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Is it Rational to Hate George Bush?

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I dislike virtually everything about Bush’s presidency. I’d use the word detest, but then I might be accused by apologists like Fred Barnes of harboring an irrational hatred of Bush. But is it really irrational to hate an arrogant and incompetent buffoon who has precipitated America’s precipitous national decline? In other words, is Bush hatred an entirely rational response the unfolding disaster that is the Bush administration?

Anger is an entirely appropriate response to persons who selfishly or thoughtlessly threatens or harms our interests. If someone stole and crashed your car you’d have every right to be livid with them. Likewise, the majority of Americans and Floridians who cast their ballots for the eminently competent Al Gore had every right to be infuriated by the legal shenanigans and sophistry that Bush used to steal the 2000 election.

The blatant dishonesty the Bush campaign used to circumvent the electorate made a mockery of the law. Katherine Harris certified Bush’s 536-vote margin of victory, but that number is about as credible as an Enron balance sheet certified by accounting firm Arthur Anderson.

Bush vs. Gore will probably age about as well as Norma Desmond (or Britney Spears for that matter). Justice John Paul Stevens was eloquent and prescient when he wrote in dissent that the American public and the rule of law would be the biggest losers from the majority’s improvident decision. Indeed, the legal machination employed to seize the election would turn out to be a prelude to the Constitutional and executive abuses that have characterized Bush’s dismal tenure.

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All the Alice in Wonderland reasoning Bush honed during the Florida fiasco would be put to use to sell the Iraq War, Bush’s illegal wiretapping program, and the administration’s efforts to scuttle the Geneva Conventions. The false-choices, half-truths, bait-and-switches, and scare tactics that are Bush’s modus operandi have proven to be the political equivalent of steroids; they confer a temporary advantage, but ultimately they have weakened the body politic.

The aforementioned tactics, of course, are an affront to reason that Bush and his minions aimed at the lowest common denominator. The Iraq War was supposed to be a cakewalk that would pay for itself, but now forecasters see the cumulative costs of the Iraq catastrophe topping $3 trillion dollars. Bush didn’t raise taxes to pay for the war, of course. Rather, he pushed through the largest tax-cut in history while VP Dick Cheney insisted "deficits don’t matter." The VP is right, of course, as long as China and other foreign creditors are willing to lend Americans money so we can afford oil prices that are going through the stratosphere.

The Bush administration’s debt-fueled growth is the economic equivalent of taking steroids to bulk up; performance heats up over the short term, but the system rots from within over the long-term. The sinking dollar, the dismal housing market, and debt-soaked consumers are an axis-of-ills that are symptomatic of Bush’s snake oil prescription of paying for everything with tax cuts.

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Bush’s credibility is more shot full of holes than even Dick Cheney’s hunting partner, Harry Whittington. Americans have every right to be furious with the mixture of arrogance and ineptitude Bush has displayed. To paraphrase Mark Twain, its not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so that leads to disaster.

Bush has ignored real threats (intelligence warnings prior to 9/11 and global warming, for instance) while overacting to imaginary threats (the hype over Saddam’s phantom WMD that led to an unnecessary war). He ignores evidence he doesn’t like and cherry picks evidence to suit his ideological preconceptions. He has circumvented rational decision-making procedures, relying heavily on his gut instincts, which is a deeply irrational way to govern.

Those of us who have pointed out Bush’s fallacious rhetoric and reasoning from the get go have had to endure insults from the legion of half-wits that were taken in by Bush’s hucksterism. It’s not those who disdain Bush that are being proven wrong, but those who aided, abetted, and enabled his disastrous administration.


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About the Author -- Scott D. O'Reilly is an independent writer with degrees in philosophy and psychology. His work has been published in The Humanist, Philosophy Now, Intervention Magazine, Think, and The Philosopher's Magazine. He is a (more...)

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