President George W. Bush left office a year ago today. The occasion was marked for me, not so much as the grand event of inaugurating our first black President, as it was a societal harbinger of ominous times ahead. Mr. Bush congratulated Mr. Obama warmly, embracing him with the camaraderie reserved for that elite membership of U.S. presidents. The accompanying catcalls and boo’s cast a pall upon what was heretofore a somber, and joyous occasion; but now colored a sick patina as the true vitriol and hateful venom rose with cruel and vindictive openness. The taunting jeers, the rude remarks, the derision of contempt. Well…there goes the neighborhood, I thought to myself.
It seemed that occasion marked another milestone in America: the death of class.
And long before the new politics of Chicago-style thuggery became evident in the new administration, I was appalled at the sheer intensity of hatred for President Bush. Bush Derangement Syndrome became a pandemic. I was expecting the CDC to announce immediate inoculation centers opening up to stem the outbreak. Bush bashing became our new favorite national pastime, celebrated in the press and codified on college campuses everywhere.
For nine years I’ve racked by brain to understand the root cause of that hate. Was it the contested election with Al Gore? Though incredibly close, by all accounts Bush won the contest fair and square(1) Even the left-leaning CNN and The New York times begrudgingly conceded the point.
Could it have been his demeanor? His folksy manner, his Texas bearing? His ‘swagger’? Bush answered good-naturedly, “Where I come from it’s called ‘walking’.”
Perhaps the ‘R’ associated with his name – could it be purely political? Or the ‘CC’ for Christian Conservative. Doubtful, as other Christians are not similarly reviled; Jimmy Carter for example. And Conservative? By my measurements Bush only ranks slightly left of center in domestic issues. With his spending sprees during his tenure, and the willingness to go along with Democrats of many issues, his pedigree as a Conservative is highly questionable, if not null and void.
Ah! The war! That has to be it. After 9/11, Bush lead us into Afghanistan and Iraq. The chants, “Bush lied, people died”…”No blood for oil”… “Where’s the WMD’s?” …ring still in my ears like some campus protest in a bad hippie flashback. But wait – President Obama has continued the war, even agreed to a troop surge in Afghanistan. And the Left still adores and fawns over him.
So what is it? Why is Bush so despised, ridiculed, and minimized?
George Bush is openly Pro-Life.