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Obama Derangement Syndrome And The American Right

Pajamas Media’s Rick Moran wrote recently about the extent to which many on the right have let themselves be taken by paranoid fantasies about President Obama:

One of the most confounding critiques of President Obama from the right has been the expressed belief that the president of the United States has deliberately initiated policies that he knew would injure the economy and the country. In short, Barack Obama wants to destroy America.

Several different motivations are given for this traitorous behavior. Rush Limbaugh thinks it’s because Obama wants as much of the population as possible to fall into dependency on government, thus giving Democrats a permanent majority because everyone knows poor people vote Democratic. Others believe it’s because the president is a socialist/Communist and in order to remake America, it must first be destroyed.

Darker conspiracies that combine the most paranoid parts of the birther narrative with Cold War revanchist nightmares involving a plot line ripped from the film The Manchurian Candidate (the sublime Frank Sinatra version, not the Denzel Washington turkey) provide a little comic relief to the dourness of the subject matter. Obama as the unholy offspring of Frank Davis or Malcolm X, groomed from birth by the international Communist conspiracy to become leader of the free world, programmed to remake America into a Marxist dictatorship, gives the entire proposition of Obama as Destroyer of America a slightly hysterical tinge.

Thankfully, most on the right don’t go quite that far over the cliff in positing the notion that President Obama has deliberately set out to bring America down. Still, there is a desperate paranoia at work among some conservatives if one were to take the notion seriously that this president — any president — would purposefully set the nation on a course where America’s destruction would be the end result. In order to believe that proposition, you have to also believe that the president is not just an incompetent, indecisive, empty suit in way over his head as chief executive, but that he is the personification of evil.

As Moran points out in a follow-up post at his personal blog, the paranoids on the right are able to believe this largely because they have already concluded that President Obama is evil, meaning that they’re able to classify everything he does as part of a vast conspiracy:

The problem for the paranoids is that they start, not with a supposition, but an assumption. By assuming evil intent, the only possible supposition is that Obama is trying to destroy us. But what is easier to believe? Occam’s razor would teach us that beginning with the supposition that Obama is incompetent would lead to the exact same results that the paranoids believe proves Obama is evil! Is it easier, more rational, more reasonable to believe that Obama is a horrible chief executive or a Machiavellian president who has been able to hide the proof of his intent to destroy us – except from the eyes of those chosen few who claim special knowledge not in evidence of the president’s intent?

When looking at Obama through this kind of paranoid prism, all manner of evils can be attributed to him. He doesn’t “love” America. He wants to weaken us so that the Mooooslims can establish Sharia law in America. He is conniving to turn our capitalist economy (such as it is) into a socialist, or even a Marxist one.

Michael Medved made a similar point in his Wall Street Journal column earlier this week, and concluded by noting that the GOP risks political ruin if it allows the paranoid style to become part of its rhetoric in the coming year:

Regardless of the questionable pop psychology of this analysis, as a political strategy it qualifies as almost perfectly imbecilic. Republicans already face a formidable challenge in convincing a closely divided electorate that the president pursues wrong-headed policies. They will never succeed in arguing that those initiatives have been cunningly and purposefully designed to wound the republic. In Mr. Obama’s case, it’s particularly unhelpful to focus on alleged bad intentions and rotten character when every survey shows more favorable views of his personality than his policies.

Moreover, the current insistence in seeing every misstep or setback by the Obama administration as part of a diabolical master plan for national destruction disregards the powerful reverence for the White House that’s been part of our national character for two centuries.

Even in times of panic and distress, we hope the Almighty has answered John Adams’s prayer. Americans may not see a given president as their advocate, but they’re hardly disposed to view him as their enemy—and a furtive, determined enemy at that. For 2012, Republicans face a daunting challenge in running against the president. That challenge becomes impossible if they’re also perceived as running against the presidency.

Indeed.

This is something that goes back to the early days of the Obama Administration when Rush Limbaugh said that he hoped the President failed and set off a firestorm of criticism, along with a little reflection from some on the right who argued that wishing for a failed Presidency essentially meant wishing for a failed country:

A failed Presidency is Herbert Hoover’s lack of faith in the ability of the market to right itself and fiscal and economic policies that led to the Great Depression, it’s Woodrow Wilson’s single-minded obsession with “making the world safe for democracy” that results in creating the seeds for the worst war in human history, it’s Lyndon Johnson and the disaster of Vietnam, it’s Jimmy Carter, and, it’s George W. Bush.

