The 40 percenters
Yeah, yeah, Bush’s numbers are down. But in order for Democrats to get his approval rating to be where it should be, post-Clarke, post-Abu Ghraib-- that is, somewhere between 5 and 15 percent (somewhat higher in the South)-- we need to understand just why his remaining supporters are still hanging on.
So, as a public service to all the smart, well-informed, snarky progressives and liberals and lefties reading this blog on a regular basis, I’ve devised a handy pop quiz that we can distribute to Bush supporters, in order to discover (in the best traditions of Gramscian cultural studies) the continuing appeal of the Bush presidency.
What is it you like most about the Bush administration and its policies?
___ I like the lying! It turned me on when the President spiked that EPA report on the toxic air quality around Ground Zero, thereby consigning thousands of firefighters, police, Guardsmen, rescue workers, and ordinary citizens to debilitating lifelong respiratory illness! If people are so worried about a few tiny particles floating around, let them buy those little fiber masks, for goodness’ sake! Every Ace Hardware sells ‘em.
___ I like the incompetence! It’s so cool the way the President and his advisors blew off legitimate CIA and DIA intelligence on Iraq, and decided instead to take the word of an Iraqi double agent who’s working together with Iranian Islamists. The post-"Mission Accomplished” occupation of Iraq has been every bit as cool!
___ I like the torture! I came for the tax cuts, but I’m staying for the torture and humiliation of random Arabs from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib! It’s such a pleasant surprise, and so damn long overdue! That’ll show whoever-they-all-are that you don’t mess with the U.S.!
___ I like the cuts to veterans’ benefits! Why should a bunch of veterans get all those free medical goodies? I support the troops, sure, but only by flying a flag from my car. Don’t come around here asking me to pay more taxes just because some soldier comes home with the sniffles.
___ I like the attacks on overtime pay! I’m sick and tired of people freeloading off the rest of us by working ten or twelve hours a day. And I’m sick and tired of the way Democrats pander to their special interests. It’s about time we had a President tough enough to draw the line when it comes to outrageous labor demands.
___ I like the $500 billion deficit! Clinton made me sick with all his feelgood liberal talk about “balancing” the so-called “budget.” Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter!
___ I like the new Medicare plan! Though I wish someone would explain it to me. What’s this about donuts being covered after two thousand dollars?
___ I like the cowboy hat! I also like the whole Crawford ranch brush-clearing thing. I think it’s shameful that Bill Clinton left him all that brush to clear.
___ Could you repeat the question? I wasn’t really paying attention.
Please clip and send to a Bush voter near you. Thanks.
I like the ad hominem attack dogs! After all, why should anyone be allowed to criticize a leader who has so clearly taken his country so far down from its position of world leadership, without being taken down a peg or ten themselves? Especially if they happen to have experience in exactly the sort of things the Administration successfully evaded—so how can they possibly understand?Posted by Bruce Adelsohn on 05/26 at 11:13 AM
Great! A test for which there is no simple and clear answer. Perfect for John Kerry!Posted by on 05/26 at 11:52 AM
Why, oh why couldn’t you have posted this last Friday? I spent Sunday with my Republican family members, and they had handy anti-Democratic handouts for me. Next time, I’ll be prepared. Thanks.Posted by on 05/26 at 12:00 PM
I like the doublespeak! I like all the bills for ‘education’ (which have not educated anyone) and ‘environmental protection’ (which have been a sop to polluters and the forestry industry). I also like the idea of achieving peaceful, freedom-loving democracy through preemptive invasion.
Other, less pronounceable bumper stickers:
I like the disregard for international treaties and the abysmal relations with our European allies!
I like the ongoing denial of incipient environmental catastrophes like global warming!
I like the arcane reasoning behind the ban on stem-cell research!
Posted by Amardeep on 05/26 at 12:42 PM
Posted by Robert S. on 05/26 at 01:33 PM
It’s really much easier than that. Bush’s support is personal. People like Bush because of who he is, and who he is not.
Who he is not, is me. He is not an elitist intellectual liberal cynic. I am the straw that stirs the drink.
If military brass or CIA men join the anti-Bush forces, I trump the poor bastards. Take that, Richard Clarke! Take that, Joe Wilson! Take that, Wesley Clark!
It wouldn’t help at all if I ditched Kerry, though. He doesn’t like you either.Posted by zizka on 05/26 at 04:33 PM
I like the Empire!—It’s about time the ruling elite started reading Hardt and Negri! Way to destroy the old networks of international governance!Posted by Zach on 05/26 at 06:57 PM
Oh dear! My neighbor, the window cleaner, came over the other day to shmooze and do my windows (his life is straight out of a soap opera, always something new). Idiot that I am, I asked him (for starters) about the abuse photographs. Our conversation (and I very much hope, NOT our friendship) went downhill as dramatically as Bush’s approval numbers.
Michael—his answers to your questionnaire would have been pretty much the same as yours. A lot of people (window cleaner included) simply spout every neo/con/logism they’ve heard on the radio and Fox News about Bush. “A few bad apples.” “Fraternity pranks, and anyway, they’re guilty or they wouldn’t be in prison.” “The first honest president in a decade.” “Not afraid to do what’s right.” “A Real Man.” “Saving this country from terrorism.” “Does what has to be done.” And on and on. No point asking , “What did Iraq do to us?” because, bottom line, Arabs and Muslims are terrorists. And anyway, what’s the point of worrying about national boundaries or human rights when “we’re dealing with people who don’t behave like real humans.”Posted by on 05/27 at 12:36 PM
I had almost this exact same conversation just yesterday with the Bushie who sits next to me at work.
He was saying something to the effect that if there was another terrorist attack, the US needs “to really show them Arab b@stards a show of force that will reinforce to them that you don’t F*ck with us!”
To which I replied, “Yeah! Let’s go invade another sovereign country on false pretenses with made up evidence from an untrustworthy third party, bomb their infrastructure back into the stone age. Of course, we’ll have to do this in defiance of the international community and against all international law, but WHO CARES! We’re the big kid playground and we have the right to push everyone else around.” I paused. “Oh wait. We already did that? How do we follow that act up? Sodomize prisoners of war with broomsticks?”
I especially loved the arguement he made when I stated that the prison torture made us no better than Saddam.
His response? “Saddam did a lot worse things than we did! All it was was a few naked pictures! We’re still the morally superior good guys!”
Irony just isn’t well understood by Bushies, I fear.Posted by on 05/28 at 02:23 AM
Posted by on 06/01 at 09:59 AM
There should be a similar quiz with regards to Rush Limbaugh, which should then be passed on to Air America’s “resident dittohead.”
This rocks.Posted by Jennifer on 06/01 at 02:25 PM
____I like the black & white, my-way-or-the-highway thinking that suddenly slide into grayed nuance on subjects like Halliburton contracts and Abu G.
___I like the deep sense of entitlement.Posted by Kathryn Cramer on 06/05 at 07:55 AM
___I like the mercury in the fish; it muddies my thinking just enough that I can’t remeber the other things I like.
___I like the permission to HATE again, how we can now call people subhumans like in the old days and feel socially acceptable when to do it.Posted by Kathryn Cramer on 06/05 at 08:05 AM
All good, Kathryn, but the “mercury in the fish” option is beyond good. I have tears in my eyes, either from laughing for minutes or from the mercury, I can’t tell--Posted by on 06/06 at 11:22 AM
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