Ack. My reply went on for a bit as I explored how I felt about Obama, and other things. I’m reprinting it here because … well, I wanted the clarification to get a larger airing:
Re: Lord Messiah Obama
I don’t think Obama sees himself that way. I don’t think thoughtful people see him that way.
I continue to believe that much of the flack Obama gets, including from you, Dave, is the result of a deliberately-created, absolutely relentless, absolutely merciless ad campaign, that viewers/listeners unconsciously buy into. “Obama = Bad” is in the air like a dominant religion, and some of us breathe it in without thinking about it.
Dave, your own laser focus on the rights of smokers is a tell-tale for me in just how rational and objective you’re able to be when it comes to your own self-interest. I like you as a Facebook friend, mainly because you say some really interesting things at times, but also because you make me think, even in your political opposition.
But … you have your limitations and blind spots. Your rabid opposition to Obama is one of them.
Hey, I dislike George W. Bush with enduring passion, but even in that, I have occasionally said some nice things about him. I’m reading a biography about him even as I write this, and I do find certain things to admire in him. I even feel sorry for him in some large ways. (Doesn’t mean I don’t think he will eventually be seen as the president who callously, stupidly kneecapped the country in a desperately important historic moment, forcing the nation into a probably-unstoppable decline.)
It’s when I see someone who casts a disliked political figure in pure terms as 100 percent evil, as you seem to do with Obama, that I start to see the limitations of the hated figure as less significant, and the limitations of the hater as the more revealed in that moment.
I think your dislike, pegged to one or two issues, is less than accurate in a context that includes a sea of other issues – in many of which Obama has performed admirably.
I also think the “As if there’s any real difference between them,” as you say here and have repeatedly suggested elsewhere, is short-sighted analysis of a much more complex situation. It’s easy to throw up your hands and say that the two boys you see fighting in the schoolyard are equally to blame, but in reality, it really can sometimes be that one of them is an unrepentant bully and the other a much-picked-on victim pushed to the limit of his patience.
I have felt, and often said, that we have ONE political party in the United States. This was much in evidence during the Bush years, when the Democratic party lost their balls and went along with everything Bush said and did and thus deserved a full half of the blame for Iraq and other issues.
But in the fanatical, merciless, foam-spitting opposition to Obama which has entered American politics from the Right, I see I was mistaken.
Romney is Gumby, rendered by an Etch-a-Sketch, and possessed of an unconscious sense of entitlement bred into him by a lifetime of wealth and privilege. I doubt if the man knows what a gallon of milk costs – but I’ll bet he knows to the dollar the price of a decent yacht.
Yet even aside from our desperate need to have ANYONE BUT ROMNEY in the White House, I think Obama is a good man doing the best he can in a situation probably more difficult than any modern president has faced. He not only has the usual domestic and international problems to deal with – including a Bush-caused economic situation that could have become another Great Depression – he has this rabid, fanatical and PUBLIC hate constantly boiling up around him. This is not something that developed as his presidency proceeded, as Nixon faced (and richly deserved, from his own words and actions), but something that appeared from his first moment in office.
The poison that firehoses out of FOX News and company, swallowed whole by the dimwitted thralls of the Tea Party, is often breathtaking. I feel like I’m living in a different country at times, an over-the-top fictional universe that has, somewhere in it, a Sylvester Stallone/Judge Dredd figure roaring through the streets on an armored motorcycle and hunting liberals. It’s just that crazy.
The crazier part is that this over-the-top fiction has rabid fans, glued to the story and convinced it’s all 100 percent believable: That Obama is Hitler II, a nation-destroying socialist, a subversive Black Peril communist, a Manchurian-candidate Muslim, a plotter without equal in history, who sits up nights figuring how better to destroy the United States and our American way of life. He’s plotting to take away our guns!
Ming the Merciless was a more believable villain, and with more real-world basis, and yet people take the story seriously, and hang on its every malignant, manufactured detail, repeating and expanding it.
I have never been a big fan of federal government. I hated the Nixon-Vietnam years with a passion, but was bemused to find that hate to be a pale thing when Bush got into office. Bush’s mean-spirited, vacant-headed presidency managed to make Nixon look like a heroic, brilliant, open-minded moderate.
Yet here I am, amazed to discover that it’s possible to go one step farther, to draw a line so far out in Bugfuck Crazy Land that I would find myself on the same side of the line as the federal government, find myself defending it as if we were lifelong allies and friends.
My feelings about government have not really changed. But I know crazy when I see it – in this case dangerous crazy, ENGINEERED crazy, crazy with a hunger for profit and power, crazy from so far up in the stratosphere of billion-dollar-wealth that it couldn’t detect individual human beings with a powerful telescope.
A thousand times more, I would MUCH rather side with Obama in this moment, and government with all its flaws, than with this level of literal insanity.
With Obama in the White House rather than Romney-FOX-Koch Inc., I stand the chance of being thought human. Rather than, indefinitely into the future, a convenient – or inconvenient and thus disposable – THING.
Since I know it’s going to come up, there’s this: A Long List of President Obama’s Accomplishments, With Citations