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January 30, 2007

Bush Derangement Syndrome rears its crazy face again as members of the Democratic Party go apes**t over the missing "-ic" in Bush’s state of the union address.  Tony Snow nails it: Why were the press so blithe about unambiguous, real insults of "idiot", "loser" and "liar" aimed at the Prez?  Meanwhile, everybody supposedly wants to work together to serve the people…

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob A. permalink
    January 30, 2007 10:21 pm

    Duke, just as a log & speck check, let’s remember that Bush is still in office and still messing things up, whereas Clinton Derangement Syndrome runs high despite his absence from the national scene for 6 years. The only people who believe BDS exceeds CDS are true-blue conservative die-hards.

  2. January 31, 2007 9:24 am

    Rob’s right Duke. Even Clinton debated the definition of the word “is” while in office. I know “ic” is only a suffix, but it’s a comprable number of letters.

  3. Duke Ray permalink
    January 31, 2007 11:19 am

    Rob, I hear you. “CDS” is an enduring phenomenon, and one of the reasons that I don’t give CDS-sufferers like Limbaugh and Hannity much of my attention.

    Your pre-emptive ad-hominem doesn’t sway me, though — we’ll never be able to compare BDS to CDS meaningfully. Irrational vindictiveness towards the Commander in Chief in a time of relative peace cannot be compared to the same during a time of international war. Two totally different contexts. So, it seems to me that the intellectually honest position is to be humbly agnostic about comparing the two.

    Still, I’m not sure I get your point — if a sitting president is “messing things up,” then knee-jerk paranoia and suspicion about *literally* every syllable he utters is justified? Or that one mental disorder justifies another..?

    Personally, President Clinton struck me as a bit of an Elmer Gantry from early on, and the fact that his response to the “Black Hawk Down” incident was clearly cited by Bin-Laden as a key precursor to 9-11 will forever blight the Clinton legacy. However, I still think he did several things right (esp. his unilateral military action in Bosnia to stop the genocide there, and welfare reform); and the CDS-driven murder conspiracy theories and such were shameful. Fair enough?

    Also, Rob, any response to my point about the actual hateful, slanderous words directed at the sitting Pres., not by pundits or fringe folks, but by *elected representatives*? I’m not saying Bush is the Second Coming who must not be blasphemed or something. But was there really analagous language on the other side of the aisle (i.e., by elected reps) during the Clinton presidency? I’m very willing to be educated, if so, thanks. It’s not a blame game, it’s just about being honest about where true cooperation between the parties needs to start in order to have a united front as a nation.

  4. Rob A. permalink
    January 31, 2007 1:30 pm

    Sure, I think that some folks need to get over their Bush-hating by buying a stress ball, so that we can have more productive discussions about solutions going forward. Bush did blow some chances to model the bipartisanship that he promised in ’00, but we’ve got to move on regardless for our collective sake. I’ve personally gotten tired of the pundits and friends who complain that Dems have an “anger management problem,” so I’m partly reacting to the way in which your post reminds me of that. Too much talk about which side is meaner becomes counterproductive when, as you say, we’re supposed to be working together in a crisis.

  5. Rob A. permalink
    January 31, 2007 1:36 pm

    Some good stuff from an Economist article:

    HILLARY CLINTON’S announcement that she is running for president (“I’m in, I’m in to win”) is manna from heaven for two groups of people: Clinton family retainers and professional Clinton-haters. The latter have already built a huge industry…. Yet it would be naive to expect Hillary-hatred to go away. The condition springs from deep emotions on the cultural right. Fears of successful professional women who look down their snooty noses at rednecks and stay-at-home mothers. Hatred of bossy liberals who want to impose a National Health Service and other bureaucratic monstrosities. Disdain for holier-than-thou lefties who ride their husbands’ coat-tails to power and wealth.

    Add to this the fact that her husband is the most hated person of all to the right—a self-indulgent baby-boomer who nevertheless outran the right-wing lynch mob time and time again—and you hardly have a formula for a ceasefire in the culture wars. “I hate Hillary Clinton because she’s Hillary Clinton,” writes one blogger, “and I know that my readers can understand that.”

  6. Rob A. permalink
    January 31, 2007 1:37 pm

    Nice — I just did what I said we have too much of!

  7. Tim C permalink
    February 1, 2007 7:42 am

    A little etymology of a political epithet here:

    The issue of Democratic opponents using the phrase “Democrat Party” versus “Democratic Party” actually goes back a lot further than Bush… Although he uses the phrase a LOT, which does add to the irritation factor some Dems feel.

    It goes back to the 1940’s when at the Republican Convention a keynote speaker said:

    “[They] should not be called a ‘Democratic Party.’ It should be called the ‘Democrat Party.'”

    The point was in his accusation the Dems were acting less than fully Democratic” and thus drop the “ic” and don’t refer to them by their actual name to shame them.

