The New York Times today had an interesting piece on how Republican Party hacks continue to demonize Barack Obama as the alien “other” in the White House, and do so in ways that are designed to keep in high alarm mode the party’s three wings:
- fiscal conservatives
- foreign policy hawks
- religious Herderian nationalists
Here’s the New York Times:
The assault on Mr. Obama’s cultural affinity, the clear implication that he is neither suitably Christian nor American in his values, adds a sinister subtext to the argument against his economic agenda. It suggests that Mr. Obama is oddly indifferent to the effects of his policies on ordinary Americans because, at the end of the day, he doesn’t share their experience. Mr. Obama’s alleged sympathy for so-called Muslim extremists who would desecrate the World Trade Center site, his socialist African ancestry and his early years in Indonesia — all of this creates a shadowy archetype that every conservative enclave, fiscal, foreign policy and religious, can find a reason to fear. You can probably expect the tenor of these attacks to grow shriller as 2012 approaches and Republican presidential hopefuls begin courting activists in Iowa.
Shriller? Is that possible? Oh, and don’t call all this grotesqueness directed at our nation’s first black president racism.
Joan Walsh, back in April of this year, reflected on GOP racism and offered this ironic observation as retort to the idea that Barack Obama has somehow brought all this hysteria and paranoia onto himself:
It’s a shame how our cautious, centrist Ivy League president, who was raised by his white family, who never fails to seek conciliation rather than confrontation, somehow turned out to be a scary black man. I didn’t see that one coming.
I think we need a little Wanda Sykes sass back (just to frighten the GOP a little bit more):
How predictable that you lot play the racism card, since you are such losers! The November tide will sweep away you liberal losers and you lot are scared shitless. Obama isn’t scary, except that 1) he will keep a lot of people unemployed because of his fiscal incompetence and 2) he will depress the stock market, which will harm retirees.
It’s not healthy for the country that one of its major parties feeds on resentment of a black man’s success, and treats education, reason, and the life of the mind with contempt—as marker for “elitism” and dividing “us” from “them.”
And you’re right, I worry that people with a serious disregard for truth and reason will be swept into power over the next decade. We’ve already played this tape with George Bush and it brought us torture practices, two nearly inextractable wars, and a near depression that the country is still trying to claw its way out of.
Now, Sarah Palin is George Bush on steroids, and it appears that her 2012 path to the Republican Presidential nomination is hers to lose. Tell me who can beat her, and why this shouldn’t be worrisome to any thoughtful person.
I have a different take on this subject. I want to evaluate leaders by asking
1. Are they working for themselves or for the good of the country?
2. How successful are they in accomplishing their goals once they are elected?
I will answer the first question from my point of view
A. Selfish: Obama, Palin, Gingrich, Gore
B. Maybe selfish: Clinton, Bush Jr., McCain, Pelosi
C. Not Selfish: Bush Sr., Reed, R. Nader
I limited the list to recent political figures. And I may not be correct in judging some of these characters. But Nations suffer when they put their faith in leaders who happen to be more interested in themselves than in the people they govern.
What do you think?