Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Does the Right Hate Obama So Much?

I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’m one of these wide-eyed, naïve, hopey-changey liberals. Fine. But if we can get past the obligatory name-calling, I really wish someone would explain it to me: Why do conservatives seem to regard the President of the United States with the kind of passionate spite normally reserved for pedophile clergy, genocidal dictators, and malarial mosquitoes?

The other day I got an offer from CafePress offering me free bumper stickers. I like free. With shipping and handling, it’s almost down to my price-range. So I clicked and looked at the “Humor: Political” stickers. What I found would have made a Fox News pundit blush. All the anti-Bush “Somewhere in Texas a Village is Missing its Idiot” stuff paled in comparison. It was like Obama sat in the front row and decided to heckle Don Rickles, with the occasional rebuttal tossed in by Michael Richards on his absolute worst day ever. Some examples: “A Taxpayer Voting for Obama is like a Chicken Voting for Col. Sanders” and “Who Would Have Thought the Biggest Threat to America would Be Our Own President?” Hilarious, right?

Now, people can slap whatever they want on their cars. You want to put a confederate flag on your bumper? Hey, they’re your slashed tires, buddy. Besides the free speech argument, I don’t expect bumper stickers to make nuanced policy arguments. If the colonists had only had a 3 by 8 inch sticker that had to be read by the guy on the horse behind them, the Declaration of Independence would have said, “Hey George! Next time we shove the tea up your ass!” But those colonists did have specific, clear, and demonstrable grievances. Those grievances related directly to the way the behavior of the British affected their daily lives. They didn’t just shout ad hominem attacks across the Atlantic.

So here’s my genuine question: Conservatives, what’s your beef? What has President Obama done to threaten America? What has he done that makes him as lethal to you as Col. Sanders is to chickens?

Please don’t tell me what you think Obama is. I am a firm believer that we are what we do. What has Obama actually done that inspires such hatred?

Some more ground-rules: I don’t believe conservatives are racists. Don’t prove me wrong.

Try and avoid knee-jerk ad hominem attacks. I enjoy some good smarm, but since I’m genuinely trying to understand, try to be factual with me.

Liberals, feel free to fact-check any claims made here, but let’s allow some conservatives to make a case. That’s the point after all.

And nobody mention Kool-Aid. It’s irritating. And don’t call Obama the messiah and think it’s sarcastic and clever. Only conservatives call him that. Liberals have plenty of disagreements with Obama’s policies. I could give you a pretty long list. But my quibbles are because he’s too centrist and too willing to compromise with a political Right.

I believe the Right hates him irrationally. Convince me I’m wrong about that. Tell me what he has done to you to earn your hatred. Help me understand.


Chad B said...

I saw a car this morning that had two bumper stickers on it. The first one had a picture of Obama on it and it said "Does this ass make my car look big?" The other sticker was one of those "Coexist" stickers. I'm not sure what the overall message was supposed to convey.

Derek said...

It's not necessarily Obama we hate, it's the radical liberal ideology he opitimizes.

Conservatives want small government, bound to the Constitution: Obama believes government alone is the solution to all problems and therefore must be expanded at any cost.

Conservatives believe highly in personal responsibility, where individuals are held to the consequences (good or bad) of their actions. We are willing to take high risks when they carry high reward, and we do so not expecting a safety net to catch us or bail us out if our ideas fail. The quintessential 'pull one up by their bootstraps' and 'rags to riches' stories are uniquely American, and Conservatives see excessive, unending social welfare programs as perpetuating dependence rather than encouraging self reliance. The fact that 47 million Americans are on food stamps is a slap in the face to the American values to which Conservatives subscribe.

Conservatives (to varying degrees) just want to be left the hell alone. We don't want bureaucrats and regulations telling us what our kids can eat for lunch, what car we can drive, what doctor we must visit, or where our kids must go to school. Obama, as one more liberal elite who believes he knows best and therefore must save us from ourselves through legislation, regulation and (consequently) taxation is therefore the target of our irk. The slow "Soft Tyranny" that is creeping through every facet of life is costly, mostly ineffective, and often downright insulting to the capacity and intelligence of Americans. Meanwhile, liberals arrogantly believe the same rules are beneath them, so they continue to eat chili dogs, fly in private jets and otherwise act as hypocrites.

