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Friday, August 20, 2004

So why does the right-wing hate John Kerry so much?

It's been apparent to me for some time that the right-wing-nut attacks on John Kerry have gone seriously beyond the line of being just politics and moved into the realm of the personal.

The right-wing-nut military types seem to base their hatred in the idea that somehow Kerry personally "betrayed" them by speaking out against the Vietnam war (after he'd gone over there and more than adequately served his country, it should be noted).

But what of the rest of the wing-nuts? Given the fact that Republicans generally hate Democrats at the best of times, the intenstity (and scurrilousness) of the attacks on Kerry put him into the category of "really hated Democrats" that, before this election campaign, seems to have been reserved for Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy.

The current batch of the Chihuahuas of Inconvenience - O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Coulter et al...with a special mention for wing-nuttery above and beyond the call of duty to what Margaret Cho has called a right-wing online insane asylum (an asylum which gets mixed appreciation even by this crowd of legendary haters) - have been yapping with a frenzy that make Joe and Cissy Patterson (and their cousin Col. Robert McCormick)'s diatribes against Roosevelt look like piddling small beer.

Perhaps the real reason for all this right-wing-nut hatred can be found in this item in the September issue of Washington Monthly:
Two decades ago, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a highly respected financial titan. In 1987, when its subsidiary helped finance a deal involving Texas oilman George W. Bush, the bank appeared to be a reputable institution, with attractive branch offices, a traveler's check business, and a solid reputation for financing international trade. It had high-powered allies in Washington and boasted relationships with respected figures around the world.

All that changed in early 1988, when John Kerry, then a young senator from Massachusetts, decided to probe the finances of Latin American drug cartels. Over the next three years, Kerry fought against intense opposition from vested interests at home and abroad, from senior members of his own party; and from the Reagan and Bush administrations, none of whom were eager to see him succeed.
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Roosevelt was hated mostly because of his New Deal (although at least one Republican politician grudgingly credited that the New Deal "probably kept the country from going Communist"), but also because the right-wing (ie., the rich) felt he had somehow betrayed his class (it's obviously a sin to be a wealthy Democrat...at least in the eyes of the Republicans). There's also the right-wing's perception (after all these years) that Roosevelt "fraudulently manœuvered" the U.S. into WWII (via things like Lend-Lease and "permitting" Japan to attack Pearl Harbor).

The hatred of Truman stems initially from his chairmanship of the special Senate Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, but mostly from the belief that Truman mishandled the Korean War (more important to this is the Republican belief that Truman somehow betrayed the U.S. by his treatment of MacArthur).

Kennedy is hated for both the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion (which was planned - by Republican officials during the last weeks of the Eisenhower administration - and presented to Kennedy in such a manner that he had no political choice but to let it happen within the first few weeks of his Presidency, but he also shouldered the blame for the failure) and the successful resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis (he was considered "too soft on the Communists" by the right on both issues), probably hated because he was another rich Democrat...and hated just because he was Kennedy.

John Kerry is in good company here. He is well-off (even before he married 'Mama T' (for an explanation of the 'Mama T' reference read the last item in this column), and he's a liberal (a Massachusetts liberal, no less...and there's that class betrayal thing, again) who has shown no problem with taking principled, if occasionally unpopular stands (ie. disagreeing with anything the right-wing-nuts believe in) on issues social, military, and fiscal (and then actually trying to do something about them).

These are, I think, the reasons why the right-wing-nuts hate Kerry so much, because nothing infuriates right-wingers more than percieved attacks on their (definition of) patriotism...or their wallets.