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Daniel J. Flynn (archive)
October 25, 2004 | Print | Send
“I think what Bush is doing currently is becoming a fascist dictator,” protestor Melissa Orr explained at one of the myriad left-wing demonstrations during President Bush’s four years in office. “Don’t trust the man. He is not the good and true leader that everyone thinks he is. He has his own personal agenda for the elites, and so did Hitler.”
Other demonstrators read from the same sheet of music: “I think Bush is the new Hitler,” “I see Bush exactly as a Hitler,” and “[Bush] is almost like a Hitler.”
If there’s one thing that short-circuits the mental wiring of leftists, it is the name George W. Bush. Denouncing the President in the most extreme manner possible, the Bush-haters, as their name suggests, emote rather than think. Interviewing several hundred of them during the Bush Presidency, I have been continually struck by how their fervor overrides commonsense.
Bush hating is equally a reaction against the president’s personality as it is a reaction to his policies. Bush’s Christianity, his inherited wealth, his blueblood pedigree, and his brief career as an oilman combine to make him a villain straight out of central casting. For a leftist, what’s not to hate? Add to this the president seeing black-and-white where the Left gets lost in shades of gray, Bush’s occasional cockiness, and his rejection of phony intellectualism and you have a formula for a leftist boogeyman.
It’s this boogeyman, rather than the actual man sitting in the Oval Office, that so invigorates the president’s enemies on the political fringe.
“Knew in advance? [Bush] funded them. He created al Qaeda. He has been a longtime business associate of bin Laden,” claimed one bullhorn-toting marcher from Rhode Island. “Who was responsible for 9/11?” asked a veteran protestor on the streets of Manhattan. “American imperialism and George Bush in particular. The Bush family and the bin Laden family have long, long economic ties. They’re co-investors in the Carlyle Group.” One masked activist professed earlier this year, “Afghanistan was because of the pipeline to the Caspian Sea, the oil. Actually, the Carlyle Group—George Bush, Sr.—was meeting with the Taliban several times before 9/11 happened.”
So what happens if this stupid, oil-hungry, latter-day Hitler gets reelected? “I’m moving to England,” Pennsylvanian Jennifer Huseman explained outside the gates of the White House. “If Bush gets reelected I’m not coming back into the country until he is gone.” An Ohio World War II veteran admitted at the same demonstration, “I’ve already told my wife that I plan on moving to Canada.”
Less intellectual than moron, the Bush-haters nevertheless conform to the main idea put forth in my book Intellectual Morons: ideology tends to blind people to reality. Comparing Bush to Hitler, imagining that the President had advance knowledge of 9/11, and contending that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were fought to enlarge the bank accounts of leading administration figures, the Bush-haters rail against a caricature of Bush rather than reality.
Many of these activists, parroting the conspiracy theories of the likes of Michael Moore and Gore Vidal, treat politics as a religion. They may not believe in a God, but they do have a devil: George W. Bush. Convinced of the righteousness of their crusade, anti-Bush fanatics will say just about anything—no matter how preposterous—in attempts to discredit the object of their hate. The Bush-haters take their more bizarre beliefs on faith, so logic, facts, and reason fail to dissuade them from championing inaccuracies.
George W. Bush didn’t get to pick his enemies. Had he gotten the opportunity to do so, he couldn’t have done a better job of selecting opponents, who, by juxtaposition, make him appear in such a favorable light. Calling the president a Nazi or claiming he is in cahoots with bin Laden doesn’t win over any sensible person. It repulses.
Ironically, the same zealotry that will inspire millions to cast votes against the incumbent next week has already driven greater numbers, disturbed by the immoderation of the Bush-haters, into the arms of the president. Like policy, passion has unintended consequences.
The Bush-haters aim to make the president look bad. They succeed in doing that to themselves. With enemies like these, who needs friends?