Recent years have brought on what I’ve often seen described as “Bush Derangement Syndrome”. Most frequently manifesting on the very hard left, BDS has one easily identifiable symptom: the emotionally stated belief that George W. Bush is responsible for every ill in the country.
As a moderate, it’s both disheartening and confusing to watch the hard right and left attack one another over BDS, because I see validity on both sides… but BDS isn’t a new political ailment. In fact, it’s the yin to the conservative yang of CDS: Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
While CDS often surfaces in the comments of various blogs (notorious as troll caves), it isn’t limited to the irrational. In fact, Polimom’s home harbors a recovering CDS-sufferer as well, and the subject comes up more often than one might expect in an otherwise politically moderate household.
Most recently, a CNN story from 1996, found via Americablog, was the topic:
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Clinton urged Congress Tuesday to act swiftly in developing anti-terrorism legislation before its August recess. […]
“We need to keep this country together right now. We need to focus on this terrorism issue,” Clinton said during a White House news conference.
But while the president pushed for quick legislation, Republican lawmakers hardened their stance against some of the proposed anti-terrorism measures.
Since a major symptom of both Syndromes is an outright rejection of data based on source, (and I’ve often thought the Americablogger suffers from BDS), I presented the CNN article to DH directly… and we ended up in a rational discussion about it.
Clinton was obstructed, and it’s ironic that the legislation he was pushing for so closely resembles the Patriot Act today. As a time-capsule, it’s interesting, but in the face of recent post-9-11 CDS revisionism, it’s astounding.
A couple of weeks ago, the Washington Post ran another retrospective look at a Clintonian issue:
As a conservative analyst who spent much of the 1990s working against most of Bill Clinton’s agenda — including even some aspects of his welfare reform proposals — it pains me to say this.
Bill Clinton was right.
He deserves more credit for the passage of welfare reform than most conservatives probably care to admit.
No, they won’t care to admit it… particularly if they’re suffering from the dreaded CDS.
Between them, I’ve started thinking of these as two sides of the same coin — the Presidential Derangement Syndrome (PDS).
PDS is bi-partisan and utterly irrational. It over-stimulates the right-brain synapses so severely that the left-brain — the thinking side — simply shuts down, and Robert Rector’s article in WaPo described its manifestation perfectly.
Before we go much further into the November election madness, we’d do well to remember the risks of obstructionism for its own sake. The Democrats have an excellent shot at re-taking at least the House this year, but if the goals of those elected are merely acting from PDS, we’ll be just as dysfunctional as we are right now.
The polls indicate that voters are angry; I believe that, and it worries me. Our country has spent far too many years trying to block, undermine, or attack, and we’re at a critical juncture.
Polimom’s vote will go to candidates that can speak without spraying spittle across the microphone; whose eyes don’t shade toward red with PDS-driven high blood pressure. We desperately need people who are going to work together, rather than against “the others” simply because they’re Red or Blue.
We’re thirteen years into a pathological PDS problem, and we’re starting to fray around the edges. That’s fine with me; let the edges go. Maybe then we’ll start to look like a unified country again.