Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall both reflect this week on their sense that they’ve become more angry and intemperate over the years as the shadow of George Bush darkens over the nation. I know the feeling.
The intriguing thing is how the President’s dwindling claque of defenders have reacted to the growing agitation and rage of once–moderate seeming pundits. The term “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” coined by Wagnerian superhero Charles Krauthammer, has gained great currency on the right side of the blogosphere. In the Weekly Standard, John Hindraker—most reflexive of the Bush defenders even in PowerLine’s Pavlovian pantheon—has argued that mounting evidence of the administration’s incompetence and mendacity constitutes definitive proof… of the CIA’s nefarious vendetta against George Bush.
Now, it seems to me that the natural response to an intense and growing dislike of the administration—not only among formerly-moderate pundits, but in a caste of professionals who have devoted their careers to, and sometimes risked their lives for the sake of, guarding America—would be to conclude that there’s a good chance of something’s being seriously amiss. But in a bizarre inversion that defies parsimony, this dislike is regarded as cause rather than consequence: Bush’s apologists conclude that Bush hatred is some kind of free-floating force that does not result from disagreement with bad policies, but rather explains that disagreement. To disagree with Bush is to show symptoms of BDS. Since of course people with BDS will reflexively criticize whatever the president does, those critiques—all critiques—can be dismissed out of hand. QED.
On occasion, attempts are made to explain BDS itself. Sometimes, for instance, it’s attributed to some kind of elitist cultural loathing, which might make some kind of sense if the president were not the Yale and Harvard–pedigreed scion of an absurdly wealthy politcal dynasty. So mostly BDS, like SIDS, must simply be regarded as a mysterious and terrifying affliction that strikes without reason or warning: He seemed so hale and sane just a year ago, and now he’s raving about executive overreach and “quagmires!” What could have happened?
For our own counterdiagnosis, let’s turn the reins over to guestblogger Thom Yorke:
And it’s fucked up, fucked up
And this is fucked up, fucked up
This your blind spot, blind spot
It should be obvious, but it’s not.
But it isn’t, but it isn’t
To quote one noted psychotherapist: Indeed.