As Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean continues his rants against Republicans, I note how warmly some Democrats receive this man who did so poorly in their own party’s primaries and caucuses last year. It’s not just that many Democrats embrace the party chairman’s fiery rhetoric, it’s also that they practice it themselves. Powerline‘s Scott Johnson reports a car “sporting ‘Bush ’04/Sieg Heil’” at a recent Democratic fundraiser in Minnesota. We have all seen such bumper stickers and slogans. Indeed, Polipundit‘s Lorie Byrd wrote last month, “it isnt big news when a Democrat compares a Republican to Hitler because they do it so often.”
I have long tried to understand this Democratic hatred of President Bush and the GOP. Bush-hatred has made Clinton-hatred of the 1990s appear tame by contrast. It was liberals in the MSM and Democrats who called President Clinton’s adversaries “Clinton-haters.” (In many cases with good reason.) Today, the president’s adversaries call themselves haters. Indeed, critics of the president have published such books as The Bush-Haters Handbook and The I Hate George W. Bush Reader: Why Dubya is Wrong About Everything. So, this morning, while reading Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick, I thought I was reading about the obsession of the Dean-Hillary Clinton Democrats with our man W when I was reading about Captain Ahab’s obsession with the novel’s eponymous White Whale:
The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung. That intangible malignity which has been from the beginning . . . Ahab did not fall down and worship it . . . but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick.
Surely, I thought some other conservative must have made this analogy, but a quick google search (of “George W. Bush” “Moby Dick”) yielded primarily leftist bloggers/writers comparing the president to Captain Ahab. But, a second search (Ahab President Bush) yielded a number of conservatives who likened the media/Democratic obsession with the president to Ahab’s pursuit of the whale. I reference some of these in the update below.
It truly does seem that some Democrats, including the party’s current chairman, see our president and his political party as the “monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies.” Captain Ahab’s obsession with this whale brought the ruin of his ship, the Pequod and the death of all but one of her crew. Some conservatives believe that Governor Dean’s obsession will bring similar ruin to his party.
Despite the hopes of some of my fellow Republicans, I doubt we will see a similar destruction of the Democratic Party. Still, many Democratic leaders and activists demonize the president as Captain Ahab demonized the White Whale. So, perhaps it would be appropriate to call these people “Captain Ahab Democrats.”
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: After first posting this blog, I decided to do a second google search to see if I could come up with a few conservatives using the Ahab-analogy to describe the Democratic obsession with the president. While I did not have time to review all 19,600 links (for this search), I did peruse a few hundred.
Several people focused on CBS. The Media Research Center noted that “CBS was still pursuing this Captain Ahab or this Moby Dick of a story after all these years when the public already had plenty of basis to judge Bush.” At The American Thinker, Steven Zak noted that “Rather’s pursuit of Bush was like Captain Ahab’s of the white whale.” Reader RonL weighed in on the ArgusLeader Online Forum on “the years long, Ahab-like quest of producer Mary Mapes to bring down George W. Bush with documents it took bloggers less than 24 hours to reveal as fabrications.”
Back on May 1, 2003, Boston University student Brendan Cavalier wrote, “Then there was the almost animalistic hatred of President Bush. Like Ahab?s white whale, the left deemed Bush and his administration the root of all evil and misery.” While more recently, reader Gaius Livius commented to this post on Captain Quarters about Democratic petulance by noting that his “own analogy would be Captain Ahab and the Great White Whale.” Just four days ago, Jonathan R. of GOP-blogger described Amnesty International’s recent attacks on the Bush Administration as an “Ahab-like leftist obsession.”