be a playa, not hata
Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum had posts up yesterday commenting on comparisons of the left's "hatred" of Bush II to the right's hatred of Bill Clinton. (Marshall also posted an update based on the responses he received.)
Here's my two cents: The two are not even close.
First off, let me stipulate that there are indeed partisans on the lefty that go so far as to hate Bush. But most of what I see is anger, not hatred. And most of that hatred is based on what Bush does and the methods he uses to do it.
I have to admit, I've never, ever been able to fathom why people consider the man likable. But for me personally, a commentor on CalPundit's post summed it up about perfectly:
To be clear: Contempt, derision and scorn? You bet. Anger? Got that in spades. Disgust? Hell, if I were studying that I'd have my PhD already. But no-one I know has expressed personal, visceral hatred of Bush in the way that I saw expressed towards Clinton in 1992.
There's an added dimension, too, and I think it's worse than the notion of hating the President: I don't trust him. Many of my posts have observed how Bush's rhetoric simply doesn't match reality. And the spin of Bush's defenders -- usually to the effect that what Bush says is/was "technically true," however misleading -- cuts to the heart of the matter. With Bush, you always have to read the fine print. There's just no way you can trust the guy. I certainly don't trust him to have my best interests, or the interests of my children, at heart in his policy decisions.
But once again -- that isn't a personality judgement. Anger, contempt, derision and scorn is, in my view, a perfectly valid response to Bush's record. And while I agree that Democrats should not be careful to be blinded by hate, I believe that a coldly rational, unwavering and irrefutable case that Bush just can't be trusted is essential to victory in 2004 and saving this great nation from the damage the Bush has done and is sure to make worse in the future.