December 30, 2003

Beyond Criticism

I've wanted to write about this for a long time, but I never really had the chance to fully outline my thoughts. Now that I have some free time, I can finally give my opinion of some of the most dangerous and irrational hatred coming from the left.

Lately, a couple editorials, such as this one, have surfaced. The one I just linked talks about the double standard applied to criticism from different sides of the political spectrum. For example, it's wrong for Rush Limbaugh to criticize the media because it sounds racist, but it's perfectly okay to call President Bush a Nazi. Most people have noticed this.

However, there are other implications beyond the obvious double standard. When we live in a country where people openly compare the leader of a constitutional republic to a murderous dictator who committed genocide against millions upon millions of people, what does that say about their grasp of reality? Why are we just letting this go and dismissing it as delusion from the fringe?

The level of vitriol and invective coming from certain members of the left these days is truly appalling. It's ridiculous how insane some of it is, but people listen to it. They believe it. A few examples: Bush knew about 9/11; Bush orchestrated 9/11; Bush stole the election; Bush already knows where bin Laden is; Bush knew where Hussein was for months; John Ashcroft wants to put immigrants in internment camps; Dissent is being crushed everywhere; The PATRIOT Act is equivalent to Mein Kampf...

The list goes on. And this isn't just from the crazy people (although some of it originates with them). I could give multiple sources pointing to people who believe and spread these accusations without even thinking about how dumb they sound. A theory may start with Michael Moore or Democratic Underground, but lately, they've been making it as far as Howard Dean. What does that say about the state of political discourse in this country?

Of course, they sometimes go back to the old standard of, "well, Clinton hatred was just as bad. Why do you dish it out if you can't take it?" Correct me if I'm wrong, but was Clinton hatred ever this ridiculous?

I'm a bit young to remember the major political events of that time period. In the 1992 election, my mother told me that "we want Bush to win," and that's basically all I knew. However, since I started following politics about a year and a half ago, the majority of hateful statements have been directed toward Bush, and even the residual anger aimed at Clinton seems justified. After all, he did LIE UNDER OATH. Funny how disinformation, the purposeful distortion of the truth, is ignored by the left, but misinformation, the passing on of inaccurate information that is thought at the time to be true, is now looked at as grounds for impeachment.

In addition, look at some of the little "nicknames" people come up with for Dubya (other than "Dubya," obviously). They call him a monkey, a moron, a Fascist, a Nazi, a racist, a terrorist, a dictator, etc. Did people say these things about Clinton? Last time I checked, the worst names he got on a regular basis were "hillbilly," which isn't exactly nice but doesn't compare him to murderers, and "adulterer," which is TRUE.

There were obviously worse things being said, but very few people made signs comparing him to Hitler. Of course, I've seen Hillary called "Hitlery," but I seem to remember her allegedly making some comment along the lines of "f**king Jew bastard." Hmmm...

One more interesting point: if we use Google as a measure of how popular or common an issue is on the Internet, we find some interesting things. For example, if I search for "Clinton hatred," I get 873 results. Seems like a lot, right? Well, let's try "Bush hatred." I come up with 4,240. Perfectly equal, isn't it?

However, as distressing as some of this is, there is another aspect of leftist hatred that some people seem to be lumping in with the rest, even though it's much more dangerous. Many people are saying that the Bush administration is actively and purposely destroying America.

For example, I just did a Google search for "Bush hates America," and I got back 3,870 results. Just for comparison, I also searched for "the left hates America." That gave back 3,690. That means (in an admittedly unscientifically determined way) that the people who are constantly talking about their patriotism being questioned have actually questioned the patriotism of their own president hundreds more times on the Internet. Interesting, isn't it? Even "Bush is a dictator" gets 390 results. "Bush is a Nazi" gets 934. That's a lot for "fringe opinions."
(you'll have to trust me on this unless you do the searches yourself, but "Democrats hate America" got 104 results, "liberals hate America" got just over 1,000, and "Clinton hates/hated America" got less than 1,000 each)

People actually think that President Bush is trying to destroy the country. Want specific examples? How about HILLARY RIPS BUSH: WARNS OF 'IRREPARABLE HARM' TO NATION, an article which quotes Hillary Clinton as saying that Bush is "making America less free, fair, strong, smart than it deserves to be in a dangerous world." Not only does she believe this, she thinks he's doing it on purpose!

Or what about the Orwellian accusations made by Al Gore a while back? In this article, the former vice president is quoted as saying, "They have taken us much farther down the road toward an intrusive, 'big brother'-style government -- toward the dangers prophesied by George Orwell in his book '1984' -- than anyone ever thought would be possible in the United States of America," and that the administration has "recklessly put our country in grave and unnecessary danger."

