Humanist Myopia: Blaming Bush
In an opening scene of David Lynch's 1986 perverse but relevant film Blue Velvet, a man is watering his front lawn on what appears to be a halcyon suburban day in the American town of Lumberton. It's a carefree scene that follows a montage of similarly placid images. A white picket fence guards a bed of red roses framed by blue sky. A crossing guard raising a stop sign waives schoolchildren safely through a neighborhood intersection. A fireman smiles and waves from the sideboard of his old fashioned fire truck. These scenes imagine an America lost, a tranquilized America where picket fences, crossing guards and firemen guarantee all the protection one requires to meet life's perils.
But the ersatz tranquility conceals a hidden horror. The garden hose catches in a bramble just as the man is seized with a stroke. Falling to the ground, the camera joins him, then burrows into the grass endoscopically probing the lawn's dark jungle. It settles on a nest of ravenous insects, their ghastly clamor amplified for effect. Later in the film, the peaceful town is shown to be harboring a treacherous criminal element.
The message? We aren't always aware of the evil that surrounds us. But for the liberal left in America, for useful idiots like Mike Wallace and Connecticut Democrat Ned Lamont, and for mainstream media, the snarling thicket of Islamofascism in our midst is too far below the surface to worry much about. The reason America faces danger is all Bush's fault, because, unlike Bill Clinton, Bush wouldn't ignore it.
The left has been extraordinarily successful at pinning blame on President George W. Bush for engineering the current state of global chaos, and, in a way, they have a point. Like a cosmic exterminator, Bush has lifted the floorboards concealing the plague under America's house. He alone is responsible for reversing the world's anesthetic complacency and focusing its attention on the subterranean threat. And for that, the liberal left says 'Blame Bush.' But that's all they seem to say.
As tempting as it might be to single Bush out for inventing war, shredding the Bill of Rights, forging a conspiratorial alliance with big business and people of faith, and consolidating power in the hands of a rogue cabal of nefarious intimates (Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfeld), the Blame Bush crowd can never seem to get enough of blaming Bush. He is responsible for big oil so he seeks out conflict and when he finds it, he can't wait to invade your privacy. This unforgiving desire to demonize one man inspires sometimes—more often than not—hilariously nutty attacks.
On the website secularhumanist.com, for example, a video, derived from a 2003 article appearing in the secular humanist Free Inquiry Magazine, claims that Bush is a fascist by objective definitional standards. The premise for this far—fetched indictment in which Bush is unsubtly compared with Hitler and selectively matched Third Reich footage with a still shot of him in a Nazi salute (he was merely raising his arm when the photo was taken), is based on a 14—point theory that charges him with:
Stoking a 'powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism' by, among other things, endorsing prominent displays of flags and flag lapel pins and showing pride in our military; Showing 'disdain for the importance of human rights' by somehow nurturing the conditions necessary for abuses at Abu Ghraib, Camp Gitmo and elsewhere; 'Scapegoating as a means to divert the people's attention from other problems' by labeling opponents of his 'regime' terrorists; Using the military to 'assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite'; Promoting 'rampant sexism' through anti—abortion and homophobic policies; Controlling the mass media (I'm not kidding!); Obsessing over national security (Again, you can't make this stuff up!); Aligning with the predominant religion of the nation (Just keeps getting weirder!); Promoting big business, especially the oil industry; Marginalizing labor unions; Disdaining intellectuals and the arts; Obsessing over crime and punishment; Fostering 'rampant cronyism and corruption'; and Holding fraudulent elections (Here, a shot of Kathryn Harris appears, implying that she rigged the election and stole it for Bush).
Less a definition of fascism, this argument, shorn of any critical reasoning, is a liberal hate manifesto. Liberals hate the idea of a military because it presumes conflict may occur, and, contrary to everything history has shown, they believe America can isolate itself from international threats. They deride accountability for crimes because it encroaches on their personal freedom to behave irresponsibly in ways that might offend or injure others. They scorn religious faith for the same reason. Military bad, intellectuals good seems to sum it up.
Missing from this indictment and the protean examples littering the liberal blogosphere is any mention of the threat of actual fascism in the form of Islamofascism, the tragedy of 9/11, the cut—and—run failures of Mogadishu, the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut by Hezbollah, etc., the alliance of America—hating megalomaniacs leading Iran, North Korea and Venezuela into nuclear ascendancy, the anti—Semitic and anti—democratic forces aligned against western civilization, Wahhabism, the arms underground, al—Qaeda, the history of war, the politics of war or any other relevant idea.
Liberals never understood, much less are apt to remember or appreciate, how in 1998, President Bill Clinton launched a cruise missile attack against a chemical plant in Khartoum, Sudan to distract attention from Monica Lewinsky's grand jury testimony relating to Clinton's perjury. As part of the same operation, the U.S. killed civilians targeting terrorist training camps in Afghanistan with cruise missiles. Instead, the left was busy defending Clinton for compromising his office and the nation's Oval Office, a compromise they simplistically dismiss as benign. 'Blame Clinton' was an absent motif in the Nineties because, as the world since has discovered, he were merely watering the lawn. The threat of a future holocaust in our time now seems imaginable due to his absent leadership.
Liberals were MIA then as they are today when the anti—Semitic UN refuses to enforce resolutions against Iraq and Lebanon, forcing the U.S. and Israel into war. The bumper sticker mindset of liberal orthodoxy is manacled by a narrow vision of history, geopolitical naivet鬠intellectual dishonesty and an indifference to America's responsibility around the world. They swoon over 'rights' and 'freedom' but don't believe these ideals need to be earned or protected.
For Bush, this means that every Dan Rather or Pinch Sulzberger with an agenda will blame him for the sky falling. And the reason for this is obvious. It is easier to target an individual than it is to target an idea or a policy, which liberals fail miserably at. When they attempt it, trite commentary on fascism is the asinine result. One can only imagine what kind of world we might have if those who blame Bush for the state of the planet fixed the blame where it belongs.
Around the corner in my neighborhood is a sign on someone's front lawn promoting impeachbush.org., a movement currently without traction that could grab the turf in the 2006 elections. But liberals are no match for the bogeyman they've invented. President Ronald Reagan was described as the 'Teflon' president because the slings and arrows never seemed to wound him. Bush is an equal to Reagan, not in terms of popularity, but in respect to the power of prayer and faith in God to deflect the endless attacks against him. This, of course, infuriates liberals, who yearn for the satisfaction of hearing Bush respond to just one of them.
But he doesn't, because he is leading, and history, not shortsightedness, will judge that leadership. Bush, unlike, say Cynthia McKinney, has known this truism all along. So as the Blame Bush movement slogs forward, it will have no one to blame but itself when its power diminishes in November or when the next big terror attack succeeds.
William J. Becker, Jr., is an attorney in Los Angeles, and a past contributor to The American Thinker.