Monday, November 14, 2005

Bush-hatred revisited

Dr. Sanity tackles that old bugaboo, Bush-Derangement-Syndrome (BDS), and tries to drive a stake into its vigorously beating heart. Her post is a good description of how the psychological mechanism of displacement functions in deflecting the hatred and fear of terrorism onto Bush.

Dr. Sanity doesn't pretend to explain the whole phenomenon of Bush-hatred, however, nor do I. I've felt for quite some time that there's something quite mysterious and "extra" about it, something very difficult to explain.

Perhaps it's merely that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In addition to the process Dr. Sanity describes (which I think is key), there are other intangibles that feed the beast of BDS.

I'm not talking about mere disagreement with Bush. I'm referring to the sort of visceral demonization of the man that clearly seems out of touch with any reality, and which has gripped so many people I personally know and turned them into something unrecognizable and ferocious when they even mention his name--which they do with some regularity.

A while back I wrote a bit on the subject, which I'd like to repeat now as an addition to Dr. Sanity's thoughts. Although I'm talking about something relatively superficial here, I believe that for some who hate Bush it is at least a part of what drives them:

...many people hate Bush for stylistic reasons. The way he talks, the way he smirks, the frat-boy persona--he represents the kind of person they simply detested in high school and college (particularly if they were the intellectual or literary sort). They distrust and dislike him in a very visceral way.

I am old enough to remember the reaction among Democrats to Lyndon Johnson after Kennedy's assassination. They detested him--his good ol' boy accent, his picking up his dog by the ears, his showing off his surgical scars--man, they just hated him; he had no class. Kennedy was the absolute personification of smoothness and class, so witty and bright and charming, and that New England accent!

But, in the end, that's all surface stuff. Was Kennedy's actual record as President much better--or really all that much different--than Johnson's? Of course, we can't know whether Kennedy would have done any better with the Vietnam war than Johnson did, but from books such as The Best and the Brightest, I think the answer is at least "probably not." Perhaps, though, he may have ultimately done better because he would have had a more friendly press.

FDR and Kennedy were also children of great privilege--as great, or greater, than Bush. But they had that Eastern style, and great personal magnetism, that he lacks. And, of course, many people hated them--but not the press, and not academics.

Personal style is part of this. We relate to people in many ways, some of them quite subtle and even outside of our awareness: body language and facial expressions and clothing, as well as accents and speech patterns. The utter revulsion some feel towards Bush, both here and abroad, is partly a reaction to such signals that he gives off. In the end, these feelings are neither political, rational, nor amenable to argument--they simply are.


At 2:03 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...

Some of us remember when the Soviet Union and China were denounced for nourishing a "cult of personality," while we in the West engaged in rational debate, based on enlightened self-interest, of the issues. We, after all, were the country that gave its citizens the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Now our politics are a dark version of PEOPLE magazine.
If you visited LGF during the past presidential election, you'd have thought Kerry was a New England version of Goebbels and Chamberlain, an odd mix to be sure, but not one gesture or tone of voice escaped scathing vitriol.
Today, Bush gets it from the other side. The Democrats are savaged, in the most simple-mimded and historically inaccurate way, by the likes of Coulter.
Actually, I was too mild in cting the fawning gossip of PEOPLE as a mirror of our political scene. Better would have been the Jerry Springer Show.
Why have we arrived at this point? Now there's a book proposal for anyone out there.
Good luck and keep us posted.

At 2:16 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger who, me? said...

It says inter alia that we are all seriously regressed to adolescence and in-groups (I for one was pretty darn old when finally choosing my companions for character, and the opportunity to help, rather than desperately trying to align with the hip people in the room!)

There's such a backlog of "hilbilly" and "mayberry" images in our neural files! If he sounds like Gomer Pyle, it doesn't matter that he is smart and kind.

It's more than possible that a big part of the outcry over Harriet Miers was simple embarrassment over her image. It was exacerbated by just coming off a crush on John Roberts.

