case. They pay me, I spend it.

    Frankly, government spending has one genuine advantage over consumer spending–you can direct a whole lot of it at once into a small sector of the overall market and insulate that sector from the operation of supply and demand.

    This is how all those fancy new weapons systems that make Presidents feel so powerful and all of us feel so safe come into being. They are nursed along with “cost overruns” that are supplemental payments to the contractors to keep them going until they finally come up with a weapon that’s worth shooting at somebody with.

    Can you imagine giving Wal-Mart a “cost overrun” on your next purchase of bath towels? Or the government trying to buy missile interception systems or new attack helicopters from Target?

    “Free market” dogma is generally a substitute for facts and thought. And not a very good substitute at that.

  • elmo

    Anchoress: Fine, consider it a truce. I have been coming here for years and generally enjoy your blog posts and I would hate to stop coming back!;)

  • TheOldCrusader

    “if it was wrong under Bush, it should be wrong under Obama, too, yet somehow he escapes criticism”

    Absolutely true to the first part. For myself and many others he does not escape criticism. It is the HuffPost liberals who should be up in arms – but aren’t.

    “we can only elect the folks who run”

    True. And there is little excuse for supporting a John S. McCain over a Ron Paul or a Barack Obama over a Mike Gravel. And if necessary sitting out the election between the two sock puppets of the so-called major parties. Already only half of Americans vote. Some may be apathetic, but surely some abstain from disgust. If we could get that participation down to 20% maybe we’d starting getting better candidates?

    Bender:
    Years ago I worked at a large company. This company was exploring a ‘strategic partnership’ with a technology company. There was one problem. Objectively, the partnership made no economic sense – both the geeks and the bean counters knew it and showed it in their evaluations of the proposition. That didn’t matter a bit. The two CEO’s told the evaluators to ‘do it over’ with the implication that the ‘right’ answer had better be forthcoming. Dare I say that nobody was surprised that the re-evaluation supported the views of the top tacos? Of course the deal collapsed in less than 1 year (instead of running 10 as it was supposed). Reality has a way of doing that.

    Lesson learned? The boss can have any recommendation he requires.

    John Yoo is to the practice of law as Lon Horiuchi is to the practice of law enforcement. That neither man will pay for his deeds is a small matter compared with our obligation to properly name those deeds.

    Some of the folks here seem to be saying that if it doesn’t leave a mark, it is not torture. So, I guess breaking on the wheel or eye-gouging is out.

    Would those individuals like to conduct the Holy Father about Abu G. or Gitmo while some of these enhanced interrogation techniques were in operation? Do you think that you could persuade him that what was being done was proper? Do you think it matters?

    And as a last point: The supposed value of the intelligence extracted is affirmed by the same authority that affirmed that there was no torture.

  • Bender

    Why the Bush hate?

    There are many secondary reasons, reasons that are specific to Bush. But the primary reason is easy — because hate is what they do.

    We saw this when their darling became the GOP nominee for president. The “sure thing” was suddenly abandoned and treated as someone to be destroyed.

    We see it now, when conservatives and Republicans are totally powerless to stop them from doing anything. And yet, 99 times out of a 100 when you happen to stop at MSNBC when flipping through the stations, they will be trashing those utterly powerless conservatives and Republicans.

    Every Obama speech is incomplete without some contemptuous slap, often backhanded, at some person or group.

    Spend a few moments in hell — Detroit — where the libs and Dems have been in 100 percent total control for decades, and see the seething hate that spews from that place.

    Hate and resentment is what they do. It is intrinsic to their emphasis on “justice” — social justice, economic justice, racial justice, reproductive justice, gender justice, environmental justice, etc. — all of which are inherently adversarial, divisive, and forever bent on “settling scores” and “getting even,” bringing others down and getting/taking the power and material goods that are “owed” to them.

    It does not matter who the president is, or other political office (or religious office, e.g. that Nazi pope), they hate because they have hated so much and for so long that they have become what they do. They have become hate.

    Besides if the world hated Jesus enough to crucify Him, do you really think the people of the world are going to treat you any better?

  • Brian English

    “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.”

    I do not watch either Olbermann or Hannity, so I have no idea what this is.

    In any event, we waterboarded three admitted al Qaeda leaders in an attempt to save lives. We were not just randomly waterboarding guys we picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan for laughs.

    They were told before they were waterboarded that they would not die, which they probably figured out anyway when they did not die after the first few times. We had doctors observing them during the entire process.

