The Right’s Obama

In a recent piece, Andrew Sullivan observed:

It has long befuddled me – the way so many on the right view him not with disagreement or discernment, but with contempt. Contempt is a strong word; and it is built on some notion of his illegitimacy as president. They called Clinton illegitimate as well, of course, because of his plurality victory in 1992 (he never quite made it to 50 percent of the vote in 1996 either). But Obama? A clear electoral victory by a black candidate after one of the most brilliant underdog campaigns in our lifetimes. I suppose the right’s view that racism no longer exists in America defuses the racial barrier. But it’s telling, is it not, that very, very few Republicans have hailed the election of a bi-racial man as president, if only to celebrate the progress this country has made.

He ran a brilliant underdog campaign and beat Hillary Clinton who appeared all but unbeatable.  He united the Democratic party behind him, built a powerful coalition and won a decent majority of the popular vote.

Why not fear of Obama’s charm? Or suspicion of his cunning? Why not coopt this oh-so-willing-to-be-coopted figure to move his policies to the right (as if the individual mandate, extension of Bush tax cuts, and escalation of the war in Afghanistan could get further right)?

No. Instead we have contempt. A president who can be shouted at during a State of the Union address; a president whose birth certificate, readily available, is still questioned; a president who is regarded by an unthinkable chunk of Republicans as a Muslim; a president who allegedly cannot speak a full sentence without a TelePrompter; or, in Glenn Reynolds’ immortal words, “a racist hatemonger.”

The right has constructed a Barack Obama on whom they can heap their resentment. The Obama against whom the right rails does not exist in the real world.  He’s been boringly moderate in almost all his policies.  Even health care reform was thought up in a right wing think tank.  He’s cut taxes.  He killed Osama Bin Laden and still the right screams against him as some sort of wild eyed socialist.

A reader of Sullivan’s suggested an interesting reason for the right’s contempt:

The Republican world falls apart at each of its ascendent moments. We see it again and again: the Right organizes, wins, shows its ugliest feathers, and is then rejected. The wound from each rejection is cauterized by the Limbaughesque smug satisfaction of being right all along! Smarter than their rejectors, who have been brainwashed, are privileged elitists, or are insufficiently informed by a biased media / educational / entertainment complex.

This is how they felt in 2008. They didn’t hate Obama because he’s black; they resented him because he was beloved. The nation had fallen in love, and it wasn’t with them. Who could overlook the Nixon-like contempt for the Other? If the rejection carries with it an identifying characteristic (a history of racism, elitism, fiscal mismanagement) it becomes ammunition to hurl back. Hence “racist hatemonger”, “he made it worse”, and so on. They resent being called racist, so Obama’s the racist. They resent their own Big Governing, so Obama is a socialist. They resent the stain of Bush’s 5-4 election, so the fix was in for Obama ’08.

It’s worth thinking about.  The right loved George W. Bush; by the time he left office, he was held in almost universal contempt by most Americans.  They loved him and the of us didn’t and like a scorned lover, they want to strike back.

 

  1. #1 by brewski on April 9, 2012 - 8:26 pm

    Where to start? There is so much BS in this piece, both factual and just plain old spin.

    First of all, the sentence:

    But it’s telling, is it not, that very, very few Republicans have hailed the election of a bi-racial man as president, if only to celebrate the progress this country has made.

    Is just not true. I got mistly when Obama got elected and I have heard well known radio conservatives also make the same point that it is fantasic how far we have come.

    This sentence is just wrong as well as partisan spin:

    He ran a brilliant underdog campaign and beat Hillary Clinton who appeared all but unbeatable

    An underdog campaign who outspent McCain by 3:1?
    He beat Hillary by stealing delegates in non-primary states using Chicago thug tactics.
    http://wewillnotbesilenced2008.com/

    And then I fell over with this one:

    He’s cut taxes.

    Tell me you are fucking joking.

    You and Sullivan get it all wrong. I toyed with the idea od votinf for Obama, and when he won I even supported what he was saying he was going to do. In fact, I agreed with everything he was saying at the time.

