Medved: Stop Saying That Obama Wants to Destroy America

Michael Medved wishes that conservatives would stop implying that the President of the United States wants to destroy the United States.

Michael Medved has an editorial in the Wall Street Journal in which he notes for those of us who have been trapped under a rock for three years that there is a strong belief among conservatives that Barack Obama wants to destroy the United States:

One typical column appeared on Feb. 5 at the well-regarded American Thinker website, under the heading: “Obama Well Knows What Chaos He Has Unleashed.” Victor Sharpe solemnly declares: “My fear is that Obama is not naïve at all, but he instead knows only too well what he is doing, for he is eagerly promoting Islamic power in the world while diminishing the West.”

These attitudes thrive well beyond the blogosphere and the right-wing fringe. On Jan. 7, Sarah Palin spoke briefly on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, saying, “What I believe that Obama is doing right now—he is hell-bent on weakening America.” While acknowledging that “it’s gonna get some people all wee-weed up again,” she repeated and amplified her charge that “what Obama is doing” is “purposefully weakening America—because he understood that debt weakened America, domestically and internationally, and yet now he supports increasing debt.”

The assumption that the president intends to harm or destroy the nation that elected him has become so widespread that the chief advertising pitch for Dinesh D’Souza’s best-selling book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” promises to “reveal Obama for who he really is: a man driven by the anti-colonial ideology of his father and the first American president to actually seek to reduce America’s strength, influence and standard of living.”

As far as it goes, I’m glad that Medved is pointing this stuff out. It’s absolutely toxic and detrimental to the long-term health of our Republic. As Alexander Hamilton noted in Federalist No. 15, “A spirit of faction, which is apt to mingle its poison in the deliberations of all bodies of men, will often hurry the persons of whom they are composed into improprieties and excesses, for which they would blush in a private capacity.”

However, what made my jaw drop in reading the rest of the article is that Medved never actually disputes the conservative complaints about Obama wanting to destroy the country. Oh, sure, he makes a half hearted stab about it “not making sense” for Obama to destroy the country if he wants to be re-elected. But the bulk of his article is geared towards convincing conservatives that the attacks on Obama are just bad politics.

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.

[…]

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.

So, yeah. Make of this what you will.

FILED UNDER: Media, Popular Culture, US Politics
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Alex:

    Obama is black.

  2. Ernieyeball says:

    What michael said.

  3. RW Rogers says:

    Michael, I’m not quite there yet, but am inching ever closer to your view, however jaded/cynical/hyper-partisan it may be.

  4. ponce says:

    “The budget he put forth is 3.7 trillion dollars. That is more than Bush spent in 8 years.”

    Zels…you are dim.

  5. superdestroyer says:

    Obama and the current leadership of the Democratic Party want to transform the U.S. into a third world country based upon a model of China, Brazil, or India. The current progressives want a small cadre of elites (the Patron class) who are all prep school, Ivy league educated who live in Northwest DC, Manhattan or SF. And then they want the rest of the country to be a third world hell hole.

    Look at how social engineering is more important than academic education in the public schools. Look at how open borders and unlimited immigration is more important than helping the middle class. Look at how they want to lower the pay of health care workers, engineers, and other knowledge workers but increase the pay of the big law firm attorneys or investment bankers.

    Look at how the Obama Administration has worked hard to make investment risk so hard that one would have to be insane to start a new enterprise in the U.S.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Alex: It’s possible that Medved thinks the charges are so outrageous that no one who can write well enough to command an audience could actually believe them. In that case, there’s no need to refute the charges but merely to point out that it’s dumb strategy.

  7. Maggie Mama says:

    “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.”

    Where was he when Bush occupied the White House?

  8. george says:

    They were saying much the same about Clinton (out to destroy the moral fabric of America, rotting it from the inside etc). Politics is mainly about team sports, and the other team is evil.

  9. Maggie Mama says:

    Clinton, although I do NOT believe it was HIS intention, did undermine the moral fabric of American youth when his behavior hit the front pages.