    The problem with the word “torture” is the same one society has with the word “racism” — they are overused and applied to such a wide range of actions that they lose their meaning.

    Is waterboarding, which we have performed on almost 30,000 of our own troops as part of their SERE training, really the same as as cutting off a finger or toe every time someone gives an answer you do not like? Is it really the same as turning on the juice to electrodes (or worse, car battery cables) attached to their genitals in order to get them to talk? Is it really the same as pushing a drill through someone’s knee cap to force an answer?

    Catholics can pride themselves on a tradition of applying reason to difficult moral issues. The question of what methods of coercion can be used on men who have killed innocents and have planned to kill even more is a difficult moral issue. Simply labeling all coercive interrogation techniques as “torture” is intellectually dishonest and extremely dangerous to our society.

  • Irene

    I have a few things to say on the “alleged” torture such as waterboarding. Anything can be torture, if the right thing is done to the right individual. Inflicting horrendous pain such as pulling out fingernails, the rack, etc. is torture by most standards but is waterboarding. I don’ know. All I know is that by most standards, music is music, but some of today’s music is torture as a lot of other things. We need to be careful how we use our words.

  • Brian English

    “Would those individuals like to conduct the Holy Father about Abu G. or Gitmo while some of these enhanced interrogation techniques were in operation? Do you think that you could persuade him that what was being done was proper? Do you think it matters?”

    No one here is claiming that the prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib was proper. The guards involved in that were prosecuted by the military. It is typical in these discussions to see various unlawful and unauthorized activities lumped in with the interrogations at Gitmo.

    I also absolutely think I could adequately explain to B16 why three admitted al Qaeda leaders had to be waterboarded. He has come face-to-face with evil men in his life, so I am sure he would recognize what they are and what had to be done to protect the innocent.

    “And as a last point: The supposed value of the intelligence extracted is affirmed by the same authority that affirmed that there was no torture.”

    Wrong. Obama’s head of the NSA, Admiral Blair, confirmed the value of the intelligence.

  • http://estquodest.com Pauli

    I think “elmo” might appreciate my, uh…. criticism of First Things and their seeming inability to deal with certain issues here.

    BTW, this is a great post. Thanks for your excellent work.

  • Irene

    Thank you, Anchoress, for an excellent article. I won’t defend some of President Bush’s actions because I don’t think it is necessary. History will be the best judge. But you are dead on, if something is bad under one administration why isn’t it under the other. One more point, people seem to forget that the President is not a monarch. We have a congress that passes the laws. Yes, the president has to sign them but if he doesn’t like the law, he can veto. However, that is always not possible. Also, remember that states have governors and that has to do alot with what happens in those states. Under Clinton, he had a republican congress and mostly republican governors. Under Bush, it was the opposite. Generally, we have a Congress that is the opposite party to the executive branch. That wasn’t so for over 40 years and those years saw all those “welfare” and social programs that are law today. Whether they were good or not depends on a person’s perspective. While I don’t have all the evidence, it might be worthwile for someone to look at how many democratic governors we had during the Bush years. I know Calif. had a “republican” but come on, does anyone thinking person really think Swartesnegger(sp) is really republican? You can’t lay every economic problem on the president, be it Clinton, Bush or anyone else. All that said, I believe President Bush to be a good man who did all he could to protect our country. He did not bite back like this president is doing when the media criticized him as well as all the lefties in Congress and Hollywood. While I dislike some of what he did I think he was not “stupid” nor bumbling. He did not have the media build him up nor overlook his stumbles as they have this president. Obama stumbles almost daily yet we hear nothing in the MSM. Honestly Folks, do you really think that a stupid person could be elected president – what does that say about us.

  • Gary Staiger

    A conservative friend of mine directed me to your blog in the hope,I guess, of swinging my views rightward. Quite the opposite.

    I really enjoyed reading the back and forth between Anchoress and Mr Marshal. His devastatingly fact filled critique has reduced the hostess to ad hominid rebuttal.

    As to the torture issue, please. Even as a lapsed Catholic I still recall that the Church’s teaching on violence are adamantly anti-. That 30,000 GI’s have experienced waterboarding in their training is not an excuse for using it to extract mostly inaccurate and false confessions. I don’t have time here to list all the cases that support this but the most important one is involves General Powell’s use of information gleaned as a result of waterboarding to justify the need to invade Iraq in his UN speech that sealed the case for war.