The United States usually doesn’t do so well when we’re forced to live with a President who’s a failure.

Things actually seem to have gotten worse since those early days. The Birthers have gone from a minor nuisance filing frivolous lawsuits to. according to some polls, a substantial part of the Republican base. The “Obama is a secret Muslim” canard is still alive and well (I heard it more than once at CPAC from people attending). Limbaugh, Hannity. Palin, and Beck are more powerful than ever. And anyone who dares to criticize any of this is denounced as a RINO, or worse (for an example of that, just check out the comment thread to Moran’s Pajama’s Media column). The inmates have taken over the asylum, and they don’t look eager to give up the control any time soon.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. george says:

    Who were the presidents since (including) Nixon who wasn’t considered to be evil by the other party? Bush 41 and Gerald Ford are the only two I can think of.

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  2. Trumwill says:

    Was Carter considered evil or just incompetent? Growing up (mostly in a Republican stronghold) I remember him mostly being portrayed as good-natured but inept. Over the last decade or so he has lost the benefit of the doubt among a lot of conservatives, but I’m not sure if that was the case at the time. Then again, I was two back then.

    It seems to me that there is a general pattern, though. Presidents considered evil by their enemies get re-elected while those that are not as widely considered so lose. Maybe it’s during the second term where the “evil” tag really starts to take hold. Or maybe with weak presidents they don’t need the evil tag?

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  3. Brummagem Joe says:

    george says:
    Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 16:52

    Nixon was considered evil with some justification, but I certainly don’t think Reagan was at the time. Utlra demonization started with Clinton who Republicans from day one attempted to depict as illegitimate culminating in the farcical impeachment which completely blew up in their faces. By 2001 of course Democrats had figured out the technique and given the circumstances of the election had some but not much rationale. Of course when Bush subsequently drove the bus off the road he gave them all the material they could ever want. With the election of Obama, Republicans tried to pull Clinton II but it’s proved largely counter productive outside the hardcore Republican base because the president is so obviously a perfectly reasonable guy, with a nice family, who’d love to play golf with. The leadership have woken up to this fact and are now trying to calm things down (presumably Doug has had a memo) but the cow’s out of the barn on this one with the Republican base and as he points out isn’t likely to be put back in any time soon. It’s going to be a large subtext of the next two years.

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  4. michael reynolds says:

    I can’t understand why a political party that is almost 100% white and disproportionately old and rural, and which is dominated intellectually by guys who sell ads for gold and survival supplies to people who are 100% white and disproportionately old and rural, has such a hate on for Obama.

    Just.

    Can’t.

    Figure it out.

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  5. george says:

    Trumwill: you may be right about Carter, he was considered more inept than evil. My mistake. And I think you’re correct in suggesting that re-election is one of the hallmarks of being evil.

    BJ: I remember people considering Reagan evil during his presidency – in fact web sites like Salon continue to consider him such for various reasons. In the case of most presidents, including Reagan, Clinton, and Obama, the hatred comes not so much for what they do, as what they represent – which at bottom often seems to be that they represent the other party. Bush 43 is hated because of the Iraq war (much as Lyndon Johnson was hated for Vietnam … though interestingly enough JFK avoided that, perhaps because of the assassination).

    There does seem to be an increasing amount of hate: Reagan got more than Carter, Clinton than Reagan (Bush 41 for some reason seemed to have flown under the radar), Bush 43 than Clinton, and Obama is on the way to getting more than Bush 43 (though he hasn’t hit that level yet from what I’ve seen). Considering how many policies Obama and Bush 43 share (or perhaps better to say, how many of Bush 43’s policies have been carried on or even expanded by Obama), its a source of great amusement that the people who hated Bush like Obama, and the people who liked Bush hate Obama. Something I’d associate with team sports (ie my pitcher throws a spit ball and its just part of the game, your pitcher throws a spitball and he’s a cheater).

