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Old 12-08-2018, 07:33 AM
adaher adaher is offline
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Is Trump getting attacked less by Democrats than Bush?

I watch a lot of older episodes of the Daily Show, Colbert, and Real Time, as well as talk shows like Leno and Letterman, and comparing those shows to today, it does seem to me that Trump is getting much less guff. And I wonder why that is? Well first, let me know if my premise is even correct. Maybe I'm mistaken and Trump is attacked more by Democrats and liberal celebrities. Second, if you accept the premise, could it be because Trump is so obviously corrupt and awful that you don't need to do much besides report the daily outrages? Or is Trump actually less harmful than Bush was, a case which I think can be made given that all Bush did was get us into a disastrous war and presided over the worst economic crisis since 1929. All Trump has done is disgrace the Oval Office daily. Or maybe, have Democrats learned that the relentless, almost juvenile attacks on Bush maybe didn't really do anything, that it was better to just let Bush hang himself with the rope he was given? Shrill Democratic attacks didn't do anything to beat Bush in 2004, but Bush himself arguably cost Republicans the government in 2006 and 2008. Are Democrats going a little easier because they know there's no point expending energy all saying the same things over and over?
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Old 12-09-2018, 02:35 AM
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You really slathered on the verbiage there, made your point hard to parse, but I daresay you're right that 's it not necessary to attack Trump in the sense of having to seek out weaknesses and exploit them, since the guy says and does stupid things on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis and simple ridicule will do.

Possibly there are more attacks on the supporters of Trump than there were on the supporters of Bush43.

Nice well-poisoning, though, describing attacks on Bush as "relentless, almost juvenile". He wasn't as cartoonishly bad as Trump, but there was plenty about him to criticize.
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Old 12-09-2018, 04:36 AM
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Maybe because the situation is so bat-shit crazy that they don't feel like making fun of Trump is funny. We all have friends or acquaintances that we can rag on, because we know deep down we share the common morality or at least, sanity, but you don't see people making light of someone with mental disabilities. Most educated people are in shock and are pinching themselves on a daily basis to try to keep waking up form this depressing world where Trump or republicans somehow have any supporters at this point. So it's more of a this guy is so bad it's not even worth it to tell some PC joke about some serious shit he just did and laugh.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:50 AM
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Maybe because the situation is so bat-shit crazy that they don't feel like making fun of Trump is funny. We all have friends or acquaintances that we can rag on, because we know deep down we share the common morality or at least, sanity, but you don't see people making light of someone with mental disabilities. Most educated people are in shock and are pinching themselves on a daily basis to try to keep waking up form this depressing world where Trump or republicans somehow have any supporters at this point. So it's more of a this guy is so bad it's not even worth it to tell some PC joke about some serious shit he just did and laugh.
When Bush tried to rub Merkel's shoulders it was the kind of faux pas that's good for a laugh. Trump threatening nuclear war over twitter was not.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:56 AM
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Either I'm living in Bizarro world or I've got really bad memory.
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:49 AM
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I think that as a leftist, there is a certain amount of regret over how we treated Bush. Largely because we had already reached the bottom of the rhetorical well so there was nothing left when Trump came around. Bush is Evil and Bush is Hitler were thrown around pretty easily so they lost much of their impact when Trump came around and perhaps deserved those epithets. So true concerns about Trump sounded like "We have substantive policy disagreements and don't want him to win." which is what was meant during the Bush era.
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Old 12-09-2018, 08:17 AM
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Bush is Evil and Bush is Hitler were thrown around pretty easily
Uh, no. "Bush is Hitler" showed up on a few protest signs and in a few rants by partisans, and got enormous pushback. A lot of folks, myself included, learned about Godwin's Law because of these few incidents. One of Jon Stewart's most famous bits was about this issue:
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Originally Posted by Stewart
Please stop calling people "Hitler" when you disagree with them. It demeans you, it demeans your opponent, and, to be honest, it demeans Hitler. That guy worked too many years, too hard, to be that evil, to have any Tom, Dick, and Harry come along and say, "hey, you're bein' Hitler." No, you know who was Hitler? Hitler!
My memory is that leftists in general did not make these comparisons for Bush, and pushed back hard against those that did.

Under Trump it's different: the behaviors that signal an inclination to and a rise of fascism are there.

What keeps Trump from being Hitler isn't Trump, it's us. That wasn't the case with Bush.

