October 2nd, 2003


In the Garden of Kinda-Good and Sorta-Bad

I don't hate President Bush.

It sure seems like a lot of people do.

I don't think that's a positive thing. First off, it lowers us, those of us who imagine ourselves on the side of the angels, to the level of the people who spent 8 years hating Bill Clinton.

Second, by hating him, one is able to imagine all sorts of nefarious motivations for why he does the things he does, and has done in his name. Just as Rush and Imus and O'Reilly and the rest of that lot imputed all sorts of evil motivations in the Clinton White House. The way I look at is this -- all those ulterior motives are a bunch of free variables introduced to make the equation messy. If you want to understand Bush, assuming he's sincere and on the level makes your job easier.

He's not evil, he's just wrong. Wrong in a million different ways, wrong in ways that make him pass his decisions through a filter that skews their benefits towards the moneyed classes. I'm even willing to believe his business career, which is full of bail-outs by benefactors interested in currying his father's favor, was never, in his own perception, a case of lust for money. I bet he just feels like he's been blessed with good fortune, a great family and supportive friends that have helped him along.

This doesn't mean that he's not dreadfully, dangerously wrong about nearly everything. It just means that the villian people are hating isn't really there, any more than the knight in shining armor the neo-conservatives see. Isn't it sufficient that he's wrong, and figure out how to show that wrongness to people in a way they'll see it? All this hating and breast beating generates more heat than light, and furthermore it alienates people who aren't sure how they feel about Bush.