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day permlink Sunday, 19 October 2003

permlink Ivins: Not a 'Bush-Hater'

Molly Ivins wrote an excellent column this week responding to the labeling of her and other critics of the Bush Administration as 'Bush-haters', which is an invitation to the audience to wave all such critics away as crazy extremist people.

David Brooks, a Weekly Standard columnist who's moved up to the New York Times, is one of the guys engaging in the labeling and dismissal. He used to be one of the most intellectually honest conservative commentators I could find (I especially enjoyed his appearances with Mark Shields on the NewsHour). Now, not so much.

Hatred of Bush? Not here
If you do not suffer from amnesia, you may recall that this country was cursed with Clinton haters for eight long years. They were a little over the top -- they accused the man of rape, murder, drug-dealing, miscegenation, treason and more. And his wife of worse.

Like most Americans, I was sick of the politics of personal destruction long before it all finally limped through the idiotic impeachment hearings. I wrote this new book (Bushwhacked -- my publisher would want me to mention it) in part as an effort to show how I think political differences should be addressed.

This is a book about policy. In particular, it is a book about how policy affects "average, ordinary, everyday Americans," and of course the great joke on me is that none of the people we met and talked with is "ordinary."...

As it happens, I have known George W. Bush for a long time... For the six years he was governor of Texas, I watched him closely and filtered my view of him through, among others, that of the late Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, his mentor in Texas politics. Although Bush rather promptly becomes defensive and prickly when questioned, he is by and large perfectly affable. You would have to work at it to dislike him personally...

Did you know that it is quite possible not to hate someone and at the same time notice their policies are disastrous for people in this country? Quite a thought, isn't it? Grown-ups can actually do that -- can think a policy is disastrous without hating the person behind it...

Imagine how startled I was to find myself cited in a column by David Brooks ... as a "Bush-hater" and someone who "knows less than the KKK does about the NAACP."

Holy cow. Here I am thinking I actually know something about Bush just because I already wrote two books about him, and that his biggest problem is that he's real limited in his worldview.

I honestly don't think you have to hate someone in politics to think they're wrong. I would like to remind all the lockstep conservatives that there is a difference between hatred and anger. What you are looking at in this country is not hatred of George W. Bush -- a perfectly affable guy -- it is growing anger.
The whole thing's worth reading. permlink  

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