Conservatives have used business and commerce as the engine to achieving their goals and dreams. Obama subscribes to an agenda that undermines this engine. Intrusive regulations and confiscatory taxation are his tools.

Finally, Conservatives hold America as a country and an ideal in the absolute highest regard. We do believe America is exceptional. We do believe in a Divine blessing on this nation. Therefore we reject anyone who would do any thing to diminish that exceptionalism as Obama has by apologizing for America, weakening relationships with our allies, demeaning our military and ignoring our borders.

Ultimately, Conservatives are able to see that every prior Socialist experiment has failed to deliver on its promises, inevitably reducing freedoms for citizens while further elevating the elites in power. In calling for equality across all citizens, liberals demotivate people, and the consequence to the nation is not increased freedom and opportunity, but rather increased dependence, poverty and apathy. That is not a world Conservatives want to live in.

joshua7439 said...

sorry I haven't been on in over over 12 hours. I won't go into every last reason why, but one big reason is his absolute hatred for this great nation and everything it stands for. He wants to disassemble our manufacturing, our freedoms, and every chance he gets he apologises to the world for who we are while spitting in the face of our allies. I'll keep it short so that is all I will say for now but that doesn't even scratch the surface

Benjamin Gorman said...

(I just wrote a very long response. The computer ate it. I'll try again, but know that I was a lot more persuasive and wise last time around.)

I don't know where this charge of Obama's radical left-wing ideology comes from. I mean, I know that it's repeated over and over by right-wing pundits, but I don't actually know what their evidence is. Maybe that's just because of my equally hermetically sealed liberal bubble, but I really want to know what this antipathy is based on.

For example, the charge that Obama sees government as the solution to all problems: What is the evidence for that? The Healthcare Reform Act makes everyone get insurance... from private insurers. The bank bailouts, rather than nationalizing the failing banks (a serious option considering their weakness at the time) gave them cash and loan guarantees so they could remain private. The bailout of the auto industry arguably partially nationalized GM when the government bought a controlling interest, but it then sold those stocks and returned the company to private hands (making a profit for the taxpayers in the process). So what government solutions has Obama forced on the private market?

The emphasis on personal responsibility is certainly a conservative ideal, and they are comfortable with winners and losers... as long as the losers are poor. Remember, Bush could have let the banks fail. That was during the transition period before Obama took office. But Bush bailed them out. when it comes to education policy, Obama has actually been more libertarian than Bush. while "No Child Left Behind" created a massive increase in federal mandates on local schools, Obama's "Race To The Top" functions as a series of grants for which schools have to compete. No new regulations, but no new money for schools that don't do specific things (mostly break their union contracts and evaluate teachers based on student test scores).

Benjamin Gorman said...


As far as regulation, the only new regulatory agency Obama has proposed is the one that will regulate the credit markets in the same way that the SEC regulates the stock market. It's not particularly radical, certainly not as radical as the EPA which was put in place by Richard Nixon. Nixon may not be popular, but not because he's seen as a Maoist. What else has Obama done that makes you believe he wants to undermine private industry?

As for the notion that conservatives want to be left along, that's actually not "Conservatism", at least in its modern incarnation, as much as libertarianism. Conservatives have no problem increasing regulation, as long as it's regulating abortion or marriage or pornography or a handful of other moral ills. Libertarians genuinely want to limit all regulation. They are way outside the American mainstream. Note Ron Paul's percentage of the vote in the Republican primaries. He's a genuine libertarian. What, specifically, has Obama done to impose new regulations that further this "Soft Tyranny"?

What, specifically, has Obama done to weaken our standing in the world that could possibly compare to an unnecessary war in Iraq? How has he weakened our relationships with our allies? How has he demeaned our military? How has he ignored our borders any more than the last few administrations that failed to reform the immigration system, or, for that matter, Ronald Reagan, who offered amnesty to illegal immigrants in the 80's? I don't see similar anti-Reagan hatred from conservatives.

