2008’s Obama Derangement Syndrome Looks Ridiculous In Hindsight
Let's take a trip back in time to see what some conservatives thought 2012 would look like if Barack Obama were elected President.
One very significant part of the denial of reality that I wrote about earlier involves the extent to which conservatives view Barack Obama not just as a rival, not just as a President whose policies they disagree with, but as the epitome of evil. It started well before the President ever took office with Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and others on the right trying to paint him as some kind of radical leftist intent radically transforming American politics. It was, after all, Fox News Channel, and Hannity specifically, that spent hours upon hours in the month of April 2008 playing the Rev. Wright tapes over and over again. They were the same people who, along with Sarah Palin, kept arguing during the General Election four years ago that the GOP needed to emphasize Obama’s ties to Wright and Bill Ayers in order to win the election. And, of course, we’re all well aware of the delusions that have popped on the right since Obama actually assumed the Presidency.
Of all of these delusions, though, perhaps none is more bizarre than something that the group Focus On The Family wrote four years ago:
You’ve probably heard by now that if Obama wins a second term we will become a socialist nation, gun ownership will be made illegal, our country will be unrecognizable by the end of his term, and on and on. If you listen to leaders on the Right it sounds like this election is the most important election of all time and that all of America’s freedoms are staked Romney defeating Obama. There’s just one problem. I remember 2008.
In 2008 prominent Christian Right group Focus on the Family put out a sixteen page document called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America.” The document was in the form of a letter, a (fictional) letter from a Christian in 2012 writing back from the future about all the changes that had happened since Obama took office.
The whole purpose of this letter … was to scare evangelicals out of voting for Obama at any cost. And today, they’re doing the same thing. If you vote for Obama, they say, every manner of horrible awful no good very bad thing will happen. Your freedoms will disappear. They will take your guns, they will ban homeschooling, they will send your grandma to death panels.
But this is getting old. See, leaders on the Right do this every election year. Every election is “the most important election of all time,” and every election year they warn that our freedoms as Americans are on the line. Every election year they predict catastrophe if they lose the election.
In order to get a better look at just how insane the Obama Derangement Syndrome in this letter is, let’s take a look at a few of the “predictions” that this letter makes:
(1) Boy Scouts: “The land of the free”? The Boy Scouts no longer exist as an organization. They chose to disband rather than be forced to obey the Supreme Court decision that they would have to hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys. (This was to be expected with a change in the court, since the 2000 decision Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, which affirmed the right of the Boy Scouts as a private organization to dismiss a homosexual scoutmaster, was a 5-4 decision, with Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter and Breyer dissenting even then.)
This, of course, didn’t happen, and it’s largely based upon a horror story hypothetical in which Obama was somehow able to appoint four Supreme Court Justices inside of two years and thus create a Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage, abolished gun rights, restricted the rights of churches and people of faith and, of course, destroyed the Boy Scouts of America. None of that happened, of course. Which means that the Boy Scouts remain free to discriminate against gays and atheists, or, as I suggested the other day, promote policies that encourage both members and Scoutmasters to lie.
(5) Public broadcasting: “The land of the free”? The Bible can no longer be freely preached over radio or television stations when the subject matter includes such “offensive” doctrines as criticizing homosexual behavior. The Supreme Court agreed that these could be kept off the air as prohibited “hate speech” that is likely to incite violence and discrimination. These policies followed broadcasting and print restrictions that were in place prior to 2008 in Canada and Sweden
Again, this never happened, but it also reveals something about people on the right. Over the past several years, the Supreme Court has issued a series of First Amendment cases dealing with highly controversial topics ranging from depictions of animal cruelty, to anti-gay protesters at military funerals, to people lying about having received military honors. In all of those cases, the Court has been unanimous or near unanimous in striking down restrictions on event the most offensive forms of speech, and the Court’s four liberal members have been right there with the conservatives on these issues. The idea that the Supreme Court would issue a ruling say that you can’t read the Bible over public airwaves, or that you can’t talk about religious positions on homosexuality, is so bizarrely paranoid that it reads more like the plot of a really bad Direct-To-DVD movie than a series political analysis.
