It's time to decode the rhetorical trick of those who can't defend Bush's policies so they simply lump all critics as "Bush-Haters", seeking to take the offense because they have no defense. Like blaming the victim for the crime, this approach tries to attack the mirror for the reflection.
Consider two articles yesterday. Michael Goodwin in The Daily News strings together selective quotations from Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Charlie Rangel and of course Hugo Chavez to show how sadly rabid W's antagonists are. Jennifer Senior, reviewing Lewis Lapham's and Sid Blumenthal's books on Bush in The Times Book Review, tsk-tsks the two authors for being so intemperate.
But did Goodwin and Senior feel any embarrassment when they read the lead story in The Times that same day about how our intelligence agencies have concluded that the Iraqi War has increased the number of anti-American jihadists around the world and made us less safe? What is the right tempered tone for that?
Folks, what Democrats "hate" is not Bush but what he's doing to our country and to our reputation around the world. The problem is not those who criticize Bush's failures but rather Bush's failures.
So could Bush apologists please share their views of the following without facilely confusing all critics with Hugo Chavez: a president who invades a country on false pretenses, criminally violates a law against wiretapping without warrants, condones torture, incarcerates hundreds without charges or lawyers, seeks to end the most successful social program in American history based on the provably false argument that it's in imminent danger of bankruptcy, hollows out the military with repeated tours in Iraq, swings a $5 trillion projected surplus to a $4 trillion projected deficit in just four years -- and when confronted with overwhelming evidence of his failures a) says that he only regrets using impolite language about bin Laden and b) may invade Iran given how terrific Iraq has gone?
The stakes and facts are too obvious for Bush apologists to continue to imitate the magician's trick of demanding that audiences watch their left hand -- "Bush-Haters are not nice!" -- while the right hand tries to keep hidden the historic blunders of a messianic misleader. All presidents may lie and stumble, but we are now dealing with someone who's operating in a entirely different dimension -- a clear and present danger to our historic values and our moral standing in the world, to cite that noted Bush-Hater Colin Powell.
Oops. There I go again. But a president who in six years has managed to squander financial, democratic and international assets built up over 217 years is the problem. While running for governor in 1993, Bush said, "Our leaders should be judged by results, not by entertaining personalities or clever sound bites." So until conservatives like David Brooks, Bill Kristol, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and others admit the provably awful "results" of their embrace of Bush and Iraq, they have zero credibility to mock those who have been proven right time and again.