    But after he picks the man with the bloodiest hands to be his VP vetting chair (Johnson), then picks the credit card lobbyist in chief as VP (Biden), then a tax cheat to run the IRS (Geithner), and then 2 investment bankers to be chiefs of staff (Emanuel and Daly), and then recently he makes what is probably the worst statement ever to come out of a presidents mouth since “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” (the SCOTUS speech). I mean, how much can one man screw up? How much can one man say one thing and then do another? If Obama was white and a Republican the Democrats would have filed articles of impeachment by now. Would the Democrats keep silent if a white Republican say it would be unprecedented for SCOTUS to strike down any law which was passed by the legislature? I guess Obama is unfamiliar with Brown vs Board of Education, among others.

    No, I don’t have contempt for Obama because he is black. In fact, his being black proves that we have equal opportunity corruption. I have contempt for Obama because he is incompetent and an idiot and an asshole. There is no other explantion.

  2. #2 by cav on April 9, 2012 - 8:48 pm

    I find an interesting part of this ‘hate-on-Obama’ strategy the GOP is so fired up with is how with the health care initiative they first shaped for use in Massachusetts, is now misrepresented as ‘Obama-care’ – as if to hang around his neck, disclaiming even a tiny shred of inspiration, while they bash it through the ‘supreme’ court and use every opportunity to nay say its substance.

    I’d like to see the President repudiate the whole ridiculous 2000 page insurance company bail-out and pitch instead the simple single-payer system that would no doubt work much better without the GOP and ‘supreme’ court interpretation, threat and misrepresentation.

  3. #3 by cav on April 9, 2012 - 8:51 pm

    I know, I shouldn’t be holding my breath.

  4. #4 by brewski on April 9, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    I’d like to see the President repudiate the whole ridiculous 2000 page insurance company bail-out and pitch instead the simple single-payer system that would no doubt work much better

    Yes

  5. #5 by Richard Warnick on April 10, 2012 - 8:48 am

    Remember the old Monty Python segue, “And now for something completely different”? In 2008, after enduring too many years of Bush I-Clinton-Bush II, we were more than ready for something completely different. Hillary wasn’t it — could Obama give us something more than cynical triangulation?

    Unfortunately, President Obama has not delivered on his promise of change. In fact, he keeps sending signals that he plans to go farther to the right in his second term!

  6. #6 by cav on April 10, 2012 - 8:51 am

    But if ever there was an ‘Etch-a-sketch’ moment…

  7. #7 by Richard Warnick on April 10, 2012 - 8:55 am

    How about this?

    The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive

    By Dean Baker (2011)

    Progressives need a fundamentally new approach to politics. They have been losing not just because conservatives have so much more money and power, but also because they have accepted the conservatives’ framing of political debates. They have accepted a framing where conservatives want market outcomes whereas liberals want the government to intervene to bring about outcomes that they consider fair.

    This is not true. Conservatives rely on the government all the time, most importantly in structuring the market in ways that ensure that income flows upwards. The framing that conservatives like the market while liberals like the government puts liberals in the position of seeming to want to tax the winners to help the losers.

    This “loser liberalism” is bad policy and horrible politics. Progressives would be better off fighting battles over the structure of markets so that they don’t redistribute income upward. This book describes some of the key areas where progressives can focus their efforts in restructuring market so that more income flows to the bulk of the working population rather than just a small elite.

    Compare to the Obama campaign’s new bumper sticker slogan: “A Fair Shot.” Plays right into GOP framing, as Romney and others claim “fairness” means taxing the rich to help the undeserving 99 Percent. Anyway, the Obama campaign already has a video emphasizing how little difference there is between him and Romney. The “fair shot” slogan isn’t credible, coming from an administration that cut a deal to let banks get away with foreclosure fraud.

