I have a visceral dislike for George W. Bush (me and a few million other people). I’ve been wondering why that is. Exactly what’s got me, a person who tries to see the best in others, in such a negative mood? And for that matter, why are there are few million other people who have a similar visceral dislike for John Kerry?
There is certainly a lot of strong language being used. Al Franken seems fond of “lies” and Bill O’Reily uses “dangerous”. Perhaps my strong feelings are a oppositing reaction to the nastiness of the folks who don’t agree with me (the O’Reilly, Hannity, Coulter, Swiftboat Veterans and Limbaugh). So mean-spirited unfairness gets my blood boiling. Hypocrisy is the other thing.
So given that background, why do I viscerally dislike George W. Bush?
- When Bush was governor of Texas, he said that there were no innocent people in Texas prisons. Obviously false.
- Again, when governor of Texas, DNA evidence proved that a man in jail for rape in was innocent. Bush refused to issue a pardon, saying something like “I’m not a judge.” Only after a public outcry, did he issue the pardon. So it seems hypocritical when Bush claims to be a “compassionate conservative” when he’s not compassionate at all.
- Bush, and conservatives in general, talk about hard work and personal responsibility. Nevertheless, Bush (and Ronald Reagan) got rich because of sweetheart deals. George Bush didn’t do well in the oil business, but some Saudis bailed him out. Then he made money on the Texas Rangers football team partly by a publically funded stadium and a sweetheart deal his cronies clued him into. George Bush is wealthy, but he didn’t work hard for it.
- Bush takes a lot more vacations than I can.
- Which is worse: “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms Lewinski” or telling the whole world that we are certain there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
- When the Swiftboat Veterans for [damn lies] got so much play, George Bush denounced this ad specifically only after it had time to do its damage.
- Bush’s administration is keeping prisoners in Guantanamo without the prisoner’s being able to offer evidence that they shouldn’t be there. When any of them gets close to trial, the government makes a deal to let them go.
- The Bush administration authorized treatment of prisoners in Guantamo that is not in accord with the Geneva convention. This means that US soldiers will be treated worse when they are captured.
- By attacking Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush destroyed the world coalition against terrorism, and provided the best possible recruting aids to the terrorists–Iraqui prison abuse and soldiers occupying Arab territory.
- Bush can talk about the most terrible events and then look to the side and give a little grin as if to say “boy being president is fun.”
It’s 4 years later, and I still dislike Bush (and so do more Americans since 2004). So I went to my barber the other week (no liberal he) and commented about how George Bush smirks at people when he talks, like he’s talking down to them. My barber said he knew exactly what I was talking about and didn’t like it either.
Since 2004, I’ve read Scott McClellans’s book, What Happened which paints a much more charitable picture of Bush than my general attitude. Perhaps I understand his flaws a little better. I’ll write more on that some time.
I don’t like what’s going on in New Orleans, Louisiana. I have family in Louisiana, but not in New Orleans. Nonetheless this is the price the American people have to pay for re-electing Old G.W. And, when this thing dies down, if the Republican Party thinks Cindy Sheehan was a pain in the ass before, with the National Guard over in Iraq, more people are going to stand behind her issue. Yeah, why are the guard over in Iraq, that’s not their job.
I want to thank the previous anonymous commenter for their thoughtful criticism. This is why I started Blogging, to engage in disussions with thoughtful people.
That first item about the Texas prisoner is important because I heard the story in the News back in 1985 when it happened and it certainly set the stage for my visceral dislike of George W Bush.
I’m a Christian and as everyone knows, my religion was founded by one who was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, sentenced to death and executed. This is why I find it hard to understand any Christian who is not at least somewhat concerned about innocent people in prison, and particularly on death row. There is no chance I will find the exact news report I heard in 1985, but a Google search did turn up a recent article in the St. Augustine Record that makes reference to the incident. With more research, I suppose a bit more detail could be found and someone might cast Bush in a better light with a little verbal manipulation, but I think Bush’s overall record on the issue of pardons says that he doesn’t care as deeply about innocent people in prison that I do. So I can prove #2.
As for George Bush’s tenure with the Texas Rangers, you can read up on it if you want. On the fact side, it was through eminent domain that the investors got the land to build the stadium. And they did make a lot of money.
I hope that I’m not as credulous as the people who believed that Clinton murdered Vince Foster (I can still see Jerry Falwell hawking those video tapes on TV).
While anonymous does disagree with how I characterize things, I don’t see that any of thie things I dislike Bush for are distorted. When I criticize Bush about WMD, I did not say that he lied about WMD (I don’t think he did lie), I said that he lied about the certainty of WMD because surely in the debate that led up to the WMD speech, somebody made the case about their being doubts. That’s my objection in point 5, that he didn’t present the issue fairly or completely.
As for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am not certain that I oppose them, but I think that most of the time that when you use violence to solve a problem, you create a bigger problem. Going to war in Iraq before rebuilding Afghanistan is probably something we’ll regret. Iraq will either get better or it will get worse. But the fact that far more Americans have died in Iraq since Bush declared the “end of major hostilities” than before it, just fuels my belief that Bush just says what he needs to get his way. But I am 100% certain that the recruitment of suicide bombers is much easier today than it was in September, 2001.
I will fully admit that I dislike George Bush’s values. I value honesty, compassion, justice, fairness, liberty, kindness and mercy. I don’t see the Bush administration’s policies having much emphasis in these areas.
I’m curious about your sources for some of the points you make about President Bush. How do you know that he refused to pardon a prisoner after being presented with evidence that proved his innocence beyond any doubt? I ask the question because my theory is that your dislike for President Bush is rooted in the same stuff that led the religious right to dislike President Clinton-the things that he stands for and promotes are antithetical to your values. The proof is in the fact that your list of reasons for disliking Bush is an attempt to present a logical-moral reason for disliking him. But I wager you could not prove some of the points that you listed (#’s 2&3). Some of the points that you make are not rooted in truth at all. For instace we know that Iraq had WMD and we had every reason to believe they still did. Bush being mistaken about that is not equivalent to President Clinton knowingly and willfully lying about Monica Lewinski. Neither is the suggestion that President Bush had a responsibility to disavow the Swiftboat ads. The fact that the President said anything at all was a gift to Senator Kerry who responded by attacking the Presidents service in the National Guard. You reveal your values even more when you state that we should not have gone to war in either Iraq or Afghanistan. I criticized the religious right for being so angry at President Clinton and opposed to him all of the time, because they are commanded by God to respect and honor their leaders. It is easy for them to do that when the leader is someone that upholds their values, but many of them were not able to live their values when the leader was someone they disagreed with. You are no different than my religious friends. You say that you try to find the best in people, and I have no doubt that you are telling the truth. The only problem is that you seem to be able to do that with people you agree with, but not with someone who doesn’t uphold your values. Instead you will make the claim that you can’t like him because he distorts the truth, denies justice, and acts unfairly. But to make your case you distort the truth about him, and act unjustly and unfairly toward him. You call him a hypocrite and say that is bad but in making that claim you are being hypocritical. It would seem that your dislike for him is based upon your dislike for his values which blinds you from being able to see anything good. Just like my friends in the religious right. I guess the world is full of idealogues.