    The man waterboarded was bn al-Sheikh al-Libi, [referred to by intelligence agencies as "Curveball"] “an al-Qaeda operative who later claimed he gave the CIA false information in the face of actual and threatened torture.

    The military & intelligence services have belatedly admitted than an unspecified number of detainees have died in custody. What do you think caused their deaths? Too much cake and ice cream??

    And, if you don’t think being rendered to a prison in some remote area of Egypt or the Turkish mountains isn’t torture, you should go on line and see for your self.Horrifying doesn’t begin to describe reality.

    Sending me here didn’t quite accomplish what Joe was probably hoping for, but the generally civil tone of posters and the level of discourse is very good. Most conservative blogs I’ve read wouldn’t allow space for the point of view of Joe Marshall or myself. America is all of US> It is WE who are the ones who must solve ALL of our problems. There is no room for HATE. If we cannot TALK this through we are all DOOMED.

    [Welcome; I am glad you find the place "civil" in tone, which is what we strive for here. I'm sure you have seen some more conservative sites that "won't allow space" for opposing view points, I certainly have seen more than my share of uncivil "liberal" sites that will not allow an opposing view to stand, so perhaps "civility" is all too rare on both sides. As to whether my responses to Joseph Marshall, who is a good friend, has been "ad hominid" or not, I will let Joseph decide on that. We know each other well, have long disagreed on pretty much everything, and still manage to be friends, so perhaps we're not doomed, just yet. -admin]

  • phosphorious

    First of all: liberals didn’t “hate” Bush, if by that you mean have a personal grudge against him. You will recall that Bush enjoyed massive popularity after 9/11. The entire country, liberal and conservative alike, were willing to give him a chance. He blew it, and so justifiable criticism came his way. Of course the critics were denounced as traitors by all good conservatives, but just because you were uncomfortable criticizing Bush, doesn’t mean we “hated” him. That’s stupid. It wasn’t personal.

    Second: Liberals are levelling the exact same criticisms at Obama. I realize that the conservative talking point is that liberals worship Obama and never speak ill of him, but if you read Digby, and Atrios, and Glen Greenwald. . . in fact just about any liberal blogger, you will find pointed, sane and passionate criticism of the Obama administration. (ead what Micheal Moore, for example, said on Huffington Post about Obama’s Nobel). We don’t “hate” Obama any more than we “hated” Bush, but we criticize when criticism is due.

    Tjird: why are you still talking about Bush? He is no longer president, and all of the mean hurtful things that were said about him are in the past. Can’t you move on? Would you like an apology from all those who hurt his feelings, and apparently your as well? Because it’s not going to happen. You will have to grow up and remember that politics is a rough business.

    [You are new to this blog, so you perhaps do not realize that my frustration with Obama has more to do with the press, than with anything else. There are, yes, a handful of liberal bloggers who are losing patience with Obama, but his minions in the press still allow him the very "passes" (and the double standards) that I have enumerated here, and if my email (and the comments section) are indicative, the majority on the left is still willing to overlook a great deal that Obama does -even when it is precisely what Bush did- because he is Obama. You write "Of course the critics were denounced as traitors by all good conservatives..." Really...I didn't make that denunciation. You come here and criticize me for being too broad in my accusation and then...accuse me (and all conservatives) that broadly? That's ironic, isn't it. Were you going for irony? :-) "Liberals don't 'hate' Bush"? Be honest, now -that is not even debatable. As to your "Bush isn't president, move on, and grow up," remarks, I'm pretty grown up, thanks. As to moving on, I'm as ready to move on as all the rest of the world, but since the Nobel committee is still communicating about Bush, in one way of another, and since the media is gleefully crowing that Obama "got that for not being Bush" and since my email still gets the daily "at least Obama is not Bush you Bushbot moron" missives, I'd say perhaps we're not ready to "move on" after all. For that matter, even my esteemed friend Joseph Marshall, seems completely disinterested in all of those similarities in policies (and differences in temperament) between Bush and Obama and in content to simply rehash old arguments, justifying his own fervent dislike of Bush, rather than addressing the main point of this piece -which is that the things which were decried, mocked and hated for 8 years, are suddenly simply shrug-offable. No, I'm not looking for an apology for Bush. Consistency would be nice, though! -admin]

  • Pingback: You tell me for a fact that an exorcism wouldn’t do any good. « Temple of Mut

  • Brian English

    “As to the torture issue, please. Even as a lapsed Catholic I still recall that the Church’s teaching on violence are adamantly anti-. That 30,000 GI’s have experienced waterboarding in their training is not an excuse for using it to extract mostly inaccurate and false confessions. I don’t have time here to list all the cases that support this but the most important one is involves General Powell’s use of information gleaned as a result of waterboarding to justify the need to invade Iraq in his UN speech that sealed the case for war.

