I, along with many others, have observed a disturbing trend over the past 8 years in the partisan nature of politics: Bush Derangement Syndrome. It started with Democrats who were quite upset at George W. Bush winning1 the 2000 election. Their anger at losing a very close battle not only made it difficult for Bush to govern, but it made conservatives and Republicans rally to the President’s defense.
There are many things that George W. Bush has done wrong: Medicare Part D, the Agriculture and Energy bills, the response to Katrina, postwar planning in Iraq, and never vetoing a bill while the GOP held the majority. Due to the left’s constant frivolous attacks, conservatives felt they had to stand by their man. So Bush got a pass from the donors and activists who helped get him elected. Republicans weren’t going criticize their President, while the left was calling him “dumb” or a “retard”.
We don’t see the same level of insipidness in Georgia Politics1.1. There are no massive sufferers of Sonny Derangement Syndrome. As a result, you see much harsher internal criticism of the Georgia Republican leadership from among those on the right.
I’m worried that BDS is morphing into PDS or Palin Derangement Syndrome. As soon as Senator McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running-mate the derangement began. The worst example was the DailyKos posting accusing Bristol of being Trig’s mother. But other examples abound: that she tried to have books like Harry Potter banned at the Wasila library2, she was a member of a secessionist party3, she’s a snake handling creationist, etc.
These accusations, tossed out either by the Obama campaign, surrogates, or less than well meaning supporters4, have caused Republicans to circle the wagons and defend Palin against any and all attack. But there are legitimate questions that should be looked at. Was the departure of the public safety commissioner the legitimate prerogative of the Governor or a strong-armed attempt to have someone fired? Sonny can fire department heads till the cows come home. Bush can fire cabinet secretaries all day. Its not abnormal for political appointees to change when a new boss is elected. This could be trouble, it could be nothing.
But its not going to be addressed while people are throwing around baseless and meaningless accusations involving her being an anti-Semite, or that her kid is pregnant because she supports abstinence only education5.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that many Republicans6 suffer from various derangement syndromes. Sean Hannity used to start all his radio shows by calling it “The Stop Hillary Express”7. I think I’d much rather have seen McCain/Palin face Hillary than Obama. Anyone who puts the emphasis on Barak Obama’s middle name has issues.
As we saw this week in 2001, the issues that are part of a campaign aren’t necessarily the issues a President will face once in office. Issues are important, but so is character, and so is experience. Not just political experience8, but life experience. We should be looking at serious issues of character and policy. Not if the plane was sold on E-Bay or via a private broker9.
1 Sorry BDS sufferers, Bush did win in 2000. The final recount of the entire state of Georgia has Bush winning those 25 electoral votes.
1.1 So shuddup.
2 Harry Potter had not yet been published in 1996 when Palin was allegedly trying to ban books. The Wasillia Library has said that they have no record of any books being banned.
3 The only evidence I’ve heard to back this up was the verbal claim, later recounted, of the former chairwoman of the AIP.
4 I fully believe that no one in the Obama campaign was behind the DailyKos accusations against Bristol.
5 “In a widely quoted 2006 survey she answered during her gubernatorial campaign, Palin said she supported abstinence-until-marriage programs. But weeks later, she proclaimed herself “pro-contraception” and said condoms ought to be discussed in schools alongside abstinence. “I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues,” she said during a debate in Juneau.”
6 Libertarians, Greens and minor-party supporters are just deranged.
7 That usually as far as I can get into that windbag’s show before switching to the FM Band.
8 Having seen how Congress works, I’d say political experience counts negatively.
9 McCain’s (or his speechwriter’s) scew-up. Palin said she “put it on E-Bay”, which she did, not that she sold it on E-Bay.