“Derangement Syndrome” Syndrome

I sometimes wonder, when reading blogs and comments therein, how many people realize that “Bush Derangement Syndrome” and it’s apparent mutation “Palin Derangement Syndrome” are not, in fact, actual mental health disorders. The term was coined by Charles Krauthammer as a joke, for crying out loud. And yet, as James noted in his post below, there are people who actually question the mental health of people who dare to criticize the current governor of Alaska.

This is fascinating to me on a number of levels. Not the least of which is that it’s pretty apparent that the tossing about of the “[insert name here] Derangement Syndrome” card is primarily a sad attempt to ignore argument or, at the very least, evidence of a refusal to comprehend that somebody else might see the world (horrors!) differently.

For my own part, the most fascinating aspect of this “Derangement Syndrome” is that it is most prominently used in the defense of two politicians (Bush and Palin) who have really lousy records of their time in office. Especially from a conservative perspective. For Bush’s part, well, res ipsa loquitor–at this point we all know his record.

As for Palin, this is a woman who, as both Mayor and Governor, raised taxes, spent prolifigately, eagerly sought out federal pork, and was more than happy to heap subsidies on big businesses. All of which, as far as I can tell, make her just another mediocre Alaskan politician.

I just don’t see why conservatives are so wild about her, given that her record is far from conservative. Or even that impressive.

Just call me crazy, I guess.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. PrestoPundit says:

    No, we’re simply sick to death of people lying about Palin, especially sick to death of Republicans lying about Palin.

    And a lot the pundit class who think they themselves are intellectual “giants”, and have such contempt for Palin are — if truth be told — intellectual pea shooters next to people like Richard Epstein, or Thomas Sowell, or Jonah Goldberg, or anyone else whose actually contributed to the advancement of human knowledge.

    Many of these “intellectuals” have themselves a demonstrably underdeveloped understanding of economics, political philosophy, and even history.

    And they routinely know less about the details of contemporary affairs than my mother.

    So when it comes to calling people stupid, a lot of these conservatives and Republicans need to shut up.

  2. PrestoPundit says:

    Alex, you’re an ass.

    “Bush Derangement Syndrome” has nothing to do with criticism, is has to do with fantasizing about killing Bush, or with repeatedly calling Bush BusHitler.

    I’m guessing you know this, only you’d prefer your own lie for the purposes of making a point whatever it is.

    The problem is the smearing, the lying, the sick attacks, the ugly unfair attacks, etc.

    It’s a shameless canard to pretend the problem is mere “criticism”.

  3. Rick DeMent says:

    “Bush Derangement Syndrome” has nothing to do with criticism, is has to do with fantasizing about killing Bush, or with repeatedly calling Bush BusHitler.

    Utter bulls__t, I’ve been accused of BDS for simply pointing out facts that ran counter to the mans narrative of events. I have never used terms like chimpy McHitler or the Thief in Chief ever and have been accuesed of BDS simply because I opposed the guys policies.

    No, we’re simply sick to death of people lying about Palin, especially sick to death of Republicans lying about Palin.

    But your side never seemed to tire of people lying about Obama, or Kerry, or Gore. In fact is was elevated to some kind of sport among the rabid right …

  4. Alexander Klingman says:

    And a lot the pundit class who think they themselves are intellectual “giants”, and have such contempt for Palin are — if truth be told — intellectual pea shooters next to people like Richard Epstein, or Thomas Sowell, or Jonah Goldberg, or anyone else whose actually contributed to the advancement of human knowledge.

    [singing] One of these things is not like the other. One of these things, doesn’t belong…

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    But your side never seemed to tire of people lying about Obama, or Kerry, or Gore. In fact is was elevated to some kind of sport among the rabid right …

    Dude why, Why would any one need to lie about any one of the three, unless they support them?

  6. odograph says:

    I don’t know Alex, I’ve lived long enough to see a toggle go back and forth. There are a certain set of people who will be irrationally angry with a Democratic President, and a certain set of people who will be irrationally angry with a Republican President. When parties change in the Whitehouse, one set is activated, one deactivated.

