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Why the right really hates Obama

As an amateur student of the strange socio-political phenomenon known as Obamaphobia, I found THIS ESSAY by author Theo Anderson especially fascinating:

Liberals often say that the Right’s hatred of Obama is about his race. Conservatives say it’s about his socialist agenda. But there’s something more going on, and it’s captured in the way that the Right has often mocked Obama as “the chosen one,” the Messiah. Dig a little under the surface of that derision and you’ll discover a world of confusion and ambivalence.

Obama is a deeply familiar figure among tea partiers and conservative Christians. He has the energy and charisma of a pastor, and he’s the sort of authority figure many on the far-Right are conditioned to respect. But the context is all wrong. The messenger is a black man. The hope he offers is grounded in the possibility that human institutions can be expressions of the common good.

In truth, they want to respond to this kind of hope-affirming message, because balancing despair with hope is fundamental to their theology. And the redemptive promise doesn’t even have to be otherworldly. Ronald Reagan became a demigod among conservatives by holding out a bright future for the nation while separating America from its actual institutions. He spoke to conservatives’ need to actually believe in something. And he made it possible for them to believe in America’s future while despising its government.

Obviously, no Republican since Reagan has rivaled his rhetorical gifts or his deftness at fusing electoral politics with a quasi-religious vision. George W. Bush seemed to understand the power of Reagan’s rhetoric but didn’t have the skill to pull it off. John McCain had no feel for it at all.

So the source of the Right’s hatred of Obama isn’t just that he’s a black man and a liberal. It’s also that he’s so much better than any Republican at articulating “that hopey changey stuff,” as Sarah Palin once derided it. The mockery of Obama as the Messiah reveals far more about the Tea Party than it does about the president. They long for a Reagan-style message of hope and possibility. What they get is…Mitt Romney.

And who wouldn’t despair at that prospect?

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16 Comments

  1. Arcaster

    Interesting, and I’m sure this applies to some on the right, the same people that claim a love for limited government but want the government to prohibit gay marriage, ban the consumption of substances they don’t like, and provide whatever services they or their loved ones receive. There’s a reason some think of Team Red and Team Blue as simply different wings of the same party. But, I’m sure there are some that actually believe in free markets and know that government intervention in markets always leads to trouble, and they have a legitimate reason to be very unhappy with the current POTUS and his predecessor.

  2. expdoc

    Conservatives that disagree with the President hate him? Yawn….

    Liberals “hate” those they disagree with as well I guess, if you want to call it hate. Liberals still “hate” Bush and he has been out of office for years.

  3. doc: I never hated Bush. I even liked some of the things he did. I thought he showed political courage, for example, with his stance on immigration reform. And (as noted in something I just posted), Bush was to the left of Romney on gay rights.

    As for your implication that anti-Obama fervor on the right is mere political disagreement, get real. Yes, some of it is just disagreement, but lots of it is pathological hatred.

  4. expdoc

    “Yes, some of it is just disagreement, but lots of it is pathological hatred.”

    Clearly, the same can be said of the left and Bush.

  5. Janet

    I don’t like Obama. It has NOTHING to do with his race. But it does have EVERYTHING to do with what he’s doing to OUR country. He & his wife have already made it known that they detest the US. He wants to turn OUR country into a Socialist country. And he loves the Muslims. That’s the REASONS I don’t like Obama & I NEVER will. And if he goes back into office for his 2nd term; OUR country will cease to exist as the way we have ALWAYS known & loved it. And that’s FACTS!!!!

  6. Luke Fredrickson

    Bush did alot more to inflame his political adversaries than Obama, namely using 9/11 as a selfish excuse to start a needless war in Iraq and sacrifice the lives and well being of tens of thousands of Americans.

    Obama is far more hated but with far less justification. He pushed a right wing plan to provide health coverage for all Americans. Many wingnuts him hate for his charisma, and the unevolved hate him because he is black and too well educated.

  7. Luke Fredrickson

    And then when Rehnquist appointed Bush to a second term, the hatred predictably increased.

  8. expdoc

    Oh Luke, you were looking so good there for a minute and then you had to go all liberal whacky on us.

  9. Luke Fredrickson

    Ex-Doc, I remain unprovoked and will not be inveigled (look it up) by your false approbation.

  10. Janet’s affinity for capital letters and exclamation points is in inverse proportion to her knowledge of good grammar. And that’s FACTS!!!!

  11. expdoc

    I like it when you use big words Luke. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

    exPdoc

  12. Tim: The only sensible thing in your comment is your reference to you and your ilk as “us dummies.”

    The fact that you see little of the word “hate” in your right-wing readings suggests that you don’t read most of the Web sites in the right-wing blogosphere and that you don’t recognize true hatred when you see it, whether it’s labeled as such or not.

    But on another matter, I’m waiting for a response from you to this stuff I posted on another comments thread today:

    Yesterday, you wrote that “Obama has taken an economy in the ditch and run it out into the corn field,” which implies that the economy is worse now than when Obama took office. Of course, that’s patently false, which is why I asked you yesterday for proof of your claim. So where’s the proof?

    (And then I wrote the following:)

    While you’re looking for proof that the economy has become worse under Obama — proof that doesn’t exist — you might want to consider an exchange Mitt Romney had a few weeks ago with right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham. It went like this:

    Laura Ingraham: You’ve also noted that there are signs of improvement on the horizon in the economy.

    Mitt Romney: Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession. There’s always recovery.

    Laura: Isn’t it a hard argument to make if you’re saying “Ok, Obama inherited this recession, and he took a bunch of steps to try to turn the economy around, and now we’re seeing some more jobs, but vote against him anyway.” Isn’t that a hard argument to make?

    Mitt: Have you got a better one, Laura?

    (And then I wrote this:)

    You might also want to consider these little tidbits:

    1. Under Obama, corporate profits are now at an all-time high.

    2. Under Obama, the stock market has risen more than 62 percent (as of this very minute).

    See if you can fit those facts into your evidence of how the economy has become worse under Obama.

    Come on, Timmy boy! Put up or shut up!

    And now I’m writing this:

    I don’t want to hear from you again until you come up with the proof I’ve requested.

  13. Mr. Cunningham:

    Your two statements are correct, however, they need a little explanation. Corporate profits are at an all-time high only if you consider the dollar to be stagnant and not include inflation-adjustment as a factor.
    Second, the market is up 62%, that’s a fact. However, there is not a prime driver for the economy and the market is being fueled by short sales and debt buying more debt. It’s a recipe for disaster.
    If you think I’m wrong, please tell me the segment of the economy that is driving the market.
    I won’t hold my breath, because there is none.

  14. Rich: The fact remains that Tim May is flat-out wrong about the performance of the economy under Obama.

    And until he provides evidence supporting his claims — or retracts those claims — we won’t be hearing from him.

  15. Mr. Cunningham:
    Tim is not “flat-out wrong” in saying the economy is worsening. The very foundation of our economy is eroding quickly, and, although Obama is not entirely to blame, he certainly shares in the blame given the fact he has accelerated debt to never-before-seen levels. I suggest you read a piece from David Stockman, who was actually Reagan’s Budget Director and CRITICAL of Reaganomics and has recently called for tax increases. So, he is no one’s lackey. Obama’s quantitative easing has exacerbated an already dire situation.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-emperor-naked

  16. Rich: A parenthetical note about David Stockman:

    I met him a few times when he worked for John B. Anderson, and he once landed a job I had been eyeing with an antiwar organization called Vietnam Summer.

    I also vividly recall when Stockman was taken to the proverbial woodshed by Ronald Reagan for second-guessing supply-side economics in an interview with William Greider of The Atlantic.

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