Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why Don't They Like Obama?

Well it's been three years now and approximately half of all voters just can't stand Obama.  Maybe that's a little high, I'm including lots of rational people who just don't like any Democrat or who have specific policy disagreements in mind.  But there is still a huge number of people who 'hate' our 44th president.  And for three years I've been trying to figure out why.

We saw (and still see) racist posters of Obama as a 'witch doctor' at 'Tea Party' rallies during the health care reform debate.  But racism isn't really the issue, I don't believe.  These same tea partiers went gaga over Herman Cain.  There, I guess, we would be looking at Cain as 'the right kind' of black man (accepting of the status quo and pliable in the hands of 'big money') and Obama as the 'wrong kind' (uppity).  So there is an element of racism but it isn't the primary driver of this backlash.

That's actually what it comes down to, I think: backlash.  (With a touch of 'uppity.')  Candidate Obama  ran against the status quo, against the Republican ideology that Reagan first made popular; the idea that if we just take care of the rich , with special exceptions and favorable tax policy, they will take care of us.  How dare he?!  'Hope' and 'Change' were his buzz words; 'Yes We Can' his rallying cry.  I believe John Boehner put into words what many of them thought throughout the campaign and into the Obama presidency: "Hell no you can't!" 

What the hell did he mean, change?  Change what?  Who the hell does he think he is?  How the hell does he figure he has the right to change anything?  (Forgetting, I guess, that he pulled more votes than any U.S. presidential candidate ever.)  So they set out to oppose him at every turn.  Obvious, common sense proposals were ridiculed and denounced, even proposals that had been initially floated by Republicans in the recent past.  An ambitious economic stimulus program aimed at combating the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression was compromised, whittled away at and weakened to the point of near ineffectualness, not so much on ideological grounds but to make sure that it wouldn't work, lest Obama 'succeed.' 

But the biggest thing that they 'hate' is that he inspired so many people.  Young, old, and in between; first time voters and long time abstainers; people who had become quite cynical by our broken political system; all came alive and turned out for the guy who appealed to the 'better angels of our nature.'  Let's work together, he said.  Let's change the way Washington works, and the way elections are done (remember how much money he raised from small-time donors).  Let's stop the 'selfishness is a virtue' dogma, right here and now and put America back on the path to realizing its full potential. 

Why was all of this so bad?  Because, I suggest, that all those 'haters' have lost faith in the American dream.  They have become cynical as a result of thirty years of pursuing Republican policies and thirty years of right wing talk radio and TV, telling them that the reason they're hurting economically is all the free-riders in American society.  Don't look at the correlation between the Reagan tax cuts and the suddenly ballooning federal deficit.  Forget about how the Bush tax cuts took a balanced budget (the first one in decades) and again started running huge deficits.  Don't even think about how a series of 'free trade agreements' and tax code changes caused a massive exodus of manufacturing jobs to foreign countries where the workers are literally paid pennies an hour.  Blame the people at the bottom!  Not the people at the top, the policy makers and tax-cutters.  And, above all, think only of yourself!  Make sure you 'get yours'!  Social Security is a scam!  It'll be gone by the time you want to retire!  Unless you let us 'privatize' it!  And whatever you do, DO NOT TRUST THE GOVERNMENT!  Not even us!  Government is the enemy! 

So Obama's message of 'change,' of collective action to get America moving forward again, is the last thing they want to hear.  They just can't believe that WE fell for it.  So they call him all sorts of nasty names like 'socialist' and 'secret Muslim' and tell us he isn't even a legitimate president, born in Kenya or wherever.  He sure isn't one of us!  Anything to break the spell which he must have us under. 

The really sad thing is if, somehow, Reagan could make one last speech, from beyond the grave, and tell us/them that what we need to do now is to come together and move America forward again they would cheer wildly.  40 million uninsured Americans is an atrocity, Reagan might say (with the benefit of his new viewpoint); we must use our collective power as a free and compassionate people to create a national policy that works for everyone!  Government isn't your enemy, it is YOU, the collective will of the people brought to life.  Let us come together and WIN THE FUTURE!