Things get even more bizarre when you get to the foreign policy section of the letter:
(23) In early 2009, [Russia] followed the pattern they had begun in Georgia in 2008 and sent troops to occupy and re-take several Eastern European countries, starting with the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. President Obama appealed to the United Nations (UN), taking the same approach he had in his initial statements when Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008: “Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war,” and “All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis,”
But Russia sits on the Security Council, and no U.N. action has yet been taken.
Then in the next three years, Russia occupied additional countries that had been previous Soviet satellite nations, including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, with no military response from the U.S. or the U.N. NATO heads of state have severely condemned Russia’s actions each time but they could never reach consensus on military action.
Yes, that’s right. These people actually thought that Russia, a nation whose military has been decimated since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which has nothing that would constitute a functioning Navy outside of the areas immediately adjacent to its territorial waters, and continues to deal with insurgent Muslims on its southern border would somehow find a way to reoccupy nearly all of the area formerly controlled by the Warsaw Pact. It’s of a piece, I suppose, with what seems like general conservative paranoia when it comes to Russia, which seems to be at the same level as it was when the Cold War was at its height.
There’s much more in the letter itself, which I’ve embedded below for your information and amusement, but it strikes me that this letter was a precursor to much of what we’ve seen unfold over the past four years. The letter itself was quite obviously meant as a fundraising/Get Out The Vote mechanism, but it displays a level of paranoia that has become part of everyday conversation among some elements on the right. It stands, in retrospect, as a precursor of the rhetoric we’ve heard from the Rush Limbaugh’s, Michele Bachmann’s, and Allen West’s of the world as well as the insanity behind Dinesh D’Souza and his silly movie.
Reading this letter four years after the fact, one is struck by several things. First, the far right’s paranoia about Obama is something that seems to have sprung up sui generis. There really wasn’t anything in the political or personal record of Barack Obama as we knew him in 2007-2008 to justify the fears that are expressed here. Yes he was a Democrat, but there was no credible evidence for the arguments that many on the right made that he was some kind of radical, which is largely why the majority of American voters who might otherwise be sympathetic to Republican arguments didn’t buy the argument. Second, this letter shows the deep level of cynicism involved in political fundraising and advocacy. This letter was obviously directed toward social conservatives who would be sympathetic to the message that Focus on the Family pushes, and the letter, in all of its utter insanity, was clearly meant to scare them to death with a bizarre and badly written future history of an America that clearly was never going to exist. We see this quite frequently from advocacy groups on both sides of the aisle, but I’ve got to say this is among the most egregious examples that I’ve ever seen. Finally, the letter provides a brief, and somewhat terrifying, glimpse into the mind of the far right. The truth of the matter is that there are people out there who actually believe this stuff, just like they believe that D’Souza’s bizarre film is somehow grounded in reality.
As I’ve said before, the right’s blind hatred for Barack Obama blinds it to reality in much the same way that the left’s hatred for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush did during their times in office. This letter is just one example of how that hatred had taken root long before the President had even taken office. If these are the emotions that drive conservatives in this final month of the Presidential campaign, they will most likely see themselves sitting in front of a television watching President Obama take the Oath Of Office for the second time.
Here’s the letter:
Focus On The Family Propaganda: "Letter From Obama’s America 2012"
They still believe all of those things will come to pass, in the next four years. Most important election ever!
Exactly…it isn’t like ODS just stopped in 2008…indeed, many of the conservative commenters who post on the threads here display it every day…
Sorry, but they can just change the dates, and most of the ODS-sufferers will carry on. You forgot to mention that the whole letter and its subsequent predictions are based on the unlikely event that 2 of the conservative justices retire from the Supreme Court. That’s an argument that can be made over and over again until Scalia, Thomas, and Alito retire.
Don’t forget the white women.
The only thing conservatives did wrong was underestimate how devious Obama is.
OBVIOUSLY Obamas goal is destruction of America and the constitution and soft rock. We THOUGHT he was going to do this as soon as he was president.