    The man waterboarded was bn al-Sheikh al-Libi, [referred to by intelligence agencies as "Curveball"] “an al-Qaeda operative who later claimed he gave the CIA false information in the face of actual and threatened torture.

    The military & intelligence services have belatedly admitted than an unspecified number of detainees have died in custody. What do you think caused their deaths? Too much cake and ice cream?? ”

    This is typical. Mixing events that occurred years apart and in different locations, reporting unsubstantiated rumors as fact, and simply misstating facts.

    Three al Qaeda leaders were waterboarded. None of them died. Admiral Blair, Obama’s NSA Director, stated in an internal memo, which was acquired by that right-wing rag The New York Times, that those interrogations obtained valuable information and saved lives.

    As far as deaths in American custody, I recall one. I would like a citation to support your claim that the military and intellegence services have “belatedly” admitted to an “unspecified number” of deaths. Slandering the men and women who try to protect this country by that type of general accusation is shameful. Be specific if you are going to accuse our troops and intelligence officers of murder.

  • TheOldCrusader

    Here’s a place to start on “deaths in custody”

    I’d also say to simply google “gitmo” and “deaths in custody” – you’ll get plenty of hits.

    Brian E.:

    “Wrong. Obama’s head of the NSA, Admiral Blair, confirmed the value of the intelligence.”

    What I meant by confirmed by the same authority was that the government confirmed that the government did not torture. The government confirmed that the government found the intelligence useful.

    For my purposes just because the occupant of a given musical chair changes it doesn’t change the authority that is making the finding.

    [Hey, if you guys are going to start giving each other links, please take a moment to learn how to embed them or you'll find yourself stuck in the spam filter while I go get a haircut and make supper, my schedule for the night means I am not likely to be checking on comments, and if you get stuck in the spam filter you might be there until tomorrow afternoon and I'm sure you won't like that! -admin]

  • phosphorious

    There are, yes, a handful of liberal bloggers who are losing patience with Obama, but his minions in the press still allow him the very “passes” (and the double standards) that I have enumerated here, and if my email (and the comments section) are indicative, the majority on the left is still willing to overlook a great deal that Obama does -even when it is precisely what Bush did- because he is Obama.

    It is more than a handful, as you say. And it has been less than a year that Obama has been in office.

    And Obama’s “minions” in the press were Bush “minions” during his tenure, failing to seriously criticize anything he did until it was far too late.

    The press defers to power, they don’t care which party weilds it. They gave Bush a nice long honeymoon after 9/11.

    And lets’ face it, the criticism you aim at liberals can be easily flipped to apply to conservatives: how can they claim that Obama is a far left socilaist who seeks to weaken America, when his policies concerning national defense are pretty much the same as they were under Bush. . . who was a hero to the right.

    I had hoped that the election of Obama meant a repudiation of the “torture and open-ended war” theory of foreign policy that Bush championed.
    If that is not the case, if Obama is just as bad, then I will vote against him.

    But ti is not at all clear what your criticism is: are you against torture and pre-emptive war, and if so, why were you not against them when Bush was president?

    [We can get into whole philosophical discussions regarding preemptive war and how that may even be defined in an era where terrorism has supplanted formal declarations, but I'm don't have the time or energy for such debates, not this week. I also have absolutely no intention of once again opening this thread up to the question of what I believe or don't believe. I have 5 years of archives that more than explain my pov's, my meanderings, and even those subjects on which I admit I am either poorly informed or not fully decided. This post was not a "criticism" of policies, but a simple wondering on my part why some people are so willing to excuse policies in one president that they despised in another. I'm not even telling people they should hate anyone - God forbid! But the question, "why is this not worthy of the same hate (or anger, if you prefer) you espoused for the past 8 years," is a fair one. -admin]

  • Brian English

    Old Crusader:

    I did your search on bing (not a google fan), and found an msnbc story on five detainee suicides at Gitmo. Those are our fault?

    The Wikipedia entry on Gitmo also mentions the suicides. It states that the Saudi Human Rights Group (how is that for an oxymoron?) blames the U.S. for the deaths, but that is what you would expect from them.

