Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thinking About Presidential Hatred

I rarely, if ever, rebut commentaries appearing at "The Moderate Voice."

A blog whose very name constitutes a fundamental lie lacks the a priori legitimacy to be taken for much serious consideration. But publisher Joe Gandelman's poorly-written essay this morning cries out for a response. The piece, "Birth of the Professional Obama Haters," argues that the emerging partisan opposition to Barack Obama represents a "harbinger" of an unprecedented campaign of demonization of a presidential administration:

Every President has had his contingent of seemingly professional haters, sometimes stemming from policy but sometimes stemming from the need to market an opposition persona, increase readership or an audience, or rally partisan followers to do battle to halt specific polices. The degree of hatred varies in both its intensity and justification.

Democrat Bill Clinton had his big share of professional Clinton haters (both prominent and not so prominent would say things such as “He’s not MY President…”) and Democrats decried it and some Republicans defended it. Then came Republican George Bush who got his share of haters, then Republicans decried it (the most typical defense was to try and go on the offense and lump those who’d strongly criticize the President on policy with the professional Bush haters as suffering from “Bush derangement syndrome” — a tidy way to try to discredit all critics suggesting they were all unreasonable and not having legitimate grounds for strong criticism) and some Democrats who decried the lack of respect for Clinton defended it.

But here in December 2008 we ‘re seeing a special kind of political hatred — way early in the game. President Elect Barack Obama has not put his fanny in the Oval Office chair for one second yet, and there is an intensity now among some Republican conservatives to push ... hot buttons — a probable haringer [sic] of what is likely to come. Amid reports that the economy is not just bad but is
on the brink of tanking, their emphasis is not on policy but overt or slightly disguised overt political demonization. Using whatever they feel can stick to rally their audience and/or readership.

Believe it or not, they’re still beating the now-thinly-disguised drum over Obama’s middle name “Hussein.” Which they wouldn’t do if it had been Walker or even Schwartz.
Isn’t it time to call THIS detailed in this post for what it is? It’s politics of hate couched in (barely) plausible deniability.
One example focusing on the right's resistance to a president-elect with an Islamic middle name is hardly an "unprecedented" display of political hatred. Note, too, the mention of how George W. Bush got "his share" of haters. You think?

I've been down the road of comparative demonization before. As intense as things have been over the last year, throughout the primaries and now the presidential transition, nothing even compares to the attacks we've long seen on President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the "evil" neocon imperialist warmongers, and the "Christianist" social conservative wing of the Republican Party.

Has anyone seen Barack Obama burned in effigy? Can anyone point me to a prominent conservative who has called for the death of Barack Obama? Last July, of course, Spencer Ackerman called for
the execution of President Bush following war crimes tribunals at the Hague, and he's hardly the first.


Bush/Cheney Nazis?

One can't attend an antiwar rally without untold signs, banners, and figurative displays attacking the president in the most filthy language imaginable, calling for impeachment, or exhorting protesters to shoot him and hang him up by a tree. At a fifth anniversary protest against the Iraq war this year, one protester hoisted a sign reading, "Bush Is a Lousy F**K and WE HATE HIM."

Demonization of the Bush administration began well before G.W. Bush "put his fanny in the Oval Office chair." We had weeks of unbridled hatred during the Florida recount in 2000, and it's been non-stop "BusHitler" ever since.

Barack Obama will be my president. He is, of course, a documented liar and a Machiavellian sleezeball. I don't have to like him, but I will support him in a time of existential crisis, and I pray that he demonstrates one ounce of the courage and presidential leadership that Bush 43 has shown these past eight years.

[Endnote: Gandelman's quotation above was edited for punctuation, and he's got that dangling dependent clause that's bugging me: "Which they wouldn't do if it had been Walker..." I know blogging is an informal medium, and all of us make our ample share of typos and so forth, but the folks at "The Moderate Voice" are professional journalists - the bleedin' wankers ought to damn well proofread!]

23 comments:

Philippe Ohlund said...

Well, if the identity of Barack Obama is stolen, then it means trouble...

Debbie said...

Barack Obama is THE President of the United States. However I do not believe he represents ME.

Obama will be treated differently, at least for a while. Part of the situation is that Conservatives don't burn people in effigy as the far left do.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

JBW said...

Don, professionally hating Obama has become a cottage industry which will only grow with the expansion of the blogosphere.

And effigies? Well, only:

In Oregon: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26872774/

In Kentucky: http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/33513019.html

In Ohio: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/19/racist-obama-effigy-hung_n_135971.html

In Indiana: http://electronicvillage.blogspot.com/2008/10/obama-effigy-lynched-in-indiana.html

Even in Redondo Beach: http://laist.com/2008/10/30/obama_effigy_found_in_redondo_beach.php

Now before you say so, yes: they weren't burned; does that really make that much of a difference? Especially as it concerns a black man, given the history of racial oppression in this country? I could post links to pictures of actual dead black men swinging in the breeze if my point isn't clear enough. And despite Debbie's protestations, I'd be willing to bet that we'll see Obama's image burning in a noose somewhere before his first term is over (never underestimate the energy of rednecks).