The editorial I linked in the second paragraph gives us another example. Jesse Jackson, while referring to the policies of the Bush administration, said, "If this were Germany, we would call it fascism. If this were South Africa, we would call it racism." PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS. (UPDATE: Here is another version of that quote: "In South Africa we'd call it Apartheid. In Nazi Germany we'd call it fascism. Here we call it conservatism." -Jesse Jackson)

It's not just Americans, either. Surely you remember this little pearl of wisdom from Ken Livingstone, reporting that he thinks Bush is the "greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen."

Furthermore, what about the so-called "peace rallies" and anti-war protests? People held up signs saying that Bush is a Nazi and a racist, and I'll always remember the one that said, "The difference between Bush and Saddam is that Saddam was elected." That's re-freaking-pulsive.

Now, what does all this mean, aside from the fact that some people prefer a murderous dictator over a democratically elected president? In my mind, it means that some people don't see Bush and his administration as American. They think that the government has been hijacked in some brilliant coup to destroy America.

I've seen plenty of evidence. Bush has been called a dangerous right-wing extremist, a threat to democracy, and other such names. Last time I checked, Bush was the least conservative Republican president we've had in quite some time, so I still haven't figured out where this is coming from. If he moves much further to the left, he'll be the Christian version of Joe Lieberman.

Speaking of religion, there's another area that the haters like to exploit. When most people look at Dubya, they see a devout, born-again Christian. Some, however, see a fanatical extremist who thinks he's on a mission from God to force his beliefs down everyone's throat. People have even compared him to Osama bin Laden, saying that the only difference is what they call their god. Never mind the fact that bin Laden's "god" tells him to exterminate Westerners. That's just a minor detail.

In the end, it seems like it all comes back to the "Bushitler" rhetoric. People will find any method they can to compare the President of the United States to the most evil human being in the history of the planet. Ted Rall, for example, likes to illustrate Bush and his administration with SS uniforms and make blatant comparisons between the Iraq war and Nazi invasions. He also wrote an editorial
called "The Real Link Between Bush and Hitler." It isn't in its original Yahoo! archive, but you can read it here.

Let's not forget about all the talk of "regime change" and "taking back the White House." Howard Dean likes to use this tactic. Think of "Dean for America." He's trying to portray himself as some kind of freedom fighter. I saw a pro-Dean flyer distributed around my college campus that said something to the effect of "We have the power to take back America." Uh, excuse me, but when was America "taken" from you? If I may emulate Rachel Lucas for a second...


How was anything taken? This is all part of their strategy to portray Bush as an occupier who took office illegally. I've seen DUers calling him "pResident Bush." Michael Moore still calls him "Governor Bush."

Now, to get back to the Hitler comparisons, what makes them say this? Well, let's look at an example. From CounterPunch, we have Bush and Hitler: The Strategy of Fear. Obviously, CounterPunch isn't exactly the voice of the liberal majority, but the logic used in this article sounds strangely similar to what people like Al Gore and Hillary Clinton are saying. Allow me to analyze a few choice quotes:

"A permanent state of American panic, fortified by regular doses of terror attacks, hijackings and building demolitions by crazed Muslim fanatics is exactly what Bush needs to stay in power, win re-election in 2004, stack the federal courts, gut the Bill of Rights, and enrich its corporate sponsors."

If I read that right, the author seems to be saying that Bush WANTS terrorist attacks to continue. In fact, he NEEDS them, because keeping the American public in a constant state of fear and paranoia is the only way to get them voting for Republicans, and he can use his war profiteering schemes to send money and contracts to Dick Cheney's buddies at Halliburton. Also, notice the mention of Dubya's intention to "gut the Bill of Rights." Apparently, Bush wants to create a police state, and terrorism is the only way to do it. But wait, there's more:

"If Bush truly wanted to reduce the threat of terror against Americans, he would not be harassing Arab-Americans and Muslims at random and deporting people for minor alleged visa violations after secret hearings and detentions (a teriffic way to create blood enemies!)...He would not be holding back funds for legitimate homeland defense efforts, such as bolstering fire departments and police departments..."

Once again, the author wants us to believe that Bush is ACTIVELY making America unsafe, and that he wants more terrorist attacks. Like I said, this is a bit of a fringe source, but notice how similar it is to what the politicians are saying. Remember all that talk about "violations of civil liberties?" This is what they mean. It gets even better, too:

"The sad thing is that Americans, fattened up and soft of muscle from their diet of McDonald's Whoppers and dim-witted from an overdose of "reality" TV shows and entertainment programs posing as news, suck up this kind of fear-mongering (all of which is eagerly played up by ratings-hungry media executives). If one plane gets highjacked, plane travel plummets. If a few letters are found to be contaminated with anthrax spores, people across the land stop opening their mail, or start zapping it first in their microwaves..."