    What am I missing?

  • phosphorious

    “But the question, “why is this not worthy of the same hate (or anger, if you prefer) you espoused for the past 8 years,” is a fair one. -admin

    Fair enough. But my answer is simple: The left is acquitting itself much better in this regard than the right did when Bush was in power.

    There are many serious criticism’s levelled at Obama from the left. Whereas the right had very little bad to say about Bush until they started losing elections.

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    Hank:
    “A rouge unit of the Chicago Police” – 7:36 post

    Could that be related to DADT?

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    Phosphorus,
    What cave were you in during the Bush years? There was tons of criticism directed at him from conservatives. The isolationists who were against going into Iraq, those who thought he shouldn’t work with Kennedy on the “no child left behind” program, those who thought he should have been more specifically anti-Muslim, etc.

  • TheOldCrusader

    Brian E:

    You have to start digging down in the results list and maybe go off into some side alleys. It’s not an easy trip because the MSM is no more interested in this kind of report than it is interested in reporting on anti-abortion marches.

    BTW: It appears that almost all search engines do some discreet editing. I think Bing is supposed to be a bit more agressive than some of the others – though from what I have read it tends to be in areas where MS has some sensitivities ;-). You might want to experiment with others like Ixquick

    Try this article:
    here to pick up one interesting report.

    N.B. I am not talking about deaths just in Gitmo. Overall it looks like we have more than 100 deaths in captivity. Say 12-30 (depending on the different reports you may run across) clear homocides. Some suicides. Some inadequate medical care. Some who-knows?.

  • phosphorious

    Scott Brooks wrote:

    “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.

    I write:

    Actually, this is why I hate Bush (and I won’t bother with the usual circumlocutions about how I don’t really “hate” him, just disgaree with everything he stands for. In as far as “hate” is a negative psychological reaction to the mere thought of someone, then yes, I hate Bush. I pray for charity in this regard, but as a simple description of my psychological state, that describes about as well as anything.)

    Anyway, this is the reason for my reaction: the fact that Bush was supposed to represent “real” christianity, and that therefore to oppose him was to not make a purely political, prudential judgment, but to take a stand against the church.

    I suppose it’s unfair to blame Bush for this, since he never claimed the mantle of “Leader of Christianity” for himself, but his supporters sure did.

    He wasn’t a catholic, and he violated just war doctrine, and he supported torture, and he did nothing to actually end abortion. . . and yet somehow it was assumed that christians should support him. He was just another politician, but he was presented as somehow morally superior.

    The Bush years represent a time when religion and politics got mixed up in very dangerous ways. This hurt politics, but it hurt religion even more.

    I don’t know if Bush can be blamed for this, but he certainly thrived on it.

    It’s all very well to criticize liberals for worshiping Obama, but you really need to be more honest about your own support for Bush.

  • Brian English

    Old Crusader:

    The issue is just not if prisoners have died. I know two prisoners died at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. The issue is whether the incidents were investigated and, if there was wrongdoing, were the guilty parties punished?

    Atrocities have been committed in every war. The key question is whether those atrocities were standing operating procedure or were they aberrations that were investigated and punished?

  • JuliB

    Most of these comments irk the heck out of me. The Anchoress is NOT talking about specific points in terms of right or wrong, but is MAKING AN ANALOGY!

    I’m starting to think that the vast majority of people are too uneducated to understand and recognize analogies or other analytical writing devices.

    From wikipedia: Analogy is a cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process.

    It seems to me that like:

    Hand – palm, Foot – sole,

    the Anchoress is saying :

    President A – Policy 1, President B – Policy 1.

    She is not discussing the merits of any individual policy, but merely the reactions of people to the above relationships. To digress to the various policies and debate them is to MISS THE WHOLE POINT of this blog column.

    My apologies for yelling. But if we were all together in person, I would probably be shaking people. This is one of the few things in life that makes me fly off the handle.

  • phosphorious

    I’m starting to think that the vast majority of people are too uneducated to understand and recognize analogies or other analytical writing devices.

    Everybody understands this. But I also understand that she is not questioning conservatives as to why they supported Bush and his policies, but claim that Obama is “weakening America” for doing the exact same thing Bush was doing.

    If she wants to accuse Obama of hypocrisy. . . he said he was against torture, but supports it, while Bush never claimed that torture was wrong. . . fine. But in as far as her accusation is aimed at liberals in general, I repeat: liberals are doing much better at criticizing their own president than conservatives did.