Compare the grown-ups in movies of the 30s-50s to the ageing baby boys we see today. We're entertaining ourselves into perceptual impotence.

At 4:12 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger still realizing said...

Some of the lefts BDS is a desparate thrashing about as the left sinks beneath the waves. Since the end of the Soviet Union things haven't been the same. Another part is a sense that "All gloves are off" as a reaction to the impeachement of Clinton, which was seen as over-the-top partisanship. And some of it comes from Europe, where the causes might be the same or different, but is beyond my experience.

At 4:15 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous Frank Martin said...

I think BDS is much more a function of a generation struggling with its own sense of self image. The popular culture that surrounds the boomers rejects President Bush the way the human body fights a virus. For boomers that are reaching the end of their youth and are now stuck with the question " is that all there is", it seemed ok when the icon of their age, President Clinton was in charge. It seemed that he was one of them, and therefore they couldnt be that bad if one of their own became President one day.

Then came President Bush, a man decidedly at odds with the cloud of popular culture that has surrounded that generation. Far too many people look at the world by saying "if President Bush is right, then I must be wrong" and cling to the hope that by saying that "since President Bush is wrong, then I must clearly be right!".

Therefore, in all things and in all matters, President Bush must be wrong for their own self image to go on without being disrupted.

When observing BDS in its natural environment, you need to observe it in the context of a fading generation struggling to come to terms with the fact that many of the things that they believed are simply not true.

The result for many people is that its far easier to hate President Bush than to come to terms with the fact that most of what they thought about the world in the past 50 years is in fact, not correct.

BDS is simply a way for many people to avoid dealing with unconfortable realities about what they really believe.

At 4:22 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Daniel in Brookline said...

Personally, I think that a component of BDS is simply this: people decided a long time ago that Bush is a moron... and it infuriates them to see a moron sitting where Bush sits, making the decisions that he's making, and enjoying the popular support that he does. (Remember, Bush was re-elected with a popular-vote majority, something no Democratic President has done in decades.)

Some of it, I'm convinced, is as simple as that -- a case of I-could-do-better-than-that-moron, taken to absurd extremes. It explains a lot -- if Bush is a moron, but still accomplishes a lot, then he must be evil; or he must have evil handlers. Sound familiar?

(For the record, Bush is not a moron... but he doesn't seem to mind looking like one, if it will gain him political victories, which it certainly has. He's made a career of being "misunderestimated" by his opponents... and that must infuriate them even more, to be out-maneuvered again and again by someone they see as a moron.)

Daniel in Brookline

At 4:54 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Pancho said...

RE: G.W. Bush...
personal magnetism, that he lacks

Some of us who know him would argue with that statement, though I have to agree it is more the down-home variety than the intellectual sort.

At 4:56 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...

The last American President who did not inspire hatred was Ike. (A touch of contempt from the intellectuals, but that's par for the course in those quarters.) Since Vietnam, or the late Sixties and the Seventies, as one historian put it, there occurred a "break in the spirit and mind of America." We were last "together" (pretty much, at least) in WWII. I just don't see that likely to happen again, save a horrendous attack on us or an economic decline as the Great Depression.
As a result, the us v. them mentality and ensuing "hate," will form as soon as the two partries announce their candidates.
Nixon used the sign held up by a little girl--"Bring us together"--quite cynically in the 1968 campaign. He did just the opposite. Could anyone, except as a meaningless slogan, use that language again? Bush sort of did--"I'm not a divider..." Maybe he doesn't want to be, but has to.
When you talk about "the American way of life," what ARE you talking about? Who shares what with whom?
Ideally, and on paper, the rule of law and opportunity to pursue...
In reality, the answers are not quite as lofty as that.
The middle class dream was alive in a large segment of the population when Ike was president. It has been shrinking, and the core of the country, its credo, shrinks with it.
It's fairly easy to fuel President-hating. Style (background, mannerism, authenticity) is one element. Economic aspirations (and class belonging that goes with their fulfillment) form another. I do think it is importanbt to look at BOTH.

