Jesusland

In a response brimming with gratuitous hostility towards yours truly, Pejman Yousefzdeh nevertheless makes a few points worthy of response. I wrote that "several Democrats immediately supported [Bush's] massive tax cut – while no Republicans, in the wake of an Obama landslide – supported a desperately needed stimulus." I was thinking of the House vote, which attracted not a single Republican vote during what looked remarkably like the beginnings of a second Great Depression. Bush's tax cuts, on the other hand, got 28 Democratic votes in the House - with no economic crisis at hand and after the president was inaugurated with fewer votes than his opponent. Yes, in the Senate, "Arlen Specter (while a Republican), Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins all supported the stimulus." And one has already been purged for it; and the other two hang by a thread. Furthermore:

[W]hen President Obama announced his Afghanistan policy–and got attacked for it by the Left – it was Republicans who came to his aid, and offered their full-throated support for the policy. Does this not count as a form of bipartisan cooperation initiated by the Republicans to assist a Democratic President?

Not really - since they were so already on the record behind both wars initiated by their own president that taking on Obama on this would have required taking on Bush. Pej goes on:

For that matter, has Sullivan forgotten that the very tax deal he celebrates this week with endless, meaningless, Baghdad Bob-ish, nauseating frequency, featuring one ludicrous “meep, meep” after another, is a tax deal that was crafted in negotiations with Republicans? That Republicans are supporting this deal, and are trying to save it–and the Obama Administration’s prestige–in the face of Democratic assaults so virulent that F-bombs have been thrown the White House’s way, and House Democrats have even stated that they will not bring the tax package for a vote? Why is all of this not equivalent to some Democrats supporting a Bush tax cut?

Pej has a point there. But the principle of low upper rate taxes is a Republican principle, and it is this for which the GOP fought. Lower taxes, in contrast, were definitely not a Democratic principle in 2000, when many, like Gore, urged that the surplus should go to shore up social security and pay down the debt. Pej goes on to argue that the ubiquitous Bush as Hitler smears during W.'s two terms are equivalent to the muck thrown at Obama, that cultural artifacts such as the image above prove the left's secessionist dreams, and that Vanity Fair's Bush Joker and Maclean's Bush Saddam are no better that Forbes' Obama with Stalin. My point is that the Bush-as-Hitler crap (which I decried at the time) did not start at the very beginning, but emerged after Bush's decision to go to war with Iraq, using torture as a method, adopting radical notions of executive power in a permanent wartime, and being responsible for an incompetently occupied country where hundreds of thousands were slaughtered. The high-level demonization of Obama began from the very start - with no real cause at all, except that he won an election easily.

But look: it's true that the left despised and demonized Bush. And I attacked them mercilessly for conflating him in any way with Saddam or al Qaeda and the like in a time of war. I stood up for the guy begging the left to give him a chance. 

But their complaints about legitimacy after Bush vs Gore were far more defensible, it seems to me, than the far right delusions about Obama's birth certificate. And after 9/11, there was huge support for the president by the vast majority of Democrats - something I encouraged (look at W's polling numbers in the winter of 2001 - and imagine anything like that for Obama since the Depression began.) I do not recall any major Democrat saying he hoped that Bush would fail in the war on terror, the way Limbaugh broadly hoped for the failure of Obama in the economic crisis. And the attempt to turn Obama into an un-American from the get-go was pre-meditated, and dabbling in dangerous racial waters.

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