'kay, I still need to blog, but I find it harder to stay away from kibitzing on everyone else's turf.
Ruth Ann Dailey talked on Monday (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06212/709888-152.stm) about the limitations of public discourse. She spun it from a positive angle, she gets Bush where the liberals don’t because … um, well, she likes him, and finds positive motivations for his actions. She dwelled a bit on asinine criticisms of Bush, like doctor’s charting his decline (?) in the last 12 years. She was reminding us that many liberals will sink to any depth to attack Bush. And she’s right.
Welcome to the world of cognitive dissonance, ascribing evil motives to any behavior of your enemy, no matter how hard you have to bend reality. The thing is, none of us is immune, even Ms. Dailey.
In the same piece she let us know that she can’t let Bill Clinton go either. She compares Clinton and Bush at the 2000 inaugural,
“For me, a more resonant moment occurred at George W. Bush's first inauguration. On one side of the platform he stood with his parents, both men almost managing to hide how overwhelmed they felt and looking down when they could not. On the other side of the platform stood Bill Clinton, rhythmically working his jaw muscle to communicate pomp and circumstance, his chin jutting, his eyes glittering with self-awareness.
A man struggling to conceal his emotions because they should be private? That I understand. It's the gentleman's code I grew up with. An adult manufacturing emotion for public consumption and wallowing in it like a teenager? That I deplore, in both men and women, Republicans and Democrats; it's a sure sign that sooner or later, I'm gonna get hornswoggled.”
She finds charm in the Bush’s apparently shy behavior and duplicity in Clinton’s “Self-awareness” and apparent emotion. Maybe Clinton was thinking about leaving, maybe after eight years he was used to the public gaze and able to emote in public. Why does she think Clinton was manufacturing emotion? Why does she care? He was on his way out, how could he hornswoggle anyone else, and to what effect? Criticism is always unfair when directed at your guy, but the enemy is apparently always fair game.
Bush 1 and Clinton famously had grown closer as they worked on Tsunami relief. Bush 1 was touched that Clinton gave him the bed on Air Force One, a younger guy deferring to an older one. Bush 1 also noted that Clinton might have wanted to play poker with the reporters on the plane, but Bush 1 chose to embrace the positive idea. Ruth Ann surely could learn from Bush 1.
She attacks middle class baby boomers (a code phrase for liberals) as hypocrites, by damning them with faint praise:
“We like to see some quality we can relate to in the men and women we elect. For a generation of middle-class baby-boomers who made it to the Ivy League and the top of their fields, Mr. Clinton is the manifestation of their own merit, and Mr. Bush is the embodiment of the undeserved advantages of birthright.”
My understanding of Clinton’s early life is of a decidedly poor background, not particularly middle class. Getting to Georgetown, getting a Rhodes Scholarship and a Yale Law degree from where Clinton started are way past most boomers "own merit", even Ivy-Leagers. I can't (even) comprehend how hard Clinton had to work, how much to overcome, even with evdient intellectual ability. Part of Clinton’s later success was surely that he had a past in so many groups, he could talk to policy wonks, the rich and still be credible that he had felt the pain of being poor in his childhood. Of course, eyes wide open, a lot of people even now would not leave their daughters alone with Clinton, and you have to think of the incredible ego that fed his affair(s).
I don’t want to take anything away from Bush 2 in this. I didn’t apply to Yale, probably wouldn’t have gotten in. Bush 2 was a legacy, maybe that helped him get in. His grades were unremarkable, but he passed and got out. His GPA was pretty damn similar to John Kerry’s, and frankly my GPA at Oberlin was similar to both theirs. Bush 2’s relationship to Kerry reminds me of what JFK said about Adlai Stevenson (I read it in Beschloss). If anything, Ruth Ann is shorting Bush, focusing on his fluent “religious language”. Both Clinton and Bush 2 have attained the ultimate, and separately have shown depth of character and discipline (Bush ran a 3:45 marathon, Clinton was something like five hours, and we are pretty sure Bush has never had an affair). It is fair enough not to forgive someone for breaking your trust, as some feel about Clinton, but Ruth Ann never did trust or like Clinton.
And Ruth Ann, you lose credibility in your calls for understanding:
“The pitfall behind "getting" someone is identifying so closely that you can't see the flaws or problems that need to be addressed. And conversely, the problem with proudly not getting someone, with defining yourself reflexively as "not that guy" -- a peculiarly adolescent posture -- is that you will condemn and reject without attempting objective thought.
The failure to examine not-always-praiseworthy motivations that lie behind our connection with them, does more to keep our public discourse intemperate and childish than Mr. Bush's barnyard sound-bite ever could.”
How can we respect this notion when you took totally unnecessary shots at Clinton? We all make mistakes, repubs and dems, and we all will, and some times we and other people look at harmless behaviour and still ascribe evil intentions. You have to ask yourself why you think someone is trying to hornswagle you.
A different tack: There was a brief mention on another blog about Santorum's use of immigration as a wedge issue. I gotta say it has the only traction for him, though it means parting company with his beloved resident, er president (too much Ted Rall in my youth). Illegal’s in Pennsylvania, specifically Mexicans (because we don’t want the Chinese restaurants to close), hmm. You are always afraid of the thing you can’t see.
I noticed the NYT article about the ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) division in Ohio and, um, Kentucky or Indiana (?) cracking down on companies that hired illegal’s. They gave the administration credit though this might just be a rogue regional director. I hate to say it, but it seems to me that the war on terror part calls for a different strategy. ICE should be profiling, talking to individuals from the Middle East, giving terrorists fewer places to hide in the US. Of course, I have always wondered why we worry about corporate security (as opposed to national security) and then put poorly paid contract cleaners that might well be illegal in our offices overnight. If I ever pursue a career in industrial spying, I will start a cleaning crew business and underbid my rivals for the Sun or Microsoft contracts.