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  6. Derrick says:

    I get how Republicans like to make this comparison, but it just isn’t true. There was definitely considerable hate of Bush, but just never to the extent of Clinton by public figures. Neither side can police anonymous bloggers, but it should be able to police it’s public figures. I know that Republicans want to feel better about their hate by mentioning things like “BusHitler”, but you didn’t see that from reputable Democrats who have any standing in govt. or the party. Impeachment letters weren’t drawn up. You didn’t have people attacking Bush’s family members. And the conspiracy theories while repulsive (9/11) just weren’t backed by legitimate members of Congress or public figures, with the lone exception of crazy Cynthia McKinney who was ridiculed by member of her own party. You had US Senators making comments on Clinton killing Vince Foster and being a drug-lord, during Clinton’s period.

    Today you have leading members of the Republican party attacking the First Lady as if she was a member of Congress for every innocuous statement. You have members of Congress yelling during SOTU as if the President was at City Council debate. And that’s not even mentioning the sheer volume of statements equating Obama with Marxism, Socialism and Communism from members of Congress. Democrats aren’t wall flowers by any means, but no one knows how to hate a sitting President like Republicans

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  7. sam says:

    @Joe

    “Nixon was considered evil with some justification, but I certainly don’t think Reagan was at the time”

    True enough. I think Nixon was the most despised Republican president in the post-war era (by the left). But his evilness was not attributed to him as the result of a belief in his being essentially unamerican, as being an other. I don’t recall anybody saying he was secretly intent on destroying the country in furtherance of some nefarious, unamerican agenda. (It’s part of the paradox of that very complicated man that though hated by the left, he was responsible for some of the most progressive legislation in modern times. Now, by the standards of the contemporary GOP base, that would make him a traitor.)

    I think Michael’s got the reason. The country is changing. Changing in terms of its composition. Its complexion is becoming darker. The rhythm of its language is becoming more latin. Its cultural drivers are, and have been for a long time, urban, not rural. The whole attitude of the Obama haters was summed up by that lady who stood up at one of the health care townhalls and said, “I want my country back!” She wasn’t talking about a piece of legislation — she was voicing belief that someone fundamentally and profoundly other had been elected president, and she saw this as evidence that her America slipping away from her.

    Well, it was never her’s to begin with, or mine, or your’s. It’s our’s, and the ‘our’ is changing, just as its always done throughout our history. And throughout our history, there have been those who find this profoundly disturbing. But there have always been more of us who do not find this disturbing, but something to celebrate. In the end, we win, and the frightened, the paranoid, lose. In the end, the idea of America wins.

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  8. anjin-san says:

    Obama is the devil’s pawn. This, we all know…

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  9. Trumwill says:

    The notion that they dislike Obama due to his race is belied, somewhat, by the fact that the same people couldn’t stand Clinton, either (indeed, I don’t think Obama-hatred has quite reached Clinton-hatred, yet). There is racism in the nature of the criticism (he’s Muslim, he’s not an American), but not in the inspiration for it. The inspiration is, as it was with Clinton, that he is a member of the more liberal (or less conservative) party.

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  10. TG Chicago says:

    Not willing to necessarily say any of these guys are pure evil, but I think Iran-Contra was an act of evil. Same for invading Iraq and allowing torture. Same for okaying the due-process-free assassination of American citizens.

    Maybe fewer people would view Presidents as evil if they’d knock off all the evil.

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  11. tom p says:

    “As Moran points out in a follow-up post at his personal blog, the paranoids on the right are able to believe this largely because they have already concluded that President Obama is evil, meaning that they’re able to classify everything he does as part of a vast conspiracy:”

    Doug, there is hope for you yet…

    meaning only that as much as I disagree with you about various issues, they are HONEST disagreements…

    you do not willingly lie to yourself… something I have trouble with from time to time.

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  12. george says:

    >I get how Republicans like to make this comparison, but it just isn’t true. There was definitely considerable hate of Bush, but just never to the extent of Clinton by public figures. Neither side can police anonymous bloggers, but it should be able to police it’s public figures. I know that Republicans want to feel better about their hate by mentioning things like “BusHitler”, but you didn’t see that from reputable Democrats who have any standing in govt. or the party.

    I think that’s a fair statement, assuming that by ‘public figures’ you mean ‘elected figures’ – there were some notable entertainment figures who had a real hate on for Bush.

    However, for most independents the distinction isn’t really all that important, since the assumption is that the people represent the party, and not the other way around. If you see a lot of people who vote democrat carrying BusHitler signs, it comes across as hatred by a movement (progressives), whether or not the party higher-ups echo that or not.

