August 19, 2004


Bush-Haters Speak Loudly, And in Unlikely Venues (Richard Brookhiser, NY Observer)

The pulse of Bush hatred is best measured in unusual wrists.

There are the people who don't usually talk about politics. I was reading
Harold Bloom's The Best Poems of the English Language, a stout anthology
published by HarperCollins, from which I learned that Alexander Pope's
savage "Epistle to Augustus," written in (dis)honor of King George II, is
"as applicable to President George W. Bush .. " Did Moors blow up the Bank
of England during that king's reign, then? Mr. Bloom's remark doesn't
explain Pope or George II; it only eases his own mind, and coaxes a laugh
from the cheap seats. Yet he thinks nothing of sticking it into a book that
his publishers hope to keep in print for 10 or 20 years. [...]

There is a left which wants America to lose, whatever the war, whoever the
enemy. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, they were still. They began to
creep out during the slow-seeming start of the Afghan war, until the sudden
fall of Mazr-i-Sharif, and the spectacle of men playing music and women
lifting their veils shut them up once more. But they are a permanent feature
of life in all free countries.

Far more numerous, and far more important, are liberals, who can be dismayed
by specific blunders or setbacks. To them, the Iraq war is a colossal
example of both. The year-long occupation, and the fighting in Najaf even
now, bodes endless failure. The possibility that the costs of the Iraq war
have been slight in comparison to other wars means nothing to them; liberals
panic in the presence of violence, even as conservatives panic in the
presence of sex. War to them is what President Clinton's penis was to us.
The one-step-removed quality of the Iraq war also makes it repulsive to
liberals. They were willing to fight if Saddam had germ-filled warheads
sitting in a shed somewhere. They were not willing to fight if an
anti-American despot refused to tell us whether he had them or not.

Without care, however-and they are not showing much care these days-liberals
can become infected with left-wing arguments and attitudes, adopting them as
their own, or not balking when others do so. The idea that we are bombing
Iraq for oil is a perfect example. Where is it flowing? Who is pumping it?
What gas prices have dropped as a result? Another example of a left-wing
opinion that liberals toy with is the notion that the Palestinian situation
motivates the jihadists. This is a particular favorite of self-hating,
self-loving Jews: self-hating because they want Israelis to be at fault;
self-loving because they believe in their own omnipotence (if we were
perfect, all would be well). If you think that greedy oil men and malicious
Jews have led us into war in the desert, then you will speak in tongues, in
poetry anthologies and to passersby.

How many tongue-speakers are there in America? The red and blue county map,
the close balance of Congress and the polls suggest that they are about half
the country. Half the country, and more of the talk. If George Bush wins
re-election, it will mean that, though millions of people care about the
clothes, lovers and twelve-step programs of the stars, they do not give a
damn about their opinions.

They first give a president who'll drive them crazy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 19, 2004 8:07 AM
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