If only.  ;  )


  1. Kevin,
    Interesting. Machiavellianism comes to mind.
    As for the Herman Cain thing, I see the bigots use of him as a parallel to the failed/wits end parent unable to stop a behavior reacts with childish solution of punishment by increasing what the kid chose; "fine you want to eat the crackers and not the soup, then crackers is all you get from now on".

    Ironic that I chose "crackers as an illustration in a black man/bigot affair, sometimes my brain has a mind of it's own, and I don't get it.

    1. Sometime those little tidbits that our brains' brains roll out are the best. ; )

  2. As a person (Independent Liberal)who voted for Obama the first time, but will sit this one out; I don't hate the man at all.

    He proved himself time and time again, to be much more of a "Bush Lite" than anyone expected. The things he COULD have done but didn't, sealed his legacy forever.

    Before you spit and sputter at me, please check how many times SENATOR Obama voted WITH Bush.

    You may now resume guilding the lily:)

  3. As a Reply to Kevin and to this column.
    I do not really understand what is the point of the collection of these paragraphs but let me comment on the last one. The liberals including Bill Maher, Paul Krugman and other leftists' bright minds are not willing to accept the global economy as it is. The world is not the same as it was in Reagan times. It is not that only Republican or Democratic Party are moving to the right. All the world is moving on the right spectrum of politics or policies. As a counter to Republican Idea "do not tax the rich" Paul Krugman says "tax the rich" as Franklin Roosevelt did. Well you tax them and they can move somewhere else taking their wealth and investments with them. The same way that the riches of France are moving to Brussels.
    At the times of Franklin Roosevelt or even Reagan America could not compare with any other country judging from the riches point of view.
    Today they can relocate somewhere else and come back to play the curious rich tourist any time they want. Some time in the 19th century Friedrich Engels was complaining to Karl Marx that the Proletarian Revolution could not happen in Great Britain because the working class in Britain has move up and looks more like middle class.
    We are in post socialist world now. It does not matter if the left believes that or not. Obama is not a socialist because he can't. Do not be harsh on him for that.
    As far as the charges of racism and other hate accusations, the left should come with a better explanation than "they just cannot stand him" meaning our angel President.
    Well, as aggressive as it was Tea Party never demonstrated in the front of our current President' Home in Chicago as the crazy leftist frequently did in front of George Bush ranch in Texas, and never called him a war criminal.
    So, please do not complain. As another great democrat President said "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen". Barack Obama wanted so much to compare himself with Lincoln, Reagan or the two Roosevelts.
    He never compared himself with Truman, too low for him. He is not even a Truman. I strongly believe that he is a more Jimmy Carter. So, fellows good luck with that.

  4. Suppose the U.S. decides to let 'wealth and investments' go to developing countries. Let it go. "Good luck!" we could say. Then tear down the corporate structure in America and start over. Let small businesses flourish again. Local hardware stores instead of Home Depot and Wal-Mart.

    Revive the manufacturing sector and put up trade barriers. We've seen what 'free trade' brings us: uber-wealth for the investor class and falling wages and rising unemployment for everyone else.

    Nationalize the oil and coal industries, stop importing foreign oil except as absolutely necessary, pull the military out of the Middle East. Let everybody else fight over whatever's left over there. Then, go 'all in' on alternative energy development.

    Somehow I think there would be investment money available but if not we would have new policies. Absolutely break up the big banks. 'Too big to fail' means too big, in my opinion. We could have some big banks, I suppose, if they accept the new rules but mostly we would have community banks and credit unions.

    It'd work. Don't you think?

  5. So, you are proposing a Venezuela type of capitalism.Good luck with that... I agree about the banks but Obama consciously choose not to do that because they are his biggest donors. That is why my friend he is left without a plan. Oh, I am sorry but he cannot full me anymore...

  6. No that's not what I'm proposing at all. ; )