August 18, 2004
NO ONE HATED PIERCE:
Bush-hating becomes a way of American life (The Scotsman, 8/18/04)
It is almost as if President Bush has driven the liberals mad.
In California, effigies of the president are sold in tourist shops, apparently to be burnt on the beach. Bush punchbags are doing brisk trade: "Anyone but Bush" stickers are on cars. Bush-hating has become a national sport.
And to Brits living in New York, the feeling is nostalgic. "It’s like having the poll-tax protests all over again," said one expatriate. "Everyone hates Bush, in the same way that everyone hated Thatcher."
But this was a Manhattan "everyone", meaning those crammed into the urban island which has long considered itself the centre of the universe. Outside the cities, America is evenly split - and utterly polarised.
The US is also wrestling with another ghost from Eighties Britain. Headlines in the American newspapers tell about unemployment rising, factories closing down, and towns being robbed of the jobs which kept the community together.
In the Eighties, these were called the "Thatcherite redundancies" as Britain closed down coal and steel factories, with workers being laid off as the government decided to import goods instead.
In America, the process of factory closures has a new label: "outsourcing" or "shipping jobs abroad", and fury on this front is driving the anti-Bush campaign in states such as Ohio, Missouri and Arkansas.
So should Mr Bush be worried that he is hated to the same degree that Margaret Thatcher was? Electorally, it is no bad thing: for all her detractors, the Iron Lady was never defeated in the polls.
Indeed, the only incumbent American presidents to inspire genuine hatred from their opponents--FDR, Nixon, Reagan & Clinton--all won re-election rather easily. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 18, 2004 2:47 PM