Now that we have seen the back end of George W. Bush, many wonder aloud what his frothing-at-the-mouth detractors on the left will do with all the bile they have accumulated over his time in office. Some conjecture that since they will no longer have W. to blame the vitriolic trashing will come to an end. Others predict that it might continue for some time to distract from Obama’s missteps and broken promises.
I have to say that I think that both schools of thought are wrong and that Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) will continue for a least a decade and probably more like two or three. You see, there is precedent for this sort of demonization of a shining leader of the right. And I am not referring to the occasions of Reagan bashing by the knowing left.
For that sort of irrational hate figure, one that inspires loathing on an almost biblical scale, you must look to the UK. The hate figure I am talking about is now known as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. But she will be forever known in the souls of the left as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Not since the mighty lack of social mobility:
At a time when many of their fathers were hit by unemployment, many of the generation that some have called Thatcher’s children — the lost generation — were sadly denied the chance to progress.
And despite being out of power for 20 years, Thatcher was saddled with the blame for the credit crunch the UK is suffering from:
I know the argument are more complex than that, but for me the problems in this country were born from Margaret Thatcher’s housing policy.
To be fair, there are those who are calling time on this sort of foolishness, and even claiming it represents the last refuge of the desperate lefty:
Brown, both as a powerful chancellor and now prime minister, as been central to a New Labour project that has ruled for 11 years. This is the same time Thatcher was in power, and surely the time to sort out the negative effects of her legacy was at the start of this period, not now.
Even a commentator in the Independent has finally had enough of the silliness of blaming her for the credit crunch:
But to blame Mrs. Thatcher, even indirectly, for share-dealers who over-reached themselves, for once-august institutions that lent irresponsibly, for the evolution of a derivatives market so complex that debt was opaque is wrong: all this is about as far from Thatcherism as it is possible to be.
The mythical Margaret Thatcher was capable of all sorts of ills and her evil is still being felt this day in every aspect of British life and its governance.
Needless to say, a Google search for “blame Thatcher” comes up with lots of results. Here are the results for a similar search using Bush’s name. You can tell from the titles of some of the listings precisely what she is being blamed for these days. The only thing she does not get blamed for is the war in Iraq. But they have Bush to blame for that one. Which leads me neatly to BDS in its current form.
Currently, the left is basking in the glory of the new Obama administration, with only a few quibbles to complain about so far. However, once he falls out of favor with the left wing of his party — and he most assuredly will — the administration will need a bugbear to blame all its problems on. Then we shall see the return of Bush Derangement Syndrome in full force.
I can see Democrats using President Bush for the next quarter of a century, just as they have used McCarthy to quell any criticism levied at any behavior. They are clearly capable of it, seeing as they managed to blame the home loan crisis on Bush despite the fact that policies created under a Democratic president can clearly be blamed for it all.
So be warned: Obama’s ascension to the presidency will not see the end of BDS but merely the end of Phase I.
The mythical beast to fear and loath will be enhanced by the spin doctors and sloganeers. In the pantheon of devils of the left, Bush’s star is on the rise.