    Though you could argue that especially under Obama, independents should rethink that, seeing as how Obama’s actual policies are very far those his progressive base would want. In fact, that’s probably been the case all along – the republican party has been closer in some ways to its base (with some major exceptions such as balancing the budget, actually passing legislation about abortion and immigration) than the democrats have.

    The party split is generally identified by all sides as being the same as the movement split (conservatives vs progressives); arguably that identification isn’t really there. As you say, progressive marches carrying anti-Bush signs wasn’t reflected in the democrat party, while conservative marches carrying anti-Clinton signs (and now anti-Obama signs) was and is reflected in the republican party. You could argue that the progressive movement is still looking for a representative party.

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  13. michael reynolds says:

    Trumwill:

    I don’t think so. The attack on Obama is not about policy. He’s un-American, anti-American, Muslim, foreign, alien, bowing down to various “others,” an outsider who has somehow taken America away from its rightful owners. That’s about race.

    Then there’s the spittle-flecked rage of the townhall meetings. Not about policy: about rage as rage, fear as fear. The paranoid fantasies, the insanity of the lies, the persistence in the face of all evidence. That’s not how people respond to policy differences.

    It started before there were any policies in place. It ranges wildly across the policy landscape with accusations that he is simultaneously a communist and a toady of the big banks. That he is both a Muslim and an atheist. That he is a far leftist in bed with big business conspiring to bring America down by continuing Mr. Bush’s war in Afghanistan.

    It’s frenzy. It’s wild flights of emotion. Disconnected, internally-contradictory conspiracies. It’s bizarre and insane.

    It’s about race.

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  14. RW Rogers says:

    Once upon a time, I used to laugh at Michael’s analysis. I don’t anymore.

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  15. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    ***It’s about race.***lol….we get your point Harry, dang……..

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  16. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “I can’t understand why a political party that is almost 100% white …”

    Uh Michael, I think Herman Cain, Allen West, et al would have a bone to pick with you on this.

    It’s no wonder you can’t figure it out, you’re obviously blind.

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  17. george says:

    > “I can’t understand why a political party that is almost 100% white …”

    Actually a lot of Asian-Americans are republican. Just sayin’ …

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  18. An Interested Party says:

    That would be why he inserted the word “almost” in that statement…but let’s turn it around, shall we? In election after election, well over 90% of the black vote goes to the Democratic Party…please do offer your speculation as to why that is…as Dodd wrote elsewhere, this should be delicious…

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  19. george says:

    > That would be why he inserted the word “almost” in that statement…but let’s turn it around, shall we? In election after election, well over 90% of the black vote goes to the Democratic Party…please do offer your speculation as to why that is…as Dodd wrote elsewhere, this should be delicious…

    In the case of blacks, its obviously because they see the democratic party as being less racist than the republicans against them. Presumably they’re pretty good judges of that, though the 10% who didn’t vote republican seem to be a large number to be self-hating.

    In the case of Asian-Americans, they make up about 5% of the population, which is not insignificant (ie it is in millions of voters), and I don’t think adding ‘almost’ to 100% is much of a qualifier given that half of one of the major minority groups votes for the republicans.

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  20. Pete says:

    Michael, I think the frenzy is fueled by realization that life is not going to be the joy ride once enjoyed by preceding generations. Living standard growth has slowed, opportunity appears limited, the internet spreads paranoia and people are spoiled. I remember a wise man once said as long as people have enough “calories,” they are generally content. I think people are fearful they will be cheated of “calories” and are responding to the fear.

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  21. An Interested Party says:

    “Michael, I think the frenzy is fueled by realization that life is not going to be the joy ride once enjoyed by preceding generations.”

    Ahh, but that depends on which income bracket you are in…for some, the joy ride shall continue unabated…

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  22. michael reynolds says:

    @RW: I am not happy to be right about this. And I forgive your earlier ridicule. You’re one of life’s good guys, you don’t want to believe people are assholes. Better angels.

    @Patrick: McCain got 4% of the black vote. But it’s cute that you actually know both the black Republicans by name.

    @Pete: I think when the going gets tough a certain percentage of Americans get their hate on. It’s understandable in a primitive, tribal sort of way. It actually points to the remarkable fact that not all Americans behave that way.

    @AIP: This is such an old, old story, isn’t it? Race is the wedge we’ve always used to divide the poor. Today’s white racism is the direct descendent of slave owners who used poor whites as militia to hunt down runaway slaves, convincing them that while they were poor, they were still superior as white men. I don’t think that struggling whites have any concept of how they’ve been historically used.

