Peas in a Pod?

There is a curious parallel between the third-year presidencies of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton (search). Both men reduced their political enemies to stammering, red-faced, seething apostles of rage.

President Clinton drove Republicans crazy by seeming to adopt some of their views, but not really and by pounding conservative Republicans regularly from his bully pulpit. President Bush in turn has stolen key issues from Democrats.

True, Bill Clinton gave more pleasure to his critics because his personal morals were an unguided missile, but President Bush's unapologetic faith also annoys his foes.

So the “I-Hate-Bush” books are selling like hotcakes, as did the I-hate-Clinton books in days of yore. While this heartens true believers and enriches angry white authors, it's not of much political use.

Republicans discovered in the Clinton era that hatred itself isn't persuasive; it's scary. It reminds one of people who bay at the heavens on empty street corners at midnight.

Political success demands something more -- like a few warm and cuddly ideas, or at least some serious ones.

If the Democrat field doesn't come up with some alternatives, the “I-Hate-Bush” authors will laugh all the way to the bank, while the president will laugh all the way to a second term.