The answer to the question posed by libertarian concern troll Conor Friedersdorf in his latest post -- "Will the Left Turn on President Obama Like the Tea Party Did on President Bush?" -- is in the title above.
During President George W. Bush's tenure, most Republicans felt that criticizing him would just help Democrats. Only the end of his presidency freed them to see its flaws clearly. Staunch conservatives who voted for him twice suddenly found themselves swept up in a Tea Party rebellion against his team's approach to governing. They felt chagrin at the ways he had transgressed against their values, and they resolved to change the GOP so that the same mistakes would never recur.Bullshit.
Do I have to go through the evidence again? The fact that Bush's job approval rating among Republicans was 75% in the last month of his presidency (as opposed to 34% in the population at large), but has actually risen, to 84%, among Republicans this year?
Please, Conor. Don't tell me that teabaggers reject Bush. Teabaggers feel no authentic "chagrin at the ways he had transgressed against their values." The only "chagrin" they feel is at the fact that he was their dreamboat and everything they cheered him for doing failed, the result being humiliation for them and and a national rejection of their holy conservative Cause. They can't bear to hate themselves for this, or question the way they mooned over Bush's codpiece for eight years (or at least six, until Democrats won the '06 midterms), so they lie to themselves now and say they never liked all those deficits and expenditures they didn't give a goddamn about when Bush was riding high. They tell themselves that fiscal prudence has always been their core principle, when in fact their core principle is now what it has always been: liberalism and the Democratic Party must be destroyed so that we can rule forever. Wearing tricorn hats and putting the word "constitutional" into every sentence they utter is just their latest scheme to achieve that end.
After President Obama leaves office, will the scales fall from liberals' eyes? No, because significant percentages of us are capable of backing a politician without engaging in Belieber-esque hero-worship. We're with Obama even as we grumble about the inadequacy of the stimulus, the failure of mortgage relief, the fact that at this moment no Wall Street fat cat is sitting in a cell. We're still miffed that if we couldn't get single payer, we didn't even get a public option. We think the president got rolled on the sequester. Serious doubts about the drone war and NSA spying aren't limited to emoprogs.
And yet on women's rights and gay rights and climate change and immigration and taxation of the wealthy and many, many other issues we're with the president, and we realize what the alternative would be. Please -- we went through this with Clinton. DOMA? Wall Street deregulation? Welfare reform? Feh. But still: turn over the country to the Kenneth Starr panty-sniffing Contract with America crazies? Turn over the country to a party cheered on (and ordered around) by Fox and Limbaugh? We did that in 2000. How'd that work out?
At the end of the day, the fact that Republicans are crazy may be the #1 reason we won't turn on Obama. And Conor, don't even start with me on NSA skepticism among (a tiny handful of) Republicans. Wake me when the GOP is shutting down the government to stop surveillance, or the killing of civilians with drones, or tax breaks for the Wall Street fat cats they allegedly hate as much as they hate government. Until then, just shut the hell up.
And, readers, if you haven't done so already, go to TBogg's new Raw Story home and savor the way he beats Friedersdorf's post to a bloody pulp.