Our Mr. Bush

For the remaining thirty percent of America who still supports George Bush, criticism is a harshly dealt with commodity.  Either because there is no true defense of his policies or because attacks on policy hit so close to home on their own beliefs, those in this vocal minority can not abide disagreement with Mr. Bush’s policies.  They have taken to calling those critics sufferers of “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” and have turned any attempts at intellectual dissent into ad hominem attacks.

You can’t, according to this logic, disagree with the policy without first hating George Bush, and because you hate George Bush, everything you say is invalid.

I am not the world’s greatest Al Gore fan.  At best, I think my general opinion towards him could be characterized as agreeable, but not overly enthusiastic.  I do think that his life is best suited in the capacity of his work now; he’s more comfortable and human.  I still remeber him on the 2000 campaign trail, almost, but not quite, as uptight as John Kerry, careful to a fault, and still getting railroaded on everything he ever said.  By contrast, you see him now in interviews and on his movie, and what you see is a man freed from the burdens of having to thread the needle on his image and his message.  You see a man who is free to engage in those pursuits that stir him, and capable of rising above the bitter partisan bickering that plagued the political institution that he was a part of for so many years.

The fact is, while many on the left are still trying to draft him to run for president, and many on the right still take every opportunity to attack him, this is a man who is treating his post Vice Presidential with the same attitude that many ex-Presidents adopt.  He is using his former status to help raise awareness about issues important to him, and he is doing it without the kind of political caution of someone who still holds hopes of higher office.

He is out of the game, though so many people refuse to let this be.  In fact, you could almost say that Al Gore has become our Mr. Bush, a man who, as Paul Krugman says, invokes his own “Gore Derangement Syndrome“.

Al Gore has long been attacked for his position on Climate Change, and these attacks would only increase when his movie An Inconvenient Truth, came out.  For many on the right, it was a match made in bitter partisanship heaven; an issue they couldn’t stand or believe (Climate Change), and a politician they were well practiced at smearing (Al Gore).  And as the movie won more distinctions, the attacks only intensified, peaking to a fever pitch around the nomination and then actual winning of the Nobel Peace Prize that Gore enjoyed last week.

Fox News leads the way, inviting anyone they could find to criticize Al Gore and the Nobel Peace Prize itself:

And to dip into the well some more, they weren’t just content to complain about Al Gore getting the prize, but instead had to dig someone up to say that General David Petraeus of all people would be more worthy:

Attacks against Gore aren’t new, and in fact in hind sight those attacks against him during the 2000 campaign were kinda funny. For some reason Al Gore engenders the same kind of hate on the right that Bush engenders on the left, and perhaps it does have something to do with the idea that Gore is often more right than he is wrong.

In nearly the same breath as he uses to fluff up the dangers of Saddam Hussein, Jules Crittendon has this to say:


What Krugman needs to understand about Gore Derangement Syndrome is this. It’s simple. You could put it on a bumpersticker: Gore Lied, No One Will Die.But in the end, Gore is really not that maddening. The institutions that have anointed him … the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, neither academy nor deeply engaged in pursuit of either art or science … and the Nobel Prize committee, a handful of Scandinavians whose worldview is exalted primarily by the large amounts of dynamite profits they have to dole out … are not actually involved in making decisions that govern this world.

In the contest that matters most, Gore still lost. Unelect him again in ‘08!

“Gore Lied, No One Died.” Which, yes, it would fit well on a bumper sticker, and also fit equally well in a grade school playground.

It would be silly to assume that Gore has never told a fib or been factually incorrect throughout the course of his political life. But the key thing here is that he has been no more or less off than any other politician. In fact, what I find so interesting here is that there is a deliberate attempt to discredit a man who did lose the 2000 election (be it fair or not), and who hasn’t affected policy for some time now.

While George W. Bush has lied countless times and whose lies have resulted in countless deaths leading to the left’s “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” the right exerts no shortage of effort in manufacturing and cultivating Al Gore’s lies so they too can have their own “Gore Derangement Syndrome”.

An excellent example is viewable when the right began echoing and inflating the findings of a British judge (for the time being forgetting that we Americans aren’t supposed to care about the rulings of foreign courts. If Tom Delay were dead right now, I’m SURE he would be spinning in his grave over this one) who found nine things wrong with Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.

But even much of that ruling was, as Robert Parry points out, little more than political hay and quibbling over semantics and minor details.

In the end, there is one very large difference between Bush Derangement Syndrome, and Gore Derangement Syndrome. With the syndrome against Gore, the ire is derived not merely out of the political movement that started the hatred against him, but also at a bitterness that six and a half years after he lost the election, it turns out Gore keeps getting proved right, and more and more people who voted against him in 2000 are beginning to wish they had cast a different vote back then. In Al Gore’s latter day successes, there is a kind of vindication of those who opposed the Mayberry Machiavellis from the beginning, and the thirty percent who still stand by their man can’t really have that. Oh, yeah, and Big Oil probably is none too thrilled with the concept of “going green”.

By contrast, the syndrome as it relates to Bush is much simpler: he’s never honest, and people keep dying, or as the old standby would read, Bush Lied And People Are STILL Dying.

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