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WHY WE HATE BUSH
by Ted Rall
Yahoo News
Wednesday September 24, 2003

NEW YORK--"Have the Democrats totally flipped their lids?" asks David Brooks in The Weekly Standard, quasi-official organ of the Bush Administration. "Because every day some Democrat seems to make a manic or totally over-the-top statement about George Bush, the Republican party, and the state of the nation today."

True, Democrats loathe Dubya with greater intensity than any Republican standard-bearer in modern political history. Even the diabolical Richard Nixon--who, after all, created the EPA, went to China and imposed price controls to stop corporate gouging--rates higher in liberal eyes. "It's mystifying," writes Brooks.

Let me explain.

First but not foremost, Bush's detractors despise him viscerally, as a man. Where working-class populists see him as a smug, effeminate frat boy who wouldn't recognize a hard day's work if it kicked him in his self-satisfied ass, intellectuals see a simian-faced idiot unqualified to mow his own lawn, much less lead the free world. Another group, which includes me, is more patronizing than spiteful. I feel sorry for the dude; he looks so pathetic, so out of his depth, out there under the klieg lights, squinting, searching for nouns and verbs, looking like he's been snatched from his bed and beamed in, and is still half asleep, not sure where he is. Each speech looks as if Bush had been beamed from his bed fast asleep. And he's willfully ignorant. On Fox News, Bush admits that he doesn't even read the newspaper: "I glance at the headlines just to kind of [sic] a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read [sic] the news themselves." All these takes on Bush boil down to the same thing: The guy who holds the launch codes isn't smart enough to know that's he's stupid. And that's scary.

Fear breeds hatred, and Bush's policies create a lot of both. U.S. citizens like Jose Padilla and Yasser Hamdi disappear into the night, never to be heard from again. A concentration camp rises at Guantánamo. Stasi-like spies tap our phones and read our mail; thanks to the ironically-named Patriot Act, these thugs don't even need a warrant. As individual rights are trampled, corporate profits are sacrosanct. An aggressive, expansionist military invades other nations "preemptively" to eliminate the threat of non-existent weapons, and American troops die to enrich a company that buys off the Vice President.

Time to dust off the F word. "Whenever people start locking up enemies because of national security without much legal care, you are coming close [to fascism]," warns Robert Paxton, emeritus professor of history at Columbia University and author of the upcoming book "Fascism in Action." We're supposed to hate fascists--or has that changed because of 9/11?

Bush bashers hate Bush for his personal hypocrisy--the draft-dodger who went AWOL during Vietnam yet sent other young men to die in Afghanistan (news - web sites) and Iraq (news - web sites), the philandering cocaine addict who dares to call gays immoral--as well as for his attacks on peace and prosperity. But even that doesn't explain why we hate him so much.

Bush is guilty of a single irredeemable act so heinous and anti-American that Nixon's corruption and Reagan's intellectual inferiority pale by comparison. No matter what he does, Democrats and Republicans who love their country more than their party will never forgive him for it.

Bush stole the presidency.

The United States enjoyed two centuries of uninterrupted democracy before George W. Bush came along. The Brits burned the White House, civil war slaughtered millions and depressions brought economic chaos, yet presidential elections always took place on schedule and the winners always took office. Bush ended all that, suing to stop a ballot count that subsequent newspaper recounts proved he had lost. He had his GOP-run Supreme Court, a federal institution, rule extrajurisdictionally on the disputed election, a matter that under our system of laws falls to the states. Bush's recount guru, James Baker, went on national TV to threaten to use force to install him as president if Gore didn't step aside: "If we keep being put in the position of having to respond to recount after recount after recount of the same ballots, then we just can't sit on our hands, and we will be forced to do what might be in our best personal interest--but not--it would not be in the best interest of our wonderful country."

Bush isn't president, but he plays one on TV. His presence in the White House is an affront to everything that this country stands for. His fake presidency is treasonous; our passive tolerance for it sad testimony to post-9/11 cowardice. As I wrote in December 2000, "George W. Bush is not the President of the United States of America." And millions of Americans agree.

Two months after 9/11, when Bush's job approval rating was soaring at 89 percent, 47 percent of Americans told a Gallup poll that he had not won the presidency legitimately. "The election controversy...could make a comeback if Bush's approval ratings were to fall significantly," predicted Byron York in The National Review. Two years later, 3 million jobs are gone, Bush's wars have gone sour, and just 50 percent of voters approve of his performance. If York is correct, most Americans now consider Bush to be no more legitimate than Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), who also came to power in a coup d'état.

And that's why we hate him.

(Ted Rall is the author of the graphic travelogue "To Afghanistan and Back," an award-winning recounting of his experiences covering the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. It is now available in a revised and updated paperback edition containing new material. Ordering information is available at amazon.com.)

Topplebush.com
September 30, 2003

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