At 6:39 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they hate Bush because he is not from their geographic caste. If you were to ask someone who lived in NYC what they thought of someone in 'Bama they would probably have a negative opinion of them without even meeting them. Add an accent and dramatic policy (Patriot Act, Iraq) and a reasonable person might end up with BDS.

I still cannot believe we had a Pres. race between Bush and Kerry. 300 million people and we get to choose between those two. Arrgh!!

At 7:02 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

We also have to remember the way Abraham Lincoln was attacked from all sides; Lincoln was a "controversial" President for the times and GW is no different. That's the problem of actually taking stands based on principles like in the War on Terror. History will judge him similarly to Lincoln, as a Great Liberator.

We also expect too much from our Presidents these days. They must not only look good but sound like philosopher-kings as well as embrace every viewpoint and satisfy every one of our needs as we look to Government (and thus its Executor) as our surrogate parent.

At 8:40 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous hg wells said...

I'd agree that the hatred of Bush springs from several different sources. One of them is definitely the challenge he presents to boomers like myself to overturn our previous political beliefs and commitments.

However, even after I made that transition, I still find that Bush's mannerisms rub me entirely the wrong way--I doubt I'll ever get over that.

But I am convinced that he is the pit bull we need now for President and we are lucky to have him.

At 8:44 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger terrye said...

I think it is a lot of things including regional snobbery. Bush is from Texas and does not pretend it was some kind of accident.

Clinton may have been from Arkansas but he let people know that he was not really like the hillbillies that voted for him. And of course he married a yankee blue blood so that he could get to know all the right people.

And Democrats can say this is not unlike the attacks on Clinton but I beg to differ. The attacks on Bush are bizarre and they spill over to the people who support him.

I know people who cut off relationships with other people because of this.

And besides if Bush had Clinton's past he would never have made it to Washington in the first place. The media would have destroyed him with rumors of rape and sexual assault and affairs and real estate scandals. The press let Clinton get away with a lot for a very long time.

Bush is not stupid, nor is he a bad man. It is one thing to disagree with his policies, it is another to demonize the man.

At 9:43 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a psychiatrist but isn't it true that intense anger is usually a result of intense fear of something? Think about it...when you have been extremely angry about something wasn't there some kind of fear beneath it? (Loss of job, hurt pride which would make one feel unimportant and powerless, loss of money in the markets, etc. are some of the many examples.)

When we have fear of something, we are evolved to fight or flee. We need a form of anger to fight.

I think liberals are very much afraid of losing their previous grip on power. Read PoliPundit's blog about the demographic trends in our country now. This makes them angry...very angry at the moderates and conservatives (of which Bush is the leader) who are taking away that power.

At 9:48 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank Martin commented earlier:
"The result for many people is that its far easier to hate President Bush than to come to terms with the fact that most of what they thought about the world in the past 50 years is in fact, not correct."

Yep. That's pretty much how I see it. To me, the so-called progressives have believed for lo these many years that they ARE the progressives, they ARE the future. They are INEVITABLE and RIGHT. It galled them no end that that throwback and reactionary, Reagan, could get elected twice. But, that they could attribute to his being the "Great Communicator." (I suspect that some of them had a sneaky admiration for this aspect, since it was at least something the media pride themselves on e.g., the mastery of appearance/perception. Reagan's triumphs were an indirect tribute to the power of the media, they thought, so they were still sort of important.)

No one, not even his greatest admirers, has ever accused George W. of being a great communicator. And, I think that drives the BDS-ers to despair. The boomers are getting on. Their anointing is way overdue. It's been 20 years since Reagan and Bill Clinton came and went and still the country keeps electing conservatives, even ones that can't talk. There's no *realistic* choice but to face the fact that your ideas aren't persuasive to the majority and even the rightness of them can be debated. But, that realistic choice is too much for their fragile psyches and they retreat into paranoia & hostility.

It's going to list me anonymous, because I didn't want to go through the identity thing.


