Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Alternate Reality from Breakpoint

One of the frustrating things about dealing with religious conservatives is their ability to exist, in perfect happiness, in an alternate reality of their own creation. A glorious example of this is available in this article from Breakpoint.

The column's author, Allan Dobras, is trying to undertand why there is so much animosity towards George W. Bush. He begins with:

The scorn and vitriol heaped upon President Bush by his detractors during the three years plus of his presidency go far beyond political disagreements over how to best answer the pressing needs of the nation. There is little doubt that the president elicits a genuine and personal hatred from his critics, not only in this country but abroad as well. The question is, why?

In a strange dichotomy, President Bush is arguably one of the most decent men to have ever occupied the White House. He rarely has an unkind word to say about his critics even when they go after him with swords drawn. Insiders in the White House have nothing but good things to say about him and he comes from a respected, religious family that has endured decades of public life with nary a hint of scandal.

Wow. He rarely has an unkind word to say about his critics? Perhaps, but only because he has surrgoates willing to do that work for him. Ask John McCain if Bush had any unkind words to say about him during the 2000 Republican campaign. Ask Paul O'Neill or Richard Clarke how they were treated when they publicly criticized the President. Ask General Erik Shinseki what happened to him after suggesting, in Congressional testimony, that controlling Iraq after overthrowing Saddam Hussein might require more troops than Bush seemed to think. And that doesn't even consider all the people who have been told since 9/11 that they were on the side of the terrorists, or that Osama Bin Laden wants Democrats to win. It sure seems to me that Bush has had a few unkind words to say about John Kerry! Can Dobras actually believe what he is writing here?

And the Bush family has endured decades of public life with nary a hint of scandal? What? The first President Bush was intimately involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. Neal Bush ran one of those failed Savings and Loans his father had to bail out early in his Presidency. Jeb Bush allowed thousands of elgible, mostly minority, voters to be expunged from the rolls in the 2000 election, thereby handing his brother the Presidency. George W. Bush's tenure at Harken Energy was investigated by the SEC. Nary a hint of scandal?

Finally, we should not let slide the implication that since the Bush family claims publicly to be religious we should somehow give them a presumption of great moral integrity.

President Bush lifted himself up from an impetuous youth to the highest office in the land in no small part due to the mentoring of evangelist Billy Graham—one of the most admired men in the world—and his personal faith is a cornerstone in his life. This story alone should be the source of great praise and admiration, not derision. So why then is there so much hatred for George Bush?

Note once more the implication that religious people are entitled to some sort of presumption of good character. As for lifting himself up from an impetuous youth, Mr. Graham's mentoring was a very small piece of the puzzle. His family's vast wealth and political connections had far, far more to do with him becoming President.

Although some may say the hatred stems from the controversy over the Florida vote during the 2000 election, the reality is that the final analysis of the vote shows that George Bush won the election under any conceivable recount circumstance. Actually, the Gore campaign can be more faulted for its attempt to manipulate the Florida vote by insisting on a recount limited to three heavily Democrat counties.

First of all, Florida law had no provision for demanding a state-wide recount. The law was quite clear that challenges to election results had to be made on a county-by-county basis. Of course Gore chose Democratic counties, but the fact remains that he had to work within the confines of what Florida law allowed.

More to the point however, this idea that Bush won the election under any conceivable recount scenario is laughably false. In fact, the only scenario under which Bush would have won is the one Gore requested: recounts in the four primarily Democratic counties. Under every other recount method proposed Gore would have won. Most significantly, the state-wide recount of the “undervotes” demanded by the Florida Supreme Court would have led to a Gore victory. Follow this link, for more information.

In fairness, conservatives were aided in this delusion by the awful reporting of many news outlets. But for anyone willing to read past the headline, it's a simple fact that Gore would have won the election had the U.S. Supreme Court not intervened. But as should be clear by now, Breakpoint columnists routinely prefer comforting delusion to grim reality.

Dobras continues:

Whether it is opposition toward some domestic political issue, his handling of the war on terror, or the war in Iraq, none can rationally account for the intensity of personal hatred leveled at President Bush as he seeks reelection. The answer to the “why,” is really part of an issue that simmers just below the surface but nonetheless evokes a level of hatred—and fear—that can only be understood in the context of the conflict between enduring truth and spiritless relativism. That is, a clash between two mutually exclusive worldviews—one driven by religious faith and the other driven by secular humanism.

He just keeps topping himself! Opposition towards the decisions made by the Bush administration is can not rationally account for the level of personal animosity toward the President? The fact that every justification for the war that he provided has turned out to be false is not adequate justification? The fact that he cherry-picked which pieces of information to consider and release to the public? The fact that his deputies told the country we faced the risk of Iraqi nuclear weapons if we didn't go to war? The fact that he sent his Secretary of State to deliver a pack of lies to the United Nations? The fact that he has favored economic policies that favr the rich at the expense of future generations who will have to pay down the massive debt he has created? None of this, or coutnless other similar decisions, is sufficient justification for hating our President?

Apparently not? Apparently it is only hatred for Bush's faith that can explain the animosity levelled against him.

Of course, this is ridiculous. But it is another nice example of just how badly the religious right needs to believe that they are an oppressed minority, uniquely good in an ocean of secular rotteness.

The column goes on for a few more paragraphs. Frankly, I stopped here.


At 2:32 AM, Blogger L said...

I am so glad that others can recognize the insidious effect of a world view that refuses to question authority. Keep blogging!


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