Thursday, June 03, 2004

The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same

I remember during the 90s how some people, usually on the right, hated Clinton. I mean raw, visceral hatred. I never understood it. They never understood how people didn't hate Clinton like they did. I remember a guy in grad school telling me he was convinced Dole would win. I laughed and Clinton walked away with the election. They hated him more after that, because he was reelected. They hated him because he got away with things they couldn't. They hated Clinton because they thought he shouldn't have won in 1992 (Perot fucked up the election they were supposed to win). They hated Clinton because his campaign was so well run that it crushed Dole in 1996. They hated Clinton not so much for his policies but for personal or at least personality reasons. Their hatred finally drove them to near-insanity during the impeachment trial when two Speakers of the House resigned and Clinton stayed. Hatred, as they say, is ultimately self-destructive.

Now, some people on the left hate Bush the same way. So much they write books, lots of books, about how much they hate him. And his Cabinet. And Republicans in general. (Think about that. They wrote books. It takes a lot of time and motivation to write a freaking book.)

In so many ways Bush is the un-Clinton but they inspire the same reaction among their political opponents - not merely criticism but chocking, red-faced hate. And I think they hate Bush in the same way, not so much for policy reasons but because of Bush's personality and manner.

What are the charges against Bush? The Kyoto Treaty? When Clinton was negociating it he knew the Senate wouldn't ratify it. Notice that Clinton didn't bring it for a vote during his terms. He didn't want to lose. Same with the Land Mine Ban and the International Criminal Court. We need land mines for the North Korean border and the military would never stand for a non-American court trying it's troops. Again, Clinton didn't pass these either. He kept deferring them for a later date. Bush simply stated the obvious; that these agreements have no chance in the Senate (where you need 60 votes to proceed toward a vote) so why pretend otherwise. I can't believe that people are screaming with rage because of these three.

What else? The Big Tax Cuts. Some tax cuts were inevitable and even most Democrats supported them so we're really talking about how big the cuts were going to be. I'm not fond of the tax cuts but they won't last forever. And I don't think Michael Moore, Sean Penn and the voices on Air America (one host said Bush should be treated like the older brother in the Godfather, “Like Fredo, somebody ought to take him out fishing and phuw,”) are motivated by tax cuts that are ultimately to their advantage, since many of them are so wealthy. People don't march and yell and sweat with fury over tax cuts.

Is it the war? Perhaps but didn't many people hate Bush even before the war? If people hate Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al for the war, why don't they scream at the Democrats who supported it?

Just like Clinton but from the other side, people hate Bush more because they can't believe so many people like him. They hate that he gets away with things they can't. The Daily Show summed this up a few weeks ago. After showing a clip of Kerry speaking, the host said, "Kerry sounds like he's lying when he's telling the truth and Bush sounds like he's telling the truth when he's lying. How does he do that?"

They hate Bush because they thought he shouldn't have won in 2000 (Nader fucked up the election they were supposed to win). If he wins this fall, people will hate him even more. People should be careful though. Learn a few lessons from the past. Hatred will destroy you and possibly the cause for which you struggle.

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