I drafted a post a while ago on this topic, but I’ve never quite finished it. I think the impulse behind it is good, so I submit the idea for your consideration:
Bush has been fond of talking about the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” (You know, in a bad way; he’s against it.) But of course, he takes every opportunity to shed criticism or be held to any standard of accountability.
It’s too late now, alas, but at some point during the debates I wish John Kerry had kind of explicitly called Bush out on this. Like, “I know that you were handed a recession and then 9/11 happened so you lost a million jobs on your watch, but I expect my Presidents to overcome such difficulties and implement effective plans to meet these unexpected challenges. To accept that you shouldn’t have handled the economy any differently would be to engage in the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Or, “You told us that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which there weren’t. You told us that Osama bin Ladena and Sadaam Hussein were in cahoots; they weren’t. You told us that this war would cost $30 billion; it is projected to cost upwards of $200 billion. You told us that Osama bin Laden can run but he can’t hide, yet he is still on the loose. To accept that we shouldn’t have to trust the word of our President would be to engage in the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
You get the idea. I wish Kerry had used that line. I wish he’d reminded us more explicitly that we hold our Presidents to a higher standard. That’s all.