A reader writes:
One of the more frustrating aspects of dealing with Bush apologists is highlighted by the reader accusing you of "Bush Derangement Syndrome", which is just one of their more desperate methods of avoiding debate on substance. These people are afraid to acknowledge that it is possible, even most likely, that citizens develop animosity towards political figures because of things they actually say and do, not because of who they 'are' or which tribe they're from. But as the last six years have shown, once a person is accepted as part of their tribe, it becomes 'derangement' to point out any flaw in that person's conduct, however insignificant.
You have documented this as an authoritarian impulse in your book, but for many Bush followers it isn't that sinister. They just like their world clean and simple My Guys vs. Their Guys. The imperative is to quickly diagnose into which camp the political figure falls, and everything beyond that point is a matter of propaganda and name-calling. It goes without saying that there are numerous examples of this mindset on the Left as well.
Like millions of Americans, I was not a pre-9/11 Bush supporter, but gave his administration the benefit of the doubt to proceed responsibly in the War on Terror. When you swallow your pride like that in the name of comity and love for your country only to see it tossed into the Rove/Cheney bag of dirty tricks, yeah, you can get a little upset.