Paul Waldman ARGUES that Republican disdain for Bill Clinton and Franklin Roosevelt during their respective presidencies was nothing compared to the GOP’s loathing of Barack Obama:
I really think we’ve reached a new height. What makes this different isn’t just the kind of venom you see among the party’s true-believing supporters but that the hate goes so far up, all the way to the top. The party’s candidate for president literally claims that Obama hates capitalism and is not really American (Mitt Romney recently said, and not for the first time, that Obama has a “very strange, and in some respects foreign to the American experience type of philosophy”). Liberals look at conservatives claiming that Obama is a socialist or that he doesn’t really love America and think, “Those people are nuts.” But there is practically consensusin the GOP that these things are true. If a Republican candidate came out today and said, “Barack Obama is a good person who loves his country, but I just think he’s wrong about policy,” that candidate would probably get kicked out of the party.
This antipathy has multiple sources interacting together, so it’s overly simplistic to say that it’s just because of Obama’s race, or it’s just because of heightened partisanship. But it’s getting harder and harder to claim that there’s ever been a Democrat Republicans hated more.