NOBODY COULD HAVE FORSEEN that’s Obama’s plan was to operate as a centrist beltway moderate only to fool Americans into reelecting him
And then, after reelection, in his second term, Obama REALLY will probably burn the capital building down and institute a 1000 socialist reign. Truly evil!!!
This is the most important election in the history of all existance
We can’t afford to have an insurance industry cover pre-existing conditions
Why do you think I’ve been saying from the start that this came from race? It has been obvious all along that this level of insane, over-the-top, hysterical reaction was not based in mere politics. On the one hand, a powerful black man, and on the other hand a bunch of old, rustic white people wetting themselves in sheer, fact-free, and instantaneous panic.
Really not rocket science.
But of course four years ago a number of people here poo-poohed me and told me I was nuts or over-reacting. Many of those people have since become convinced. And I want to say that I welcome my STEM friends to the world of human emotion.
The moral here is: don’t automatically dismiss people in my line of work when we talk about motivation. Dismiss my math, dismiss my economic theories, dismiss my taste in whiskey (actually, don’t) but I do actually know one or two things about humans. Just saying.
Meh. Focus on the Family is a thumperbot cadre. It goes without saying that their fire and brimstone act is pure hyperbole. Besides, focusing on Focus on the Family is analogous to pointing towards the Sierra Club or at OWS as talismans for the left.
I’ll say this for Obama. The man has done one thing not only well but better than that for which anyone could have hoped: he’s completely thrown the loopy left overboard when it comes to four key elements of the war on terror; namely, drone strikes, Gitmo, renditions, military tribunals. Those items by themselves have taken Obama out of the Carter bin and at least placed him in the Clinton bin.
Elsewhere, however, and if we look towards Main Street, not at Park Avenue, it’s been an unmitigated disaster. Let’s put it this way: when you get to the point at which large segments of the chattering classes are happy about 15% U-6 unemployment, nonplussed about a 100-plus percent debt-to-GDP ratio, and at best apathetic about a diplomat being murdered and his corpse being dragged through the streets, you’ve not only slipped as a country, you’re circling the drain.
There you go again (OMG REAGAN QUOTE), playing the “racist” card like a typical LIBTARD
When noted consitutional scholar Laura Ingraham writes a book called Obama Diaries that says MOOCHELLE OBAMA BE EATIN RIBS, that’s not racism, its a nuanced argument on public policy.
EXCUUUUSE me if the MSM bubble can’t handle it
@Tsar Nicholas: What “diplomat was murdered and his corpse dragged through the streets”? I think you’re making up things.
I realize that Chuck Norris is just an old actor at this point, and not part of the GOP hierarchy, but for sheer audacity of fear, it is hard to beat:
Chuck Norris Warns of ‘1,000 Years of Darkness’ If Obama Re-Elected
There is no evidence that Ambassador Stevens’s corpse was “dragged through the street”
Sigh. “There you go again”. Please give an example of how the “left’s hatred for….Bush” blinded it to reality in any way comparable to what we have been seeing, on a daily basis, for the past four years. I’ll wait.
Beginning in January of ’09, one of my dogs starting acting like a cat. He perches himself on the back of the couch, he grooms himself constantly, and his bark turned into more of a whimpering meow. Also, I’ve noticed him pointing to the east whenever he naps five times a day.
Coincidence? I think not.
Obama turned my dog into a Muslim, socialist cat!!!!!
I would think that is rather obvious, and I saw that as someone who was never a GWB fan. Moreover, I really don’t want to re-litigate 2001-2009. We’re in 2012, stay focused.
That’s about as intellectually lazy a position as I have seen you take since I started reading this blog a few months ago (and believe me, there has been a lot of competition). If you don’t want to back up an assertion, THEN DON’T MAKE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Hey, some guy who’s obviously from outa town with a name like Barack Hussein Obama — What’s not to be scared witless of (a redundancy, I know) and hate?
In fact, wasn’t the reporting that his body was recovered from the building by Libyans taken to a hospital?
