The sport of Bush-hating

Posted: Oct 21, 2003 12:00 AM

I've written before that liberals need anger management therapy, but their antipathy for President Bush has grown to the point that even the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz is writing about it.
Kurtz describes how Bush-hatred has been brought out of the closet by Jonathan Chait, a young editorial writer for the New Republic. Chait's hatred is caused by "Bush's radical policies … his unfair tax cuts … his cowboy phoniness … his favors for corporate cronies … his heist in Florida, and his dishonesty about his silver-spoon upbringing, and, oh yes, the way he walks and talks."

 Kurtz says Chait's self-described antipathy toward Bush is so intense that "just seeing his face or hearing his voice causes a physical reaction. … My sister-in-law," says Chait, "describes Bush's existence as an oppressive force, a constant weight on her shoulder, just knowing that George Bush is president."

 Sure, there were plenty of Clinton detractors, but the mainstream press was constantly railing against conservative "Clinton-haters" and their obsession. Until Chait, and now Kurtz, there's been little mention in the media about the pervasive Bush hatred.

 Some on the left may deny the hatred, but how else do you explain the phenomenon of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean's formidable popularity among the party rank and file? It's not what he stands for; it's whom he rails against. At this point, he's riding to his party's nomination on the coattails of abject hatred toward the commander in chief.

 Even USA Today and Gannett News Service reporters and editors noticed Dean's bitterness, asking him at a luncheon whether he is too angry to be president. Dean responded, "What we're really about is not anger, it's hope." But in the next breath he conceded, "Sure. There's a lot of anger at President Bush. The way President Bush has harmed us the most is … the loss of our sense of community … He's a very divisive president."

 Hmmm. Divisive, as in reaching out to his opponents like Ted Kennedy only to be rebuffed, betrayed and castigated in return? These aren't my opinions alone. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on Kennedy's "anger." Despite Bush's cordiality toward Kennedy, the Massachusetts senator gives him back nothing but epithets, calling him a liar who has told "lie after lie after lie" about Iraq and charging Bush with consistently breaking his promises on education.

 Can you believe this Kennedy guy? President Bush has thrown more federal money at education than any conservative can tolerate. There's just no working with these liberal senators. The new tone is a one-way proposition to which congressional Democrats are willingly tone deaf.

 Liberals say their hatred for Bush is mainly directed at his Iraq policy and his tax cuts, but their rage against him greatly preceded his implementation of those policies.

Indeed, it's the other way around. They distrust him on Iraq because they can't stand him. And their fervent hatred of Bush has also blinded them to the nature of his tax cuts.

 They say Bush has misrepresented the cuts as benefiting the middle class. But it is undeniable the lower and middle income groups received a greater percentage cut than the wealthy. Why can't liberals be honest about that? And speaking about misrepresentations over middle-class tax cuts, why didn't they slam Clinton over his insincere and failed promise to implement a middle class tax cut?

 Their angst really stems from one simple fact: Bush took back the executive branch from them, which they view as an entitlement, even to the point of their irrational rantings about him being an unelected president -- not just because of Florida, but because he didn't win the popular vote. They have no respect for the constitutionally mandated Electoral College.

 And they have the temerity to say that Bush shouldn't try to implement his agenda because he didn't receive a mandate, apparently wholly oblivious to the fact the Clinton never received a majority of the popular vote either.

 And speaking of temerity, the haters' criticism seems to center on Bush's supposed lies. What's this newfound judgmentalism about lying? Nothing represents a greater turnaround in a party's attitude toward a certain behavior in modern history.

 So far, this hatred is fueling the passion of Democratic voters, but when the general election rolls around liberals better have some substantive policies to distinguish themselves from the president, other than just opposing him for the sake of venting their ill will toward him. And they want to lecture us about partisanship?