Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pejman Yousefzadeh on Andrew Sullivan: Weak. Very, Very Weak

Well, there's this.

I'm kinda phasing blogging out of my life, as you may have noticed. So I'm not going to refute this silliness in detail. But I will do a drive-by...

It's hard to figure out exactly what the proposition at issue is here. But Yousefzadeh seems to be defending the claim that there's no significant difference between liberal's views about Bush and conservatives' views about Obama.

This, of course, is absurd.

Sullivan's been a little sloppy, too. But any even semi-sensible and objective person who's been paying attention for the last fifteen years or so knows that there's no real similarity between the attitudes of the right and the left to their political opponents. Conservative hatred of both Clinton and Obama was immediate, intense, and largely insane. Liberal opposition to--and, to some extent--hatred of Bush '43 was largely warranted and, if anything, rather tame.

There's no real need to go through the facts, well-known to anyone reading this. Clinton was accused of everything from drug-running to murder. He was subject to non-stop investigation, most of which was entirely bogus, until he was finally tricked into semi-lying under oath. He was impeached--sort of for engaging in a consensual sexual act...but, in fact, for no reason at all. Or rather, for the handiest reason the GOP could find.

Bush came as close to stealing a presidential election as you can come without obviously stealing it, his administration ignored warnings about al Qaeda and yet paid no political price for 9/11 (something that a Democrat would have probably faced at least impeachment for), and he blatantly lied us into the Iraq war, possibly the worst foreign policy disaster in American history. Oh, and his administration turned us into a nation that tortures its prisoners. And it ruined the economy.

Yes, the feckless and lame Democrats were complicitous in most of this...but that's the standard pattern: the GOP leads us enthusiastically toward damnation, shrieking that anyone who opposes a full-tilt charge thereto is unpatriotic...and the Dems meekly go along. Without the leadership-to-damnation of the GOP, the douchebag Dems would be fairly harmless...

At any rate--if anything, the Bush administration deserved more hatred than it received. Neither Clinton nor Obama have deserved even half of the animosity they've been the targets of.

Before Obama even took office, he was being blamed for the failures of the Bush administration. It is so common as to be almost unremarkable for conservatives to question Obama's qualifications for office, his religion, his motives and his citizenship. In fact, accusing him of being a radical Muslim Fascist/socialist/commie is not enough for the contemporary right. The charge that he is the Antichrist is actually fairly common.

In short, American liberals were justifiably angry about George W. Bush and his presidency. The anger and the lunatic charges that American conservatives focused on both Clinton and Obama, however, have been beyond the pale.

There is, in short, no sensible comparison between the two.

Mr. Yousefzadeh
, however, uses a strategy common to contemporary defenders of the right: he notes that one can, by diligently Googling, find something on the left that roughly matches whatever one can say about the right. And then an equivalence is drawn between a smattering of irrationality on the left and a tide of it on the right. Did some liberal somewhere muse about succession? Well, that, you see, is the equivalent of a groundswell of successionist fantasizing on the right. And justified anger at Bush? Why, that's the same thing as unjustified anger at Obama. It's equal, see?

I imagine that lots of people are in basically the same boat I am: they no longer take the right at all seriously, largely because of this kind of sophistry. If folks on the right begin seriously discussing the problem of the unhinging of the American right, I'll be happy to think about taking them seriously again. But if all we're going to get is this kind of sophistical spin from folks like
Yousefzadeh, I've got to tell you, I'm just going to keep tuning them out.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home