No, it’s not. Remember way, way, back, when you wrote a post about how liberals and conservatives use different facts? Well, if your fact is that liberals went crazy accusing Bush of leading the country to cannibalism, or whatever, the liberals don’t remember it that way.
So why don’t you put your facts on the table, and we’ll see how they stack up against reality.
What a lovely piece of advice…except, of course, for the fact that we are currently living with the results of what happened between 2001-2009…so that period needs to be examined if we are to stay focused…
@bk: I seem to remember some talk at the time of the Bush 2004 run of using the “war on terror” to create a crisis that would permit the administration to suspend the constitution and cancel the election. Is that similar enough for you, or are those just the outliers?
“As I’ve said before, the right’s blind hatred for Barack Obama blinds it to reality in much the same way that the left’s hatred for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush did during their times in office. ”
Richard Nixon? Would that be the same Richard Nixon who had to resign from office before he could be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors? The same Richard Nixon who illegally bombed Cambodia and set into motion the events that allowed Pol Pot to take over? The same Richard Nixon who escalated and continued the war in Vietnam?
Yes, he started the EPA — Bless him for that. But he was a war criminal who was forced from office for covering up criminal activities within his White House. You’re damn right the left hated Nixon, and they had damn good reason for it.
I guess it’s true that both sides do it. The left hated the president who committed felonies in office, while the right hates the president who commits blackness in office. Yup, exactly the same thing.
dm: liberals were just as bad about Bush.
everyone: how in the world is that remotely true?
dm: let’s not relitigate the past!
false equivalence bullshit. One party is living in crazytown, and the other isn’t and be a man and admit it.
@Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:
The latter. If we are using 2004 as a metric, let me know when you can find quotes from Democratic members of Congress and/or campaign surrogates for Kerry who came even close to saying anything remotely as ignorant as what we have been seeing for the past four years. (Oh yeah, and I had also forgotten that some commenter on Daily Kos called Bush a “Nazi”, so both sides do it.)
@bk: Oh, and let’s see what the contenders for the Democratic nomination in 2004 had to say about Bush, and compare it to this year’s Republican clown car.
Common Dreams: The Unelected President How George W. Bush Stole the White House from America’s Voters
Huffington Post: What Would You Do If Bush Declared Martial Law?
Democratic Underground: In Heaven as it is on Earth? George W. Bush’s Troubling Theocracy
Daily Kos: Bush’s America: The Whirlwind Is In The Thorn Tree
Politico JournOLister Ben Smith: More than half of Democrats believed Bush knew
It’s not very convincing to claim that Common Dreams, Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, Huffington Post, and Politico are “outliers”. There’s a whole internet full of crazy lefty stuff like this, drones, but you choose to deny reality and argue that it doesn’t exist.
Inside The Hive ™
Does “Buzz Buzz” mean “false equivalence” in some language? Because that is what you posted.
For my part, I’m wondering if Tsar Nick knows every time he begins a reply with “meh”–which is frequent–we all know to expect him to minimize the consequential, emphasize the trivial, and make up everything else.
Doug works ” both sides do it” into every post. He must dream “Both sides do it” !
Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS) is no different than Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS), where I think the phrase originated. People thrashed, bashed Bush, and are still blaming him for anything that can’t be proven, without a doubt, to not be his fault. It’s all a component of the Partisan Derangement Syndrome which has been increasing for years.
Also, despite the grief Obama is taking for being himself last Wednesday, I still think that he has the upper hand in winning this election. Just like Hugo Chavez was able to get the best of a very attractive opponent, Obama continues to have the MSM cheerleaders, and a huge amount of money at his disposal. September’s haul alone of over $180 million, has him almost at the billion dollar mark which he said he would do at the getgo of this campaign.
Which is no different than Clinton Derangement Syndrome, the original derangement syndrome. Of course, BDS was a totally fictional construct of the Right in response to liberals saying things like “I dislike George Bush.”
LOL. This coming from the camp that still brings up Jimmy Carter.