  8. #8 by brewski on April 10, 2012 - 8:59 am

    Glenden,
    As to your comment that Obama has “cut taxes”:
    http://www.atr.org/comprehensive-list-tax-hikes-obamacare-a5758

  9. #9 by brewski on April 10, 2012 - 9:54 am

    Richard, the Dean Baker piece is baloney. Conservatives don’t rig the market to ensure that income flows upward. Rich liberals do that. Rich liberals get the government to invest in their un-economic solar panel companies for them. Rich liberals make sure the government supplies them with plenty of lower wage workers for their sweatshops. Rich liberals make sure the government allows them to sell their cultural porn to as many people as possible. Rich liberals turn the government into their intellectual property enforcers for them for free. Rich liberals make sure the tax code gives them all of their tax breaks on their Deer Valley trophy homes. You are equating rich with conservative and the opposite is true. The rich liberals game the system to their benefit.

  10. #10 by Richard Warnick on April 10, 2012 - 10:29 am

    brewski–

    How do you explain this graph? Was Ronald Reagan a “liberal” according to your definition? George H. W. Bush? Bill Clinton? George W. Bush?

    For your consideration: Bush: ‘I wish they weren’t called the Bush tax cuts’ Yeah, if only there was a way to blame “liberals.”

  11. #11 by brewski on April 10, 2012 - 10:42 am

    Explaining that graph and correlating who was president at each time presupposes that each president is the sole acting in affecting the income distribution in the US. This presupposes that each president is responsible for global population trends, global technology changes, foreign countries’ trade and tax policies, etc. So your question presumes several falsehoods, that each president implements what he wants to implement, and that each president is the solely responsible for income distribution. So putting that aside, I’d be happy to explain that graph as long as you give up your fallacious assumptions.

  12. #12 by Richard Warnick on April 10, 2012 - 11:20 am

    brewski–

    So your theory is that “liberals” rule the world and control the economy no matter who is President. Now all you have to do is explain how your definition of “liberal” comports with the extreme inequality in America today. Or perhaps you can explain your belief that lack of wealth goes together with conservative politics. I didn’t know there were country clubs for poor people!

  13. #13 by brewski on April 10, 2012 - 12:01 pm

    I don’t know how you got what you said from what I said. I never said anything close to what you said I said. It is hard to answer any of your questions, which I can, if you can’t read what I said and understand it.

  14. #14 by brewski on April 10, 2012 - 12:27 pm

    http://images.politico.com/global/click/091025_obama_golf_ap_392_regular.jpg

    http://images.wjla.com/politics/092411-obama-billclinton-golf-ap_606.jpg

    http://www.pinkpillbox.com/images/1226_large.jpg

    http://cache.heraldinteractive.com/blogs/news/city_desk_wired/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/kerry-yacht.jpg

    http://friskaliberal.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/obama-spain-tone-deaf2.jpg?w=500&h=300

    They don’t have country clubs for poor people. They have country clubs for rich liberal people. There is a name for country clubs for rich liberal people. They are called “country clubs”. Obama loves them. Clinton loves them. All the Kennedeys loves them, Kerry loves them.

  15. #15 by Richard Warnick on April 10, 2012 - 1:17 pm

    brewski–

    Rich people hang out at country clubs with other rich people. This is not news. President Obama’s golfing buddies are the same Wall Street guys the DOJ ought to be prosecuting. Also known.

    OTOH, your assertion that “You are equating rich with conservative and the opposite is true” calls for an explanation. If someone makes an extraordinary claim, there better be extraordinary evidence to back it up. BTW I never said all wealthy people are right-wingers.

  16. #16 by Shane on April 10, 2012 - 1:31 pm

    brewski :
    Richard, the Dean Baker piece is baloney. Conservatives don’t rig the market to ensure that income flows upward. Rich liberals do that. Rich liberals get the government to invest in their un-economic solar panel companies for them. Rich liberals make sure the government supplies them with plenty of lower wage workers for their sweatshops. Rich liberals make sure the government allows them to sell their cultural porn to as many people as possible. Rich liberals turn the government into their intellectual property enforcers for them for free. Rich liberals make sure the tax code gives them all of their tax breaks on their Deer Valley trophy homes. You are equating rich with conservative and the opposite is true. The rich liberals game the system to their benefit.