    As a WSJ article describes, Joe McCarthy picked that up and ran with it:

    “…the phrase was a particular favorite of former Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy… according to the Columbia Guide to Standard American English, McCarthy ‘sought by repeatedly calling it the Democrat party to deny it any possible benefit of the suggestion that it might also be democratic'”

    Here was consrevative William Buckly in a 2000 National Review column on the topic:

    “I have an aversion to ‘Democrat’ as an adjective… Dear Joe McCarthy used to do that, and received a rebuke from this at-the-time 24-year-old. It has the effect of injecting politics into language, and that should be avoided.”

    Schoolyard-ish? Yes.

    But it is an actual political slur and code-word for disrespect used often and intentionally by many opponents of progressives and members of the Democratic Party.

    You should also add that after Bush said it was an botched line not meant to needle, Pelsoi didn’t react in a ape-shit like manor:

    Pelosi: “We take him at his word that it was an oversight.”

  8. Duke Ray permalink
    February 1, 2007 11:42 am

    Hi, Tim. Yes, everything you cite was in the LA Times article I linked to on the original post. I absolutely agree — Speaker Pelosi took the high road, good for her. I understand the history of the phrase; but the inability to see the context of Bush’s mis-use vs. the intentional use by McCarthy (not by you, Tim, but the press and others Bush critics) is part and parcel of BDS. It’s also part of what former Clinton adviser (see how I’m reaching out? 🙂 Lanny Davis seems to be writing about in his new book, “SCANDAL: How ‘Gotcha’ Politics is Destroying America.” This endless hunt for out-of-context quotes to jump on and demonize political opponents isn’t getting us anywhere. It would be easy to jump all over Joe Biden’s remarks about Obama being the first “clean” black candidate… but I know that Biden probably meant “clean-cut.” Do I label Biden “RACIST”? Or do I choose to focus instead on the numerous groups of jihadist fanatics who are *actually* racist and xenophobic to a degree that makes them actively look for ways to blow up our kids and God-children and friends…? I’m gonna fight my inner schoolyard kid — as you put it nicely — and go with the latter.

  9. Duke Ray permalink
    February 1, 2007 11:55 am

    Rob, kudos on your mea culpa. While I disagree that there’s *currently* equal irrationality between the two parties, I think that in the end, the only real solution there is… begins with what you just did. And what I’m trying to do here. It all begins with each of us trying to pull the log out of our own eye first; with one person at a time stopping and saying, “I’m not gonna go for the jugular, I’m gonna step back and take a deep breath and try to see something better in the other guy.” Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t defend ourselves or our side of the debate strongly, but… well, I guess it’s just about trying to find a way to turn the other cheek while discussing the vital issues of our times. In this endeavor, God have mercy and bless America.

  10. Tim C permalink
    February 1, 2007 12:54 pm

    “This endless hunt for out-of-context quotes to jump on and demonize political opponents isn’t getting us anywhere.”

    Totally agree…

  11. February 2, 2007 12:28 am

    The fact that this all came up after Bush’s very gracious acknowledgement of Pelosi- which I think was quite sincere- makes this little flap all the more shameful. Where’s the grace?

    I know that many conservatives have gone way over the line with Clinton hatred, but I findit hard to equate lingering criticism of Clinton’s terror policies- much more appropriate post 9/11- with this petty flap over a suffix with a history no one outside the beltway has ever heard of. As if Bush would intentionally slide a McCarthyism in on the friggin’ SOTU. It’s the he’s so bad and stupid meme.

    Whatever. On to the next waste of time.

  12. Tim C permalink
    February 2, 2007 7:14 am

    I agree with your description of this as a “little flap” and to your question of “where is the grace?” I think you are ignoring that Pelosi herself acted very graceful in response to the Presidents clarification that it was not meant as a political slur.

    And btw, even though I mentioned McCarthy as a specific Republican who popularized this slur it is still very common on right wing radio and with many conservative blogs …So, many people outside of the beltway are familiar with this “code word” for disrespect…

  13. Tim C permalink
    February 3, 2007 5:16 pm


    Grace and respect shown on both sides here I think:

    With his first words, he sought to put to rest one bone of contention between the White House and the new congressional majority: The dropped “ic.”

    “Now look, my diction isn’t all that good,” Bush told the 200 lawmakers who wrapped up two days away from Washington with family and aides. “I have been accused of occasionally mangling the English language. And so I appreciate you inviting the head of the Republic Party.”

    He got hearty laughs.

    And he was careful to keep the “ic” firmly tacked on for the rest of his remarks.

  14. Tim C permalink
    February 3, 2007 7:10 pm

    And here is the video:

  15. February 3, 2007 10:44 pm

    Bush, for someone supposedly filled with so much hubris, has been quite accomplished at self-deprecation.

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