At 9:55 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

There are some very thoughtful comments here, and most of my disagreements would be quibbles. (Interesting quibbles, perhaps.)

I think people take stylistic aspects of public figures as a proxy for other things. Are you like me?

Sometimes these things spill out in a far more revealing way than people ever intended. Trying to be funny in 2000, one writer offered "Bill Clinton was like your first boyfriend. George Bush is like your first husband." The comment tells us very little about Clinton and Bush, but it tells us more about the writer than she wanted revealed. If you listen long enough, people will say what they mean.

As to civility of discourse, I think WWII was the great exception -- perhaps because our anger was redirected. My reading of the rest of the 20th C reveals more rudeness and violence than we typically imagine.

At 11:27 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Kennedy would have been able to counter the propaganda of the Vietnamese and the press far more efficiently. He would also have had more capital with the public, from which to draw upon, whereas this LBJ guy didn't even get elected, he was just the backup picked for political reasons by Kennedy.

Which in the end, might have resulted in the same Vietnamese policies, but with a far different end, an end where the US did not pull out or withdraw funding after the Tet Offensive.

Kennedy, Arnold, and Reagan were all "tv" Presidents. Nixon, Bush, and LBJ were mostly in your face, personal, presidents. Their charismas and styles didn't exactly reinforce the image the public had of them.

As for Bush hatred, it does have its uses. Much as how useful it is to the power brokers in the Middle East, to deflect all the woes in the world to the Jews and the Americans. Europe does the same thing with their boutique anti-Americanism.

It is a nice way of diverting energies to harmless pathways, at least harmless to the entrenched power structures.

Much as Rome did with gladiatorial games and the US does with political freedom and the American dream. Divert the energies of the public into either something harmless, or something constructive.

This fundamental principle of how to influence the masses, is in fact used by everyone. Though for subtly different reasons.

The so called liberals, for example, use it to reinforce and promote what they call "social justice". Which I believe the French and the Germans claim to be experts in.

This tends to result in people disgruntled with the status quo, and wanting more social justice, regardless of where that actually leads.

If the people's eye is diverted towards useful and constructive projects, then you will tend to see less disgruntlement, less complaints, and more of a "can do attitude" along with sincere hope for the future.

The attitude of the French, the Democrats, and the Middle East are one of a kind. And they are so, for a very good reason.

At 11:43 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Foobarista said...

I also think that Bush, for all the BDS rants about him, is so darn clean. His scandals are purely of the "evil rich Rethuglican" variety, as opposed to more interesting random love-children and sleaziness. He is married with children, and quietly ignores the whole sex-crazed culture that boomers claim to revel in and regard as some sort of Higher Calling. OTOH, Clinton reveled in it; part of his appeal for some was his sexual adventuring.

Bush is a guy you'd want for a neighbor, while Clinton is someone you'd want to meet Out Somewhere, spend a fascinating evening with, and not meet ever again...

At 12:24 AM, November 15, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Erasmus said: Now our politics are a dark version of PEOPLE magazine. Good line, better than the Springer afterthought.

The MSM & certain segments of our nation is under the spell of the cult of personality. I believe it started with John F. Kennedy. The man charmed the MSM, especially television journalists, which were just then in the beginnings of becoming the main arbiters of opinion.

Before Kennedy a different criteria was used to judge Presidents. They didn’t have to be charming or good public speakers. But after Kennedy was assassinated that seems to have changed. I also believe Kennedy would have had the cooperation of the MSM in regards to policy, especially foreign policy having to do with the war in Vietnam. His successor, Lyndon Johnson, was not charismatic. Johnson was forced to leave office because of Vietnam. Johnson was in possession of a drawl. The MSM does not like drawls. There is something about a drawl that makes them angry.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a fair public speaker but considered by today’s measure he was little better than mediocre. Listen to his old radio addresses & you will see my point. They say he had an appealing personality but what I’ve seen in the old vintage newsreels strikes me as bland compared to JFK.

Truman was an awkward public speaker – there is no other way to put it. Occasionally he would display some fire but mostly his speeches were too obviously read off from a page. He had a nasal Midwestern twang. A twang would be easier for today’s media to forgive than a drawl but it would still be a handicap.

Clinton had a drawl & was almost impeached. Carter had a drawl & was done in. Has there been any successful Presidency if an accent was involved? Wait … I guess that leads to the question of whether, since Kennedy, there has been any successful Presidencies at all. Better leave that for another comment. My point is that the MSM does not like accents, especially a Texas or Southern drawl. On the other hand, the voting public doesn’t seem to mind so much.

At 1:49 AM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous greeneyeshade said...

Erasmus says, "We, after all, were the country that gave its citizens the Lincoln-Douglas debates."
And the *second* event of that kind was ...?
People think there must have been a Golden Age of politics when the best men debated first principles in a chivalrous manner. Take a look at real history and try to find it. You don't have to dislike democracy _ I certainly don't _ to realize that high-minded politics, like high-minded government, is the exception, not the rule.

At 5:53 AM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous Paul said...

I voted for GWB in the last presidential election . However, I am disturbed by people to the right of center who believe that you either follow the party line or else. I do not agree with everything that GWB does and I will not be a syncophant for him either. If I agree with his actions(as I sometimes do) then I will support him, but if I don't I won't! To me scepticism is a good thing!

At 7:07 AM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, presidential personalities have influenced the tone of our political discourse. But it was probably television itself, rather than Kennedy's charisma, that shifted our political culture.

Lincoln was a witty man who often told off-color jokes. But most Americans hardly even saw a picture of him, and never heard his voice.

First radio and then television brought the previously regal and distant figure of the President into our living rooms - and these media implicitly compared him to polished entertainers.

Before Kennedy, Eisenhower was the first president to successfully use television - his TV ads from the 50s are basically are the first sound bites.

It's been downhill since - a classic case of the emotional, instantaneous, externally-focused TV medium engulfing and shaping the message.

Certainly charm and communication skills are part of leadership, but TV has limited our pool of presidential talent by making appearance and charisma a much larger part of the job than they ever were.

At 8:16 AM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love President Bush because he is down-to-earth real and he has a deep love for America.
Of course, I'm surrounded by a world full of superficial people whose only concern is with getting into one of NYC's hip VIP clubs or being seen at the best table of the most popular and expensive resturant in town. The level of unfounded arrogance in this town is mindblowing.

So for me, President Bush is a refreshing change from the fake imagery I have to deal with daily. I don't trust uber-polished, slick-worded, charming people anymore, they have screwed me over too many times ever be able to trust them to be honest.

At 8:18 AM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops that's Restaurant

At 12:07 PM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a freak. Card carrying member of the Eastern Intellectual Establishment, Ivy league, and I don't mind Bush's style one bit and thought LBJ was OK too. Liked the man, liked the drawl, liked the way he picked his beagles up by the ears so much I named my dog after him. I like Bush because he is a walking reminder that substance trumps style - particularly in war - and I'd name my dog Dubya in a New York minute too. But I must confess. I suffered BDS real bad with Richard Nixon.(course we didn't call it that then) Nothin that man could say or do that didn't make my gorge rise. He had to die before I could calm down enough to recognize he wasn't all bad. I even knew I had BDS too during those Nixon years and said many a time to my friends if that man claimed the sky was blue I'd look up to check. Its like Dr Fell, some folks just do that to you. Lgude, Perth Western Australia

At 12:37 PM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous phil said...

Ms. Neo,

In his speech on Friday and again last night Bush said that, in his opinion, people who questioned his use (or misuse) of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war were "deeply irresponsible."

Perhaps if he had a better grip on reality he would understand, as you do, that 57% of Americans believe that he misused the Iraq intelligence for the purposes of justifying his decision to go to war.

I'm aware of your contention that Bush is not desperate, but what is it if not desperation that causes a president to accuse the 57% of Americans who disagree with him of being "deeply irresponsible?"

