Party as Faith, President as God

The growing theme among the Bush-worshipping Reep cultists is that any and all criticism of the President is not only false, but outrageous, despicable, and motivated by partisan impulses.

At no point does the Bush cult ever stop to consider the possibility that there might be a legitimate reason to criticize the administration. Instead they go straight to the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth over how wicked liberals and Democrats are that they would dare to criticize the President for any reason.

Recent history makes it obvious that Reeps do not hold the office of President above reproach; indeed, they had no problem hounding and berating a recent Dem holder of that office, a man who certainly deserved a fair quantity of the punishment he received.

So, since the Bush cult obviously doesn't believe that being elected President puts an individual above criticism, and no particular reason has been offered for why this President is unique in the total faith and blind obedience demanded by his followers of the entire country in spite of the administration's countless glaring flaws, only one explanation presents itself:

These people place party before country. With their party in control of the government, they have abandoned even the rhetorical pretense of accountability and limited government and embraced total power for the executive. There is no power a Reep President can demand that his slavering faithful will not gladly give him, no matter how illegal, how unConstitutional, how dangerous to the principles of American freedom. Worse still, the cultists will savage anyone who fails to offer the same uncritical submission to the will of their master.

The underlying assumption in all of this is that Reeps are the only true Americans, that everyone else is to be viewed with suspicion at best, and that even some Reeps (those that dare differ with the pronouncements of the party leaders) are merely infiltrators, there to destabilize the One True Party.

In a very real and frightening sense, those who continue to support Bush are a cult, a collection of fire-breathing priests and wide-eyed believers who have nothing but scorn and contempt for those who fail to bow before their deity, their idol, their President.


Dan Trabue said...

You think Bush-supporters-as-cult explains the majority of his supporters? I definitely hear from that crowd more, but it would be scary to think that there is something like a full 50% of voters who think thusly.

catastrophile said...

Like most cultists, they typically don't realize what they're supporting. The administration agenda is presented to seem very moderate and reasonable, even liberal at times ("saving" Social Security and the Medicare Drug Company Benefit are two notable examples of the administration pretending to embrace liberal programs) -- and, of course, the central narrative is the President Defending America Against the Threat of International Terrorism so We Don't End Up Like the French.

If the message you absorb through talk radio and Focks "News" is that the President not only embraces -- wants to improve, even -- popular liberal programs and is keeping us safe from crazy people with boxcutters, but people still line up for miles to see Fahrenheit 9/11, the impression that you come away with is that there's a lot of people who just don't want us to be safe.

To have one's worldview -- at least, one's political worldview -- so completely defined by the propaganda of the ruling faction not only distorts one's perception of the administration's behavior, it instills a very simplistic and dangerous attitude. People may not actively express such a point of view, but whenever I dig I find an underlying assumption that the administration is good and needs to be supported, that we're at war and have to stand behind our leader -- and if you suggest that we're being "led" in exactly the wrong direction, there's no response at all, the idea is so alien that it just won't register.

That's cult behavior, pure and simple. Not all cultists are fire-breathers . . . the majority just accept what they're told and obey the priests. This is consistent with the behavior I've observed among these people.

There are always, of course, exceptions, and I don't know how many people at this point are simply supporting the Party as opposed to Bush himself -- many people are sick of him, I know, but simply have nowhere to go and will sit quietly and try to ride out the next 2 years and hope for somebody better next time. I'm talking about people who continue to say that Bush is great, needs our support, blah blah blah.

Dan Trabue said...

Sort of a scary scenario. And I know we've both talked to these sorts of folk and I think you're on to a big part of it for a big part of his supporters - the notion that Bush is basically Good and therefore we ought to support him, even if we have some minor disagreement with a few of his policies.

It doesn't seem to matter how much you try to calmly make a case for why you think Bush is a danger or this war wrong, it always seems to come back to, "Okay, you disagree with the war. But now that we're in the war, you know that you've got to support him until the war is over and then we can talk about it some more...."

!! uh. No.