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February 22, 2004

Now, If He Were From Arkansas...

It's probably no secret to most of my readers that I will be very happy if the voters send George Bush back to his Crawford, Texas, ranch this November. I don't remember ever feeling such strong opposition to a presidential candidate (I was too young to really understand Ronald Reagan, but still find him less undesirable), and it appears that a number of people share my feelings of distaste for the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but perhaps I'm on the outside when it comes to why people dislike president Bush. According to an AP article, it's pretty simple:

John McAdams, a political scientist at Marquette University, said resentment of Bush is particularly strong among liberals who already hold three things against him: "First, he's a conservative. Second, he's a Christian. And third, he's a Texan. When you add all of those things up, that invokes pretty much every symbol of the cultural wars.''

"It's particularly galling when somebody who mangles his syntax and doesn't pronounce words extremely well and is from Texas beats you,'' McAdams added.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd say that most people who oppose Bush's re-election don't care that he's a Christian (except where he has allowed it to interfere with the blurring of church and state), and most of us really don't care that the man is from Texas (after all, I really like Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, and Ann Richards). And quite honestly, his verbal gaffes really don't bother me that much, even though I always appreciated Clinton's eloquence. Maybe I'm outside of the mainstream on this one, but I always thought it was his policies that mattered, not his home state, his personality, or his religious practices. Really quickly, I object to this reductive analysis because it deeply misrepresents the opposition to Bush's presidency, implying that it's only a bunch of New York or Massachusetts liberals who oppose Bush (which is obviously far from true).

More later on Ralph Nader's decision to "run for president" as an independent.

Posted by chuck at February 22, 2004 7:46 PM

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Fair enough, although his smirking self-satisfaction (mimicking the woman on death row, for instance) and his incuriousity strike me as personality traits serving as conduits or preconditions for the policy blunders of his administration. (I agree that the three alighted on by McAdams are of course preposterous.)

Posted by: JBJ at February 23, 2004 11:27 AM

Oh, I'd certainly agree there, but to draw up such false boundaries in the so-called "culture wars" seems misleading at best and polarizing at worst. Perhaps it's some residual defensiveness about being a liberal from the south, with Christian parents who are liberals that makes me defensive here.

I've always found his practice of calling folks by his chosen nicknames, for instance, to be condescending and representative of his lack of sympathy for others. And mimicking a death row inmate, whose death warrant you've signed, is a problem.

Posted by: chuck at February 23, 2004 11:42 AM

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