11th November 2012
Freeman makes sense, as many do not.
Over the years I have noticed something about Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers: They have shown a persistent tendency to think about things in binary terms. Something can be good, or if it is not, then it is bad. A person can be in, and if he is not, then he must be out. If some course of action has their approval, then they seem to lose track of the reason why; there is no risk involved in engaging it, no side effects to be anticipated, no liabilities involved in choosing it. From all I have been able to observe about them, they are living out their entire lives in the fallacy of the excluded middle. And this strikes me as strange since, thinking back to 2004, hey wasn’t that one of the biggest complaints they had about the man himself? Lack of “nuanced” thinking or some such? Eight years on, I never hear that word “nuance.” I mean, I knew at the time it was a campaign slogan, I just kind of figured there might be more to it than that. Guess I thought wrong, because the Bush haters are showing us lack-of-nuance better than anybody else I’ve seen…
Elected politicians do two types of things: sensible things and stupid things. All politicians are a mixture of the two. Republicans, on average, do fewer stupid things than Democrats; thus right-thinking people tend to support Republicans, all else being equal. This doesn’t mean that supporting any individual Republican means asserting that said Republican doesn’t ever do stupid things; it just means that they are less likely to (not ‘never going to’, but ‘less likely to’) do stupid things than any corresponding Democrat.
Do I wish that George W Bush were still President? Hell, yeah — not that he never did a stupid thing (the record is quite clear that he did plenty), but he tended to do fewer stupid things than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Would I prefer Bill Clinton to Barack Obama? Hell, yeah; Clinton would have liked to do stupid things, but tread more warily than Barack, because he’s a professional and Barack is a clueless amateur. As Joey the Hitman said about the Nixon-McGovern election, “I had a choice between a fool and a crook. Naturally I voted for the crook.” I feel the same way about Clinton-Obama, which is why I supported Hillary during the Democrat primaries in 2008.
One could make a long list of stupid things done by Republican Presidents: Nixon gave us the EPA, OSHA, and affirmative action; Bush the Elder gave us the Americans With Disabilities Act and caved on raising taxes and spending; Bush the Younger spent money like a drunken politician on feel-good nonsense like No Child Left Behind and Medicare prescription drugs, and was a major accomplice in creating the Housing Bubble. And don’t get me started on Eisenhower (hint: 1956).
Nevertheless, the bottom line remains that these guys, bad as they were, were better than their alternatives. What those alternatives would have been like is personified by Barack Obama, who differs from Jimmy Carter only in that his skin color and White Guilt allowed him to get away with shit that Carter never could have.
Republicans will do stupid things (especially Republican Senators); the important point is that however stupid the things that they do, they do less damage than the stupid things that Democrats will do. And, Libertarian fantasy to the contrary notwithstanding, that’s the only choice we get. We have no guarantees that Republicans won’t do stupid things; but we know for a fact that Democrats will do stupid things, as often as they can get away with it, and so that’s what we have to work with.
So don’t come whining to me about what Bush did or didn’t do; on his worst day, he was still better than Gore, Kerry, and Obama.