The survival instinct and the Bush plan to fracture the Democratic Party

Just about the last thing we question about ourselves is our instincts. Sometimes, it is true, our instincts have led us to make mistakes, but far more frequently they have led us to good decisions. Indeed, many of us can point to certain decisions critical to our successes in life that we made seemingly irrationally — on instinct alone. Instincts are powerful and they are to be ignored at our peril: there is a resaon that the term is “survival instinct” rather than “recommendation,” or “plan” — in critical moments, instincts rule.

In the course of our travels, we have met politicians, media people and regular folks who just know, deep down in their bones, at the level of instinct, that there is something wrong with George Bush. They feel this at a deep level, powerfully, compellingly, in a way that rational denial of the feeling is useless. Is it that Chimpy is stupid, evil, dishonest at his core, a dry drunk, duplicitous, trapped by irrational ideological blinders? — this and more. Many of the terms these folks use to describe Bush are not quite precise; the terms seem to circle the problem. We think what these people sense is precisely this: danger.

We see and identify danger every day. We cross the street to avoid that guy with a certain look coming down the sidewalk. We scan the park where our toddlers play to see if anyone is out of place. Have you boarded a plane lately, or taken the subway? People are watching other people, profiling. We respect our instincts regarding danger, and rightly so.

Charles Krauthammer famously defined the phenomenon we are discussing as “Bush Derangement Syndrome: the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush.” We will quote a long passage from Jonathon Chait’s famous and eloquent TNR piece on the matter:

I hate President George W. Bush. There, I said it. I think his policies rank him among the worst presidents in U.S. history. And, while I’m tempted to leave it at that, the truth is that I hate him for less substantive reasons, too. I hate the inequitable way he has come to his economic and political achievements and his utter lack of humility (disguised behind transparently false modesty) at having done so. His favorite answer to the question of nepotism–“I inherited half my father’s friends and all his enemies”–conveys the laughable implication that his birth bestowed more disadvantage than advantage. He reminds me of a certain type I knew in high school–the kid who was given a fancy sports car for his sixteenth birthday and believed that he had somehow earned it. I hate the way he walks–shoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo. I hate the way he talks–blustery self-assurance masked by a pseudo-populist twang. I even hate the things that everybody seems to like about him. I hate his lame nickname-bestowing– a way to establish one’s social superiority beneath a veneer of chumminess (does anybody give their boss a nickname without his consent?). And, while most people who meet Bush claim to like him, I suspect that, if I got to know him personally, I would hate him even more.

There seem to be quite a few of us Bush haters. I have friends who have a viscerally hostile reaction to the sound of his voice or describe his existence as a constant oppressive force in their daily psyche.

We have come to the conclusion that both Krauthammer and Chait are, at least in important part, wrong. With all due respect to Dr. Krauthammer, “derangement” does not pay enough respect to the honestly-held feelings of the “otherwise normal people” he describes. As for Chait, “hate” is really too mild a feeling what what he seems viscerally to be experiencing.

After all, it is possible to hate someone and admit their occasional truthfulness or correct policy choices. But time and again, we observe something most peculiar with the Chaits of this world. We have met very smart people — MBA’s, PhD’s, MD’s, professors, distinguished lawyers and the like — whose feelings are so intense that they constantly get the facts wrong: it is as though they are looking for a peg on which to hang the cloak of their intense feelings. So they get it wrong on Rathergate, SwiftBoatVets, 16 words, and other matters where the facts are simple and demonstrable. The Rathergate memos were cheap frauds, immediately identifiable as such to even the casual observer. The SwifBoatVets were correct, starting with Christmas in Cambodia and through episodes both serious and funny. The 16 words in the State of the Union address were and are correct; Bush certainly wasn’t lying. (Captain Ed has a funny post about an encounter with an MSM dupe — we don’t know her politics, but we can guess.) Here’s our point: these people just know, deep down in their bones, that Bush is a bad guy, so the scandals are true, even if they’re not. Heck, Dan Rather continues pathetically to insist that his story of September 8. 2004 was true.

These media and political people all know that something very dangerous is going on with George Bush — and that it is happening below the surface. Grasping at the SwiftBoatVets, Rathergate, and similar stories is an attempt to get a handle on something deeply malevolvent that they feel is going on. We will identify what is going on for them.

We believe that Bush opponents, whose instincts tell them that he is a very dangerous man, have instincts which are functioning correctly. Bush is a very dangerous man. His mission is no less than to destroy the Democratic Party as a plausible majority institution in America, to fracture it beyond easy repair, and to take 10-20% of Democrats and make them functionally Republicans. His plan has been to exploit the twin clefts in that Party — on military matters and social issues — that make a sizeable minority of the Party more Green than Democrat. It is not beyond our imagination that Bush cynically signed McCain-Feingold understanding that, as unconstitutional as that law should be, it moved the energy and fundraising away from Party control into the leftist 527’s, further abetting the splintering of the Party.

Moreover, the modern Democratic Party is, in many ways, the Party of Government: the spokes are various interest groups, and the hub is the federal government. Bush has notably, and again, perhaps cynically, sacrificed traditional Republican tenets of small government to demonstrate that the GOP can operate the government larder as extravagantly as the Democrats. Presumably this is to be repaired at some future date.

For all his aw-shucks mannerisms, Bush has proceeded methodically and ruthlessly down a path of attempting to destroy the Democratic Party as an institution representing a majority at any level of government. As we have written, so far he has succeeded. It seems entirely appropriate to us that this should trigger the responses inherent in the survival instinct for some Democrats who are paying attention. They know a dangerous enemy when they see one.

2 Responses to “The survival instinct and the Bush plan to fracture the Democratic Party”

  1. Norman Says:

    Bush does not need a plan to take the 10-20 percent of Democrats and make them
    Republicans. The Democratic Party is doing that all by itself. It makes me, a Democrat
    for over 30 years, physically ill to be in the same political party as a Sen. Ted Kennedy
    or a Sen. Dick Durban. No, Bush is not green enough for me, nor do I agree on many
    other issues….but Bush is wise enough to understand that the enemy must be fought
    now, before they get stronger, while the Democrats think the enemy is us.

  2. Banana Oil! Says:


    The Dinocrat has an interesting theory that Bush Derangement Syndrome is actually a sign of something more, that its vehemence suggests that Democrats and leftists, on some level, know that they’re cooked.
    Now that’s just not fair, usin…

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