Thursday, April 19, 2012

Okay, so, wait, about half the country is racist and/or insane?

Doh! How to explain that
the presidentiary race is neck and neck? 
Facts. Inconvenient, ignorable facts. The latest CBS/New York Times poll shows that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are currently in a dead heat. Really. Really?

So, it doesn't matter that Obama has in many ways continued several republican policies--and in some cases has gone even further to the right (e.g., offshore drilling, fast-tracking XL pipeline approval, continued Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, hasn't closed Guantanamo, exercising whistle blower law more times than Bush, NRC-favored nuclear power is ascendant, in spite of Fukushima, etc.). I've struggled with these center/right policies personally, but I realize too that Obama isn't just governing people like, me, he's governing another 50% of the population that thinks these are great ideas. I may not like it, but it may well be an approximation of representative democracy, even if it's not in peoples' best interests. Still, none of these facts mitigate the right's hatred of Obama.

Okay, so, what about the positive things he's done?

Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job
This was a headline in The Onion back on November 5, 2008. But, like a lot of Onion headlines, this was true. Obama did, in fact, take on the worst possible job in the country at the worst possible time, and helped bring the country back from the brink of the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Doesn't matter to the right. And it doesn't matter that he saved General Motors (and thousands of jobs) from extinction. Doesn't matter that the savings and stocks of people that were halved (based on laissez faire, free market actions that were started under Clinton, and exacerbated under Bush) have rebounded greater than two-fold since he took office. Doesn't matter  that his cash for clunkers plan was very successful. Doesn't matter that people can no longer be denied healthcare coverage for pre-existing conditions due to his healthcare plan. It doesn't matter that he got bin Laden.

Short-term (convenient) memory. None of these facts--or the easily remembered reality that the "eight year republican experiment under Bush" mired us in two wars and almost destroyed the world's economy--matter to the people who think that an out-of-touch plutocrat millionnaire who was enriched by purchasing companies, cutting them up, and laying off employees is somehow a better leader. Seriously. Seriously? 

The extreme right:
Who know they recycled?
If the facts don't justify anger/hatred, then what's the problem? If Obama's policies aren't worthy of republicans' anger, then why are republicans so upset? As I've written about the Tea Party, there's really a simple explanation: republicans against Obama  are either stupid, racist, or both. For many, this comes as no surprise. But it's the only logical conclusion. If a) Obama has continued fairly mainstream policies and many republican policies (he has); and b) if he has actually improved the country overall during his term (he has), then c) the only reason to be against him vs. the fluffy, wishy washy, out of touch millionnaire known as Mitt, there has to be a reason for the aggressively vitriolic hatred of Obama--other than policies and outcomes. And that reason is, clearly, d) stupidity/racism/fear.

The "Other Side" Explains why Obama isn't hated (but he is evil). I was on the website TheBlaze.com--a conservative "news" aggregation site to see what the other side was on about--when I read all these comments about Obama that had nothing to do with policy issues. Aside from the fact that I felt queasy clicking around the place--don't try this at home, folks--I thought I'd do a little experiment. I was reading s a meandering, sycophantic post about Glenn Beck's presentation at the recent National Rifle Association conference where he made fun of Barack Obama's campaign slogan "Yes we can!" (“Barack Obama‘s winning slogan was ’Yes we can.‘ That’s the dumbest damn slogan I’ve ever heard,” Beck said. “Don’t tell me what you can do. Will you do it? Will you do it? ‘Yes we can.’ What a bunch of crap that is.”) The comments were, predictably, of the snarky ad hominem variety and seemed to be generated by angry drunk schoolchildren (and not the fun, precocious intelligent kind, either). So I thought, lemme ask this group why they hate Obama so much; what is it about his policies that don't they like? Here's the response I got in return:

Interactions like these are just depressing on so many levels...

Um, right. These aren't arguments against the president's policies, they're dittohead bullet points spouted by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ted Nugent, and every other extremist conservative out there that drinks the Fox "News" Kool Aid. I'd almost feel bad for GIRLNURSE if I didn't think that her lack of knowledge and understanding of basic logic and facts were such a threat to the country. With the possible exception of the Solyndra fiasco, this person has no idea that she's espousing essentially racist views driven by fear and anger of a black man in the white house. Why? Because there's no depth to it and no data to back any of the assertions. Look at one example: "bowing to Muslims everywhere" is a phrase that justifies this person's hatred of Obama. Forget that Obama has actually pissed off Muslims everywhere with the drone attacks in Pakistan and that he killed lots of Muslims in the hunt for al Qaeda. The take-away for this person is that he's an apologist to the muslim world--not that this would be a terrible thing, since the United States as killed far more Muslims in Iraq than the Muslims have killed Americans. But no matter to GIRLNURSE. Such thoughts would be considered seditious to this person.

This also underscores just how successful Fox and the crazy conservatives like Beck, Limbaugh, et al. have been in persuading people like this. When logic, critical reason, and facts are no longer enough to persuade people, you have a country at war with itself and in very, very deep trouble. And it doesn't help that the republican party is more conservative now than it's been in a century. What to do? Not sure. But I will continue to try to use facts and basic logic against this juggernaut of not-smartness.

Christ, I just re-read this post--could I possibly post anything more depressing? Well, I could, but that's for another post. Instead, cleanse your political palate and ease your brain pain with Stephen Colbert, as he makes fun of Mitt Romney.
Yet another excellent example of why there's such a dearth of republican comedians.

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