Has anti-Bush hatred become mainstream?
Here’s a local (Philadelphia) man — with an anything-but-local message:

Mark Aronchick, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer and Democratic fund-raiser, shares the intensity. Talking about Bush, he could barely sit still:
“I haven’t seen this kind of anger and disdain directed at a president since the worst days of Richard Nixon. Bush is playing to base fears. He has a contemptible pseudosincerity. Our anger is that fundamental. It is primal. These are evil forces we’re up against. I’m 54 years old, a mature person, and I mean what I’m saying – there’s a heart of darkness. And they’re getting away with it.”

Regardless of whether anyone (except maybe that battler of evil, Michael Marcavage) agrees with this guy, something is clearly going on. Expressions like “evil” and “heart of darkness” — while they might not sound as extreme as that recent comment to this post which attracted attention — evince what can only be called hatred. I think the fact that they are made by an otherwise-reasonable adult (and taken seriously by the area’s leading newspaper) gives them a far more ominous significance than an outburst of temper by a commenter.
Remaining calm and logical is becoming more and more of a challenge.
Still, I want to return to Kerry and the revisitation of Vietnam, because I think that by focusing on the details of wartime service alone, people miss asking a more relevant question Kerry seems hell-bent to avoid: who did the most for the enemy?
What I see evolving is an election year chickenhawk campaign theme.

‘How dare you question me. I was in Vietnam!’
….”I don’t know what it is about what these Republicans who didn’t serve in any war have against those of us who are Democrats who did.”

Because it is quite clear that Kerry thinks his service in Vietnam gives him the moral authority to make 2004 the Year of the Chickenhawk, I think examining the logic of the central premise is in order.
Let’s take, um, Gus Hall and George Lincoln Rockwell. The former headed the Communist Party, USA, while the latter headed the American Nazi Party. Both served in World War II; Hall in the Navy, and Rockwell too (the latter distinguishing himself as a fighter pilot).
Clearly, Hall and Rockwell would be more entitled to serve in the government, or to comment on foreign policy, than any of the “chickenhawks” Kerry complains of.
Hey let’s do a chickenhawk count!
In the United States Senate, 19 Republicans are veterans, while only 17 Democrats are.
In the House, there are 57 Republican veterans to 43 Democrats.
Simple math. If you disallow all non-veterans from voting, then the Republicans would have an even bigger margin of control than they do now.
So why are Kerry and the Democrats pushing this chickenhawk nonsense anyway? I think it’s a loser, and it’s another reason I’d prefer Edwards to Kerry.
At least then I wouldn’t have to hear a warmed-over “Ich bin ein Hanoier” speech.
UPDATE: More Hanoiances from Kerry here in that bastion of right-wing extremism, The Village Voice:

….[Kerry] wanted to clear a path to normalization of relations with Hanoi. In any other context, that would have been an honorable goal. But getting at the truth of the unaccounted for P.O.W.’s and M.I.A.’s (Missing In Action) was the main obstacle to normalization?and therefore in conflict with his real intent and plan of action.
Kerry denied back then that he disguised his real goal, contending that he supported normalization only as a way to learn more about the missing men. But almost nothing has emerged about these prisoners since diplomatic and economic relations were restored in 1995, and thus it would appear?as most realists expected?that Kerry’s explanation was hollow.

Ugh! (via Glenn Reynolds.)
ANOTHER TELLING OBSERVATION:

What I think the Bushies are doing now is hitting Kerry with a low level of negatives. My crystal ball tells me that they have something on him, and are waiting to spring it until after the conventions, when it really makes a difference. Once the Democrats lock into Kerry [if they do], then the Bushies hit, and hit hard. (Via Glenn Reynolds.)

I don’t admire this strategy, because if anti-Bush sentiment carries the day and the Democrats win, we’ll be stuck with Kerry. Better to have the best man run — win or lose.