Your point about the failures of Socialism is true only if you're talking about the most extreme examples of collectivism. Mixed economies actually do the best, and I'm not just referring to Canada and Norway. We have a mixed economy right here, and have since our founding. Think like libraries are publicly owned and offer access to information to all people regardless of income in order to assist them in "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps". That's socialism, too. In contrast, countries where the government are truly hands-off fail all the time. Where would you rather live, a socialist country like Sweden or a libertarian's paradise like Haiti or Somalia? There, the government allows people to have maximum freedom... of a kind.

That's a tangent, though, because I want to know what Obama has done to create this Socialist failed state your worried about. Has any act of this President's invaded your privacy as much as the Patriot Act? Has anything been as much of a threat to your freedom and as much of a challenge to the Constitution as the use of "Extraordinary Rendition" or military tribunals for American citizens? what has Obama actually done that makes you believe this?

Benjamin Gorman said...

I know it sounds like I'm assigning you homework, but I really do want to know what these opinions are based on.

What has Obama done which has disassembled manufacturing? He saved the American auto industry. My brother has a job in manufacturing because the military buys parts for airplanes from his privately owned factory.

What has he done which has limited our freedoms? How, specifically, are you less free under an Obama presidency? What can't you do now which you could do under Bush?

How has Obama spit in the face of our allies? Our standing in the world is demonstrably better than it was under Bush. Which allies has Obama spit on?

Derek said...


Blogger ate my reply. You should switch to Wordpress.

On Government as solution:
Take your pick:
-- stimulus
-- cash for clunkers
-- HAMP and follow on mortgage assistance programs
-- ongoing extensions of unemployment benefits
-- 43 million americans on food stamps
On government expansion, I point to:
We've become a nation of Takers, Not Makers

Obama is pro-growth (of government)
On regulatory expansion:
Utility giant AEP says it will close five coal plants to comply with EPA regs

EPA ruling kills Shell's Plans to Drill offshore in Alaska

On national security, foreign relations, border security:
Arizona Attorney General blasts Obama on border security

Israel envoy: U.S. ties at their lowest ebb in 35 years

On soft tyranny:
FDA tyranny exposed: The real food-raw milk movement strikes back

USDA fines family up to four million dollars for selling bunny rabbits

And for the record, the GM bailout is far from profitable - rather a $14 billion loss

I did my best to avoid citing Fox News since I doubt you'd accept those as valid references.

Finally, since you've upheld Sweden as the socialism success story, I offer the following to suggest that it was a move towards the right (lower taxes, reduced social welfare benefits) that has contributed to their economic growth:

Benjamin Gorman said...

Thanks for these. I will read them all, I promise. Tonight I bought "Halo: Reach" and started playing it after the NBA Finals (video games to stave off NBA withdrawal a bit). But I will do my homework, since you did yours. Again, thank you!

The Green Globule said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Green Globule said...

Blogger ate my post, too. ****ing annoying and really frustrating.

Benjamin Gorman said...

Green Globule, your comment did come to me as an email! Here it is for everybody:

The Green Globule has left a new comment on your post "Why Does the Right Hate Obama So Much?":

To Derek's list I would add:

I see this request for information to be somewhat disingenuous, as you're clearly looking to point to Bush about this or that. Many of us who dislike Obama's policies had similar contempt for theose of Bush. Beyond Reagan's amnesty and Nixon's EPA, the end question for a given sitting president is where he stands on balance. For Reagan, he lowered taxes and after a short correction the economy soared. For Nixon, I don't know a single republican that looks back to him fondly, so it's a moot point at best. And when I see various liberals looking fondly back at Ike due to high top marginal tax rates or the military-industrial complex warning, I don't see them decry him as a racist for Operation Wetback, which made anything proposed in Arizona lately look positively mild by comparison.

