Yes, I was “schooled” by Jeb Bush last night who was a guest on Stephen Colbert’s inaugural late-night talk show. The brother of former president George W. Bush and son of former president George H. W. Bush is seeking the Republican Party’s nomination and found this occasion to score some points with those of us who love the irony and sarcasm of Stephen Colbert. When the subject of politics and President Obama came up, he noted that he does not question the President’s motives, pointing out very astutely, “If you question someone’s motives you can’t ever find common ground.”
Well, immediately he explained why he is not the darling of the Republican Party, polling in the bottom tier of candidates right now far behind the darling of the hyper-conservative base of the party, Donald Trump. The disdain that the Republican have demonstrated for Obama for the whole of his presidency reflects “questionings” of his motivations, a critical stance which stems for their outright disdain of his person. This disdain has been so obvious, so blatantly egregious that it often has reached the point of comic. To illustrate, I recently saw a cartoon which illustrated their penchant to blame him for everything, the cartoon posing the question, “If a tree falls in the forest, and Fox News is not there to report it, is it still Obama’s fault?”
We are all “motivated” creatures and in being critical of the motives of others we run the risk of “assuming” that we are not motivated ourselves. And Bush’s observation indicated that he grasped the notion that when we are trapped in this “embedded thinking,” based on deep-seated fears and insecurities, we cannot even “seek” common ground. But this applies to all of us, even…cough, cough…ahem, ahem, ”moi.” Persons like myself, very much on the liberal wing of politics, often have trouble realizing that conservative values have an important place in our life, politically, socially, and culturally. It is then so easy to find ourselves guilty of the same obnoxious arrogance that we attribute to “them.”
However, I do admit that the current situation with the GOP is beyond the pale. But the real root of the problem lies only in the hard-core base of the party…those that their own Senate leader once described as “knuckle-draggers”…with most Republicans being quite intelligent and thoughtful. The real culprit has been the leadership of the party which has routinely capitulated to this “baser element” in their ranks who depend on “low-information” voters without which they could not win anything.