    I live in an area (SoCal) big enough to have left and right wing radio stations. Long before the internets I could tune in and hear the “derangement syndrome” people speak. It’s a good description.

    … but of course the high ground is rational discourse, and hopefully a little introspection, so that we don’t just paint our own irrational impulses with a rational-sounding veneer.

    We’re pants-wearing monkeys, doing the best we can.

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    Alex, obsessive compulsive disorder is a recognized disorder, however, and just as there were some (and still are some) people who blame everything on Bill Clinton there are people who blame George Bush for everything and, no doubt, will continue to do so for years after he’s left the White House. At some point this goes beyond being “on message” and becomes actually disordered.

  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Alex, obsessive compulsive disorder is a recognized disorder, however, and just as there were some (and still are some) people who blame everything on Bill Clinton there are people who blame George Bush for everything and, no doubt, will continue to do so for years after he’s left the White House. At some point this goes beyond being “on message” and becomes actually disordered.

    I blame it all on Lucifer and his followers.

    We’re pants-wearing monkeys, doing the best we can.

    and I think we are all leaf wearing sinners and we ain’t doing it right.

  9. LFC says:

    I think Alex has hit the nail on the (hammer)head. Both Bush and Palin are incredible lightweights and, as pointed out, actual defense of their records is nearly impossible. Reading people try to defend Palin’s disastrous interviews with Gibson and Couric is hilarious. (Is it any wonder the McCain campaign refused to let her hold even a single news conference, a move that is unprecedented in modern history?)

    In Bush and Palin, [Blank] Derangement Syndrome has become a pathetic shield for those who desperately wish to defend the indefensible. It is the political conversation equivalent to “I know you are, but what am I?” As soon as the phrase is uttered, you know that the person delivering it has absolutely nothing of interest to offer, making it a great indicator that anything resembling actual debate is futile.

    Presto, do you actually read Jonah Goldberg for anything other than comic relief?

  10. Alex,

    You are on target. The general usage of xDS has become nothing more than a deflection of people frustrated by criticism of their guy (or gal). It is thrown up in lieu of a reasoned refutation of a given argument about the politician in question. This has been especially true in the Palin case where, apart from things like the early pregnancy rumors (which were ridiculous), most of the criticisms have been based on things like her record and her own words.

  11. odograph says:

    We’re pants-wearing monkeys, doing the best we can.

    and I think we are all leaf wearing sinners and we ain’t doing it right.

    That’s the wave-particle duality 😉

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    That’s the wave-particle duality 😉

    Aye, a large random explosion of poop formed me so I seek to smell like one vs.created with the the free will to just say no, so I did, but I feel bad about it but can’t seem to stop, and those who seek to be both.

  13. PrestoPundit says:

    LCF — ever read something as long as a book?

    Might try it some time.

    Goldberg has written one of those darn things.

    You might learn something from it, most folks did.

  14. chum says:

    Bush Derangement Syndrome is tough to pin down, there’s no one reason why righties fling it at lefties.

    For my part, for pointing out the intrinsic contradiction between a holier-than-thou self-righteousness by Bush supporters on one hand (You hate America! You’re a sinner!) and an administration that lusts for power (Addington, executive orders) and tortures unself-consciously, I ‘ve been accused of Bush D.S.

    On occassions like those, using BDS is just straight propaganda intended to question the very sanity of the critic rather than address their criticisms.

    Patriots made the grave error of thinking that to support the war in Iraq they had to support everything Bush did, and ended up justifying practices that a child could tell violated small govt conservatism. The GOP still hasn’t recovered from this ‘disorder.’ If anything, I would think that Bush supporters at this time would have the Bush Derangement, as there is virtually nothing he could do to merit condemnation. If torture, nationalizing the banking industry, and incompetenly managing two wars won’t do it, nothing will.

    And by the way, Klingman nails it when he wittily says “One of these things is not like the other…” I laughed aloud at that one, because putting Mr. Goldberg in with that crowd is, well, ludicrous.