Yeah, poor Mitt. He’s only raised $640 million so far. A pittance, really.
Most of the recent comments here have been of the “show me how criticism of Bush in blog posts even comes close to the crap that is being thrown around by Republican officials” variety. Is your comment just another one of your “blah blah blah I can’t hear you!” comments? Or have you just not read the comments to this post?
What some of the contenders for the Democratic nomination in 2004 had to say about Bush…
Carol Mosley Braun
Conspiracy theory lunatics pandering to other conspiracy theory lunatics, in black and white. And this is just from one page on one site. There’s a whole internet full of this type of leftwing craziness.
But I won’t waste my time highlighting even more examples, bk, because I suspect that even this documented reality is not strong enough to penetrate the bubble of denial you’ve built Inside The Hive ™
Bush Derangement Syndrome was quite real. But it came because of actions he had taken. That doesn’t excuse the craziness, but it is fundamentally different than Obama Derangement Syndrom which came because of the color of Mr. Obama’s skin.
One was politics. One was race. One was a consequence of troubling actions. One was a consequence of a pre-existing evil.
About half the Republican Party is comprised of morons who still believe that Obama has a plan to confiscate guns and impose Sharia Law. Electing Romney would constitute rewarding these morons for bad behavior and for wasting valuable oxygen.
@Eric the OTB Lurker:
Yeah, poor Mitt. He’s only raised $640 million so far. A pittance, really.
Obama has raised in the mid-$900 million, probably reaching a billion with his star-studded fundraisers in Los Angeles, tying up traffic, going on to SF after that. The man is raking in more than Romney, and burnng through it faster too in his drive to maximize his negative ad campaign. Most of his money is going to tear his opponent down, not to articulate his own policies or why they would be better for these times.
So Obama is running political ads during a political campaign? That is a shockingly unexpected development.
@Buzz Buzz: What part of any or all of those statements isn’t true? You brought them up, so you must have proof that they are false.
Other than some admitted overreaching by Kucinich (the portion of his quote that I omitted), please let us know how you think anything said above was wrong.
Unfortunately nothing you’ve listed there comes close to the nonsense in the original post.
@Gromitt Gunn: Sorry – I took so long to put together my post that I didn’t see that you had already responded!
Are you “trademarking” that snappy phrase because it is so cool that it just demands to be ripped off, and you want to make sure that you are legally protected? I don’t happen to think that you have anything to worry about.
Exactly. I despised GWB because he lied us into a war that got 4000+ Americans and hundreds of thousands or Iraqis killed, destabilized the Middle East, let Osama bin Laden get away, and had anyone who disagreed with him demonized as a traitor. I didn’t think he was the anti-christ or “let” 9/11 happen. I just thought he was an incurious man and a disaster as President. If he had stayed owner of the Texas Rangers I think everyone would have been much happier.
Obama tries to get people health care, and he’s history’s greatest monster? Please.
@bk: The Howard Dean is the one I find the most curious, since I don’t see a single thing in it that is objectively untrue.
Well, most of the patriot act was found unconstitutional, most of what Bush was doing with enemy combatants was also found unconstitutional. He was also elected during what was a constitutional crisis.
At some point, those things are big deals.
Just because the american people didn’t wake up out of their 9/11 shell shock until a bloody summer in Iraq and a bungled hurricane response doesn’t magically mean Bush critics were just making shit up for the 5 years prior.
The PATRIOT Act was not found unconstitutional. And most of the Bush era detention policies were, unfortunately, upheld by the Courts.
And these have been implemented, and even expanded (see: indefinite detention of American citizens), by President Obama.
The response from the American left to this has been, with a few exceptions, total silence. It’s the most egregious manifestation of the “it’s OK if OUR guy does it” principle I’ve ever seen.
I did hear Code Pink is going to protest the drone strikes, or something. Better (four years) late than never, I suppose.
There was goofy stuff about Bush (truthers for instance), and its odd how the peace marches stopped when Bush left office, though Obama has continued the policies and even gone further in a few (drone attacks) – for comparison, the anti-Vietnam war protests didn’t stop when Johnson was replaced by Nixon.