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  23. mannning says:

    What many have said in my presence is that the fire and brimstone on the right against Obama is due to a number of incendiary factors that keep multiplying with time. It seems that every day some new policy or directive or legislature or seeming lie or heavy spin surfaces that stoke the fires all over again. In the midst of these fires, the usual rightwing listener begins to cast about for his own personal reasons for wishing Obama gone. Just like children growing up they put on attitudes and ideas and try them out for a while to see what happens, and there is no dearth of ideas to try under the rubric of “Hope and Change” to……..exactly where? Obviously, the heat begins with the simple fact that Obama won and his party won and have been in control, especially during a period of truly massive increases in the national debt; some six times the debt Bush accumulated.

    It is all attitude, borne of both fact and fiction regarding Obama’s real intentions and actual reported deeds, most of which seem to turn out very badly indeed in the opinions they, the usual rightwingers, listen to. In fact, there have now been a number of books written to describe Obama’s sins in great detail, which presents the usual rightwinger with the option of believing Obama or believing his book-writing cohorts. The cohort writers win just about every time in his mind.

    Thus we have a poisoned well of thought about Obama, and it really makes no difference at all whether the poisons are real or not, they work on the right-leaning masses on the principle that where there is so much continuous gagging, there must be something poisonous in there somewhere. (The poison might even be working on Independents and Bluedog Democrats !) Since they want Obama gone, they are willing to hear and give consideration to any story that sheds crud on his presidency, yet, interestingly, not his persona, which is pleasant enough to get by.

    As someone said, he would make a good golf companion, but not a good businessman, lawyer, senator, or president. I forget who it was that said that. Personally, I see Obama as a pale and flawed immitation of Nickolai Carpathia.

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  24. mannning says:

    Should be : Nicolae Carpathia

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  25. An Interested Party says:

    Thank you, mannning, for exposing yourself as Exhibit A in making Doug’s point and proving that you can be taken even less seriously (if that is possible) than you already are…Nicolae Carpathia? Really? Why not Damien Thorne? Oh, that’s right, where would the 666 birthmark be…

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  26. michael reynolds says:

    The anti-Christ.

    I’m with AIP: you just fell off the radar, Mannning. Bye bye.

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  27. mannning says:

    Bye bye to you, Obama worshippers, I have no intent to stop posting here at your word as you are totally in the can for Obama. I am totally not in the can for someone that is taking us to ruin.
    I think the Shades of Carpathia expresses it exactly right, glib tongue and all. He doesn’t make Anti-Christ, as he is too flawed, as I said….pale and flawed. But the similarity of characterization with Carpathia is very close! A mesmerizer!

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  28. Axel Edgren says:

    You can’t even use ellipses properly.

    By the by, can anyone explain why all the mediocre, sugar-filled cannon-fodder peasants I see puking out anti-left bile all over the place MISUSE AND MISTYPE ELLIPSES ALL THE TIME? It’s as if being a wingnut comments section mongrel correlates perfectly with a specific neurological quirk that makes them incapable of typing three dots (no more, no less) to indicate an ellipsis.

    Then again, they think they know better than Nobel laureates, climate scientists, the CBO, fiscal institutes and biologists, so perhaps they think they are above things like communicating above high school levels with other people.

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  29. john personna says:

    Technically, GWB was just dumb. Cheney was evil.

    But I can name things that GWB did well. I liked his attempts to reduce farm subsidies. I liked his worker visa solution for immigration. I liked the new marine protected areas. The AIDs work in Africa is broadly applauded.

    … so I can’t be around the bend ;-)

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  30. jwest says:

    The basic premise of liberalism is that conservatives are evil. If you remove that overarching and singular theme from any liberal argument, everything falls apart.

    Here’s a challenge for our liberal commentators – try explaining anything (war, taxes, spending, etc.) with the assumption that conservatives are just as good and well-meaning as you believe yourself to be.

    If you can do it, you’re not really a liberal.

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  31. Brummagem Joe says:

    george says:
    Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 17:50
    “BJ: I remember people considering Reagan evil during his presidency – in fact web sites like Salon continue to consider him such for various reasons.”

    I think your mixing up today and the popular climate of opinion at the time. Reagan was not broadly considered evil, where people were opposed to him he was regarded as the amiable dunce. Then and now is an important distinction.

