Saying anything good about Barack Obama these days is a risky undertaking. His opponents are so determined to bring him down, that anyone offering even the thinnest of praise can expect a vicious personal attack, totally out of proportion to the comment.
According to his right-wing critics, Barack Obama has no other goal than the destruction of the American way of life, and anyone daring to defend him is an un-American socialist, and an enemy to be silenced by any means necessary.
Does this sound pretty ridiculous? The Republicans, spear-headed by the Tea Party don’t seem to think so as they continue their vitriolic attacks on everything the President does or says. Even Mike Huckabee is advising against attacking everything Obama, but nobody in the GOP is listening.
The latest assault on the President, focuses on his environmental initiatives. Republicans would basically prefer that industry be free of pollution regulations, which fits in with their overall belief that big-business does best when free of any government control.
It is hard to understand the persistent right-wing belief in this philosophy, given that the economy collapsed during George W. Bush’s watch. Most of the problems originated in lack of government oversight, especially in the financial sector. Mortgage lenders knowingly financed unqualified borrowers, while financial institutions were betting against themselves on the stock market, simply to enrich a handful of corporate leaders.
Barack Obama’s supposed sins include the state of the economy, the budget, and the deficit. Republicans choose to remain completely oblivious to the fact that the Democrats now in office, inherited this mess from the previous administration, and while there may be some justification in blaming the President for not turning things around faster, he wasn’t the one who brought it all crashing down.
When Mr. Obama began his term, the recession was well underway. Although usually accepted as starting in December 2007, this economic disaster was brewing well ahead of that date. By some perversion of logic, the GOP blames a recession which began during a Republican administration on the Democrats, while claiming responsibility for policies which brought about its end, six months into the Obama regime.
The ballooning budget and deficit can also be laid at the Bush doorstep. Instead of shrinking, government grew, the new Department of Homeland Security was created, and trillions of dollars were added to the budget. The final legacy of Republican fiscal restraint was the handing out of 700 billion dollars in bail-out money to the financial sector, some of which was promptly paid in bonuses to the very people who brought the nation to the brink of ruin.
At one time respect for differing opinions accompanied criticism, but destruction of the enemy (anyone who isn’t a Republican) seems to have become all-important in this relentless war on Barack Obama. It is hard to imagine that the endless toxic rhetoric aimed at the Democrats is motivated by a desire for a better life for a majority of Americans, and not a yearning for an America more in keeping with Republican beliefs.
Bob Burnett claims that, “In the final analysis, contemporary Republican ideology has three interlocked components: promoting a permanent state of war; favoring the interests of the rich over those of the poor; and relegating women to be second-class citizens whose rights are subordinate to those of men.” If there is any truth in this, than it isn’t hard to see why they loath a Democrat who favors an end to foreign wars, wants decent health care for all, and champions the rights of all Americans, regardless of gender or race.
Barack Obama hasn’t turned out to be the savior that so many hoped he would be, but he also isn’t the nation-destroying devil that his opponents see. He has failed to carry through on some of what he set out to achieve. Some of this is his own fault, and some of it is the Republican determination to undermine his every effort, no matter what the cost to the country.
The most serious casualty in this war, is the death of civility and fair play in America. If the GOP makes it into the White House in 2012, their first priorities should be restoring the belief that people of all political stripes can work together for the good of the nation, and that equality does exist in America.