But as others have pointed out, the difference is that the goofy stuff about Bush wasn’t primarily from representatives of the Democratic Party, while a lot of the goofy stuff about Obama (and Clinton before him) came from major figures in the Republican Party.
So yeah, both sides have idiots on board. But in the GOP, those idiots eat at the captain’s table.
Not sure what you read, but there have been far more than a “few exceptions”.
I remember exactly one Representative in congress speculating on the idea that GWB had something to do with the 9/11 attacks or at least had foreknowledge of it; Cynthia McKinney, from GA. She was roundly defeated in her next run for congress largely because she crossed the line for saying that.
Contrast that to the standing members of congress who gave lip service or more to the wacky birther non-sense. Or standing members who have voiced the idea that Obama is coming for everyone’s guns when Obama has an objectively better record on gnu rights then Romney. Sorry no sale. The GOP caucus is so much more bat crap crazy then the democrats it’s not even close. Just the number who reject the science of evolution should give any thinking person pause to be within a mile of that party.
I rmember one of the network anchors, wish I could remember which, being asked in the 60s or 70s if maybe the press was biased against Nixon. He replied to the effect that they’d been reporting on Nixon for thirty years, closely following his actions and statements; and damn right they didn’t like him.
You know, Richard Nixon REALLY WAS a crook who orchestrated and covered-up illegal investigations and burglaries of his political opponents.
Ronald Reagan REALLY DID sell weapons to our enemy Iran in order to fund secret and illegal arms sales to terrorists in Nicaragua, in violation of American law.
George W. Bush REALLY DID blow off warnings about the September 11th attacks, invade Iraq with no provocation, gave up the hunt for bin Laden, stood by when New Orleans drowned, and order the torture of helpless prisoners.
Barack Obama REALLY IS NOT a Kenyan communist intent on destroying America.
See the difference? One side despises Nixon, Reagan and Bush for things they actually did. The other side despise Obama for things he never did and never will do.
@bk: When Bush was in office we had mass marches and rallies, people camping out at his Crawford ranch, and nearly eight years of calls for his impeachment and prosecution for war crimes.
Obama has continued 99% of what Bush put in place, and made some of it worse (indefinite detention of Americans, due-process-free executions of Americans, dramatic increases in drone strikes).
Who on the left has called for Obama’s impeachment for these things? Who has called for his prosecution?
I shouldn’t have said “most.” I got a little mccardlesque with the facts.
But there were parts of the patriot act challenged and subsequently changed (and somethings that never got the chance to be challenged because they were already changed during reauthorizations):
The view from Inside The Hive ™ :
Focus On The Family = OFFICIAL SPEAKERS FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
Howard Dean, Daily Kos, Dennis Kucinich, The Huffington Post, Dick Gephardt, Common Dreams, Al Sharpton, Democratic Underground, Carol Moseley Braun, Politico, Bob Graham = FRINGE GROUPS
But Bush did push for higher allowable levels of arsenic, the other stuff was true as well (kind of over the top campaign rhetoric, but nothing like wheat we head in the GOP primary). Barack Obama is not a Kenyan. I don’t know how to make it more clear.
It says something that when the right says ‘both sides do it’, what they really mean is to publicly express opposition. Truth, falsehood – I don’t think that the right understands the differenc.
@Buzz Buzz: Nope, that isn’t even close to what people are saying on this thread. We’re saying that the quotes you’ve provided are people speaking the truth, so whatever “gotcha” moment you think you’re getting here isn’t even close to being one.
It’s pretty pathetic when your fruitloop denialism is so severe that you have to try to misrepresent what happened on this very webpage. Hint: *Everyone* can just scroll up and see how batshit insane you are.
There is a steady stream of agiprop flowing to the folks who lap this stuff up. Much of it is in the form of crazy emails. Some get it via bloggers. And of course our friends at Fox dabble in it too.
And it constructs an alternate reality. The one where Obama is gonna take your guns away, gay marry your sons under sharia law and abort their children.