Do you agree with the president's characterization of 57% of your fellow countrymen as irresponsible? Do you believe that it is appropriate for a president to characterize the clear majority of Americans who disagree with him in this way?

At 12:46 PM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell yeah! I even consider myself "deeply irresponsible."

At 1:02 PM, November 15, 2005, Blogger Kierkegaard said...

By an odd quirk of fate I'm related to the Bushes. Further, I've met Jeb several times around Washington, where I live. They are, in my opinion, little different from other 'celebrity' families I've known over the years (several intimately); they are self-important, driven, vain with their own self-importance, anti-intellectual, and clannish. Little different, in short, from the Kennedys; it was merely JFK's good (or bad) fortune that he was possessed, like President Clinton, of a vast personal charisma. Our current president suffers from no such handicap. Nor, I might add, does Jeb, though he is a pleasant and bright enough fellow.

But politics has little to do with the ideal; it is merely the art of the possible. It was the empty promise of President Clinton's meaningless charisma (I say meaningless, because he never for a single moment employed it--or his intelligence--to any goal that was not one of immediate personal vanity) that led to the possibility of GW Bush, or someone of similarly middling credentials, to follow him into the White House. Aside from the myriad useful contacts and the sycophantish circle of a dynastic political family, he brought only two cards to the table; a talent, developed in his frat-house days, to organize the people around him, and a sincere Christianity.

This latter, incidentally, is the elephant left out of your prescient observations; devout belief in Christianity (or Judaism) is greeted with such unrelenting hatred and fear by the nation's left wing that this amounts to a mania in itself--and perhaps should be explored separately. I am not a Christian (nor a Republican), but I take immense reassurance in the fact that the White House is occupied by a person who believes he talks to God every day; this was not a notable factor in the careers of Adolf Hitler, for example, or Josef Stalin. Experience has taught me that I would much rather have an arrogant superannuated frat-boy on his knees praying than, say, devising dirty tricks to play on his opponents.

Like our charming and articulate hostess, I too, saw the world differently after 911; especially since I had to inhale the smell of charred bodies from the Pentagon (directly across the river from me) for several days. In that time I watched an amazing transformation of George Bush, the ex-alcoholic (whose constant bandaging hinted that all was not 'ex') and physical coward so tremblingly fearful that he did not personally set foot inside the White House again until his wife went in and cell phoned to say it was safe! I watched as, from somewhere, he summoned dignity and courage. And this, whatever my previous contempt for his political tactics and false accent, made me proud. Proud of him as an American, proud of him as a distant relative, and proud of him as a person.

Over the years since, I have not always been able to hew to that line. He has betrayed our mutual cause--the war against terror--a hundred times through laziness, inattentiveness, bad decisions, kow-towing to Saudi Arabia, and yes, a genuine softheartness and awkward, graceless honesty so sincere that it has precluded our 'finding' a few WMDs to 'justify' the war (if I'd been president you can bet we'd have 'found' three or four.) But as I say, this is a man who plays no dirty tricks.

He leaves that, apparently, to his critics.

At 1:08 PM, November 15, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Hey Phil,

I’d like to know where you get your stats. Where’d you get the 57%?

At 2:17 PM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...

John Moulder:

I think Phil is referring to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this month: 57% said they believed W had misled the country about pre-war intelligence.

At 3:21 PM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Apparently 57%--if that's correct--of the population have been corrupted by the media.
It was a goal of the media, among others, to promote this belief. Obviously, Phil thinks having lied to the population to an extent that half the population believes a falsehood is a famous victory. Then, in swift, circular move, he takes the misapprehension as proof of something or other, or perhaps he is gloating--too early.

It's a bad idea, though, to pick a fight about history with the guy who owns the filing cabinet.

So, once the truth is forced out past the MSM guardians, the figure will change.

At 3:59 PM, November 15, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Thanks erasmus. I found the poll. Looks like the Islamofascists have had much of their work done for them. Here’s the question that phil was crowing about.

