October 19, 2003

Lazy analysis

Here's Howard Kurtz on Democratic antipathy toward George W. Bush in this morning's WaPo:

One of the few points of agreement [between Democrats and Republicans] is that Bush has done to the Democrats what Clinton did to the GOP: pilfered their best issues. Just as Clinton seized credit for welfare reform and crime fighting, Bush has stolen the opposition's thunder on such perennial liberal causes as education and prescription drugs for the elderly.

No, no, no, no, no.

Clinton didn't "seize credit" for welfare reform and crime fighting; he substantively altered the Democratic party's positions on those issues. George W. Bush, on the other hand, has given the country nothing but press releases and unfunded mandates on prescription drugs and education. In other words, Republicans hated Bill Clinton for weakening their political position (by co-opting their issues), while Democrats detest George W. Bush for persistently misleading the public about the true nature of his goals and policies.

There's a real difference there. And somebody who gets paid to pontificate in the pages of the Washington Post really ought to be able to get his head around that rather straightforward -- and important -- distinction.

Posted by Jack O'Toole on October 19, 2003 10:01 AM

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Angry Moderates
Excerpt: ANGRY MODERATES....One of the things that has been missed in the great "Why Do Democrats Hate Bush?" debate is the nature of so many of the Democrats who hate Bush: they're moderates. Angry liberal writers Paul Krugman and Al Franken?...
Weblog: Calpundit
Tracked: October 19, 2003 02:33 PM

Very good analysis. Of course, to most of the media, there really is no difference between substance and form. They focus entirely on process and see everything as part of the "game" of politics.

Posted by: John Logan on October 19, 2003 05:05 PM

The Kurtz piece was wrongheaded on so many levels that it is hard to know where to start.

Kurtz discusses "Bush hatred" as a psychological phenomenon. This trivializes and misstates the issue. The opposition to Bush is based on opposition to the reactionary revolution that he seeks to promote through deceptive means. It's political, not personal.

Yes, Kurtz is lazy. He cites substantive books ---Krugman, Conason, Franken, and others--- in support of the claim that there is a rash of Bush-hatred out there. Yet he fails to address the arguments put forward by these writers. To do so would be to destroy Kurtz's thesis.

Thanks for pointing out the single most flagrant bit of misrepresentation in Kurtz's column. It is flat wrong to assert that Bush has stolen the Democrats' programs, and nuts to claim that this is a "point of agreement." The Bush administration is radically reactionary. We are talking McKinley here.

Posted by: C S McCrum on October 20, 2003 01:23 AM