The Current Crisis

The Wages of Hatred

Diabolizing a perfectly agreeable gentleman didn't work for the party of a perfectly dreadful candidate.

By 11.3.04

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WASHINGTON -- For the most perceptive insight into George W. Bush and the Republicans' robust victory over Senator Jean-François Kerry and the Democrats, look to Tom Wolfe. As usual America's finest living writer sees America with limpid clarity. In a pre-election interview with the British newspaper The Guardian Wolfe observes that the eastern media elite "do not have a clue about the rest of the United States. You are considered twisted and retarded if you support Bush in this election." Well, a record 59 million voters did support Bush. "I have never come across a candidate who is so reviled," Wolfe continues, "Reagan was sniggered at, but this is personal, real hatred."

As always in matters where intellect should preside, the liberals became emotionally involved, losing what little political sense they still had. They diabolized a perfectly agreeable gentleman, whose major fault is that he disagrees with them. At the same time they overlooked the glum fact that their latest political messiah is a perfectly dreadful candidate, whom they plucked from a field of perfectly dreadful candidates. If the Republicans ran such a ludicrous fantasist as the snooty football-throwing, bicycling Renaissance man, Senator Kerry, everyone in the world would be made aware of his shortcomings. As it was, the Democrats and their secretarial staff at CBS, the New York Times and elsewhere in the media ignored Kerry's every botch and every flight into bizarre pretentiousness. Thus they still cannot understand how the President won.

Kerry's basic shortcoming was that, being a fantasist, he was forever taking implausible positions and saying things that were demonstrably untrue. That gave the American electorate an uneasy feeling about this boastful aspirant to the White House. His liberal supporters saw nothing amiss with his b.s.-ing. Apparently they did not think it mattered whether "foreign leaders," as Kerry bragged, "look at you and say 'You gotta beat this guy.'" Nor did it matter to liberals when in debate Kerry b.s.-ed that "I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable."

Aloft in his egotistic fantasy Kerry did not believe in anything real, not the war in Iraq nor even the contrariness and corruption of the United Nations. This explains why Kerry made more fantastical statements about his opponent, his own policies, and his own résumé than any presidential candidate I can recall, including Bill Clinton. At some point I think the American people caught on. They recognized this man as a fraud.

The President on the other hand is obviously genuine. He is committed to waging war against our enemies. He has given the United Nations a chance to cooperate, but he is not going to tie us to its endless dithering. When the Massachusetts Braggart rumbled that President Bush "deceived us" on going to war with Iraq, the charge did not stick. The electorate realized that the evidence did not support the charge. The world is better off with Saddam in a cell. Our enemies in the Middle East and elsewhere now know that to strike a blow against America is to hazard destruction.

For me most of Senator Jean-François Kerry's extravagances were amusing, but there was one that was shameful and unforgivable. He took a war that had national support and politicized it. He made it difficult for Democrats to support the war. Worse still, in rendering the war controversial he gave aid and comfort to our enemies. This is not the first time he gave aid and comfort to our enemies. The Swift Boat Veterans made it clear Kerry did the same thing thirty-five years ago. That Kerry tried to focus our attention on his performance all those years ago is but more evidence that he lives in a fantasy, and, by the way, has manifestly bad judgment.

Now that he has been defeated the liberals are going to try to figure it all out. Some will say that obviously they have to reach out to other geographical regions in the country. Maybe they will even catch on that what the rest of the country considers moral issues are genuine. But there is another matter they might investigate. Why is it that so few of their presidential candidates are normal? Why are so many fantasists with egregious lapses in their résumés? In 1992 they nominated a draft dodger. In 2004 their so-called war hero was actually a war resister. In the last days of the campaign researchers dredged up the evidence that this war hero did not even get an honorable discharge from the service. Democrats had better look harder for heroes.

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About the Author
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: the Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn't Work: Social Democracy's Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery.