Obama euphoria as left-liberalism’s latest toxic manifestation

Peter Berkowitz argues that “Bush hatred and Obama euphoria are two sides of the same coin.” He explains:

Both represent the triumph of passion over reason. Both are intolerant of dissent. Those wallowing in Bush hatred and those reveling in Obama euphoria frequently regard those who do not share their passion as contemptible and beyond the reach of civilized discussion. Bush hatred and Obama euphoria typically coexist in the same soul. And it is disproportionately members of the intellectual and political class in whose souls they flourish. . . .

Bush hatred and Obama euphoria are particularly toxic because they thrive in and have been promoted by the news media, whose professional responsibility, it has long been thought, is to gather the facts and analyze their significance, and by the academy, whose scholarly training, it is commonly assumed, reflects an aptitude for and dedication to systematic study and impartial inquiry.

From the avalanche of vehement and ignorant attacks on Bush v. Gore and the oft-made and oft-refuted allegation that the Bush administration lied about WMD in Iraq, to the remarkable lack of interest in Mr. Obama’s career in Illinois politics and the determined indifference to his wrongness about the surge, wide swaths of the media and the academy have concentrated on stoking passions rather than appealing to reason.

Berkowitz goes on to compare the left-liberalism behind Bush hatred/Obama worship to a religion. He concludes that the comparson is unfair to religion, or at least those forms of it which teach that “God’s ways are hidden and mysterious, that all human beings are both deserving of respect and inherently flawed, and that it is idolatry to invest things of this world — certainly the goods that can be achieved through politics — with absolute value.”

Bush hatred and Obama worship are not co-extensive. For example, many Obama worshippers probably dislike, rather than hate, Bush — their Obama worship is based on his charisma and/or his race, not vicious partisanship. And some Bush haters do not worship Obama, finding him insufficiently left-wing. These folks may not be genuine Bush haters, though; their hatred more likely is directed at larger institutional targets like their country.

However, Berkowitz’s somewhat different claim — that Bush hatred and Obama euphoria both stem from essentially the same dangerous triumph of passion over reason — strikes me as spot-on.

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