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?