With regard to Obama, there are two major things. First is, like Josh says, he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism. He thinks that Americans loving America is just like Peruvians loving Peru or Jordanians loving Jordan or whatever. He regards it as a particular expression of a global desire. This is contrary to how the average American regards America. When I read Dreams from my Father, the one thing I was looking for above all else was that he loved and respected this country and that he believed in it. I found nothing of the sort, and generally only the opposite. This problem is only exacerbated by his "bitter clingers" moment. When you suspect that the average conservative hates Obama for cultural reasons, tell me, when he manages to display such utter contempt for them on cultural grounds, why should they feel any different? The statement had all the disregard of the old "Jane, you ignorant slut" comments from Aykroyd in his SNL days. If Bush had said something about how public school teachers were too incompetent to get real jobs and fell back toward union mobs to indoctrinate children in order to keep their weed money coming, tell me, what policies could he possibly enact that could ever get you to forget such a comment and give him the benefit of the doubt?

Next, can you point to anything he has done that doesn't move the country's baseline policy to the left? You seem to be looking at all policies against a standard of Sweden, and if we don't reach a full mark opf Swedish policies, it's a policy to the right. You recently linked an article about the "fictional country" that American's want American to be like. What you're missing is this very simple idea:

The country that conservative American's want their country to be more like is the United States.

Benjamin Gorman said...

Green Globule's, cont'd:

We're not looking across the ocean for a better model. We look internally to what we're doing right and we value what we're doing right, and our first concern is against new mistakes, especially those at the national level which are hardest to undo. No one in Europe has our commitments to free speech or to the right to bear arms, and given the Swiss minaret debacle or the French niqab kerfuffle, Europe in general does not share our dedication to the free exercise of religion.

Looking at all of this, I'd turn your question around, but first I'd make one single acknowledgement for Obama: he gave the green light to an operation in Pakistan that brought about the death of Osama bin Laden. Credit where it's due, and it is due to both operations started by Bush but finished by Obama. That granted, tell me, what specific legislative accomplishments or executive initiatives has Obama pursued that make the country more like a conservative country than the one he inherited?

The Green Globule said...

Thanks for recovering that!

Giving a bit more thought to the matter, and perhaps posing a question easier to answer (though I fear I'll derail the discourse needlessly), I'd ask: why do you hate Palin so much?

I mean, I get it, she's an idiot and an attention whore and an empty suit undeserving of celebrity. Gotcha. Yet she's also not in any position of power, she can't set policy or write legislation, and in the "landslide" GOP victories in 2010 midterms, her biggest impact was to help idiotic half-wits to win the GOP nod, thus costing the GOP at least two very important seats in the general election they could have otherwise won (Reid's seat and Biden's old seat). Yet I think that more than half of all Palin-based posts I see on FB originate with you, and the rest are from other like-minded Palin-hating leftists.

I'd say that in the case of you and Palin, it's fair to say a lot of what you dislike about her has absolutely nothing to do with her politics and everything to do with her persona, the cult of personality, and the failure to live up to her hype. I'd say that the dislike of Obama is based on much of the same.

You say not to say "messiah," but it was very much a part of his persona. I think that's best exemplified in the "beer summit" crap where he decided to go far, far beyond the legitimate role of a sitting president, and after interjecting himself into a matter that was none of his business, tried to play Oprah as race healer. This inspires contempt faster than you can say "refudiate." If he doesn't want the jabs about "messiah," he shouldn't try to play the role of televangelist racial faith healer (just like Palin can avoid the "gotcha" moment questions where her dumb replies go viral by crawling into a dark corner and not seeking the limelight).

Next point: he has a logo. He got into trouble for creating a pseudo-presidential seal in a manner that was very nearly illegal and having a fake "Office of the President Elect of the United States" which doesn't exist. I understand he even had his own infomercial channel during campaign season, and was the first to decline matching funds, yet he decided to rail against the Citizens United ruling--to the justices themselves, holding them as a captive audience during the SotU address--as though his decision to circumvent McCain-Feingold did less to introduce money and influence in elections.

