VDH on what Bush hatred and anger has wrought

It’s long but it is great. I will only post some of the best quotes here. You need to read it all.  He starts with:

The Great Madness of 2004-10

The First Symptoms of Hatred—2004 to 2008
For about seven years the nation lost its collective mind — and was only partially coming-to in November 2010.

During the years of insanity, Al Gore won both a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award for his propaganda film An Inconvenient Truth — before the disclosures of ClimateGate, new data on everything from the Himalayan glaciers to polar bear populations, realization that temperatures had not risen in the last 12 years, and the rather blatant and various money-making schemes of Gore, Inc. (that parlayed green advocacy into a billion-dollar, medieval exemption/carbon offset empire, several homes, and a propensity for carbon spewing private jet travel). Give Gore credit: he understood brilliantly that anger over Iraq and Katrina, his own popular vote victory in 2000 but subsequent lost presidency, his vein-bulging “he lied” screeds, and puppy dog pouts had combined, in perfect storm fashion, to locate Gorism at the nexus of anti-war, anti-Bush madness.

I personally think the anger over the election is what really started the hatred but VDH gives a lot more of the reasons. After several more paragraphs he says:

Until January 2009, almost nightly on the news, a liberal grandee would swear that Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, preventative detention, Predators, wiretaps, intercepts, Iraq, etc. had ruined America in these days of “General Betray Us” ads and “suspension of disbelief” putdowns. Then in a matter of hours the verbiage suddenly stopped, abruptly so in January, 2009 — and has never returned to this day.

(I remember remarking to a former CSU colleague in those dark hours that the Congress had approved Iraq, with stirring speeches in support by Kerry, Reid, Clinton, and other liberal giants, that the public voiced a 75% approval when the 3-week war ended, and that Andrew Sullivan, as a tiny example, had mentioned Bush as Nobel laureate material and the need to use nukes against Saddam if he were behind the anthrax scare. Funny days, those, when Fareed Zakaria and Francis Fukuyama were writing serious, sober, and judicious briefs for preventative regime change in Iraq. The professor said to me, “That’s a lie. They all always opposed his amoral war and the Bush criminality.”)

In those days of “civility,” Bush hatred soon became a liberal creed. “Nuclar” (I don’t find such a tongue-twisted pronunciation as grievous as “corpse-man,” which reflects phonetic ignorance rather than clumsiness) was the stuff of NPR vignettes. Books came out about killing Bush; comics joked about his death. The Guardian ran an op-ed in which the writer longed for the return of John Wilkes Booth. Bush and Cheney as the Nazis or brownshirts or fascists was evoked by everyone from Al Gore and John Glenn to Garrison Keillor and George Soros.

After several more paragraphs on page 2 he says: (actually I link you to the single page view)

Stage Two of Worship, 2008-10

Then the mad hatred turned to the mad worship. Do we remember the great campaign of 2008? The madness now metamorphosized, as an obscure, heretofore unremarkable rookie senator became the Great Savior who would deliver us from Bush. Newsweek declared him a god; almost nightly we heard of leg tingles and speeches comparable to the Gettysburg Address. To doubt was racist, to really doubt was un-American. But now there was no shrieking, shrill Hillary Clinton to scream that such dissent was not really un-American.(She would soon charge that doubt about Libya was a sort of un-American support for Gaddafi.)

Denial was part of the madness. Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright were right-wing slurs. “No more disown Rev. Wright than…,” “typical white person,” “cling to their guns…” either never were uttered or were irrelevant. Soon the Pied Piper had everyone leaving Hamelin into the Weser. I rode a bike in the Palo Alto suburbs and watched as Obama signs on lawns were replaced each month by larger ones, until this “keeping up with the Joneses” reached billboard proportions — the more and larger they sprouted, the more the Stanford-affiliated community felt less guilty about never venturing into nearby downtown Redwood City or East Palo Alto.

The liberal press warned darkly of the dangerous months to come between November and January, the scary 80 days in which the discredited lame duck Bush might do terrible things (start another war somewhere like Libya? Make some dreadful Van Jones appointment?), until the savior came at last down from the mountain top. So we waited in terror until the danger passed and the salvation arrived in January. “Cool,” “competent,” “assured” were the media epithets; “reset” became the national motto.

In this second-stage madness, suddenly mediocrities like Timothy Geithner were deemed messiahs, tax-cheating or not. Tax-delinquents Hilda Solis and Tom Daschle were not quite tax delinquents. Geniuses like Peter Orszag, Larry Summers, Christina Romer, and Austin Goolsbee (as either formal or informal advisors), were going to apply Paul Krugman-like Keynesian borrowing (“stimulus”) to save us from the Bush “he did it” meltdown.

Another paragraph down he gets to the heart of the matter again:

Amid all this, the Pied Piper began to bother a few on the hard left with a new tune: Guantanamo did not close “within the year.” Renditions and tribunals were embraced. Predators, under Harold Koh’s brilliant legal defenses, killed five times more than Bush had dared, including U.S. citizens. The Patriot Act was now A-OK. Troops should not have left Iraq by March 2008, but rather according to the Bush-Petraeus plan. Escalation was the new plan in Afghanistan. And, of course, bombing started up against Libya and on the sly in Yemen. But now there were no Harper’s mad op-eds, no anguished exegeses in the New Yorker, no Dark Ages have returned glum to be found in the New York Times.

Diagnosis, Treatment, Prognosis

What caused the American madness from 2004 to 2009? Fury arose over Iraq in part. In part, the profile of George Bush as Texan, Christian, strutting, twangy “dead or alive” stereotype was an easy target. The long years of liberal wilderness, out of power, had turned into a shrillness. The expanding economy had made life good and gave one the leisure to listen to the unhinged like Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan, or Michael Moore.

There is more and it is worth reading it all, send it around, share the wisdom.

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