September 16, 2004


Bush-hating goes haywire (Richard Cohen, 9/16/04, NY Daily News)

This is not the place to examine why Bush is so hated by some people, although the war in Iraq surely takes pride of place. But even before that particular war, I heard people denounce the one in Afghanistan, that Taliban-controlled horror that harbored Osama Bin Laden. These people are infected with a corrosive doubt about their own country.

A recent Pew poll found, for instance, that 51% of Democrats agreed with the proposition that "U.S. wrongdoing" contributed to the attacks of 9/11. (Only 17% of Republicans agreed.)

Those are astounding numbers, an indictment not really of America (for what?) but of those people who compulsively blame their own country for the faults of others. You can believe that America's support of Israel and the stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia played a role in the 9/11 attacks, but the term Pew used was "wrongdoing." In this respect, these people and Bin Laden are in agreement.

The demonization of Bush is going to cost John Kerry plenty, if it has not done so already. It so overstates the case against Bush that a levelheaded listener would be excused for thinking that there isn't one in the first place. It squeezes the middle, virtually forcing moderates to pick which bunch of nuts they're going to join.

It's hard to know whom to loathe more - religious zealots who would censor my reading and deny me the fruits of stem-cell research or fervid hallucinators who belittle Saddam Hussein's crimes (or even 9/11) and wonder, in the throes of perpetual adolescence, whether the assassination of the President would not amount to a political mercy killing. It's all pretty repugnant.

A more curious and intellectually rigorous man might notice that the sides are the same on these domestic and foreign issues, with those who value human life in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, etc. also valuing it here at home--thus opposing abortion, cloning, harvesting of fetal stem-cells and the like--while those who disregard human life when it comes to those social issues are just being consistent in not caring about the lives of those in the Islamic world.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 16, 2004 1:47 PM

Being incapable of rigor or wonder Richard Cohen retreats to his self-created realm of pure spirit and spits at us. For this he gets paid?

Posted by: luciferous at September 16, 2004 2:00 PM

"The demonization of Bush is going to cost John Kerry plenty, if it has not done so already."

So, the more people who hate Bush, the more it costs Kerry? Thas sounds like a Berra-ism: "Noone goes to that restaurant, it's too crowded."

Posted by: Robert Duquette at September 16, 2004 6:00 PM

Curiously, Richard Cohen called Bush an "American Ayatollah" just a few months ago. I thought that showed Bush hatred, but apparently he didn't think so.

Posted by: Jim Miller at September 16, 2004 7:58 PM

Old ".250 Richard" strikes again with his one ood column for the month -- though since there are five Thursdays in September, he may be hovering closer to the Mendoza Line this month, depending on what comes out on the 24th and 30th.

Posted by: John at September 16, 2004 10:49 PM

Nice to see that someone remembers Mario.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 17, 2004 1:27 AM


Richard Cohen was talking about intensity of hatred, not number of haters. His premise is that as the former increases, the latter decreases.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 17, 2004 2:03 AM