The E-Factor -Why the Left Hate GW

(I wrote this piece shortly before the 2004 election – and it seemed fitting to post it today. In the re-reading, I find I have not fundamentally changed my mind about this piece or the man. WC) 

Since the 2000 Election I have puzzled on why the Left so abhors George W. Bush and everything for which he stands. Whatever the action, cause, purpose, bill, law, candidate, issue or position, if George W. Bush likes it, they hate it. Historically, the Left and the Right have always been at odds and are often on opposite ends of issues – but this is not the normal, run of the mill, animus on display. This appears to be real, genuine hatred, and I’ve been asking myself, why? What makes George W. Bush the devil incarnate to those on the other side of the aisle? What makes thousands rally to the site of the Republican Convention to not just protest, but to display unadulterated vitriol toward our President?

It wasn’t until the last night of the convention and after the President’s acceptance speech that it hit me. I watched the speech on ABC and Peter Jennings, George Stephanopolis and others were the commentators after the speech. While I can’t remember precisely what they said – the essence was ‘wow.’ They were visibly touched, moved and impressed by the President’s speech – particularly the last six paragraphs. One of their convention reporters said that it was not just the President’s words that had so moved those present but something more – a palpable connection. He said that the people in that room clearly felt an emotional connection to the President.

“Ah,” I said to myself. “Emotional connection – the E-factor.” That non-quantitative quality that cannot be learned, bottled, transplanted, manufactured or faked. George W. Bush for all his faults (his swagger, his bluntness, his ‘cowboy’ ways) connects with people emotionally. Even avowed political opposers have said he’s charming, funny, down to earth and a really nice guy. They like him. They really like him. Remember that hug between Tom Daschle and the President shortly after 9/11?

Ironically, Bill Clinton had that same quality. He connected on an emotional level with his audience and the American people – so much so that they voted him into office not once, but twice. Despite all of his mistakes, faux pas, scandals and outrageous behavior, Clinton supporters could not be swayed to turn away from him. He was, after all, America’s ‘First Black President.’ He did, after all, ‘feel our pain.’ And understood us, as no American president ever had. He worried about us as no American president ever had. And, he was going to take care of us as no American president ever had. His foibles, were just that. Not scandals, not outrages, not immoral acts – just boys being boys. Just private matters. They didn’t affect how he led the country. Every good thing that happened during his administration was very, very good. And every bad thing that happened was merely a lapse in judgment, a small mistake or indiscretion. Bill Clinton could lead us anywhere because of this incredible ability to feel for and connect with the ‘every-man.’

The Left was delighted because Bill’s special talent had led them into the White house. The babyboomers of the Viet Nam era were finally ‘in charge.’ They were going to show everyone how to do it better. Prove that their ideologies from those days gone by of protests and antiwar activities were the enlightened way. The right way. They were going to prove that their utopian visions from the sixties would be the ultimate reality of the nineties. Socialism would out.

Then along came George W. Bush. It wasn’t bad enough that Clinton couldn’t run again and they had only Al Gore to offer as his replacement. But now they had a loudmouthed, straight-shooting, swaggering cowboy galloping toward the White house. He would ruin everything they’d spent eight years building. He was going to make a mockery of all their hard work of moving the American mind-set to the politically-correct mode. Yes, he was scary indeed. Terrifying, in fact.

But worse than his Right Wing ideologies he had the one thing they knew they couldn’t fight. That same, special quality possessed by their idol, Bill Clinton. They saw it from the very beginning. People all over the country connected with George W. Bush. Their eyes glistened with heartfelt tears when he spoke of family values, a belief in God, patriotism and the American way. W possessed the secret weapon the Left believed to be their exclusive territory. Worse still, he used it all wrong. While Bill felt our pain, W felt our joy. Bill wanted to take care of us, but W wanted to help us help ourselves. Bill promised to be responsible for us but W expected us to be responsible for ourselves. Bill promised to spend our money wisely but W gave us our money back. Bill said we should think about it first but W said they were going to hear from us. Bill talked to our enemies but W blew them out of the water.

Two men with the same talent but very different messages. Two men with the same connection to the American people but with very different visions for them. Two men with the same incredible persuasion but on opposite sides of the aisle. Why does the Left really hate George W. Bush? Because he can and does do what Bill Clinton did but so much better and toward a better end.