(I'm curious if someone better at search engines than I am can search this board for comparisons between Bush and Hitler; it'd be instructive, and perhaps show me I'm wrong).
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Old 12-09-2018, 08:22 AM
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Oh boy. Searching for these comparisons is complicated by the ways in which Bush's granddad enabled Nazi Germany's rise to power. You gotta be specific to exclude those.

Anyway, this story is representative of what I remember:
Quote:
Jewish advocacy groups led an avalanche of sharp criticism yesterday against two potential television ads that compare President Bush to Adolf Hitler and were posted on a Web site run by MoveOn.org.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress said the ads were beyond the pale of political discussion. Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, called them “hate-mongering.”
... Yesterday, MoveOn.org officials said they don’t believe featuring the ads was an endorsement, and they also said they repudiated the two ads themselves.

Wes Boyd, president of the group’s Voter Fund, said in a statement the ad was one of more than 1,500 submissions that were posted on the Web site www.bushin30seconds.org for the public to view and comment on.

“None of these was our ad, nor did their appearance constitute endorsement or sponsorship by MoveOn.org Voter Fund,” he said. “They will not appear on TV. We do not support the sentiment expressed in the two Hitler submissions.”
So yeah: some leftist nobodies made the comparisons. Republicans jumped on these comparisons and made hay out of them. Most leftists repudiated them.
  #9  
Old 12-09-2018, 10:03 AM
senoy senoy is online now
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I can remember quite a few Bush-Hitler comparisons at the rallies and protests I attended. "Genocide" was thrown around pretty often as well. They seemed fairly ubiquitous. I don't recall a lot of senior leadership saying it other than Bob Byrd, but I don't remember paying attention either. I only remember Byrd because he was my Senator. I certainly don't remember it only being the fringe, but maybe that's because I was with the fringe, so saw them as more mainstream than they were.
  #10  
Old 12-09-2018, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by adaher View Post
I watch a lot of older episodes of the Daily Show, Colbert, and Real Time, as well as talk shows like Leno and Letterman, and comparing those shows to today, it does seem to me that Trump is getting much less guff. And I wonder why that is? Well first, let me know if my premise is even correct. Maybe I'm mistaken and Trump is attacked more by Democrats and liberal celebrities.
I won't claim to be a comprehensive media watcher, but based on my limited viewing, I suspect your premise is wrong.

I never watched Leno, but my understanding is that he rarely made political jokes, and Fallon is apparently following in that tradition. Letterman was a little more political, but I always had the sense he was a moderate traditional Republican, so although he sometimes mocked W's gaffes and dumb comments, he rarely attacked his political positions. Letterman left late night before the 2016, but we know how he feels about Trump as president:
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Originally Posted by David Letterman
Other people have made this point: If the guy was running Dairy Queen, he'd be gone. This guy couldn't work at The Gap. So why do we have to be victimized by his fecklessness, his ignorance?
Colbert satirized Bush and the Republicans brutally but subtlely on The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show took him on too, but had time for other subjects, including the occasional stupid Democrat.

But in the Trump era, he dominates everything. As Letterman's successor on the Late Show, Colbert has dedicated practically all of every monologue since November 2016 to Trump's latest shenanigans, and Seth Myers has done the same with "A Closer Look" almost every night.

I never watch the Jimmies, but even if Fallon mostly leaves him alone, I've heard Kimmel take a few jabs at Trump.

And virtually every cold open of SNL for the past two years has poked Trump (reviving Alec Baldwin's career.)

As I said, my media consumption is relatively limited, and may just be limited in the opposite direction to the OP's, but I don't get the sense that Trump is treated more lightly by comedians and the media than W was.
  #11  
Old 12-09-2018, 11:42 AM
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When Bush tried to rub Merkel's shoulders it was the kind of faux pas that's good for a laugh.
If he'd made a grab 'em by the pussy remark like Donny Two-scoops, not so funny. You reap what you sow.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:14 PM
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... could it be because Trump is so obviously corrupt and awful that you don't need to do much besides report the daily outrages?

... All Trump has done is disgrace the Oval Office daily.
There you go -- your own question answered. If conservatives/Republicans say the kinds of obvious things you just said -- and many of them do -- Dems don't need to say it.

Although personally my explanation of the relative dearth of commentary about Trump is this persistent mental image I have of many observers just staring at this dumpster fire in stunned, speechless, open-mouthed amazement.

