Jonathan Chait gives a nice intellectual patina to the “Bush is worse than Bin Laden” mantra. That’s not quite what he’s saying, but it’s not quite not what he’s saying either:
Those loony Democrats! But wait, is this really such a crazy view? Even though all but the loopiest Democrat would concede that Bin Laden is more evil than Bush, that doesn’t mean he’s a greater threat. Bin Laden is hiding somewhere in the mountains, has no weapons of mass destruction and apparently very limited numbers of followers capable of striking at the U.S.
Bush, on the other hand, has wreaked enormous damage on the political and social fabric of the country. He has massively mismanaged a major war, with catastrophic consequences; he has strained the fabric of American democracy with his claims of nearly unchecked power and morally corrupt Gilded Age policies. It’s quite reasonable to conclude that Bush will harm the nation more — if not more than Bin Laden would like to, than more than he actually can.
This is what Lieberman and his backers don’t understand. They piously insist that “partisanship stops at the water’s edge” and that they won’t take political potshots at a Republican president when he’s waging a war in America’s name — as if Bush were obeying this principle, and as if Bush were just another Republican president rather than a threat of historic magnitude. Lieberman seems to view the alarm with which liberals regard Bush as a tawdry, illegitimate emotion.