Kristof thinks Patriotism is Hate Speech
by Duckman GR
Atrios brought up this essay from Nick Kristof of the NY Times, and I wrote a “note” to Nick about it. As always, the greatest difficulty lies in summing up the Bush mendacity. But I try, I try. Other than being too long, (I note that it is about 700 words in length, typical of a Paul Krugman essay! J ) whaddya think? The point is not to bash the media or Bush, fun as it may be, but to create a foundation for beating these sob’s Nov. 2nd, 2004. In a nod to the wurlitzer, we need to keep repeating our criticism's until they gain traction, and then we can start framing the building with our stud like solutions. Criticism follows.
Well Nick, that is quite the essay. However, it seems somewhat dismissive of many of the facts on the ground. I like to think that I am quite understanding of Bush and his Crony Capitalists. Their interests are power, blind, naked, raging power. Money is, of course, one of their power tools. And there’s nothing like having a complete peg board of all the power tools available, right?
“That's why President Bush was careful in 2000, unlike many in his party, to project amiability and optimism.” This line, frankly, floors me. You have somehow turned the utter hypocrisy of George Bush’s pre-election persona with his real persona into a political virtue, never minding that his revelatory process has resulted in the deaths of about 3500 Americans and tens of thousands of other outside nationals; the bankrupting of America’s economic future vis-à-vis the destruction of Social Security, Medicare, and huge budget deficits; and ultimately, a massive fouling of our nest, Earth, through his environmental mal-policies that will kill us all if they are not changed. He was careful in 2000, much like Satan would be when he approaches you with that contract, his tail carefully tucked away, the horns carefully hidden by the proper coiffure, the cloven hoofs carefully shod.
The republicans hate Bill Clinton because he beat them, thwarted their greedy ambitions, and rubbed their noses in it. Even though they essentially cost him two years of his presidency, they accomplished little to their liking because even when he pushed policies they favored, they were done with that damned liberal POV. And in their narrow and tightly focused minds, such a thing is unforgivable. That is the source of the Republicans vitriol.
On the other hand, to Liberals and Progressives, the vitriol is because of the lies, the hypocrisy, the threats and browbeating, the un-American traitor charges, the shameless retreat from the values embodied in the Constitution into the bosom of Greed, Gluttony, Pride, Lust, Envy, and Anger. Can you not see the difference?
Bush has lied about nearly everything he purportly stood for prior to the election. Small Government? Hah! Read this article about the 27% growth in spending over the last 2 years. WMD’s? None, despite Judith Miller’s best efforts. And a bottle of Botox doesn’t cut it. But George and Co. knew Saddam had them. Roadmap for Peace? I think that map looks somewhat like this one does.
Uniter, not a divider? Clearly, by your own words, Mr. Kristof, this is not true. Or you could look at the Coalition of the Willing vs. the Unwilling to draw that same conclusion. Look at the actual numbers in the anti war protest before the start of Gulf War II. Is this unity, or is it an extreme division based, not on “hate” (your word choice, remember) but on profound disagreement on this radical and un-Constitutional notion of “Pre-Emption.” Remember, in this country, under this Constitution, one is innocent until proven guilty. And thought control is anathema to free speech, free speech as in the FIRST Amendment.
Nick, here’s my favorite line from the President. He spoke it last January, in his State of the Union speech. “This country has many challenges. We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, other presidents, and other generations. We will confront them with focus, and clarity, and courage.” My bold. But breaking the Social Security system, which he surely is doing through his tax cuts, his deficits, his war, his reckless spending and disregarding his responsibilities to this Nation and its People, in favor of his Religious Views and his Wealthy Contributors, his single minded attempt to rollback the social safety net of FDR, does exactly that which he said he would not do. The fact that he said this thing while performing a constitutionally mandated act, suggests to me that his transgressions are truly unconstitutional and worthy of impeachment and conviction, and repudiation.
You may call it Hate, Nick. I call it Patriotism.