Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Hating the President

Two articles in two days on roughly the same theme - how hating the President has become commonplace. First Cathy Young in yesterday's Boston Globe and today, David Brooks in the New York Times.

The articles are very similar, were produced (presumably) independently and yet appeared on successive days although neither is really about or inspired by a specific recent event. While it is interesting to reflect on the hatred that many people feel towards the President (Clinton or Bush), I'm not sure what they're discussing is really all that new.

Neither writer mentions President Nixon, who was certainly hated. Lincoln, obviously, was hated by a large number of Americans. But, even without the paranoia of Nixon or the Civil War for an excuse, political life was pretty rough in the 19th century. The 1884 campaign between Blaine and Cleveland was vicious and they had no internet or talk radio to blame for it.

I think the primary difference today is that the campaigning never stops, not that it's any angrier.