Friday, September 22, 2006

G. W. Bush, His Local Critics, and His Foreign Critics

George W. Bush. Dubya. Bush. Or even simply, W.

Short words that when read conjure bad images typically coming from non-supporters, political rivals, many foreign leaders (both political and religious, but dominantly Middle Eastern), media people, and even coming from hordes of uncredentialed bloggers and commenters, and email list members.

I say typically because I find most of his supporters are quite reticent, silent, or even circumspect when mentioning those names in their discourses.

And I do mean bad images, typically through words or statements of ridicule, of pejorative charges and claims to all aspects of the man from his actions to his personal traits, etc. Thus, typically negative and damning images.

And the incessant and sustained cadence of these bad images has been liberally dispersed out there since the first days that this sitting US president sat on his office after a very hotly-contested election that saw him favored via a Supreme Court decision.

And in my opinion, the tipping point was reached during this most recent visit to the UN and US of the petty head of state from an oil-rich though still impoverished South American country, Venezuela, in the person of Hugo Chavez.

According to Mr.Chavez, the above short words can now be replaced with his following own words:

Alcoholic. A Sick Man with a lot of hang-ups. A devil (many times over). A tyrant. Walks Like John Wayne.

Given the absurdity, the silliness, the unabashed cruelty of such labels, one wonders how it has come to this. That a head of state of a country could come to US soil, spout those insults cavalierly against its people through its duly-elected president, and not face any summary recrimination or violent response.

But I believe many of us know why. And we could probably glean the why from the surprising reaction of some Democratic operatives, the least likely sources that would defend the person and honor of the sitting president.

Listen, we ourselves as Americans have empowered those unkind kinds of people to develop the unmitigated gall and temerity to hurl such condemnable insults and inanities at such close quarters. We have with our own actions made them think it is okay and fashionable to do such things, for after all we are doing it ourselves in our own turf and with impunity.

We, Americans, have also replaced those short words with our own original versions, and tacitly given license for foreign detractors to mimic them.

Fucking liar. Fucking crooks and thieves. Genocidal Racist. A white knuckle drunk. An uptight Christian. Idiot. Hitler. Etc.

Sound familiar?

And amidst this incessant and endless harangues that could easily unravel any normal person, what and how does the unlucky man in the middle respond?

Here’s what the Anchoress reveals:

. . . .concerning one man who has never - not once -repaid them back in kind. Not in speeches. Not to the press. Not to “friendly audiences.” He came to town talking about “changing the tone,” and that’s what happened, in a perverse way. One side’s tone went rabid, the other side went nearly-silent, but this one man…kept his tone.

So to all out there, let us pause a bit and bow our heads in humble supplication.

In shame, if we are guilty of such outrageous demeanor.

And for the rest, in prayer and earnest plea that the man continues his mastery of his self-control and be accorded the necessary wisdom as he continues to wade through “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, outrageous circumstances, and outrageous detractors.


  1. I have a theory that runs like this:

    ABC's late night news show will have two new guest hosts, the President of Iran and Hugo Chavez.
    The President of Iran will say, "and on tonight's show we have a special guest from The Great Satan." And Hugo Chavez will quickly follow with, "yes its the Devil Himself. Let's have a large round of applause for the Devil". And a lot of Americans will clap just as they did in Chavez's Baptist Church appearance.

  2. Tubby, strange indeed. And one of his welcomers and ardent cheerers is our very own Danny Glover, who hails from the Bay Area centered around San Francisco.

  3. Anonymous5:45 AM

    During the 2000 campaign, Bush referred to a reporter as "a major league asshole"; he's referred to the leader of North Korea as "that pygmy"; and of course there's the axis of evil statement -- I don't know how you draw your distinctions, but that doesn't sound all that far from a reference to Hitler or the devil. (I'll ignore here -- for the purposes of your argument -- that sometimes hard-hitting language has a role in political debate.)

    You refer to Bush's supporters as reticent or silent, but conservative talk radio is famously bellicose and insulting. Of course, only a select group host radio programs, but the rhetoric from that quarter remains largely unmatched in tenor and popularity.

    It's not controvertial to suggest that the general tone of political discourse is devolving. But you compromise your argument by turning it into a strangely pious partisan dig. And I suggest that the cure would be more substance and clarity in public debate, rather than weird and rather pompous sentences like "I say typically because I find most of his supporters are quite reticent, silent, or even circumspect when mentioning those names in their discourses."

  4. Hi, Anon:

    Good observations, but allow me these comments.

    "I say typically because I find most of his supporters are quite reticent, silent, or even circumspect when mentioning those names in their discourses."

    Please note the above statement refers to supporters who may disagree with Bush, not how those supporters deal with the administration's critics. I agree a segment of the far right can also be vicious verbally, but one has to concede that the President has no effective control of their rhetoric.

    And I concede that the examples given on Bush statements are right on. But recall that the gaffe about the reporter was not intended as part of public discourse, except that the mike caught it and then also, Bush was not president yet.

    But I agree that that pygmy statement was totally inappropriate, even granting that Kim is truly an evil person in the eyes of most civilized people. Many people do still believe that evil is very real and their indignation, which in this particular case was manifestly visible as reported, may get the better of them.

    Still, Bush is not in the habit of publicly criticising his critics with vicious name-calling, so personally I will grant him the gaffe or two that he commits. Would you?

  5. If given the same or similar choices by the democrats I would vote for the president today. I have a feeling the dems are going to do it again and give me no choice except to vote Republican. It's happened every four years since I became of voting age in '76. After a while I realized that I MUST be a Republican because the Democrats never fielded anyone I could stomach.

    And that reporter IS a major asshole. Brave person this Mr. Anonymous huh? Won't ID him or herself. Amadeo is right, most conservatives act and speak like the name implies. Most of us believe in being decent to each other regardless of political affiliation. The other side walks around mad at the world and have no problem with bombacity and saying and doing whatever it takes to win back power.

    My inclination is TOWARD liberalism and it has been since I was a kid, yet the left's ways and beliefs repel me toward the right. By the way, I tend to be more moderate than conservative...


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