Saturday, September 15, 2012

Defeat Obama: It's Personal (and Weird)

There is something that compels some to oppose the President as a person. And it seems to me it's just not because of his policies. We've had progressive presidents before, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts. And sure, there were personal attacks. I guess it goes with the territory. It just seems rather severe and extra personal with President Obama. (Yes, a few people will argue that there was a lot of nasty stuff about Pres. GW Bush. But nobody asked for his birth certificate - or any other president's, for that matter.)

Election Day, 2008, I was in Provo for business and after that was wrapped up, I picked up my son and fiancé for dinner. As my son's intended, now spouse, is a vegetarian, I took them to a Chinese buffet as there would be meat and vegetarian options. It seemed to work out well. And as Obama supporters (two BYU students and I) we were quietly relieved if not exactly euphoric facing the future.

The news came in fairly early that evening that Senator Obama had won the Presidency. Or maybe it was even before that happened, but expected by most, that I heard a piece of Sean Hannity's radio show. He was pretty discouraged with the expected outcome of the election, but had a rousing segment as he signed off asking listeners to tune in the next day on the theme that "the insurgency begins here tomorrow!"

Now, I'm pretty sure Sean was speaking metaphorically even if it was a loaded word with the Iraq War still raging with all that "insurgency" means, as President Bush learned after the "Mission Accomplished" banner. I don't think Sean intended to lead an armed uprising, just a political one ("fair and balanced," my foot).

There have been a few other such statements. I don't like to make even the vaguest reference to that big guy on the radio, so I'll leave him alone. And you expect such statements from the hyperbolic entertainment style of opinionated shock jocks. Yet the personal attacks on the President don't stop there. Even leaders of the Republican Party admit their personal biases:
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,"
That was Minority Leader of the Senate, the Honorable Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky in October 2010. He repeated the sentiment more than once. Here's an example on video:

The Minority Leader isn't speaking of the President's policies or of the Minority Leader's desire to help the nation out of its economic disasters. He isn't even speaking during the heated rhetoric of a presidential campaign. He is speaking of the President with disrespect for the person as he tries to rally the tea party surge in his Republican Party. Maybe we can give him the credit that he is speaking openly and honestly what most political opponents only think - or whisper among themselves. But isn't that the point? It is at least a breach of decorum to announce publicly that it's not the policies, but the individual himself that you intend to defeat as your number one legislative policy goal. I think this is fairly unique in U.S. political history. If anyone has any historical parallels, please share them and maybe it will help me calm down a little. 

Now we learn that Bitherism is still alive and well, at least in Kansas. According to Fox News Latino (in English), the Republican Secretary of State is still attempting to keep President Obama of the Kansas ballot because of birther issues and weird interpretations of the Fourteenth Amendment. I don't hear any Republican leaders challenging this - not even the Senate Minority Leader. I guess they're too busy out there making jokes about where people were born and obstructing the business of Congress to make sure Obama is a "one-term President."

Well, one is better than nothing. (And IMHO it will actually help him get two.)

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