Andrew Ferguson writes, "On the evidence of his new book, we can’t be sure if Dinesh D’Souza is a hysteric or a cynic." That's just one line from a satisfyingly brutal review in, yes, The Weekly Standard. The piece works best when it situates D'Souza's hallucinogenic hate-fest in the larger pathologies of current American politics:
How did the left-wing, coke-snorting Manchurian candidate become the fondly remembered Democrat-you-could-do-business-with—“good old Bill,” in Sean Hannity’s phrase?
Barack Obama is what happened. The partisan mind—left-wing or right-wing, Republican or Democrat—is incapable of maintaining more than one oversized object of irrational contempt at a time. When Obama took his place in the Republican imagination, his titanic awfulness crowded out the horrors of Bad Old Bill; Clinton’s five days in Moscow were replaced by Obama’s three years in that mysterious Indonesian “madrassa.”
We should probably be grateful for this psychological limitation. Without it the negativity of our politics would be relentless. Like Ronald Reagan before him, George W. Bush was reviled for eight years by Democrats driven mad by a sputtering rage—the “most right-wing president in history”!—but it’s only a matter of time until they rediscover him as a mild-mannered figure, the signer of campaign finance reform, funder of African AIDS relief, would-be grantor of amnesty to illegal aliens; an able if sometimes misguided man whose public service stands in stark contrast to whatever revolting Republicans have come after him. The Dubya renaissance will begin the moment President Christie takes his hand off the Bible and begins his Inaugural Address.
It’s in this light that the anti-Obama hysteria of recent months should be seen. Among professionals, political loyalties and hates are as changeable as the weather, bearing no relation to the plain evidence that normal people try to rely on. Taking the long view means never taking them seriously. Lucky for us, the hysterics make it so easy not to take them seriously.
I may one day find it possible to pity Bush. But Cheney? Not until he is in jail. But what a relief to find such a brutal review of a right-wing apparatchik in the neocon press. Ferguson is no fool.