For instance, if one wanted to make the point that the man suffers from genuine clinical narcissistic personality disorder, one need only observe that not only is everything he says about him, but he literally refers to himself as a "genius", claims that he understands all issues "better than anyone", and reveals through his comically inept words and actions that he understands virtually nothing at all. It's a level of oblivion that would never have been written into a comical movie script because it would be considered cartoonish and not believable. So what is there to say? This dumpster fire is its own self-parody. Really, there are no words.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:19 PM
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I watch a lot of older episodes of the Daily Show, Colbert, and Real Time, as well as talk shows like Leno and Letterman, and comparing those shows to today, it does seem to me that Trump is getting much less guff.
I think your comparison meter is broken.
  #14  
Old 12-09-2018, 12:21 PM
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I think your comparison meter is broken.
I think he is holding it upside down.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:31 PM
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Bush was funny, Trump is scary. Also you can't really ridicule someone as outlandish as Trump, because he is a walking onion article.

Having said that, I think Trump makes the left angry in ways Bush didn't. Bush upset the left, but he didn't enrage and mobilize us the way Trump does.

So from what I'm seeing, Bush made the left laugh and get angry, but Trump makes the left enraged and organized.
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Old 12-09-2018, 03:13 PM
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We all disagreed with virtually everything W did. His boneheaded tax cuts, his military misadventures, his attempting to put Harriet Myers on the Supreme Court. But at no time did I ever think for a minute that Bush was a criminal or a grifter or a bigot. I never thought that he wasn't acting on what he thought was the best course for the country. Sure, he was an idiot. But he didn't slack off and watch television and tweet all day long. He took the job seriously. He read his briefings. He didn't appoint people dedicated to destroying the agencies to which the were chosen to lead. Yes he was criticized but those were policy disagreements, not character assassinations. To contrast, you can't attack Donald's character, he hasn't any to attack. You can't attack his work ethic, he has none. You can't attack his principles, he has none. Every atom of his body is pure unadulterated evil. There's no comparing how these two were treated because they are completely different species.
  #17  
Old 12-09-2018, 04:36 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Originally Posted by senoy View Post
I think that as a leftist, there is a certain amount of regret over how we treated Bush. Largely because we had already reached the bottom of the rhetorical well so there was nothing left when Trump came around. Bush is Evil and Bush is Hitler were thrown around pretty easily so they lost much of their impact ...
This is my recollection as well.
  #18  
Old 12-09-2018, 08:46 PM
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Bush was funny, Trump is scary. Also you can't really ridicule someone as outlandish as Trump, because he is a walking onion article.

Having said that, I think Trump makes the left angry in ways Bush didn't. Bush upset the left, but he didn't enrage and mobilize us the way Trump does.

So from what I'm seeing, Bush made the left laugh and get angry, but Trump makes the left enraged and organized.
I also believe that whether or not you agreed with him, Bush had the best interests of the country at heart. I suffer no similar illusions about Trump, who will happily burn the country to the ground if it helps him out personally even just a little bit.
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Old 12-09-2018, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by senoy View Post
I think that as a leftist, there is a certain amount of regret over how we treated Bush. Largely because we had already reached the bottom of the rhetorical well so there was nothing left when Trump came around. Bush is Evil and Bush is Hitler were thrown around pretty easily so they lost much of their impact when Trump came around and perhaps deserved those epithets. So true concerns about Trump sounded like "We have substantive policy disagreements and don't want him to win." which is what was meant during the Bush era.
Ah yes, the rhetoric. How foolishly we squandered!

"The worst thing about this," opined the man with a blowtorch to his testicles, "is that I screamed so loudly when they were merely breaking my ribs with a bat."
  #20  
Old 12-10-2018, 10:11 AM
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So from what I'm seeing, Bush made the left laugh and get angry, but Trump makes the left enraged and organized.
I reserve the right to withhold judgement until 2020.
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  #21  
Old 12-10-2018, 10:19 AM
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Vinyl Turnip:

Quote:
Ah yes, the rhetoric. How foolishly we squandered!

"The worst thing about this," opined the man with a blowtorch to his testicles, "is that I screamed so loudly when they were merely breaking my ribs with a bat."
The point is that calling Bush all those things when it was evident to pretty much everyone that he wasn't was the political equivalent of "crying wolf." And now that there's a real wolf (or something much closer, at least) in the White House, people don't listen when you yell, "Wolf! Wolf!"
  #22  
Old 12-10-2018, 10:38 AM
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Ah yes, the rhetoric. How foolishly we squandered!