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  32. Brummagem Joe says:

    jwest says:
    Monday, February 21, 2011 at 09:20
    “The basic premise of liberalism is that conservatives are evil.”

    Where do you get these fantasies from? This may be the opinion of a few on the far left who think capitalism evil, property is theft, etc but to describe it as the basic premise of liberalism is absurd. It would be more accurate to say conservatives are generally believed to be out of touch with reality and incompetent when in govt. I certainly didn’t think Bush was “evil” he was just an incompetent lightweight an opiinion shared by many conservatives. The problem is that incompetent lightweights can cause a much damage as the truly evil.

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  33. mannning says:

    HEHEHE Axel. I use four periods when I want to, three when it is a true ellipse. I take that right as a given. So can it! You persnickity libs with your egos held high and your degrees fluttering in the wind are rediculous. Get a real life.

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  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Here’s a challenge for our liberal commentators – try explaining anything (war, taxes, spending, etc.) with the assumption that conservatives are just as good and well-meaning as you believe yourself to be.”

    The problem is that it’s very difficult in recent times to produce such examples as you request becasue the record is so abysmal. If you want to go back to era of Gerald Ford and earlier there are plenty of examples of prudent and sensible statesmanship by Republicans from shutting down the Korean war and the British Suez adventure, building the interstates, opening up China etc .

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  35. Brummagem Joe says:

    mannning says:
    Monday, February 21, 2011 at 09:52

    Here for example jwest is a conservative whose contact with reality is tenuous at best.

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  36. mannning says:

    AIP

    I was glad to help Doug make his point. He is on the right track. But it matters little at all because the sum of all truth and nonsense about Obama has been amalgamated and plastered all over the internet and the bookstores. Now it is the SUM of all this that is important, not the details, because that is what moves the troops. Even my flight of fancy has a grain of truth in it to add to the pot, and the mixture is now looking evil and potent indeed! If this acidic pot succeeds in ungluing Obama in 2012, glory be! If not, we wait for 2016 and ratchet up the rhetoric for those years. So simple is it! ( I am not sure that Obama can withstand the onslaught as Bush did!)

    But the market tanking may do the job even sooner and more thoroughly for us, assuring us a Republican President, Senate and House in 2012+, instead of a New New Deal.

    How do you like the shoe now on the other foot? Your compatriots have had such a good time lambasting Bush, but he is no longer responsible for the vast spending Obama has undertaken, so now it is Obama’s turn, and many keyboards are starting to crackle, as poor, glum, and misguided Moran found out the hard way.

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  37. mannning says:

    Speaking of evil intent, what would you call deliberate, underhanded, lying, and closet, hidden from the public changes to how our government actually works under Obama and his vague Hope and Change mantra? I will give him credit for carrying out subterfuges very well indeed.

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  38. george says:

    > I am totally not in the can for someone that is taking us to ruin.

    So in terms of what he’s actually done (as opposed to rhetoric, which is I’d argue the only thing that changes when different party’s have the presidency), what has he done to take us to ruin that Bush didn’t do (in fact didn’t start) himself?

    There’s almost no difference between Obama and Bush 43 in terms of actual policy. If the world was reasonable, conservatives would be lauding him just as they did Bush, and liberals would be criticising him, just as they did Bush. This is about team sports.

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  39. Jay says:

    McCain got 4% of the black vote

    And you don’t think this had anything to do with the fact that McCain’s opponent was black? Give me a break.

    The whole, “It’s about race” theory is a steaming pile of bullshit. There was a load of crackpot theories floated about Bill Clinton (everything from him fathering a black woman’s baby to drug dealing out of an airport in Arkansas) and he was a white cracker from Arkansas.

    Don’t even get me started on the loony theories about President Bush by the American left.

    How many liberals spew invective about Clarence Thomas? Using your logic, it has to be because he’s black.

    About this piece however, it is much ado about nothing. Know why? Everybody assumes that everybody else is just as interested in politics as they are. Rush Limbaugh is given far to much credit for the amount of influence has. Ask the average person on the street and they may know who Rush Limbaugh is, but they can’t tell you want he talks about because they don’t listen to him. The same goes for Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and the rest. The notion that they are more powerful than ever is absurd. If Palin had as much power and influence as Doug seems to think, she wouldn’t be lagging behind frigging Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee for the GOP nomination in 2012.