9 thoughts on “The E-Factor -Why the Left Hate GW

  1. this is a sticky subject (politics) because it has the power to turn friends into enemies, and enemies into friends.

    i will say that (after reading this blog) i now view George W from a slightly different standpoint than i had in the past. Still though, I don’t have a “connection” to him , but you are correct (as far as me personally) that i definately had one with Bill.

    It is not my opinion that George W has necessarily done a “better job” than Bill but he has done an equal job to Bill, just (as you pointed out) in different areas. Because Bill didn’t have 911, no one can know (for sure) what Bill would have done, unless it happened when he was in office. So in that respect because it “did” happen when George W was in office i feel that George W handled it the right way and the appropriate way, because America does need to step up to these terrorists and show them we might pretty much be pussycats, unless you step on our tails…

    I have more i’d like to say, but i’m not sure how to say it as just a statement and not an attack on someone’s beliefs so I will just end my rant here.

    FC, I knew this would be a controversial post when I posted it. In fact, I wasn’t sure anyone would comment for the very reasons you state in the beginning.

    I thought you comments were very thoughtful and respectful (not a rant at all) and I appreciate that you took such care in making them.

    If you have other things to say – feel free – whether on this board or in an email. I’d be happy to discuss this further if you would like to.

    In general I will say that I know that Bush bashing has become a popular sport other these past few years. And certainly I could level some criticism of him myself – but I have yet to find a perfect politician. Truth be told, most of them are more aggravating than anything else. However, criticism of actual worth and based on facts, to me, is not a problem. The thing I have the problem with are things that are simply personal attacks – such as Bush is stupid (really? he graduated from Yale and Harvard, logged in over 1,000 hours as a fighter jet pilot, won re-election both as governor of texas and president – and had better grades than both of his competitors for the presidency) – Bush is a natzi (really what concentration camps has he erected? what race of people is he seeking to exterminate? why does he have the most ethnically diverse cabinet of any American president?) – Stuff like that.

    Anyway, there you have it.



  2. I don’t connect any of them as a personal choice but I do measure them by their policies and their success in achieving better and prosperous society.
    (As to more propersous society. Under Bush’s policy of across the board tax cuts – the economy is booming, contrary to your local news anchor’s reporting. The Dow index has hit all time highs – made history in fact. The jobless rate is 4.4% which virtually means that anyone who wants a job can get one. First time home owners (particularly minorities) are all historical highs. )

    Even recent election does reflect the people anger against Bush policies. Its will be good to know to know in future people who voted against Bush and Republicans are voted against them or honestly voted for democrats for better candidates. (Okay, point taken. The Republicans did inspire conservatives’ anger because they did not adhere to conservative priniciples and they co-opted loser Democrat issues – such as prescription drug benefit and pouring gillions into education. BUT if in fact people voted for Democrats for better candidates – who were they? And why are they better? Do you honestly think they will SPEND less? Make a success of Iraq? Reduce the deficit? If so, my friend, I’m afraid you are dreaming. And if anyone can tell me what the Dems are actually for – as opposed to what they are against (anything conservative, Republican, Libertarian and Bush) I’d greatly appreciate it. They have no plan for anything as far as I can tell – except perhaps to create more taxpayer-paid-for social programs which will yield no results but will result in increased taxes. )
    Many Americans hate either Republicans or Democrats with a fascinating passion, many others see the differences between the two parties as relatively minor.

    But I do appreciate both Presidents as both had done some good work but in the end in my opinion some stupid policies cost Bush this mid term election. (And they are?)

    When Clinton was president he made government smaller. Bush made it bigger. Clinton cut taxes on the middle class and had the biggest surplus in history. Bush increased taxes on the middle class and we have the biggest deficit in history. (See the contract with America. Upon reading same you will see that the reduction of government, Welfare reform, tax cuts for middle class and deficit reduction all came from this contract that the Republican Congress made with America. If you investigate further, you will discover that Bill Clinton was dragged kicking and screaming to getting these measures enacted.)
    North Korea Nuke Bomb- In Clinton time the 1994 Agreed Framework wasn’t perfect and North Korea was not in 100% compliance. But it was the only thing that stopped North Korea from producing nuclear weapons and separating plutonium. During the Clinton administration, North Korea didn’t make any nuclear bombs. Today, the country possesses material for as many as 13 nuclear weapons. The vast majority of that material was created during the George W. Bush administration. (Really? I’d like to see what proof you have of that. I don’t know much about how to build nukes but my understanding is that it would take many years. So, you think he was all hunky dunky until Bush came along and then he got right on those weapons? That doesn’t strike me as logical)