"Do you think President Bush gave the country the most accurate information he had before going to war with Iraq, or do you think President Bush deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq?"

Most Accurate___35% Misled___57% Unsure___8%

The MSM, the Democrats, the libs & lefty radicals are simply too influential of a bloc in their ability to alter & control the public’s perceptions. I think the spectacle of the Miers beheading by the Prez’s own party could cause more erosion of confidence that may manifest itself in even more negative numbers in the next poll. There’s a puzzling result for this question:

"Do you think Americans who describe U.S. military action in Iraq as a mistake are helping or hurting U.S. troops on the ground there?"
Helping___16% Hurting___58% Mixed___9% No Effect___9% Unsure___8%

Puzzling that the public would believe this yet also believe the other. Surely the public must notice that those who are “hurting” U.S. troops are the same group that says Bush lied.

It is my fervent hope that this poll is not truly indicative of the American public’s frame of mind but it is bothersome that the numbers for Bush have been steadily going down. I hope Bush has the guts to leave the troops in Iraq until they are not needed, the end of his term if need be.

I’ve thought for some time that the American people no longer have the will to sustain a prolonged war. If it’s not a quick & casualty-free conflict an American President better be prepared not to be popular.

Maybe I’m too cynical but I think the U.S. may be headed toward a condition where any determined foe can defeat it. As of Vietnam any enemy can always count on help from a lot of folks inside the U.S. American wars are no longer won or lost by conventional means & methods – deployment of weapons & troops, strategy, tactics, etc., unless they are so short & painless as to almost not fit the definition of war. American wars are won or lost by propaganda. And the anti-warrior crowd, the Democrats, the liberals & the radical left, have a willing ally in the MSM, the principal propaganda organ.

At 4:08 PM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous colagirl said...

devout belief in Christianity (or Judaism) is greeted with such unrelenting hatred and fear by the nation's left wing that this amounts to a mania in itself--and perhaps should be explored separately.

Absolutely. Among certain sectors of the left there's a real antipathy toward Christianity, and a sincere belief that anyone who *does* believe in Christianity is either ignorant, deluded, using it as a crutch, or a raving bigot. There *also* doesn't seem to be a lot of willingness to acknowledge anti-Christian attitudes as bigotry by the left, either. And for the record, I'm not a Christian--simply a former anti-Christian who had my eyes opened by some experiences with Christians.

This is a good post, neo-neocon. I have some thoughts on where Bush Derangement Syndrome comes from, but I'm having problems formatting them right now. Maybe later.

At 5:10 PM, November 15, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

So... people believe Bush misrepresented information.

Well, guess what, I can get an entire nation to believe that they are losing the war, when they are winning it.

I can get an entire nation to believe that they didn't really lose the war, it was instead (insert group)'s fault.

I can even get the former nation to believe such a thing, eminent defeat, and prevent them from feeling guilty for their actions as millions of people were abandoned to die a gruesome, humiliating, and lingering death.

So when someone claims a lot of people believe this of Bush, all I can say is, "Well that's a piece of cake, what'd'ya expect?"

At 5:11 PM, November 15, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The Democrats are being savaged like a man was savaged by that kitten last year.

At 7:30 PM, November 15, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Phil does a little sleight-of-hand with the president's comments about those who criticize him.

Which is interesting when he's trying to convince us how deceitful the president is.

You didn't hear or read correctly, phil. Or perhaps you interpreted comments in only one way because that was what you wanted to hear.

But I wouldn't say that Phil Lied.

At 2:28 PM, November 18, 2005, Anonymous Steve Teeter said...

Remember that when Clinton was president, a lot of people had CDS as bad as some have BDS today. I think a common factor with both men is that their opponents just could not accept their being president as legitimate.

Clinton ousted from the White House the ultimate establishment aristocrat, Bush I, and Bush's supporters just could not believe that this Arkansas bubba had done that. Their bitterness was increased by their belief that it would never have happened if that Texas lunatic with the crazy aunt in the attic hadn't come along and spoiled everything by running as a third party candidate.