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  40. george says:

    And to the extent that liberals are still criticising Obama for the things they criticised Bush for (and there is some criticism, even if its muted), they’re being more reasonable.

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  41. anjin-san says:

    > Where do you get these fantasies from?

    That would be Fox News.

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  42. mantis says:

    Doug points out that the right is deranged, and Manning steps up to the plate to call Obama the antichrist.

    Can’t get a much clearer affirmation than that, can you Doug?

    Oh, and keep voting for Republicans, buddy. They’re so much better than those evil satanic Democrats.

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  43. MM says:

    Someone teach McGuire what the world almost means.

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  44. wr says:

    Manning thinks Obama is the anti-Christ.

    jwest thinks slavery was a beneficial institution to aid poor blacks.

    Who could say the right is deranged?

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  45. mannning says:

    As usual, you lefties don’t read very well, or don’t want to, especially over more than one post. The words “pale, false immitation” of Carpathia carries the connotation that Obama is not even close to being the Anti-Christ. While he is really bad, he ain’t, ah, bad enough for that role! But he surely can act like Carpathia, narcissist that he was portrayed.

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  46. mannning says:

    @George

    Project our financial situation out to 2016 honestly and you will find us underwater monitarily and woefully underemployed. Bush had an initial hand in it, up to $2 Billion in the red, then along comes Obama and we are now North of $14 billion in the red and growing at a rather brisk clip with no feasible plan whatsoever in sight to regain control. It is a matter of a significant financial degree of difference between the two, like policies or not.

    That spells ruin.

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  47. mannning says:

    Just to sweeten the story, our unfunded liabilities total is now over:

    $122.6 Trillion according to the US debt clock, which is a liability of over a million dollars per taxpayer. We are drowning!

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  48. Matt B says:

    Responding to @jay:

    The whole, “It’s about race” theory is a steaming pile of bullshit. There was a load of crackpot theories floated about Bill Clinton (everything from him fathering a black woman’s baby to drug dealing out of an airport in Arkansas) and he was a white cracker from Arkansas.

    To say that its all about race is BS. To deny that race/being seen as “other” isn’t playing a big role in fueling the direction of the attacks on Obama is hiding your head in the sand. As I’ve said before, I don’t think that a lot of the people who are doing this are “racist” in the way it’s often imagined. But there is a fundamental racist tone (among others) in the discourse.

    Don’t even get me started on the loony theories about President Bush by the American left.
    There’s no question that each party engages in this. But that isn’t what’s being discussed.

    How many liberals spew invective about Clarence Thomas? Using your logic, it has to be because he’s black.
    In part it was. Clarence Thomas would never have been on the supreme court if he wasn’t a black conservative (something that, if you read between the lines of his personal writing, he understands all too well).. And, unless another African American is appointed to the supreme course before his retirement, his seat will go to another African American. And you can bet that the other side will attack that person because he/she will not be their model of a good “African American.”

    Rush Limbaugh is given far to much credit for the amount of influence has. Ask the average person on the street and they may know who Rush Limbaugh is, but they can’t tell you want he talks about because they don’t listen to him. ….
    To quote Baudelaire, “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.” It doesn’t matter if the average person knows who someone is or not. What matters is how specific individuals can effect the flow and production of power. Is “Conservative Inc” all powerful, no? But, that isn’t to say that they don’t have a significant amount of influence — there’s a strong argument to be made that they played a major role is the failure to recapture the Senate last year. Primary voters, especially outside of the presidential race, can have an huge effect on things, and guess who has the ear of much of the base?

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  49. mannning says:

    The actual, as opposed to Administrative, figures for unemployment is over:

    24.6 million people, counted the honest way, or about 20%.

    Yet, we find Obama proposing a budget of over $3 Trillion, which can only increase the national debt.

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  50. Funny Man says:

    Manning is here, Michael Reynolds is here, feels like Right Wing Nuthouse all over again. Hi guys, missed you.
    Anyway, can we just stop for a second and agree that on this point Moran is right? It still is a difficult question on how to get the American economy moving again. My gut feeling is that we have to reestablish manufacturing in the US and just playing around with taxes and cutting social services is not going to do that. Unfortunately, people on the extreme left or right do not really care about this issue and would rather see the country go to hell to prove their point. Anyway, that is my two cents and I believe that is all Rick wanted to say.
    I find it rather astonishing with what amount of vitriol established long-time activist for the republican cause are attempting to be “purged”. Who established these hm, shall we say, revolutionary activist courts? Inmates taking over the insane asylum, haha

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  51. mantis says:

    carries the connotation that Obama is not even close to being the Anti-Christ

    Then why make the comparison?

