Original published on November 8th, 2005 at 9:52am.


Dear Naomi

In response to your article in the Guardian – “We Americans are like recovering addicts after a four-year bender” – I’d like to point out a few things I believe you got wrong.

You start by saying that George Bush has been “until recently eerily untouchable.”  Funny, I haven’t heard you guys describe him that way for the past five years. But it doesn’t ring true anyway: I can’t remember a time when Bush was not criticised, lambasted, railed at, ranted about and generally disparaged in the media. To say that he was ever “untouchable” is ridiculous, but it serves the purpose of making what you are about to say in this article seem a little more plausible, or at least worth writing about. I’m sure you have a need to vent your frustrations about Bush and need any premise to do so, thus this premise that things have suddenly changed for the president. And of course the Guardian loves an American that is willing to deprecate America, so any excuse will do. Don’t worry – it’s our little secret.

You go on to describe – oops, I apologise, I haven’t even introduced myself. John Wright, talk radio host, blogger and rampant rationalist. Nice to meet your acquaintance. You go on to describe some of the things you believe have caused this ‘turnaround in public opinion’ (wink, wink) toward Bush. Absurdly, you start with Hurricane Katrina. After I wiped the gratuitous smirk from my face, I began pondering how I may be able to explain to you in language you will understand that not absolutely all misfortune is attributable to Bush. I realise that, having been a campaign member of the failed candidacy of Al Gore in 2000, you are capable of presenting facts in such a way that they will always seem to be Bush’s fault. But certain things are a stretch, even for you.

So let me clear the matter up for you. Hurricanes are a natural force. They are far beyond the control of even the President of the United States. Contrary to what some of your left-wing cohorts have suggested, a Category Four hurricane cannot be steered by anyone, not even Bush. ‘Well yes John,’ you say, ‘but at the very least Cheney must have blown the levees in New Orleans. Does anyone think it is any coincidence,’ you ask rhetorically, ‘that those poor black people were left there to drown helplessly in the waters and Cheney is an evil man?’

Come on, Naomi. You know it wasn’t because of Bush that not everyone was able to get out of New Orleans in time. Hell, half the people I saw on TV said they were staying to ‘stick it out.’  All you’ve got to do is say the words “black”, “injustice” and “Katrina” in one sentence and your fellow libs will have an orgasm of anti-Bush sentiment. You’ve stepped that far from reality. You’re under the influence of leftist rhetoric. It’s a mind-altering drug. To coin a phrase inspired by a recent appearance of Tom Cruise on Oprah, you have jumped the couch. You need rehab.

So this article moves on. It’s entertaining, I’ll give you that. “How did he get away with so many lies for so long?” Uh; which lies, Naomi? “After 9/11, Bush, Cheney and Karl Rove [the new buzzname for right-wing evil] successfully used the fear of more terrorist attacks and the intoxicant of ruthless jingoism to sedate the country and make it compliant.” Compliant with what, Naomi? The vast Bush conspiracy? You don’t have a very high regard for anyone’s intelligence except your own, do you, Naomi? Everyone else has been hoodwinked by Bush and Cheney, everyone else has had the wool pulled over their eyes; if only they were as smart as you, they would see the vast right-wing conspiracy!

You say: “They could not have had more fortunate timing. During an era when US prestige abroad had already been declining, when US schools were turning out subliterates, when the US economy was being crippled by competition from harder-working south-east Asians and Chinese, Americans – and especially American men – were feeling the sinking self-regard characteristic of those losing prestige in once-great empires in decline.”

Really? You seem to know a lot about how average American men were feeling. But I suspect you work with and meet relatively few of them.  Am I wrong?  Being a feminist part of the liberal intellectual crowd, I’m finding it difficult to see how manage to associate with average American men, at least the kind you’re talking about. Let me share with you the true feelings of average American men, from my experience living and working with them every single day. They don’t give a rat’s ass about “US prestige abroad”. Sorry. They know that the US economy is doing better than could have been expected in the post-9/11 world. They are confident about America and its place in the world, what with being the world’s only superpower, the world’s largest economy and the most influential nation on earth (minor details). Anyway, I didn’t mean to take the wind out of your sails – by all means proceed.