And the middle name? Hannity spent hours talking about it the other day, ostensibly in a discussion about whether Obama will say it during his swearing in ceremony. He sounded just like every tone-deaf white guy I've ever heard sputtering about how unfair it is that black people can use the word "nigger" while they can't. And there were dozens of instances of right-wing pundits and talking heads calling him "Hussein" during the election and yes, everyone knew exactly why they did so.

Now have there been more disparaging remarks made about Bush? Of course: he's been the president for the last 8 years and has presided over an administration that many historians have agreed will be judged as amongst the worst in history.

But as I said about the inevitable burning Obama effigy, I'm sure there will be plenty of examples of heinous things said and done against Obama before his time as president is up, and to intimate that liberals are more guilty on that score than conservatives is frankly partisan hackery.

Donald Douglas said...

Partisan hackery?

How many have called for Obama's execution, JBW? Can you name one?

JBW said...

Yes, partisan hackery Don. How many called for Bush's before he was even inaugurated? Can you name one? As I said, give it some time and I'm sure your side will not fail to disappoint; if it hasn't happened after 4-8 years I'll admit the moral superiority of the Republican party and buy you a beer.

Oh, and good job ignoring every other point I addressed in your post. I suppose I should just take that as a tacit agreement on your part; thanks.

Donald Douglas said...

JBW: No burned effigies ... I checked your links.

I'll buy you a beer when a PROMINENT Republican calls for Obama's execution.

P.S.: The partisan hackery's really at "The Moderate Voice." Did you share your outrage with them for their post?

JBW said...

Don, yeah: I said they weren't burned; did you even read my comment all the way through?

And just to clarify: please name the most prominent Democrat who has called for Bush's execution and provide a source so that I'll know at what level you'd like to set this bar.

And I've never even heard of The Moderate Voice before this and really don't care what they say; just as I'm sure you would admit that there are plenty of conservatives out there saying stupid things, I can say the same of liberals. I neither have the time to comment on all of their sites and nor do I feel the need to defend them. Your problems with TMV are your own.

Grace Explosion said...

The left is appealing, once again, to an emotional argument. I completely reject Barack Hussein Obama. In fact, with such conscientious objection I am quite determined to exercise the constitutional right of State secession.

Who said I owed any man my loyalty?? I don't. I owe BHO ZERO. I only gave GWB limited approval. I'll like him even better after he leaves office. I gave Clinton approval only after he left office. Now I rather like him. In fact, other than Ronald Reagan, there has never been a sitting President I really thought I could POSSIBLY trust. I better like Presidents in hindsight when they are out of office and the threat of them is past. I think if you study history, there was great mistrust of the Presidential office since the inception of this nation. It presents grave danger and a threat to freedom, as does all Government.

Presidents are politicians. They deserve skepticism. They deserve distrust. The deserve wariness. The most definitely need accountability.

Obama is in an entirely different class. When certain things occur, there's a "leading edge"... then there's a congregation to the leading edge. At first, those on the "leading edge" cry out in advance of what will occur. People kinda just look at them. They can't see it. Maybe they see a hint which they believe is blown out of proportion. But really it's kind of like the "eye of the eagle" seeing what is present more clearly than the human eye can see. Eventually, however, all things come into plain sight.

I say Obama, imo, is in the ilk of Hitler - except a global socialist and is, moreover, the 666 beast Revelation. It's not as "rare" a position as some would think. Some are just less bold about stating it clearly.

I completely reject Obama. That's my right. I owe him nothing. I owe no politician anything. My personal loyalty is to God alone. Were Obama subject to God, I would give him the corresponding respect level to the degree his actual deeds warranted. Were he subject to the Constitution, I could call him "the President".

Obama will never be "POTUS" to me. He cannot take the oath of office except by perjury in my estimation. He's that extreme a traitor. He's a socialist whose goal it is to completely strip us if all the individualistic rights of the Bill of Rights and turn us into a collective totalitarian society without individual rights - national socialists and global socialists in a totalitarian society. That is completely contrary to the Constitution and everything this nation and it's pre-Obama inauguration flag stands for. Obama refuses to even submit his original birth certificate for auditing to prove his citizenship to the people . I could say more.

I completely reject BHO. That's my right. I'm calling for constitutional Christian State secession and desire to begin a new nation. That's my right.

I'm not a "hater". I'm a lover of God and country. :) I love freedom. I won't accept the evil empire and I won't yield to their desire for pro-beast speech. I completely 100% reject Obama for President. I want nothing to do with him and owe him zero loyalty.

I guess the left could have presented a candidate who was not a hard left socialist, a candidate willing to prove his citizenship, etc. They presented hard left... and they can expect a hard right response. It's only reasonable. I don't like the emotional arguments "You're a 'hater' if you don't submit to Obama." Daniel wouldn't worship any kings in his day - and was saved from the lions den.