    Manning: Hey, Obama’s a lot like the antichrist from a silly fairy tale series for grownups that I read.
    Normal human being: So, you think Obama is the antichrist.
    Manning: You idiot, he’s nothing like the antichrist! That’s what I really said. I was only bringing up the antichrist to tell you how not like the antichrist he is, but actually he is a lot like the antichrist.
    Normal human being: Whatever, dude.

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  52. wr says:

    Conservative: Boy, this deficit is terrible. There’s absolutely no way to fix it. We have to destroy everything we’ve built in order to address it. There is simply no other way.

    Liberal: Unless you undo the Bush tax cuts on the rich, which wipes out the vast majority of it.

    Conservative: Nope, no way to address this deficit without slashing spending. There simply is no other way.

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  53. reid says:

    wr:And here’s manning whining about unemployment levels while simultaneously complaining about the debt. Gee, manning, do you suggest big cutbacks in the budget? What would that do to unemployment?

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  54. mannning says:

    reid
    You must be one of the comfortably employed to refer to concerns about the jobless as “whining”. Recovery does NOT come from the government, but rather from the private sector, where many small businesses begin to expand their staff. Reducing the budget by, for instance, cutting the hell out of new commitments such as contained in Obamacare, and reducing the so-called Stimulus outlays to banks and favored institutions for 2011-12 would shave the budget by perhaps $500 million or more, which if released in the form of tax reductions would afford quite a few jobs in the private sector.

    mantis

    Evidently you didn’t read the series where Carpathia was portrayed as an arrogant, narcissistic, know-it-all, whose ego could not be lifted by a derrigible, and whose words were mesmerizing to his audiences, thus leading them to elect him to offices, which is a prescient description of our little President.

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  55. mantis says:

    Now we’re back to Obama is the antichrist. Let me know when you reverse it again.

    In the meantime, enjoy your self-congratulatory fairy tale for adults.

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  56. mannning says:

    mantis:

    Wonderful game you play, but maybe, with your “we” statement, you, mantis, have gone over to the side of those who believe Obama is indeed the AC. Enjoy yourself there, but I am not joining you, since I do not label Obama as the AC, merely a narcissist with a huge ego and a glib tongue as I stated above. Get it, mantis? Or do I have to tell you again and again as I would a child? Waste of time in any event.

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  57. mantis says:

    But you repeat yourself:

    Manning: Hey, Obama’s a lot like the antichrist from a silly fairy tale series for grownups that I read.
    Normal human being: So, you think Obama is the antichrist.
    Manning: You idiot, he’s nothing like the antichrist! That’s what I really said. I was only bringing up the antichrist to tell you how not like the antichrist he is, but actually he is a lot like the antichrist.
    Normal human being: Whatever, dude.

    You’re fun. Want to keep going round and round on this one?

    Enjoy the rapture, buddy.

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  58. mannning says:

    Well, being retired, I have lots of time to play, but your game here is simply stupid. Another round from you would be an admission that you love to play stupid games. I don’t. I suppose I could restrict my responses to a single character, say @.to indicate my repetition of the same position yet again. So…

    @

    Oh, and you may well not enjoy the rapture!

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  59. mantis says:

     

    Oh, and you may well not enjoy the rapture!
     
    Ah, you Christians.  Always so excited about the suffering of others, even if it only happens in your fairy tales.

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  60. mannning says:

    On second thought, perhaps you will enjoy the whole chaotic scene, depending on your vantage point and your ability to see, much less enjoy, anything at all, of course! I don’t think atheists are invited to the celebration, along with a number of other sinning groups and the greatest sinner of them all, but I may be wrong. Circumstances alter cases, and God is indeed merciful when He is of a mind to be.

    @

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  61. mantis says:

    No, it’s very unlikely that I will be present for anything that occurs in your imagination.

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  62. mannning says:

    I am certain you are right there!

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  63. [...] being written out of the movement when they breach some perceived orthodoxy. As I noted last week, the inmates are running the asylum this time around. If anyone’s likely to be purged it’s likely to be Rubin and people like her. Beck, [...]

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