    Paul Krugman disagrees. And he has data to back it up. I guess the choice is clear, trust a Nobel prize winning economist, or an anonymous troll who has frequently demonstrated an inability to be able to understand what he has read and who likes to project a lot when not telling people they should have been abortions…

    Tough choice, lemme think on that.

  17. #17 by Shane on April 10, 2012 - 1:55 pm

    The number of workers in poverty would be even higher were it not for government safety net programs that have reduced poverty rates during the recession. Food stamps, for instance, have lifted millions of working families out of poverty, reducing the poverty rate by 8 percent in 2009. Tax credits that help low-income families, like the Earned Income and Child tax credits, kept nearly 5 million women and children out of poverty in 2010. Other policies, like scheduled minimum wage increases at the state level, will benefit 1.4 million workers in 2012, and several states are considering boosting the minimum wage this year.

    Republicans, meanwhile, have targeted many of those programs for budget cuts. The House GOP budget cuts millions off of the federal food stamp program and could, theoretically, end the working family tax credits to pay for tax cuts for the richest Americans. The GOP has also opposed minimum wage increases, even though the current federal minimum would need to be raised by more than $2 an hour to match its 1968 buying power.

    Damn wealthy liberals even control the GOP…

  18. #18 by cav on April 10, 2012 - 2:01 pm

    Adelson and the Koch bros, are Liberals? Who knew?

  19. #19 by cav on April 10, 2012 - 2:34 pm

    And transparent baloney! Some inventive conservatives in the upper reaches.

  20. #20 by brewski on April 10, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    Richard,
    You have never once supplied support for any outlandish factually wrong claim you have made. And linking Maddow doesn’t count.

  21. #21 by Richard Warnick on April 10, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    brewski–

    I didn’t make any claims. You, on the other hand, implied that wealth is inversely proportional to conservative political views. As if middle class Americans were pleading with Paul Ryan to abolish Medicare, while billionaires wanted to keep it.

    Again, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  22. #22 by brewski on April 10, 2012 - 4:31 pm

    Richard, you make outlandish statements all the time with no support.

  23. #23 by Richard Warnick on April 10, 2012 - 4:42 pm

    brewski–

    What I say may seem outlandish if you get most of your information from Faux News and Drudge.

  24. #24 by brewski on April 10, 2012 - 8:24 pm

    Your statements are never supported and they are outlandish if you get most of your news from fact and not Alice in Wonderland.

  25. #25 by cav on April 10, 2012 - 8:36 pm

    Whizzard of Oz…get yer facts strait.

  26. #26 by Shane on April 10, 2012 - 9:06 pm

    Harsh words from someone who provides links to atr.org.

    The farce is strong in this one…

  27. #27 by brewski on April 10, 2012 - 9:33 pm

    Thank you for providing the definition of vacuous and ad hominem all in one. I suppose that means that you are in favor of having the worst tax code in the world.

  28. #28 by Larry Bergan on April 10, 2012 - 11:59 pm

    brewski actually said this in the first comment to this post:

    If Obama was white and a Republican the Democrats would have filed articles of impeachment by now.

    Bill Clinton was impeached with the help of more then a few Democrats for getting a blow job. They never even considered impeaching Bush – the dumber – for committing WAR CRIMES!

    Democrats don’t even have a semblance of an “eleventh commandment

    I’m very grateful that my ilk doesn’t have such a law, but I wish to hell they would fight back!

  29. #29 by Shane on April 11, 2012 - 8:19 am

    You do have to admire the degree to which he is able to divorce himself from reality…

  30. #30 by brewski on April 11, 2012 - 8:39 am

    You do have to admire the degree to which he is able to divorce himself from reality…

    I assume the “he” in this sentence is Obama.

  31. #31 by Richard Warnick on April 11, 2012 - 8:48 am

    brewski made an unsupportable statement on this thread. Instead of taking it back, he’s been blowing smoke for a couple of days.

