Apparently, POTUS telling kids to work hard in school is part of Obama’s ‘socialist agenda’ – I shit you not.
The Republican fringe is discrediting the entire party with this sort of panic-mongering, but that’s not all. They’re normalising extremist political antagonism, and that’s a very dangerous crop to start sowing. This hysterical racist fringe really have convinced themselves that one of the most don’t-rock-the-boat moderate centrists to be elected as POTUS in recent memory is a destructive socialist revolutionary, and I fear for the innocents that are sure to be caught up in the storms to follow.
It’s very hard to see it as about anything other than race. My wish for the last US election at the time of the primaries was to have Hillary in the White House with Obama as VP, and there’s no doubt that if Hillary Clinton were POTUS now, the fringe haters would be going for her jugular too, but I can’t imagine them being so successful in stirring such a broad panic. That’s even though a Clinton administration would probably be pushing for more extensive social reforms in many areas than the Obama administration is ever likely to do (while probably being more hawkish regarding military intervention, but since the Obama admin is only making dove noises while still letting the hawks in Congress run the show, no practical difference there). At least if Hillary was POTUS she’d ignore the fringe frothing and gibbering (seen it all before, boring) while she got on with pushing the Dems in Congress to grow a spine against GOP rhetoric and corporate lobbyists. The Congressional Dems would fight her on it all, but wouldn’t it be refreshing to see them actually fighting anybody? But why should they fight right now when they watch their POTUS roll over for the wingnuts over and over again?
I’m starting to feel an awful sense of dread as we watch the wingnut fringe go berserk at the slightest excuse, watch the Obama administration bend over backwards to reassure them and accommodate their demands, only to see the next cycle of berserk hyperbole escalate even further. It seems only a matter of time before some really ugly violence goes down, from which the talkback radio and tabloid-TV hatemongers will scramble to distance themselves, denying any responsibility whatsoever.
I appreciate that nobody really expected the wingnut firestorm against Obama to be quite this extreme, but I really expected Obama to be more of a leader and less of an appeaser. He should be making more of a stand against the rhetoric of hate instead of pretending it isn’t happening on the one hand and giving the fringe’s demands respectability by caving on them on the other hand – they are ridiculous demands and should be just given an eyeroll to show how ridiculous they are, not treated as valid requests in any way.
Sure, the administration is caught in a hard position. Many of the people making the loudest panicked noises and passing on the hysteria are the very people that health reform in particular is meant to help, and it must be galling indeed to not be able to reach them and convince them that this is the truth of it all. I understand that the Obama administration really wants to honestly convince these people that they really are being screwed by the Republican-Libertarian health insurance lobby, and have them just not hate him so hard, but that’s never going to happen. There are polemicists out there who really seem to want to incite people to kill the President, and responding gently time and time again is only going to encourage them to keep on ramping up the rhetoric until someone acts on it.