Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Were Democrats This Disrespectful Toward Bush?

There are conflicting reports about what went down at yesterday’s meeting.  Eric Cantor, the chief of the Republican Congressional Ideological Purity Police Force (RCIPPF), exited the meeting and immediately hurried to “divulge” to the American people how his president had scolded him and stormed out.  Ostensibly, Cantor has some credibility with regards to “storming out” maneuvers as he has demonstrated a real knack for it himself in previous weeks.  But according to him, President Obama lost it, became petulant and disrespectful in a manner unfitting to his office.  Democratic participants in this closed-door meeting contradicted Cantor’s account.  Nancy Pelosi extolled Resident Obama’s graciousness.  The counter-narrative emphasizes that this meeting was called by the President, lasted two and a half hours, and when the Republicans continued to refuse any sort of accommodation and compromise, when they refused to operate according to the necessary standards and processes of creating policy in a republic, Obama closed the meeting.  These negotiations are indeed crucial, but they do not represent the sum total of his responsibilities in presiding over this republic.  Given that the Republican controlled House of Representatives, under Speaker Boehner’s leadership, seems to consider passage of meaningful legislation on almost any issue a low priority, or at least an unattainable one, (Rachel Maddow continues to demonstrate this in great detail of late), they apparently saw themselves as having no other obligations.  As Obama was closing the meeting with remarks that were his prerogative, both because he called the meeting and because…well…because he is the duly elected PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED FREAKING STATES OF AMERICA, Eric Cantor, duly elected to represent a single district in the Commonwealth of Virginia, interrupted our president to ask for the umpteenth time why Obama will not consider a minimal deal that merely extends the crisis that Cantor has created to attempt to manufacture political advantage.  Obama cut him off, dressed him down (according to Pelosi with uncommon graciousness) and left the room.  Cantor then hurried to complain to the press.

I have been astounded over the past three years at just how disrespectful serving republican politicians have been toward President Obama.  They repeatedly deride him, to the press and on the floors of our legislative bodies, as “shameless.”  Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann accused the President of threatening the American people regarding Social Security and Medicare payments and the “full faith and credit” of the USA in order to continue his “spending spree,” as if he’s a QVC addict splurging on decorative plates displaying poker playing bloodhounds for the oval office.  Bachmann, of course, ignores how her own party has linked budget negotiations to the debt ceiling for the first time in history.

Now, what I would like to know, in all honesty, is whether my fellow Moose believe that Republican leaders are harsher and more disrespectful to this President than Democratic leaders were to George W. Bush.  The GOP consistently presents itself as the party that seeks to preserve and conserve decency, patriotism, respect for American history, values, institutions and offices.  We know that this rhetoric often proves to be divorced from reality.  I know that most of us, including our Democratic elected officials held President Bush as someone a few degrees south of contempt.  But did our leaders and advocates treat him with such utter disdain and lack of deference?  

Often, we see progressive and democratic institutions and advocates smeared with false equivalencies.  For instance, I don’t begrudge FOXNews its right to partisanship.  But it’s level and forms of advocacy are so degraded that I do not accept that MSNBC, with its unabashed partisan advocacy, is the mirror image of FOX.  Democratic reasonableness and attempts to acknowledge complexity often feed these equivalences, as its advocates display a willingness to look at both sides and to accept some criticism.  But Al Franken and Keith Olberman aren’t simply Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck on the left.  Rachel Maddow and Joan Walsh are not the counterparts of Laura Ingraham and Megyn Kelly, and Barabara Ehrenreich is not simply a lefty Ann Coulter.

So I want to know, did our leaders and advocates show such disregard to the office of the Presidency of the United States when George W. Bush was in office?  Think carefully.  The reflexive answer is easy.


  1. calling Bush a liar. But I don’t think it came anywhere near the level of vitriol we are seeing from the other side against Obama. As for what we can do about it, not much. About all we can do is try to punish the worst offenders at the ballot box.

  2. DTOzone

    back when I said I feel that there is no common ground.

    When Osama Bin Laden was killed, all my conservative friends initially responded “Fuck, this means Obama will get reelected.” and “Why did it have to be Obama who did this?”

    They couldn’t even relish in the death of our number one enemy because it was good for Obama.

    During the oil spill, one of my friends jumped up and down in excitement because “it’s over for Obama.” I don’t know if he was serious, but after a few weeks, he said he hopes it goes all summer.

    They hate Obama, liberals, Democrats sooooo much, they’d route for the country to be hurt. I never saw that with Bush. I never saw anyone wish for a terrorist attack or celebrate the botched response to Katrina.  

  3. That in the history books that will be written about these times, WE are the people who have tried to keep the country together; they have blinded themselves into believing that it’s their way or the country should be destroyed.

    The logical extension of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Republicanism is this: either capitulate and look weak and lose your party (much like the Whigs from yesteryear), or bring the whole country down with you (slavery brought the Whigs down…it also brought the Union down with it, for a while).

    This “debt ceiling” debate is not about any values Republicans have run on in the past half-century: it’s not about values (how can being unquestionably and criminally irresponsible with the economy be a value?), it’s not about the Constitution (see the 14th Amendment about the validity of the public debt), and it isn’t about jobs (the word hemorrhage comes to mind).

    It’s about not negotiating with “evil.” It’s about latching onto communism and MADD (not from nuclear weapons this time, but from internal discord) and presenting them anew–not in the Soviet Union–but right here in America. It’s a modern-day McCarthyism, where the “evil” sect has taken over and now they must be rooted out–Obama, Pelosi, Reid, anyone with a (D) following their name, regardless of their station or life. Republicans don’t compromise because to do so would be to discredit everything they so fervently did to this country in the twentieth century.

    It’s about ultimate and unconditional victory over a foe. They want a Berlin Wall to tear down, and if they can’t tear it down–in their eyes–there is no reason for the Republican Party to exist. That’s the danger, and it’s going to take some unparalleled guts by Democrats, Independents and Moderates to stand up and say “No, we are for the People.”

    Not all Republicans feel this way, of course. But that is the sentiment of whatever faction is ruling the GOP today. Let’s have faith that those who wish to destroy this country out of some self-righteous sense of superiority are superseded–soon–by those who don’t want to leave your family on the roulette board any longer.

  4. I was across the fence from all my Liberal friends during the  Bush years. While never a fan of the man, I failed to see the pointed and intentional evil that everyone else (I was living in Canada most of that time) knew for a fact was behind his every move.

    I heard plenty of people – many family members, including the genteel-polite-volunteering-social-working senior members – wish that Bush would die. State unequivocally that Bush’s intention was to destroy America so that he and his rich friends could (I dunno, dance in the ashes, maybe).

    They didn’t have their own network news station, though. The liberals who believed Bush was literally Satan (or his Minion) we not quite as organized at getting their opinions out. But they hated Bush as much or more than I have ever seen anyone hated.  

  5. creamer

    He frequently misspoke, had kind of an aw shucks demeanor that didn’t inspire confidence. Some will argue that his 2000 election was not legitimate and in 2004 Ohio  had some big question marks. But I don’t remember his citizenship being questioned.

     The evidence presented for going into Iraq was feeble at best, fabricated possibly, but no Democrat called him a liar on the House or Senate floor.

     I give Bush credit for not playing politics with the finacial crisis and giving the Big Three in Detroit a lifeline.

    In late 2008 when it was becoming apparent that Obama was going to win my boss commented that a lot of his business contacts in the south made a lot of comments about blacks and bullets that gave him pause. Observations like that, the birther movement, Joe Wilson’s, all make me feel that race is a big reason that the right finds it so easy to speak to him and of him with such contempt.

  6. Strummerson

    That’s the title that jackass affiliates with saw fit to give to this following clip from CSPAN where Sheila Jackson Lee, on the floor of the house argues that the GOP is treating Obama in an unprecedented way, suggests that this is motivated by race, and then asserts that this is certainly how it’s being perceived in her community.  

    Anyone who raises the question of racial motivation in US politics is now automatically branded as a racist.  I don’t know if McConnell and Boehner are motivated by race in their obstructionism, but I do know that this “race card” meme has successfully shut down any conversation regarding race and politics.  Since now we so obviously live in a perfectly colorblind society where race plays no role?  Which America are these people living in?  Cause it sure as hell doesn’t look like the one outside my windows.   Ask anyone who has taught at a public university if African-American students, as a group, arrive as prepared to succeed academically as their white peers.  There are only a few possible explanations for this disparity:

    1.  It has to do with economics and not race.  (Then shouldn’t we ask why African Americans and communities where they live suffer disproportionately from poverty?).

    2.  They are inherently less intellectually talented and the meritocracy is working.  (This is the ‘I’m not racist, that’s just the reality argument,’ which people are mostly to smart to give voice to if they think this).

    3.  African American culture does not prepare youth to succeed.  (Umm, how is this not racist?).

    4.  For a variety of complex reasons, our society fails to provide a disproportionate number of young African Americans with the resources to succeed, perpetuating the socio-economic and cultural conditions from generation to generation.

    I wager that most of us here pick option 4.  If so, how can we even begin to ask how to address this systemic issue if we cannot even raise the question of race in public debate without being branded a racist?    

  7. Jjc2008

    against Bush from the general public, from a few cable pundits, but I do not remember specifically any elected democratic legislators doing name calling; challenging W’s patriotism or citizenship.  Just because I don’t remember doesn’t me there was not one or two who did so.

    Perhaps someone could refresh me.

    In my view, there is a huge difference from what a blogger, a citizen like myself or even a pundit says that from what an elected official says.

  8. Kysen

    I think of my email ‘inbox’.

    I live in the South, therefore, while my entire family and most friends are Democrats, I have LOTS of Republican friends/acquaintances(that word is hard to spell, btw).

    By easily 20 to 1, nasty, lying, hateful emails about Democrats/Liberals outnumber similar emails about Republicans/Conservatives.

    I CANNOT be convinced that that is because Republicans use the internet/email more.

    To the nth of my being I believe that there is a level of meanness, vitriol, disdain, cruelty…that is ACCEPTED from within the Republican Party. Even the ‘humor’ expressed in such emails has such a nasty undertone. It is accepted and passed on ‘cuz it is only a joke’.

    Now, I am NOT saying that, as a ‘people’, Republicans are any better or worse than Democrats. What I am trying to say is that there is a level of acceptance…something that makes being mean/cruel/hateful towards others…that flows through the Republican ideology. That is accepted…embraced…so long as it is directed towards ‘other’ (black, hispanic, poor, LGBT, liberal, even women). That inexcusable behavior is passed off as ‘humor’ and acceptable.

    While there are of course nasty forwards/emails from Dems/Liberals…you don’t see them passed on as frequently or with near the glee as the ones from Republicans/Conservatives. You don’t see them go far because they are seen as inappropriate/hateful/nasty by too many of the ‘target audience’, so they do not get spread.

    Whereas, the ‘target audience’ of inappropriate/hateful/nasty forwards about Dems spread such material like wildfire. It is deemed acceptable by a far greater percentage of Republicans…who are more than thrilled to pass on the hate (it’s only a joke, of course). is a good example of the material I am speaking of.

    It is not that Democrats are any less witty, or any less likely to use email, or have lesser senses of humor…it is that there is a streak of meanness that is accepted within the Republican Party.

    Dunno if I am making sense.

    Oh well.

    Has never stopped me before.

    I also agree that we have seen that lack of respect/meanness much further up within the Republican Party vs Obama (or Carter or Clinton) than we did from within the Democratic Party vs Bush (or Reagan or Bush Sr.).

    The underlying reason for it…I sincerely believe…is that it is accepted within the Republican Party to be hateful/dismissive/disrespectful towards the ‘other’. And sadly, ‘other’ pretty much covers everyone who is not Republican (though, also is dismissive of LGBTs, Blacks, HIspanics, Women who may actually themselves be Republicans).

    Republicans, in general, just accept that level of disrespect in a way that Democrats, in general, do not.


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