I'll just stick with having God's approval and caring not for men's, thanks. I don't need man's approval. I only need God's approval. Obama is a person who could only gain my approval by leaving office and the political "industry". He's a danger and a threat to democracy and freedom, imo.

Grace.

Norm said...

I cannot ever recall a political leader as vilified as President Bush.
Barry Goldwater was truly hated and vilified as a right wing war monger during the 1964 campaign but still it was nothing like BDS. Even during Watergate I saw and heard nothing that could compare to the past few years. The Democrats hated Reagan and the Republicans hated Clinton but these periods paled in comparison to what we have seen during the present administration. I have seen people I consider friends literally foam at the mouth and want to punch me during political discussions concerning Bush and Cheney. The start spouting completely false statements and cannot and will not listen to the other side. Presently, Obama is not receiving terrible treatment from the opposition. Most Republicans want to see our country succeed even if that means that Obama succeeds because of the difficult times we live in. The far left is totally
unique in its hatred and lack of respect for the office of president.

Donald Douglas said...

JBW: Bush hatred is different. Top Democrats abandoned this administreation within months of the war, and some are calling for war crimes prosecutions. That's close enough, IMO, as this same party voted for the war.

Look, TMV is on your side. I don't have a "problem" with them. I have a problem with the partisan acrimony that's killing this country. I will support Obama, as he's going to be my president, but I don't like him at this point. He's a liar and a schemer.

Donald Douglas said...

Grace: I reject Obama's policies and he's got no integrity IMO. He will be my president, but I will work like crazy to make sure he serves one term.

JBW said...

Don, I'm going to let this one go and instead return your holiday sentiments; a very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Donald Douglas said...

"The far left is totally
unique in its hatred and lack of respect for the office of president."

Thanks Norm ... that's perfectly stated.

joe six-pack said...

My primary concern with this discussion is that it looks to me as if people are thinking that the opposing political party is a larger threat than our foreign enemies. I don't believe that President-elect Obama is going to intentionally damage our country.

I disagree with his defensive strategy in waging war against our enemies. This may end up being a disaster for us, but I do not believe that he will be doing it on purpose.

Donald Douglas said...

Joe Six Pack:

"I don't believe that President-elect Obama is going to intentionally damage our country."

Sorry, but if President Bush would have capitulated to the Democratic party's antiwar war constituencies, that very well would have weakened our security.

JBW said...

On second thought, I'm not just going to let this go; I'm going to go. This site has again quickly become what made me stop coming here before: tedious arguments about the same old crap with individuals who consistently ignore logic and reality to advance their own agendas, and it's making me tired.

To all who have been stopping by my site lately: please continue to do so for as long as you'd like; the posting may slow a bit during the holidays but I'm going to continue to do so.

Don, as I said, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year; maybe I'll stop by again sometime in 2009. Peace I'm outta here!

TRUTH 101 said...

I'll come here until you moderate me away Professor Douglas. I disagree with your right wing stance. I think Grace is nuts (in a respectful way). But I admire your blog and the class your commentors exhibit. How you keep the vulgar nutjobs that just want a place to type the F word out of here without moderation is a skill I was never able to master. Merry Christmas sir and God Bless our Troops serving now and all those that have served.

Donald Douglas said...

JBW: Sorry to see you go! As always, I think you're a nice guy.

Donald Douglas said...

Truth 101: I'm not moderating anyone away as long as they don't attack me or my readers.

Have a good holiday.

Philippe Ohlund said...

JBW: I also like to listen to your opinion.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Grace,

Your comments are very interesting!

I think you should post them on your blog also! :-)

Grace Explosion said...

Hey Truth 101,

Folks thought the Wright brothers were nuts. I'll give you odds there will be Christian State secession. I think probably over the 1-2 year mark, the discussion will become mainstream.

All great prophetic voices are considered nuts - til things start happening... just as they've foretold.

I just smile. I'm coming to launch a Great Awakening. What I know and what you know... are 2 different things. ;)

Merry Christmas.

Grace.

Laura

Grace Explosion said...

Hi Phillipe,

Thanks. God bless!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Laura

Dana said...

Our esteemed host wrote:

Barack Obama will be my president. He is, of course, a documented liar and a Machiavellian sleezeball. I don't have to like him, but I will support him in a time of existential crisis, and I pray that he demonstrates one ounce of the courage and presidential leadership that Bush 43 has shown these past eight years.

Thing is, at the moment Mr Obama's harshest critics are his supporters on the left who were shocked and amazed that he told the truth about his position on same-sex marriage. The leftist anguish over the selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration was based on the left's assumption that Mr Obama was lying when he said that he supported some form of civil unions, but opposed same-sex "marriage," simply to get a few votes from us bitter God and guns guys.

Even our friends on the left were surprised when he told the truth. But this means, for conservatives, we need to wait until he is caught lying before we assume that he's lying. At least from his personnel choices, it looks like he might just have told us more of the truth than we thought.