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

    As to whether my responses to Joseph Marshall, who is a good friend, has been “ad hominid” or not, I will let Joseph decide on that.

    No, Anchoress, your responses have not been ad hominid. Regrettably, however, my posts have been ad homonym when they have not been ad synonym.

    Somebody upstream asked about the Oberman/Hanity bet. Hanity asserted on the air that “waterboarding was not torture”. Oberman offered to bet him several thousand dollars, given to charity, that he couldn’t last under waterboarding for even 3 minutes. Hanity took the bet and got no further than about 15 seconds with his dunkiing. Afterwards Hanity admitted that waterboarding was, indeed, torture.

    But it is, perhaps, not so torturous as the arguments that end up getting used to justify it.

  • Brian English

    “Somebody upstream asked about the Oberman/Hanity bet. Hanity asserted on the air that “waterboarding was not torture”. Oberman offered to bet him several thousand dollars, given to charity, that he couldn’t last under waterboarding for even 3 minutes. Hanity took the bet and got no further than about 15 seconds with his dunkiing. Afterwards Hanity admitted that waterboarding was, indeed, torture.”

    A quick search on bing reveals Hannity was never waterboarded. Erich “Mancow” Muller, a shock jock from Chicago, underwent what he claimed was waterboarding and subsequently appeared on Olbermann’s show and stated waterboarding was torture.

    However, e-mails subsequently surfaced that indicated the “waterboarding” was intended to be a hoax. In addition, the procedure that Mancow did actually undergo was not waterboarding. Waterboarding is supposed to simulate drowning. The water was being poured directly into Mancow’s mouth, so he was actually drowning.

  • Bender

    Also, those who participated in the Mancow hoax have admitted that they had no idea as to what the actual procedures and protocols were, so they made it up as they went along.

  • Gary Staiger

    I’m glad to see others verifying deaths in custody. I should have cited but my post was getting too long. The five suicides are crucial issues, no one can claim that these deaths were unrelated to their prolonged confinement. .murder. We do not At least one detainee died at Basram AB in Turkey and who knows how many others elsewhere. Its not like the CIA has a history of being very openon these matters. They don’t call it the Black Arts for nothing.

    Trust me, the left is giving Obama plenty of grief & heat for not fulfilling various campaign promises.For example I oppose the possibility of more troops to Afghanistan from the anti killing standpoint and also because I do not believe more troops will solve a war in a country that has foiled both the British and the Russians He’s catching from both sides and trying [I hope] to balance competing interests for the greater good of all.

  • http://profiles.google.com/JohnMcG JohnMcG

    It’s fun to shoot fish in a barrel, isn’t it?

    Yeah, the people who “hated” Bush are silly. As are people who “hate” Obama.

    So what? What does that prove? Where does that get us?

    All these protestations that commenters asserting the immorality of torture are missing the point only goes to prove that the original point was uninteresting.

  • http://profiles.google.com/JohnMcG JohnMcG

    As far as the actual argument goes, isn’t there a difference between introducing a policy and not completely reversing it?

    By the logic of this post, if one “hates” those who established a Constitutional right to abortion, one should also hate those who have governed since then and failed to overturn it.

    Of course, this isn’t what the poster believes, as evidenced by this item:


    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?

    So, in this instance, Bush’s culpability is diminished because he didn’t establish the policy.

    Which isn’t the end of the world, but since this is a post whose sole purpose is to criticize others for their inconsistency, it doesn’t look good.

  • Brian English

    “The five suicides are crucial issues, no one can claim that these deaths were unrelated to their prolonged confinement.”

    So should we let them all go? There are also people in prison serving much longer sentences who have not killed themselves. You really blame the U.S. for these suicides?

    “At least one detainee died at Basram AB in Turkey and who knows how many others elsewhere. Its not like the CIA has a history of being very openon these matters. They don’t call it the Black Arts for nothing.”

    Actually, two died in Bagram AB in Afghanistan. The deaths were investigated. Implying that there have been other deaths elsewhere that have not been investigated is unfair to our military. No military in the world polices itself the way ours does. Have some proof before you accuse people of murder.

  • http://profiles.google.com/JohnMcG JohnMcG

    However, e-mails subsequently surfaced that indicated the “waterboarding” was intended to be a hoax. In addition, the procedure that Mancow did actually undergo was not waterboarding. Waterboarding is supposed to simulate drowning. The water was being poured directly into Mancow’s mouth, so he was actually drowning.

    Oh, so waterboarding is not torture then. Good thing. I’m sure this argument will be quite persuasive at the Final Judgement.

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

    Well, Mr. English, I must admit that you are right and I am wrong. And now that you’ve drawn me in where I really didn’t want to go, I’ll speak my mind.

    I think waterboarding is a heinous thing. I think the people who defend it, for any reason, are “misguided” and I wonder why on earth you troubled to take me and my idle remark on. Are you that thin skinned about it?

    In my father’s war, the people who did such things were the Nazis and the Japanese militarist fanatics. In the next war after that, the people who did such things were the North Koreans. In John McCain’s war people who did it were the North Vietnamese. In between the Soviet Union did such things, and the Chinese “cultural revolutionaries” did that or worse to each other for what were the probably the zaniest and most bewildering reasons anyone has ever done it.

    These days, we are the people who do it.

    Now if you can’t see that this reflects no real credit on America to have taken up this tactic from the Nazis, the Japanese militarists, the North Koreans, the Soviet KGB, the Maoist Chinese, and the North Vietnamese, I hold no brief to try to persuade you otherwise.

    I wouldn’t waste my time.

  • Bender

    if one “hates” those who established a Constitutional right to abortion, one should also hate those who have governed since then and failed to overturn it

    I assume that you mean that, if we hated the Roe majority of 1973, we should also hate the majority of the Supreme Court of the intervening years who have continued to uphold Roe, as well as those who fought against “Robert Bork’s America.”

    I don’t know about the use of the word “hate” as applied to the members of the Court, but I can assure you that most pro-lifers have the same opinion of latter pro-Roe members as they did of the Roe majority, with this proviso — certain members of the Court (cough, Kennedy) should know better than to spout nonsensical ideas such as “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

  • Brian English

    John:

    “In my father’s war, the people who did such things were the Nazis and the Japanese militarist fanatics. In the next war after that, the people who did such things were the North Koreans. In John McCain’s war people who did it were the North Vietnamese. In between the Soviet Union did such things, and the Chinese “cultural revolutionaries” did that or worse to each other for what were the probably the zaniest and most bewildering reasons anyone has ever done it.”

    Don’t just say “such things.” Be specific. Do you really believe waterboarding, which we have performed on 30,000 of our own troops, is the same thing as cutting off fingers, toes and other appendages to get answers? Do you really believe it is the same as attaching car battery cables to someone’s testicles to get them to talk? Do you really believe it is the same as drilling elbows and knees until you get the answer you want?

    Waterboarding was far too tame for the murderous thugs you compare our interrogators to. The Japanese did use water and a board, but the water was forced down the prisoner’s throat into his stomach, with the purpose of rupturing the stomach. When they really wanted to have fun, they would have the prisoner eat uncooked rice beforehand.

    What do you think interrogators can do to admitted al Qaeda leaders? No popcorn for the movie that night? The interrogator saying he will not be the prisoner’s friend anymore? How do you define “torture?”

    What I am “thin-skinned” about Mr. Marshall, are accusations that the intelligence officers of the United States are the equivalent of the Nazis, Imperial Japan, and various communist murderers. That diminishes the crimes of those regimes while it slanders people who are trying to defend innocent lives.

  • http://profiles.google.com/JohnMcG JohnMcG

    “which we have performed on 30,000 of our own troops”

    The trainer-trainee relationship is fundamentally different from the captor-captive relationship in ways that are obvious to any who want to see them.

    Millions of instances of marital intercourse are perfectly morally licit. That doesn’t make adultery and rape OK.

  • Bender

    Of course, the detention of those at Gitmo are not captives, and their detention is not unlawful, unlike adultery and rape. They are, rather, detainees being held under the laws of war who have been found to be unlawful enemy combatants.

    It is a strange logic, though, that tries to say that it is OK to drop a bomb on their heads, but pouring water on their heads, in the same manner that it is poured on one’s own troops, is wrong.

  • http://profiles.google.com/JohnMcG JohnMcG

    “Captive” does not imply lawfulness or unlawfulness — the point is the captor is in complete control of the captives. This is true if the captor is completely guilty of what he is being held for.

    I’m not sure dropping a bomb is always licit, but if it is stopping an act of aggression, it can be.

    The same is not true for someone who is a captive.

    But I’m sure you knew that already.


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