"The worst thing about this," opined the man with a blowtorch to his testicles, "is that I screamed so loudly when they were merely breaking my ribs with a bat."
It IS foolish. Words mean things and how they are taken means things as well. It's 'boy who cried wolf.' When you over-exaggerate a position, it leaves you less rhetorical room later for a more egregious violation. It normalizes the rhetoric so that it is easier to ignore it when a worse case comes along. Let's not pretend that Bush was a good president and let's certainly not pretend that the majority of his policies were good. Escalating the rhetoric though to extremes made it easier to ignore the same rhetoric when applied to a much more dangerous person. So back then when we were talking about Bush's brownshirts and how democracy was under attack (and I know that apparently some of you don't remember that, I don't know what to tell you. I can certainly remember those exact phrases, some of which came out of my mouth.) it was ignored as needless alarmism. Now we need those words about attacks on the justice department and rather than being seen as real warnings, they are similarly being seen as rhetorical excess.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:53 PM
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Clearly we need some kind of rhetoric hedge fund.
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  #24  
Old 12-11-2018, 03:29 PM
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It IS foolish. Words mean things and how they are taken means things as well. It's 'boy who cried wolf.' When you over-exaggerate a position, it leaves you less rhetorical room later for a more egregious violation. It normalizes the rhetoric so that it is easier to ignore it when a worse case comes along. Let's not pretend that Bush was a good president and let's certainly not pretend that the majority of his policies were good. Escalating the rhetoric though to extremes made it easier to ignore the same rhetoric when applied to a much more dangerous person. So back then when we were talking about Bush's brownshirts and how democracy was under attack (and I know that apparently some of you don't remember that, I don't know what to tell you. I can certainly remember those exact phrases, some of which came out of my mouth.) it was ignored as needless alarmism. Now we need those words about attacks on the justice department and rather than being seen as real warnings, they are similarly being seen as rhetorical excess.
But at the time no one in their wildest imagination thought that someone like Trump was in the wings. With the possible exception of Nixon, Bush was the most incompetent president we had seen in nearly a hundred years. He bungled us into two wars that we have been unable to completely extract ourselves from some 15 years later, and nearly brought on the second great depression. Strong language was entirely called for. Its just that it with 20/20 hindsight out that as bad as he was he wasn't quite to the level of what we see now.

Should we stop calling the Trump administration, a corrupt, dumpster fire, with fascist leanings just on the off chance that a future president will moon the UN and send out the Secret Service to arrest journalists who write against him? And should we avoid criticizing that one because his successor could decide to nuke Los Angeles because they didn't vote for him?
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:07 PM
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Well, yeah. We need to be honest and avoid exaggerating. There's no need to exaggerate, because Trump is bad enough without it.

I mean, I'm not exaggerating when I say Trump is evil. He clearly would hurt others to help himself, and that is always the definition of evil I use when talking about it. I have harsher words for someone who actively intends harm, should such arise.

I will compare Trump to Hitler, but I won't say he is Hitler, because I know that he isn't Hitler.

I never engaged in the rhetoric about Bush, either. And I didn't really see much of it on my own. I think it was in certain lefty circles, and I wasn't a part of those. I actually was in the circles where it took some time to actually hear about everything bad Bush did.

Exaggeration gives your opponents a way to undermine you, so I find it useless as a rhetorical strategy. Great for venting, though.
  #26  
Old 12-11-2018, 10:55 PM
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With the possible exception of Nixon, Bush was the most incompetent president we had seen in nearly a hundred years.
I must protest! Dick was outstandingly venal, paranoid and twisted but he had some basic core competencies. Thank Og we did not get him in the age of the socialnet reinforcing algorithm.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 12-11-2018 at 10:56 PM.
  #27  
Old 12-11-2018, 11:31 PM
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Comparisons between GWBush and Hi1ter existed, but not among serious or half serious people. If you want the leftie bumper sticker slogan of the day, it would be Bush Lied, People Died.


Searches for Hitler on google have a well-known seasonal trend, peaking in April. They were higher in 2004 and 2005 but from 2006- the present they didn't change too much. I don't see evidence of any exceptionally high amount of comparisons to Hitler during the Bush era, except insofar as 2005 was the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII.

"Well known": I kid. But it is striking. Chart: https://trends.google.com/trends/exp...eo=US&q=hitler

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