    The difference between the Clinton administration’s North Korea policy and the Bush administration’s North Korea policy is the difference between success and failure. At least in my opinion. (I have wonder what you mean by success here. If in fact, those policies were a success, then why did they stop working? If something succeeds then it’s a done deal, isn’t it? Personally, I think they are both to blame – neither has truly confronted the situation and definitively handled it. This article is a good argument for that. (

    When Clinton was president we won the wars in Haiti ( this article may be of interest ) Bosnia (really? Read this ), and Kosovo.( Under Bush we are on course of witnessing worst civil war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. (Really? The worst? Are you sure it’s the worst? Because at least in my mind these people have been freed from oppressive regimes. They have a chance of creating a democracy. They have a chance of fighting and getting their freedom. They have free elections. The rape rooms are gone. Women are voting, working, children are going to school, they are now connected to the world outside their borders. This isn’t at least a little tiny bit better?

    And if you’re going to give the love to Clinton for all his accomplishments for Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, etc. – I presume because of all the humanitarian help and so forth, why doesn’t Bush get the same?)

    When the World Trade Center was attacked in 1993, [Clinton] went to court.(and as a result after that second terrorism attack on American soil – we got 911. Do you honestly believe that if Clinton had stopped this bullshit when it happened that it would have emboldened them to commit further acts of terrorism? In my opinion, all this did was show Osama and his posse that they could do it again. And so they did) When it was attacked in 2001, President Bush went to war.(actually, per our Constitution, a president cannot decide to go to war – he must get approval of congress to do so. Which he did. And if you’re going to throw that old chesnut about Bush lied in the intelligence then 1) you have to also say that every other intelligence agency that provided intelligence are liars too. 2) you have to tell me why congress hasn’t withdrawn its permission to go to war – and there was a recent bill that was voted against hands down to do so. 3) Explain to me why if in fact Saddam had no wmd why the NYT was so up in arms about a document appearing on a website that showed Saddam did in fact have them and was developing them and was upset because people could go to the website and figure out how to make a nuclear bomb. 4) Why you are upset about Bush not committing to pre-emptive attack on North Korea for developing Nukes but are upset that he did so with Saddam. You can’t, my friend have it both ways.)
    This is just my opinion.

    I don’t want you to think that I want to get into some protracted debate about this, because I don’t. But I felt compelled to answer your assertions.

    And please do not get the idea that I think in any way that Bush is perfect or without fault or flaw. I do not think that. I see his flaws and mistakes as easily as anyone else. But my gripe is that Clinton is often given a pass and glowing reviews and Bush never is.

    And finally, the point of this article was really not about Bush’s policies vs Clinton’s policies but about the idea that Bush had qualities that Clinton is so beloved for and that bugs the left. See what I mean?



  3. Opps sorry…forgot to appreciate. I really loved this post very well written and very informative. Blessings..
    I am holding your previous comment until I can prepare my answer to the assertions you made. This could be fun. 😉


  4. What a wonderfully written tribute to someone I believe to be a wonderful man. You have captured an essence about him that is responsible for so many allowing their disagreements with policy to turn into something that very much resembles a hatred that divides us terribly.
    I have always felt a major difference between Clinton and Bush was a matter of trust; I never felt I could trust anything that Clinton did or said (still don’t – or concerning his wife), but President Bush strikes me as a man of integrity, one who can be trusted. I pray we can say the same of our next leader.
    Impressive post…

    Thanks Deb. I have similar feelings about this. As to our next president – we can only hope that the new Dem majority will screw up so badly that Hillary won’t have a chance in Hell of getting elected. AND that our conservative representatives will go back to being conservatives.


  5. You Go Girl!!! Great points and WELL SAID! – Post and responses!!

    Thanks girl! 😉 We can always rely on me to say everything that’s on my mind. Is that good or bad? I dunno but it feels good to me. lol.


