I finally realized something while I was reading this article by James Lileks. The article digs up some old quotes by former President Clinton about Iraq, Saddam Hussein and WMD. These quotes, of course, sound just like President Bush on the same subject before the invasion. Yet most of the anti-Bush factions that castigate him for his statements are big fans of Bill Clinton. Now, one could put this down to the split between the DNC faction and the “Democratic wing” of the Democratic Party (as the DNC side is not nearly as vicious in their anti-Bush fervor).
But I think it’s more that Bush means what he says. That’s the really unforgivable sin in modern politics. That’s a big reason Reagan was hated as well - he had the audacity to call the Soviet Union what it was, an “evil empire”. The problem with a politician being straight forwardis that it puts pressure on other politicians to do the same. It also bugs the punditocracy because what’s the point of spin and “analysis” if one can understand the plain meaning in a politicians speech? Of course, Bush fudges on the details and secondary issues like any other politician, but what the public tends to care far more about is the “big picture” and there, Bush has to a much larger extent than most basically said what he meant and did what he said. And that is his real crime.