October 02, 2003
Rebutting Chait I

By now, most blog readers have seen at least a reference to a Jonathan Chait piece in the New Republic entitled "Mad About You; The Case for Bush Hatred". As the title implies, Chait has a laundry list of reasons why he hates Bush, and attempts to contrast them with the similarly intense hatred of Clinton by conservatives in the 1990's. He insists that the anti-Bush hysteria is nowhere near as pervasive as the Clinton-hatred, which is certainly open to dispute, but he makes a number of factual errors which the left seem to rely upon, time after time, despite the fact that they are wrong. I've got a lot to say, so I am going to break this up into several posts, over a couple of days, so I don't lose my mind in the process. Here's the first rebuttal to start the ball rolling. (I'll quote whole paragraphs, so there will be some extraneous information. I don't want to be accused of taking things out of context.)

It's certainly true that there is a left-wing fringe of Bush haters whose lurid conspiracy-mongering neatly parallels that of the Clinton haters. York cites various left-wing websites that compare Bush to Hitler and accuse him of murder. The trouble with this parallel is, first, that this sort of Bush-hating is entirely confined to the political fringe. The most mainstream anti-Bush conspiracy theorist cited in York's piece is Alexander Cockburn, the ultra-left, rabidly anti-Clinton newsletter editor. Mainstream Democrats have avoided delving into Bush's economic ties with the bin Laden family or suggesting that Bush invaded Iraq primarily to benefit Halliburton. The Clinton haters, on the other hand, drew from the highest ranks of the Republican Party and the conservative intelligentsia. Bush's solicitor general, Theodore Olson, was involved with The American Spectator's "Arkansas Project," which used every conceivable method--including paying sources--to dig up dirt from Clinton's past. Mainstream conservative pundits, such as William Safire and Rush Limbaugh, asserted that Vince Foster had been murdered, and GOP Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton attempted to demonstrate this theory forensically by firing a shot into a dummy head in his backyard.

Mainstream Democrats have not brought up the bin Laden/Bush connection? Using the search phrase carlyle AND "bin laden", I performed a quick search on Google, and pulled up a couple articles from the Guardian, a major British paper. A quick check through the New York Times search engine (using the same parameters) pulls up four articles (three news articles a few months after the WTC attack, and one from Paul Krugman in January 2002). A search through the Washington Post found six in the past two years, including two in section A, a book review, two in Style (?), and one in business. The Los Angeles Times had four, two of which were from the notorious Robert Scheer. In other words, the Carlyle/bin Laden issue has received plenty of mainstream coverage. I'm not going to even try to search for the various possible permutations of the Halliburton/Iraq connection. Chait tries to be disingenuous by changing the allegations about Halliburton to "suggesting that Bush invaded Iraq primarily to benefit Halliburton". That is a fringe assertion, but there has been no shortage of lefties squawking about Halliburton and Bechtel contracts in Iraq.

Chait mentions Safire and Limbaugh's assertions that Foster was murdered; how about assertions from Gore Vidal and Cynthia McKinney that Bush (or his associates) were responsible for 9/11? A nice list of attacks on Bush from prominent figures is available at Spinsanity, which also has links to attacks on Cheney and Clinton (stuff from after his presidency, so it misses a lot of the nastier GOP attacks during his terms in office).

Chait also mentions Dan Burton. Burton may be elected, but he's still a loose cannon. The Democrats have analogs such as Dennis Kucinich, who introduced a bill to the House of Representatives that would ban orbital mind control satellites. Who is more unhinged?

posted on October 02, 2003 09:54 AM


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