  6. Thanks for your understanding. I just wanted to make it clear that “regardless” of your party no-one should condemn a party based on a few yoyo’s (ex: Kerry) because even though i’m a Democrat I always vote for whom i think the best person for the job is, regardless of his/her party.

    2nd note: you mentioned (in another answer) that the jobless rate was down? Keep in mind those figures come from how many people are collecting unemployment, and unemployment went from being able to collect for (a year) to six months, no extensions. So honestly i don’t believe that “joblessness” is down. There are just less people collecting because their time ran out. At least that is how it seems to be here in Michigan. I have a friend who recently lost her job and even though she has sent out many many resumes, she has gotten only 1 call back, and no prospects. She’s been out of a job for only a month and a 1/2, but if she hasn’t found a job before her unemployment runs out she will have to take a much lower paying job and probably 2 of those to survive.


    FC, you have a good attitude which I can admire. Although I will say that I don’t judge the Dems by a few but by the aggregate – what I find alarming is that many Dems have seemed to have gone very far left and there aren’t many Kennedy Dems around anymore.

    As to how the unemployment/jobless rate is calculated – I believe you may find this informative:

    About that unemployment stat
    The unemployment rate shows the percentage of employable people in the labor force who are out of work and actively seeking work.
    Often cited as an indicator of economic activity, the unemployment rate’s calculation excludes several groups. Those under 16, the institutionalized, students, homemakers, retirees and people who have stopped looking for jobs are not included in the labor force and not counted as unemployed.
    The number of unemployed is determined by a federal survey of 80,000 households nationwide near the end of the month. An unemployment rate between 4 and 6 percent is considered healthy.

    The source for this info is:

    As to your friend’s difficulty in finding a job – I empathise with her and agree sometimes it is difficult to find a job if you are unwilling to relocate and/or change positions, etc. She may find a headhunter helpful in her pursuit of employment – since they are paid commissions by the employers the job seeker gets the service (I believe) for free. Also, the job rate will fluctuate from state to state – the rate I quoted is the national rate. Which of course is an average.

    Just as an interesting side note – since polls often use a sample as small as 500 people to determine approval ratings, and current issues – I’d have to say I would find the jobless rate more reliable as the sample used in determining it is 100-160 times greater than the average poll.



  7. Dear WC

    Thanks for explaination, really impressed me. I will answer your argument may be later tonight once I will have look on the links your provided me. Really thanks for taking such a long time answering my comments. Blessings..

    no problem – however, if you find your answer is a long one – perhaps we should continue it off the board via email. I just don’t want this to become protracted.
    Thanks 😉


  8. She did register with (3) completely different Head Hunters (in 3 different areas of finding work-that she could possibly be suited for), that was on her first week of losing her job.

    Again, let me point out (I’m speaking of Michigan) From what i’ve read (California, Nevada & Florida have pretty strong economies) so i can’t speak for anyone else.

    Real Estate Journal sites:
    “Home prices in the region have hardly budged over the past few years because of its weaker economy as compared with other regions. Michigan, for example, has lost nearly 300,000 jobs since 2000, and its jobless rate has been “consistently” higher than the national average.”

    The Detroit Freepress cites:
    “We’re going to see Michigan sink to levels that no one has ever seen. We’re going to be looking at the highest unemployment rates in the nation for the next five to 10 years.”


    “Almost 72,000 people are unemployed in Detroit — about 21% of its workforce. That’s more than any Michigan city profiled in the latest census estimates.”


    “The income numbers were coupled with poverty data showing that in metro Detroit communities such as Troy and Clinton Township, the number of people living below the poverty level — making less than about $20,000 for a family of four — has about doubled in the last six years.”

    This is why I feel the way I do.
    Unfortunately, our (Michigan) economy was almost exclusively based on the automotive industry, and that isn’t doing so well, and unfortunately, no one seems to have a plan B…..

    Ok, stepping off of the soap box now….

    peace FC

    Well I hope your friend has good luck soon on the job search.

    In terms of Michigan’s economy I’m utterly shocked that Michiganders re-elected the current governor. Since on a state by state basis the governors of the states are who is in charge and more directly affect its economy. In fact, creating new business opportunities, commerce, trade and jobs is the job of the state legislature and the governor.