Yet again, the idea is that Bush planned all this and wants Americans living in a constant state of fear so they won't object when he takes their liberties away one by one. I always love it when people refer to "fear-mongering." It creates a sort of "Wag the Dog" image of a leader who has to invent wars in order to gain public support.

Last time I checked, anthrax attacks and airline hijackings were a legitimate cause for concern. I'm sorry if you want to continue existing within a complacent little bubble of security, but reality is going to pop it sooner or later. The world changed after 9/11, and there's a big difference between security and "fear-mongering."

Now, how does this relate to Hitler, you ask? Here's the CounterPunch answer:

"If we Americans value our society, our polity, our rights and liberties, and our security, we must begin exposing George W. Bush and his War Party for what they are: craven usurpers aiming at nothing less than the undermining of all those things that most of us hold dear...Comparisons of the Bush Administration's fear mongering tactics to those practiced so successfully and with such terrible results by Hitler and Goebbels on the German people and their Weimar Republic are not at all out of line."

So, there you have it. Bush and his "War Party" want The People™ to be afraid so that they won't object to his plans to usurp the very fabric of democracy. They're almost turning him into a megalomaniacal James Bond villain who sits in his maximum security evil lair and plots to take over the universe. People really think that President Bush wants to control the world like Hitler tried to do. Allow me to emulate Rachel Lucas once more...

This. Kind. Of. Thinking. Is. Dangerous. And. Destructive. To. Democracy.

How delusional must you be to believe that a man in charge of 280 million people wants nothing less than the total elimination of their security and civil rights? How far gone do you have to be when you compare George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler, simply because both supposedly created a climate of fear?

Here's something you might want to think about: HITLER CAUSED THE EVENTS THAT MADE PEOPLE AFRAID!!!!!!! I'm sorry if they can't grasp the subtle difference between heightened security after the worst terrorist attack in history and military mobilization to conquer surrounding territories and clear the way for the "master race," but they need to shut the f**k up until they're able to make a decent analogy.

Of course, few people really believe that Bush is the same as Hitler. A lot of it is just hyperbole meant to generate attention and make people turn against the president. However, some of their accusations still make me think that they don't understand how government works.

In my efforts to get inside the minds of these lunatics, I've realized that some of them really do expect America to turn into some sort of police state. They're waiting for the glorious revolution when they rise up against Bushitler's Fascist military coup, led by the Ashcroft Dissent Crushing Squad.

By the way, a few commentators have brought this up, but isn't it strange that people go on NATIONAL TELEVISION to complain about dissent being stifled? Look at the Dixie Chicks. They insulted the president, and it got them MORE attention. I also remember Sean Penn saying that America is just as much of a dictatorship as Iraq was. However, they don't seem to realize something:


And that's not all. Most of the Democrats in Congress would be dead or in torture chambers, including all the presidential candidates. In fact, there would be no presidential candidates, because there would be NO ELECTIONS.

Of course, they have an answer for this, too. They believe that "BushCo." have paid off Diebold to rig the 2004 election so it looks like a fair vote, when in reality, all Democratic votes will be discarded or changed. THEY ACTUALLY BELIEVE THIS.

In addition, they look at the so-called recession that we recently went through, and they believe that Bush caused this. Not only that, they believe he MEANT to cause it. This isn't quite as widespread as the "dissent" myth, but some people seem to treat his tax cuts as a deliberate effort to destroy the financial security of everyone except The Rich™, who are, of course, the only people who REALLY vote Republican.

The overall attitude is that everything Bush does is a deliberate attempt to undermine the security, health, and safety of the American people. You can even look at how they discuss his so-called "failures" while ignoring his successes (best economy since Reagan, anyone?). Some people don't even look at them as failures. They think that he meant for the economy to temporarily suffer. They think he's trying to make life horrible for everyone except the legendary "upper 1%."

After all, why else would he have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan? Why should we bully other nations with our jingoistic foreign policy when we can just defeat them over a period of 200 years or so with sanctions and UN resolutions? Sure, innocent people will die, but at least it won't be our fault. A million deaths from starvation and torture are better than one death from an AmeriKKKan bullet. If we just leave them alone, they'll leave us alone. The only reason we get attacked is because they feel threatened!

Here's what I'm getting at: Bush hatred has gone beyond criticism and harmless joking. It's even gone beyond calling him a "miserable failure." Some Bush critics think that he really wants to take over America, and that's why he implements policies they don't agree with.

Just for comparison, how does criticism of liberals generally go? They say something stupid, they're rebuked, and then they complain that they've been censored. However, not only are they not censored, their ideas are genuinely refuted instead of being reduced to "creeping socialism" or "neolib propaganda."

Even when they are accused of socialism, it's usually justified. Look at Howard Dean and his promise to repeal the Bush tax cuts. If he honestly believes that the money still belongs to the government, that's socialism.

At the same time, I don't believe that Howard Dean has flawed policies because he wants to take over the country, and I doubt many of my fellow conservatives do. I believe that he has the country's best interests in mind, but he doesn't realize that his ideas won't work.

And there's the difference.

When people criticize liberals for implementing destructive policies, they're not implying that liberals want to destroy America. They're simply pointing out the fact that many liberal policies haven't worked out too well in the past, and maybe we should try something different.

For example, look at affirmative action. I think it's racist, but I don't accuse those who support it of trying to start a war between the races. I call affirmative action racist, because it is, but I don't equate them with the KKK or Hitler because they don't realize how racist the policies are.

On the other hand, as soon as someone like Rush Limbaugh or Trent Lott says something that can be interpreted as racist in any way, they're called hateful, bigoted neo-Nazis. Nobody even stops and says, "You know, maybe they didn't mean to sound racist. We should give them the benefit of the doubt." Why should they? Everyone knows the Republican party wants to kill everyone who's not rich and white. They couldn't possibly have made a poor choice of words. They must be bigots!

Once again, I think affirmative action is racist, but I don't call its proponents neo-Nazis, because they obviously don't realize how stupid this whole "diversity" thing is. In contrast, most of the "Republicans are all white supremacists" crowd seems to expect negative and bigoted speech and policies, and they can basically interpret anything to be biased against whatever "oppressed" group they're rallying behind that week.

The same applies to Bush hatred. When he implements a policy that they don't agree with, they don't stop and think that maybe, just maybe, he has a different idea of what's best for the American people.

Instead, they immediately jump to the conclusion that he DOES know what's best for the American people, but is actively DENYING it. Their egocentric worldview makes them believe that anyone who doesn't implement liberal policies, both domestic and foreign, must be on a mission to destroy America. Why else wouldn't they embrace the wonderful leftist philosophy that's led to so much prosperity in the past?

Here's the point of this excessively long essay: George W. Bush and his administration are not on a quest to turn America into the 3rd Reich. As much as some people want to believe this, it's just not true, it's never been true, and it will never be true, no matter how convinced Ted Rall happens to be.

If Dubya's policies seem destructive, maybe it's because he has a different idea of how to run the country. Maybe he even knows a better way to do it than most liberals.

In any case, when I see leftist politicians trying to pass harmful legislation, I may say that it's wrong, dangerous, and destructive. I may say that it hurts America. I may even say that it hurts specific groups.

However, I will NEVER say that they are purposely trying to tear apart the fabric of the United States. There's a difference between being misguided and being on a quest to ruin the nation.

Even when issues like speech codes and hate crime come up, I don't jump to the conclusion that they're trying to turn America into Nazi Germany. I may call them the Thought Police or Big Brother, but at least that's an accurate comparison. When you punish people for their opinions, that's Orwellian. When you criticize people for their opinions, that's democracy.

At the same time, when people like Howard Dean insist that we pull the troops out of Iraq, I don't claim that they're trying to make us less secure. I simply claim that it WILL make us less secure. The problem is in Dean's not being aware of this. It's a mistake, not a calculated move to get us all killed.

In conclusion (...and there was much rejoicing...), the blind hatred of the Bush administration needs to stop now. There's no neocon regime trying to stick its evil, jackbooted foot in Uncle Sam's face. There's no secret plot to keep us all in a state of paranoia so we support the war. There just happens to be a difference of opinion, and by the look of things, I'm pretty sure I know whose opinion is the right one.

Thank you.

Posted by CD on December 30, 2003 12:22 AM
Semi-Intelligent Comments

I know I shouldn't comment to my own posts before anyone else does, but I want to point out that the search results for "Bush is a Nazi" and "Bush is a dictator" are now higher than they were when I wrote this piece. And that's just with the entire phrase enclosed in quotation marks.

(for the sake of fairness, not all those results are actually accusing Bush of being a Nazi or a dictator)

Posted by: CD at December 30, 2003 04:35 AM

Great post! I can think of several people I'd love to show this to, not that they'd listen, anyway.

This is one of the most succint rebuttals to the crowd who blindly hates the president that I've read so far.

Posted by: Lindaq at December 30, 2003 06:00 PM

Oops--fat fingered my own name, there. :(

Posted by: Linda at December 30, 2003 06:01 PM

Thanks! I appreciate the compliments!

Posted by: CD at December 30, 2003 06:38 PM

Nice essay, Chris.

Some people just blow wind in these type of essays. It's good to see someone who did a little research and thought it out well.


Posted by: james at December 30, 2003 06:49 PM


Posted by: CD at December 30, 2003 06:50 PM

That was definitely NOT overlong; it was as long as it needed to be, and well worth the read. I wish I could convince some of the Liberals I know to read it... but then again, if they were susceptible to logic and reason, they wouldn't NEED to. Great piece!

Posted by: CavalierX at December 31, 2003 09:57 AM
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