“Bush, Cheney and Rove changed all that with their myth making post-9/11. Suddenly those feminists were no longer so threatening: we still needed tough men in firefighter suits to protect the less powerful.” I suddenly feel the urge to giggle here, Naomi, reading this. I mean, really. You actually believe that feminists were, at one point, “threatening”? Because I don’t mind being the one to break it to you, Naomi; feminism is not important in today’s world. Only someone with your unique delusions could think that it is, and it is more bizarre still that you believe feminism even touched, let alone intimidated, most average American men.

Sorry, I interrupted.

“Suddenly American men could feel potent at the sight of a statue of a tyrant toppling in a public square…” Suddenly? Not sure what you mean here, Naomi – you assert that some sort of change has happened for American men with regard to how “potent” they feel once watching Saddam’s statue coming down. I’m telling you: not a single news story is affecting the potency of “average American men”. How else can I assure you of this fact? And I’m sure most men are touched at your thoughtfulness in this respect, but, thank you, they are doing just fine.

“[Suddenly American men] could put a yellow ‘Support the Troops’ sticker on their SUVs and forget the spiking mortgage, the downsizing of good-paying white-collar jobs, the increasing obstreperousness of their women.” What kind of a picture of average American men do you have in your mind, Naomi? I’d bet a thousand dollars it isn’t my friend Rick from New Orleans, a gay artist who eats salads for lunch and thought his fellow bayou-dwellers who stayed were just too stupid rather than too poor. Your prejudiced, bigoted, intolerant cliché of the average American man is one who drives an SUV (gasp!), supports the troops (no!), and drags their women around by the hair like a caveman (oops- did I come close to understanding your feminist worldview Naomi?). And just how the tension of higher mortgage interest rates might be being soothed by the fucking war on terror is never quite explained in your gushing belch of an article. It may be a surprise to you, Naomi, but most average American men don’t sit around thinking about world events a lot; they’re too busy contributing to the greatness of America by getting on with their lives.

“Bush managed to be golden for so long because he made Americans – and especially white American men, his core constituency – feel good about their identity again.” You are rather obsessed with white American men, Naomi. I could get you a date with one, if that’s what you’re really driving at here (email me your number and I’ll be happy to pass it on to someone who will easily dispel your stereotype of him within the first five minutes).

“Katrina was like the end of the Wizard of Oz: the tiny, fibbing man was revealed behind the great big voice and the inflated ideals.” What had he been “fibbing” about Naomi? And how did a hurricane do that? You and your fellow liberal pundits are like one huge choir; you’ve been handed your hymnsheets and now you’re just one big heaving, vociferous, vibrating babel.

The rest of your article is just like one of those hymnsheets: out of touch with reality and distorted by your blinkered, skewed worldview. But the ‘liberal’ readership of the Guardian will no doubt be in ecstasy of endorsement with your assessment of the Bush presidency and ‘white American men’ (aka evil evil evil), and a lot of head-nodding will, I’m sure, accompany your work.

Thankfully most average Americans – though you probably think they’re mindless – are not mindless enough to agree with you, Naomi. The re-election of Bush was only a year ago, by a margin of over 3 million popular votes and 35 electoral votes! You guys just can’t get over that, can you? When he first became President in 2000, you had to fight it based on the conspiracy theory that, somehow, due to faulty voting machines or some other anomaly, he couldn’t have been fairly elected. When he got re-elected, this time by a huge margin, your bitterness turned to sheer anger and desperation. What could have happened, only a year ago? Could that many people fundamentally disagree with the Left? Or perhaps there was a voting machine virus pandemic which infected over 3,000,000 votes the second time? Or, Naomi, perhaps the American people were just too stupid to know any better, isn’t that right?  Thank God they have you to point the way to truth on their behalf.

Which leaves your theory that somehow, since the Steering Of Katrina, “suddenly”, the people have ripped back the curtain and now see Bush for what you say he is. They have come to realise that you are right! The American public have come to their senses!

Unlike you, I believe the American public are much, much smarter than that.  It’ll be unlikely that the Republican party will see their candidate succeed in 2008.  But it won’t be because the American public buys into your deluded nonsense about them or their place in the world.

Yours sincerely,

John Wright

PS- You may be surprised to have your prejudices challenged one more time, Naomi, by the fact that I, writing this letter, am neither American nor conservative. I lived my entire life in Northern Ireland until last year, am a British citizen and a libertarian. The above critique can be explained by the simple mechanism of intelligent, rational thinking, which I know you are entirely capable of. You might try sticking to writing about the role of women in society, which you do wonderfully.