August 18, 2004


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

Aren't newspapers that "tell about unemployment rising" objectively and completely dishonest?

Posted by: AC at August 18, 2004 3:40 PM

The hatred factor means that they look like loony-tunes to the rest of us, so we decide that what loonies want is probably not what we want. When you combine this with the inability of the loonies to nominate people that you can get excited about (Bob Dole? John Kerry? Walter Mondale????), I'd say that it's going to happen again.

For economic news, I'd get on the mailing list here, and compare it to the newspaper articles covering the economy. It's a pretty good test, and can lead to some interesting letters to the editor.

Posted by: Arnold Williams at August 18, 2004 3:57 PM

umm... I think LBJ was hated so much he didn't even run..

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at August 18, 2004 4:05 PM

The difference is that LBJ was hated by his own party. If he could have gotten the nomination, he would have won.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 18, 2004 4:38 PM

You want looney-tunes, wait till the GOP convention. It will be a looney-tune lalapalooza.

Posted by: BJW at August 18, 2004 6:44 PM

When I talk to a Bush-hater, his or her hatred always comes down to a hatred of W's Favorite Philosopher.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 18, 2004 7:56 PM



Posted by: jim hamlen at August 18, 2004 9:46 PM

>Aren't newspapers that "tell about unemployment
>rising" objectively and completely dishonest?

oldthinkers unbellyfeel INGSOC.

Posted by: Ken at August 19, 2004 12:56 PM


Couldn't Jefferson and Jackson (and perhaps Lincoln) also be added to the list?

Posted by: AC at August 19, 2004 3:53 PM


Yes and I think those are the only three pre-moderns who'd qualify.

Posted by: oj at August 19, 2004 4:24 PM