Monday, July 28, 2008

After Bush : Who Will 'Liberals' Have To Hate?

Nick Cohen in the UK Guardian argues that the world post-Bush will still be a violent, brutal, fearful and confusing place, and that 'liberals' will miss their long-hated, easy target of derision :
Obama is riding the crest of the global wave of relief that Bush is leaving. A wave that is about to break. It doesn't know it, but the liberal-left in Europe and North America has been lucky to have Bush.

By building him up into a great Satan, the oil man who invades countries to seize their reserves and the Christian who orders bloody crusades, they have hidden the totalitarian threats of our age from themselves and anyone who listens to them. Bush allowed them to explain away radical Islam as an understandable, even legitimate, response to the hypocrisies and iniquities of American policy. Even those in the European elites who do not buy the full 'America has it coming' package believe that Bush is a cowboy who doesn't understand that the postmodern way to end conflict is to compromise rather than fight.

In January, Bush will be history, leaving liberals all alone in a frightening world. Little else will change. Radical Islam will still authorise murder without limit, Iran will still want the bomb and the autocracies of China and Russia will still be growing in wealth and confidence. All those who argued that the 'root cause' of the Bush administration lay behind the terror will find that the terror still flourishes when the root cause has retired.

Fair enough, but why does Cohen erroneously assume that only 'liberals' have a problem with Bush? There's tens of millions of die-hard Republicans in the United States right now who hold their leader in utter contempt, if only because he has so gratuitously damaged the conservative brand. An elderly librarian was removed by police from a John McCain function because she dared to hold up a sign that read "McCain = Bush".

Cohen doesn't seem to understand that there will be a massive global shift in the way the rest of the world views the United States when Bush and Cheney leave the White House. The most globally unpopular US president in history's departure will allow the world to breathe a sigh of relief, should 2009 begin without a greater conflict having broken out in the Middle East over Iran's nuclear energy ambitions.

Obama, should he win the presidency, will have a rare opportunity to undo some of the damage BushCo. has done, even if most of it will be not much more than re-branding, and fresh Compassionate Peaceful New America marketing.