In 2003 conservative columnist and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer defined Bush Derangement Syndrome as “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush“.
While this is a clever rhetorical definition, it is also interesting for two reasons. First, it does serve to define an actual condition. While I am no fan of Bush, even I could recognize that some folks would simply fall for or create the most illogical ad hominems regarding Bush and that they would do so solely on the basis of their dislike for the man. In some cases, this seemed to go beyond mere bad reasoning and into a form of derangement. Such derangement is hardly surprising. After all, most folks do not reason when it comes to politics. Instead, they feel and often these feelings are out of proportion to their cause.
Second, it provided conservative folks with a clever way to dismiss criticism of Bush by categorizing it as derangement. In short, it provided a ready made ad homimen (“oh, don’t listen to what he says about enhance interrogation, he has BDS”).
Even before Obama became president, I saw that in addition to motivating people in a positive way, he also had the power to rile up conservatives in a way that seemed to approach derangement. Once he was president, the pitch of this derangement increased, reaching one high point when some conservative folks were filmed applauding Chicago not getting the Olympics because, as some might claim, they hate Obama more than they love America. Of course, that is but one example among many.
Interestingly enough, Obama Derangement Syndrome is just like BDS, except it involves Obama rather than Bush. The symptoms and behavior are basically the same. In some cases, folks really do seem to suffer from ODS just as some folks suffered from BDS. In other cases, people use ODS as an ad homimen attack on folks who are critical of Obama.
While being passionate about politics is fine, allowing your emotions to derange your assessment of reality is not. People should be critical of the president-we do, after all, need our gadflies. However, unreasoning dislike does not provide anything useful to our country, although it can be tapped by pundits for profits and politicians for power. This applies to Obama, it applied to Bush and it will apply to future presidents as well.
ODS still a looooong way to go to match the lethality of BDS.
And I think I’ve been very fair and balanced as Obama goes;
1) Some of his defense cabinet is very good.
2) Bailout–very bad
3) Government-run healthcare–probably bad in my opinion.
4) He’s very naive. Still thinks the rest of the world responds to, more than it actually does, words.
5) He doesn’t like America very much. Afterall, he’s trying to change an awful lot about it.
6) Fundamentally misunderstood the Afghan War.
7) Found out Gitmo has its uses.
8) Our country is doing worse today than it was 2 years ago.
So far, I have not accused him of any heinous conspiracies (9-11), of being a part of the Illuminati(Skull and Bones), of lying about real intelligence in order to go to war–just because war is fun (WMD in Iraq).
Acytually, Obama is doing virtually everything he said he would, or at least setting those things in motion. And that’s why I dodn’t vote for him and hope he is not president in the next term.
We can do better. The hate of the Iraq War was merely a hate on Bush by ideological opponents.
“Our country is doing worse today than it was 2 years ago.”
It’s fair to say our country was doing worse in October of ’08 “than it was 2 years ago”. It’s fair to say our country was doing much worse in October of last year in terms of debt and unemployment than it was in 2000.
“He doesn’t like America very much. After all, he’s trying to change an awful lot about it.”
What’s he trying to change that was actually functioning well when he took office? I suppose presidents who had a hand in eliminating racial discrimination didn’t “like America very much”. Is there some cut-off point you have in mind between “just enough” and “an awful lot of” change?
#s 2-6= judgment words. “very bad” “probably bad in my opinion” “naive” Has he even made a final decision on Afghanistan yet? He’s definitely keeping Gitmo open for good? You must have better access to (in this case, inside-the-White-House) intelligence than the people who said there was definitely an ongoing Al Queda/Iraq connection and that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa during the run-up to the Iraq war.
“We can do better.”
Who’s on your short list?
“Fair and balanced” as far as your opinion goes.
T. J. Babson says
Let’s keep in mind that BDS could be found in places like the NYT (Krugman) and 60 Minutes (Rather). I don’t think ODS has reached anywhere near these proportions, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh notwithstanding.
Apples to apples, we’d have to compare/contrast BDS and ODS at similar points in their terms in office. At 9 months in, even factoring in the heatedly debated 2000 hanging chad fiasco ((HCF?) I’d be willing to bet that BDS hadn’t reached the stage ODS has reached here in mid-October of Obama.s first year.
Note: We’d have to employ the official DSI that has been recently added to the APA’s DSM. . . 🙁
What about OLS (Obama Lust Syndrome)? To some he sends a shiver up their leg. Was there a BLS?
Michael LaBossiere says
There was a BLS, but that was Bush Like Syndrome. But, I don’t think Bush got any swimsuit photos in print, just some running/biking ones.
Oh, I’m sorry, it wasn’t a shiver up the leg. It was a thrill up the leg.
Assessing reality with the emotions is a right, proper, and human way to live.
Our problem is we have debased our emotions into a degraded state, and this unruly mob is ruled by cunning, guile, and stratagem.
Michael LaBossiere says
Good point. Our feelings are an essential part of who we are, but it is essential to keep them healthy. As Aristotle says, the mark of virtue is to feel the right way, towards the right people, for the right reasons…