    On the face of things, it sounds to me as if both your governor and state legislature have let the good people of Michigan down. I don’t think though that it can be laid at the feet of the federal government. The is a republic – a capitalist society – with free trade and a free market. To expect the federal government to bail out a state or an industry and apparently people are wont to do these days goes against that concept and principle. The answer is not more federal funding (in fact I wish there was absolutely no federal funding of anything) but for local government to take the reins and turn things around.

    What many people don’t seem to realize is that the federal government is in fact you and me and all American citizens – the federal funding is our tax dollars. The purpose of our tax dollars is not to provide enforced charity – but to provide for protection of the country and the general welfare for the country at large. It’s easy to blame the feds for things when you aren’t doing your own job (I don’t mean you but a state government). And it has become a veritable favored past time in this country over the last 10-15 years.

    Anyway, lol, this has gotten super heavy, eh?

    Maybe we should just end off at this point and talk about swapping some good holiday recipes? 😉


  9. I loved your post– so very well written. It was a joy to read how you made your point. Perfectly done!
    I voted for Bush and interestingly enough, I never viewed him as having the charisma that Bill Clinton had with the public. You stated it so beautifully. Whatever else Clinton lacked, he made up for it in charisma. However, I just didn’t see that in George W. Bush. In fact, President Bush always came across just a bit too “right” or “righteous” about his views, a little too strongly crictical about his enemies with that edge of making them a little “wrong.” Now granted, you can’t get much more wrong than Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin. But I always got the idea there was a personal vendetta going on in GWB’s mind, and that there would be a little pleasure in squashing them like the bugs that they are.
    While the Bush policies were in line with my political views and Clinton’s were not, I never thought the Dems disliked Bush because he rivaled Clinton in having the same quality, that ability to connect. Clinton had a charm and a connection that Bush was never quite able to pull off. While I abhorred the politics, I always found myself liking that personality and having to admire how he could appear so geniune and really carry it off. I wanted to dislike Clinton intensely for his politics and I could continue disliking him until I heard him speak. Every time I would have to credit him for that appealing personality he put forth. If only his politics were different.
    Then I would hear Bush speak, and I shared his views. We were in sync. But after his speech was done, I would say to myself, “It’s too bad he lacks the charisma that Clinton had.” JFK was the only other president who had the same brand of charisma as Clinton. They shared a similar quality that I had never seen again.
    So while you made your point so wonderfully well, I just can’t agree. I think the Dems hated Bush because not only did he disagree with their political views, there was just a touch of righteousness that made them a little bit wrong and him a little bit hard for them to like.
    ~ PG

    Interesting take, PG. It’s funny because all of the things you say about Clinton (obviously) I felt about Bush. From day one I never liked Bill Clinton, nor did I find him believable or sincere. I saw he had that effect on people and it confused me – since to me he was as obvious as a snake oil salesman. From the smarmy smile to the ‘I feel your pain’ stuff.

    I saw him as a brillaint manipulator, like the charming lothario that has the whole sorority in love with them and convinced that he is only in love with them. Meanwhile, he is dating the rest of the female population on campus.

    But his ability to convince people of his sincerity and his uncanny ability to co-opt a platform is unparallelled in recent history.

    The likeness of Clinton to Kennedy I have to take exception to – I can’t in my wildest dreams see him in the same light. I believe Kennedy truly cared about this country where I see Clinton as only truly caring about himself – and in the eight years that he was president, my feelings never changed about that.

    As to my point about Bush – I’m not sure I was necessarily speaking to you per se – but my point is/was that Bush had his own brand of charm, humor and ‘realness’ that spoke to people. And that thing you called ‘make wrong’ is part of it. I wasn’t saying that he had the same kind of charm as Clinton (who is metrosexual, urbane, glib) but a charm of his own (down home, plain spoken, shoots from the hip) – as that would have been as phony as a three dollar bill.

    Unfortunately, Bush has allowed himself to be led down the path in the name of bipartisanship. He co-opted several Dem issues and they hate him for it. He has gotten himself into a trying to please people mode which for him is disastorous. I want the cowboy back – the guy who will do what has to be done no matter what anyone thinks. I think he is still in there and maybe this whole mid-term thing will actually bring him back. I can only hope.



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