When Bush II's opponents grind their teeth thinking of the 2000 election, muttering "selected, not elected," they're doing the same thing. Refusing to accept the legitimacy of That Man sitting in the Oval Office.

I think this is a disturbing trend, and it really poisons the well of politics. Whoever wins in 2008, I hope it's someone that the losing side can accept as legitimate, someone they can work with. Of course, if it's Hillary, we're in trouble. Not that I dislike her, and I might even vote for her. But put her in the White House and it would Clinton Derangement Syndrome cubed.

At 4:22 PM, November 18, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

I do loathe Bush, and I'll try to explain why.

When he began his presidential campaign, my mind was pretty much a clean slate in that respect; I'd hardly heard of him. Having lived in Florida for three years, I believed Jeb to be earnest, fair-minded, and an OK sort of guy; I knew nothing about W. My sympathies were and are Democrat, but not rabidly so. (I had no quarrel whatever with Bush I.)

The Democrat strategy was to portray him as dumb -- a dumb strategy, as it turned out. I admit that I swallowed it, causing me -- along with millions of others -- to misunderestimate him for at least a couple of years. He's not dumb, but as an astute politician, he's found it advantageous to lead people to believe he's dumb.

He is, however, self-admittedly and notoriously uninformed. He is staunchly anti-intellectual -- and while I'm sure some participants in this forum applaud that, I don't. His reading and TV watching is limited to Sports Illustrated, comics, and ESPN. He brags about surrounding himself with the best advisers and listening only to them -- with the result that he hears only one worldview, constantly reinforced.

I'm not religious, but I believe religion is a decision for each individual. Carter was and is a dedicated Christian, and yet he avoided all mention of his beliefs, regarding them as a personal matter. I'm reflexively antagonistic to anyone who injects his religious beliefs into politics, whether it be that despicable toad Pat Robertson, the Ayatollah Khaminei (damn! I'm reduced to using Explorer, so I can't open another tab to check my spelling), or W.

He was totally unqualified to be president. It's an old cliche: Born on third base, he thought he hit a triple. Let's disregard his wasted alcoholic years. His background is that he started a few oil businesses through family influence, ran them into the ground, was bailed out by family connections, engaged in business practices that were highly questionable then and would be definitely illegal today, was given a baseball team to play with -- God, if only he had become Commissioner of Baseball, he would probably be happier today and none of us would have had to suffer the devastation of his presidency -- and then ran a successful campaign smearing a popular governor in Texas, where the major election issue was President Clinton, who knew better than to show his face in Dealy Plaza.

He rewards loyalty over competence. He smirks and swaggers. He disgusts me.

I could go on, but I'll stop because I feel I'd blur the lines here between the visceral personal dislike, which I take to be the subject of this thread, and criticism of his disatrous policies.

Drawl-schmawl. That's irrelevant.


At 12:14 PM, November 19, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...


I think you don’t like folks from Bush’s part of the country & your “Dealy Plaza” remark proves it. Remarks about Dallas & Texas vis-a-vis the Kennedy assassination are a very common slur we Texans face all the time. Slur artists never remark on all the other cities & states that have seen Presidential assassinations & assassination attempts, because the intent is to insult & deride this part of the USA. Did Clinton know better than to show his face in Buffalo, New York – where McKinley was assassinated? Or San Francisco, California, where Gerald Ford had an attempt on his life?

I don’t like every aspect of Bush’s personality & do not approve of all his policies but at least will he will fight instead of trying to toss Iraq to the jihadists in order to obtain a temporary political gain like the Democratic opposition wants to do.

At 5:21 PM, November 19, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

John Moulder:

A little touchy, aren't we? No slur intended on the Lone Star State, I assure you. As I'm sure you're aware, I was just making the point that Clinton's huge unpopularity in Texas was an important factor in W being elected governor.

Bush's polls are looking better all the time. Maybe his vainglorious wrongheaded military adventure will be coming to an end soon.



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