  32. #32 by cav on April 11, 2012 - 8:56 am

    ‘Reality’?..What is this ‘reality’ of which you write?

    And while I haven’ stopped trying, I did learn along time ago the worst tax code in the entire world befits the most exceptional zone in the entire world perfectly. There are numerous reasons for this and the unwillingness or ineffectiveness of those on the left to promote a fairer system is only a small part of why that is. Contrary to brewski’s simplistic assertions.

  33. #33 by brewski on April 11, 2012 - 9:14 am

    Richard, my point is that it is hypocritical for you to get all blustery over anyone else’s unsupported point when that is all you do. Your entire posting career is making unsupported points. That would be like Bush criticizing someone for not being articulate. Like the Koch brothers criticizing someone for their carbon footprint. Like Obama criticizing someone for not having heard of Marbury vs Madison. It is beyond hypocritical. It is laughable.

  34. #34 by cav on April 11, 2012 - 9:22 am

    Is our ‘exceptionalism’ couched on denying full human status to everyone else?

  35. #35 by Richard Warnick on April 11, 2012 - 9:28 am

    brewski–

    You are still blowing smoke. My humble opinions are unsupported by Faux News Channel, but very much supported by the facts.

  36. #36 by brewski on April 11, 2012 - 10:45 am

    I have refuted from objective sources pretty much everything you have ever said. You give me no facts. You give me Maddow, think progress, and software developers living in their mother’s basement in Canada. You’ve given me nothing.

  37. #37 by cav on April 11, 2012 - 10:53 am

    I’ll speculate on what you deserve.

  38. #38 by Shane on April 11, 2012 - 11:28 am

    brewski :

    You do have to admire the degree to which he is able to divorce himself from reality…

    I assume the “he” in this sentence is Obama.

    Yes, you probably do. Which proves the statement. At which point I assume you will post that you win…

    Reading, it is fundamental!

  39. #39 by brewski on April 11, 2012 - 12:15 pm

    Richard, you need to ask Obama to provide support for this delusional statement:

    Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.

    There is ample precedent for the Supreme Court voiding laws passed by Congress. In fact, overturning unconstitutional laws has been part of the Supreme Court’s job description for more than two centuries.

    And the health care law wasn’t passed by a “strong” majority, either. In the House, the final vote was 219 to 212, with all Republicans and even 34 Democrats voting in opposition.

    The first precedent for overturning a law — as many high-school civics classes teach — was in 1803 when the high court declared a portion of the Judiciary Act of 1789 to be unconstitutional. That was the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison. Chief Justice John Marshall declared for the court that judges must decide what the law is, and must be guided by the principle that the Constitution overrides any act of the legislature.

    Marbury v. Madison (5 U.S. 137): It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. … If, then, the Courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the Legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.

  40. #40 by Richard Warnick on April 11, 2012 - 12:30 pm

    Since Barack Obama went to the White House, I have seen no evidence whatsoever of his vaunted constitutional knowledge. This is just another example of him getting it wrong. In fact, the President has walked it back already.

    However I still say that the individual mandate remains constitutional today, just as it was when the right-wing Heritage Foundation proposed it. It’s a bad idea, but not forbidden by the Constitution.

    Regarding judicial activism, if the right-wing Supreme Court majority strikes down the entire 2,700-page Affordable Care Act (without even bothering to read it, as Justice Scalia indicated) that would be a prime example of partisan judicial activism.

  41. #41 by brewski on April 11, 2012 - 12:35 pm

    However I still say that the individual mandate remains constitutional today,

    Based on what? Because you feel it to be so? There is no legal precedent for this. You have already offered up some lame examples and I have already shown you factually why you are objectively wrong.

  42. #42 by Richard Warnick on April 11, 2012 - 12:49 pm

    brewski–

    We’ve been over this. Perhaps you have forgotten. The Commerce Clause covers the ACA individual private insurance mandate.

