Taking Stock

In his latest, Victor Davis Hanson admits that he’s beating a dead horse when it comes to “media polarities” that “are getting to the point of absurdity.” Perhaps so, but its worth taking stock every now and again and doing the ol’ compare and contrast:

Bush, the lazy golfer while we were at war; Obama the engaged commander-in-chief playing golf for needed relaxation more in one year than in Bush’s eight. Katrina, the emblem of federal inaction and culpable incompetence; the BP slick, either a result of private greed overwhelming noble federal auditors or proof of the Obamian competent response. Bush’s illegal war clearly alienating Muslims and thus creating terrorists daily; laughable excuses from a terrorist that Obama’s stepped-up targeted Predator assassinations “created” would-be killers such as himself. Right wingers in bed with Wall Street oligarchs greedily crafting federal policy for the exploiting class; Obama for some odd reason, no doubt in the end a noble reason, taking more money from the likes of Goldman Sachs and British Petroleum than any politician in history. The Bush-Cheney nexus shredding the Constitution with the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, Predators, and renditions; Obama the civil libertarian reluctantly forced to maintain or expand such protocols, albeit at last under a watchful liberal eye. Bush’s “lost” war in Iraq miraculously soon to be Obama’s “greatest achievement.”
What is the theory behind all this other than partisanship or cynicism? I think it involves the power of faith and the irrational, in some cases not confined to the left. (e.g., I once got a prominent conservative angry at me when I suggested Reagan embraced large deficits, signed an amnesty bill, wanted nuclear disarmament, and raised payroll taxes). Politics is a religion, never more so than in the case of Obama. And true believers always prefer the saintly explanation rather than the most logical.

That we’re all guilty of having the ideological blinders on at one time or another is true enough. But I also think that it’s a basic human characteristic that we don’t like to admit we were wrong or were mistaken in our judgment (like in who we support politically) and this is made worse by a tendency to go “all in” with someone and being unable to tolerate acute criticism when warranted.

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13 years ago

It is only a subset of the population which goes “all in” as you suggest, but that 25 or 30% can be quite dangerous.
I try to look at all political situations on a scale – that being from the worst that is possible (pretty bad) to the best that is possible (not too great, in the case of the USA with so many factions and interests)…..
Using that scale of 1 to 10, for instance – 10 again being not perfect, but the best possible within our current system and the reality of voters and human beings – I would put Bush/Cheney at about 2. That is almost the worst that you can get. I would put the first year of the Obama admin at about 6 or 7. That is certainly not perfect (even a 10 would not be), but it is many times as good as a 1 or 2.
So I dispute the fact that those somewhere in the center or left all go “all in” the same way that a vast percentage of righties do. On the right, for instance, you have quite a large sect that is:
Thinks Obama was not born here
Thinks states should perhaps leave the Union
Liked Bush (although some deny it now)……
The left, on the other hand, has folks all over the map…many who have been criticizing Obama from day one for not being progressive enough.
In one sense you are right, though – we all have blinders on – but maybe some of us learned something before we placed them over our eyes!

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