  15. 0whole1 says:

    > I just don’t see why conservatives are so wild about her, given that her record is far from conservative.

    Because they’re thinking tactics (electability), not strategy (ability to govern).

    The Obama election’s two biggest positives as far as I’m concered are 1) the restoration of *competent* governance (whether you agree with any of his policies or not) and 2) the end of the fear that the government is actively working to establish a dictatorship, destroy the US Constitution and/or end American democracy.

    Would a Palin presidency say the same things as an Obama presidency with regards to those two points? I think not — and until they can field a candidate that *does* say the same things, the GOP has a long row to hoe.

  16. eyeball says:

    Here’s a great column on this from the Boston Herald.

  17. anjin-san says:

    “Bush Derangement Syndrome” has nothing to do with criticism, is has to do with fantasizing about killing Bush, or with repeatedly calling Bush BusHitler.

    On the Richter Scale of stupidity, this comment rates a “10”.

  18. LFC says:

    Presto asked… LCF — ever read something as long as a book? Goldberg has written one of those darn things. You might learn something from it, most folks did.

    Sure. In fact, I read parts of “Liberal Facism” by Jonah Goldberg. (Many excerpts were available online. I refuse to contribute to Jonah’s wingnut welfare.)

    So what did I learn? I learned that it’s abundantly clear that he doesn’t really understand what a liberal is (it’s not simply every single person who disagrees with him and the GOP) and that he really has no idea what facism is (it’s not any and every viewpoint that runs contra to the GOP talking points).

    Of course, the cover (a smiley face with a Hitler moustache) is a pretty clear indicator that this is not a scholarly work but rather a pathetic partisan rant.

    Presto, I get the feeling that you’ve bought and drooled over every book that Ann Coulter ever wrote, TiVo O’Reilly, and bob your head up and down to Limbaugh. Try some thinking conservatives once in a while.

  19. Deanna says:

    IF I am to be called a “elite” because I refused to support someone who is proud of their ignorance for one of the highest offices in the land then so be it.
    I prefer to know that my vote went in the best interest of this country and not to a party that would offer someone who is truly witless as a candidate.
    Snick and snark over what she said or did but her interviews with Gibson and Couric were NOT “gotcha” media as Palin likes to state. They were viable questions that would not have been looked at as “gotcha” (that word alone shows her inability to lead) questions. Her ignorance flows.

  20. Deanna says:

    Facts regarding Palin that cannot be excused away.
    1. TrooperGate

    2. Socialist action of taking money from big oil and giving to the people of Alaska.

    3. Socialist action of giving state funds to big oil.

    4. Constant lying to the American people in her:
    A. Sold a plane on ebay
    B. Her support of a bridge to no where.

    5. Refusal to release her medical records.

    6. Her pandering to the wing nut segment of the party that stooped to a level of communication that would have Buckley rolling over in his grave.

    7. Her ignorance in accepting the job of running for VP that screams she is unaware of her limitations. She has no one to blame for this action. It was her’s alone and she owns it regardless of some who are now trying to say the mean old men of the party are to blame for offering it.

    8. Her abandon in buying clothes knowing that the money came from donations.

    9. Her lack of support of Stevens when she was running but now flip flops since she lost. Do we really needs this in the party after GWB?

    10. The fact that she has no problem screwing the people she serves by abusing the money that is there by staying at her own home. She made the excuse today that it was during the redo at her office but that was completed with 8 weeks of her taking office and she was still abusing that aspect when she left office to run for VP

    We could go on and on with the factual issues this woman carries but just this alone should scream she is unqualified besides the fact I still see the video of her, with spittle on her chin, at those rallies.

  21. bains says:

    Alex, while any derangement syndrome can, (and has) been mis-alleged, fundamentally it has to to with ones tendency to take benign points and blow them way out of proportion, or purposefully leave out whole swaths of relevant information. Another symptom is having utter faith that some non-sourced allegation contrary to all reasonable evidence is fact. Sully’s obsession with Trig Palin represents the later, and if not a parody, Deanna’s comments above represent the former.