And then there's the golf, which was derided in both Bush I and Bush II despite being played at far lower levels.

Personality-wise, there's plenty that Obama does to make him not likable to vast cross-sections of the American public.

Benjamin Gorman said...

My take on what I've learned. (Sorry it's so loooong, but you guys have given me lost to think about, so it's all your fault.)

Anonymous said...

Why does the "right" hatre Oskidmark so much?

Sorry, but the WORLD is laughing at the Joke-in-Chief, not just the populace that got stuck with him.

We're coming to the End of an Error, just not fast enough!!!

Benjamin Gorman said...

You apparently missed my request that you avoid name calling and descriptions of what you think Obama IS in favor of an explanation of what Obama has DONE which infuriates you so much. Normally conservatives seem less concerned with the opinion of the world, but since you brought it up I'd remind you that our current president is a lot more popular in the world than our last one. Can you imagine what the world's opinion of us will be like if we elect Rick Perry as our next president? I expect that your reaction would be to immediately forget that you cited the "WORLD" as an authority so recently.

Please, try and explain what policies of Obama's bother you so much rather than just repeating some lame nicknames you obviously stole from Rush Limbaugh.

Mark N. said...

Here's a good link showing the list of President Obama's accomplishments thus far:

Benjamin Gorman said...

Mark, in my experience, it seems that Obama's critics are not interested in specifics unless they are of the most minute and irrelevant kind. Your list is excellent, and yet the conservatives I know focus more on a campaign logo, having a beer with a couple guys when he wasn't supposed to, and the amount of golf he plays. Personally, I'm sick of the golf cracks because I am genuinely interested in the list of accomplishments, and, to me, the more golf the guy plays, the more he deserves a break. Contrast that against Bush who was mocked for all his brush cutting in Texas because when he was in Washington he was largely failing to privatize social security (thank goodness) and succeeding in starting international boondoggles. I have no problem with partisanship in and of itself. I am partisan because of my ideology, and if there were a viable party that shared more of my views, I'd be partisan for their sake. But I like my partisanship based on substantial policy differences, not trivialities. I feel like, as a lefty, I have more concrete frustrations with this president than my conservative friends, and I'm going to vote for him because I can examine the policy of his opponent and recognize that it would be significantly worse. The kind of tax policy he advocates is the same kind of trickle-down that hasn't worked here for thirty years, and the kind of austerity he wants has caused a double-dip recession in the UK. But then, Mitt Romney doesn't have a logo. I guess everybody gets to decide what is really important to them when choosing a candidate.

Another Mark said...

It's the Behavioral Immune System and the Backfire Effects.

John Laub said...

You are blinded by your own irrationality. The only hatred evident is the hate inside you. Wake up.

Benjamin Gorman said...

Mr. Laub,
I'm not sure if you are talking about me or one of the other commenters, but my question still stands: Wake up to what, specifically? Please, enlighten me with your rationality. I am not being sarcastic; I am genuinely curious about this piece of the puzzle that I'm missing. What, specifically, causes conservatives to oppose Obama with such verve? I think it's safe to say they feel more strongly about Obama than they did about Clinton. No politician fired a rifle at pictures of President Clinton in order to demonstrate his anti-Clinton bona fides in a congressional race. Clinton's initiatives and appointments were not filibustered nearly as often. There were a lot more bipartisan votes between Republicans and Democrats during the Clinton administration. And yet, the things Clinton pushed for were far more liberal than Obama's (universal healthcare, dubbed Hillary-care, was far more like something one would find in a socialist-democratic country in Europe than Obamacare, for example. The assault weapons ban that passed under Clinton had NRA support!) So please, explain why conservatives seem to, if not hate, then to consistently oppose Obama more than they did Clinton? Please. I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

It's white supremacy. Conservatives hate "government handouts" because black people are usually poor. Even if they are working class SOBs who benefit from welfare they want to feel superior to blacks. If you ask "why" and look to history you see two groups supporting Republicans: white supremacists and aristocrats who want less restrictions of their profit-seeking.