    D.C.Cir.: ACA’s individual mandate constitutional

    How Obamacare Will Be Settled: A Primer on the Commerce Clause

    If the Supreme Court’s right-wingers decide against the individual private insurance mandate, that decision will be purely partisan politics. Quite ironic, considering the right has spent many years advocating the mandate!

  43. #43 by Richard Warnick on April 11, 2012 - 1:08 pm

    This is how out of touch Republicans are.

    Christie: Americans ‘on couch waiting for government check’

    RNC chair: ‘I’ll double down’ on comparing women to caterpillars

    Allen West suggests 80 House Dems are Communist Party members

    It’s like the old Monty Python sketch about an election where the Silly Party was challenging the Sensible Party.

  44. #44 by brewski on April 11, 2012 - 1:17 pm

    Richard,
    Wickard v. Filburn does not apply to ACA. The court was wrong. The decision to uphold ACA was purely partisan politics. Anyone who impartially has read Wickard and compared it to ACA knows that it does not apply.

  45. #45 by Richard Warnick on April 11, 2012 - 1:27 pm

    Romney spokesman on whether the candidate supports equal pay: “We’ll get back to you on that.”

    OMG. After the threat to close down Planned Parenthood, not looking good. Somebody tell the GOP that women are allowed to vote in elections!

  46. #46 by cav on April 11, 2012 - 1:31 pm

    Did SCOTUS decide to uphold ACA? Link please.

  47. #47 by cav on April 11, 2012 - 1:39 pm

    Here is why the Supremes are going to axe the Affordable Care Act (all of it, not just the mandate). From a letter at TPM from Rep. John Yarmuth (D, KY) to Mitch McConnell, attacking McConnell’s misleading statements about the ACA:

    “3. ‘His law cuts a half-trillion dollars from Medicare…’

    No, it does not. The CBO reports that the law increases Medicare funding by $113 billion over 10 years. And savings are not cuts. The Affordable Health Care saves $500 billion in Medicare, with a substantial part of those savings coming from excessive subsidies to insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage plans.”

    (emphasis added.)

    It’s been true since Deep Throat and long before that: Follow the Money. If as I believe the ACA is going to save the average American money, then that money is coming out of the pockets of the insurance companies, as Rep. Yarmuth states here. And those guys own at least a piece of five Red Justices.

    The ACA is dead. The only question is, will it be 5-4 or as I’ve argued 6-3?

    If Team Blue plays its cards right—surely wishful thinking—the defeat of the ACA could be a huge boost to Blue chances in November, as well as the start of a successful push for Medicare for All, which is what we should have had originally.

    David Derbes

  48. #48 by Richard Warnick on April 11, 2012 - 1:40 pm

    It only took two hours for the Romney Etch-A-Sketch crew to fill in his position. Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for Romney:

    “Of course Mitt Romney supports pay equity for women. The real question is whether President Obama supports jobs for women.”

    Translation: “Jobs” is Republicanese for “more tax cuts for the rich.”

  49. #49 by cav on April 11, 2012 - 6:06 pm

    You should read Yarmuth’s entire letter. It should be mailed to every house in America.

    http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/88784595

    This is how you fight back against the tsunami of Red lies.

  50. #50 by cav on April 12, 2012 - 11:37 am

    Conservatives and the private insurance companies devised ObamaCare. The bill was written by conservative think tanks and the private insurance companies. What the “socialistic” ObamaCare bill does is to take income taxes paid by citizens and use the taxes to subsidize the private medical premiums charges by private health care providers in order to provide “private” health care to US citizens who cannot afford it. Then the attached Obama’s name to it as another mechanism in addition to the hope of bipartisanship,by which Barrack might be further persuaded to support the turkey.

    It was not his vision, nor is he going to suffer if the ‘supremes’ give it the boot – in fact, I think we’d all be better off.

    Single payer waits in the wings.

  51. #51 by cav on April 12, 2012 - 11:39 am

    Boy, that Socialmaclist word will trigger the maderation trap every time!

    Cliff – why is that, exactly?

  52. #52 by cav on April 12, 2012 - 5:23 pm

    I’m stuck in moderation, Meh.

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