  10. Neil Hudelson says:

    Maggie,

    I was 11 when that scandal hit. Pretty much right smack dab in the middle of that “youth” demographic. Can you explain to me how my moral fabric has been weakened as a result of Clinton’s actions?

  11. EddieInCA says:

    There WAS a U.S. President who made Islamic Jihadists more powerful – especially in Iraq and Iran.

    But it was George Bush II, not Barack Hussein Obama.

    The irony is delicious.

  12. anjin-san says:

    > Clinton, although I do NOT believe it was HIS intention, did undermine the moral fabric of American youth

    I guess when Newt was banging secretary on his desk he was BUILDING the moral fiber of young America. At least Clinton was not always carrying on about his “family values”.

  13. EddieInCA says:

    Maggie –

    I believe that Newt Gingrich (three marriages), Rush Limbaugh (four marriages), Mark Foley (sexting with teenaged boys), David Vitter (hiring prostitutes), Mark Sanford (admitted affair while Governor), John Ensign (admitted affair, then tried to bribe the husband of the women with whom he had the affair) did more to undermine “the moral fabric of American youth” than anything Clinton ever did.

  14. Steven Plunk says:

    Obama does not want to weaken America but his policies are doing it none the less. At home and abroad a strong case can be made to that effect. He is not the enemy but just someone who is misguided and misinformed so it’s up to this political opponents to raise the debate in a civil manner so he can make better judgments.

  15. anjin-san says:

    > At home and abroad a strong case can be made to that effect.

    Feel free to make it.

  16. anjin-san says:

    > Eddie you left out Ted Haggard, who apparently was something of a spiritual beacon to Bush.

  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    As if it’s going to make a cents worth of difference. These nuts will carry on ranting away and the President will continue in his role as Mr Nice Guy which is why his likeability consistently beats his approval by 10-15 points. Really… who would rather play a round of golf with? Bachmann, Breitbart, or any of the other frothers…or Obama…I’m sure Obama doesn’t mind too much because these nuts are one of his assets.

  18. Rock says:

    “who would rather play a round of golf with? Bachmann, Breitbart, or any of the other frothers…or Obama…”

    Golf? No. But an afternoon spent on an outdoor rifle or pistol range Kristi Noem, Sarah Palin, or Michele Bachmann would be entertaining, educational and easy on the eyes.

  19. John says:

    I find this article a bit disappointing. If you’ve spent any amount of time listening to Medved, you’d know that he is frustrated with a certain segment of the Right that perpetuates these memes . Of course, If he HAD argued it, Alex would’ve condemned him for stating something so painfully obvious.

  20. JKB says:

    It is a mistake to make the debate about Obama’s intentions. Firstly, because such an accusation encompasses those who elected him. Those educated, erudite, high-minded thinkers who will not take kindly to being shown to be gullible. And may react to double-down rather than face their own fallibility. The only way this strategy works is if somehow in total or in a moment of truth, Obama, himself, reveals his intentions. Perhaps if someone could wrangle an open mic onto him?

    But this is a position of leadership. Whether Obama intends to destroy America or he means well, we must judge him on his actions. Regardless of his loquaciousness, we must observe the outcomes of his actions. Poor judgement can be more damaging than evil intent. History will judge his intentions. Right now, in this moment in history, we must look in the direction he is leading, shield our eyes from his blinding light and decide whether the America his actions is forming is one in which we wish our country to become. Will America be a shining city on a hill or a slum on the wrong side of the high-speed rail?

  21. Drew says:

    I see the racists are out in force.

  22. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    Never forget that Obama is half white devil, Maybe thats where all the bad misunderstood stuff he does comes from, He can help it, plus he is a Christian.

  23. sam says:

    @Rock

    “[A] n afternoon spent on an outdoor rifle or pistol range Kristi Noem, Sarah Palin, or Michele Bachmann would be entertaining, educational and easy on the eyes.”

    True dat (except for the educational part, well, maybe in a clinical way). Now, if they would only keep their mouths shut while I’m trying to line up my sights.

  24. sam says:

    “I’m sure Obama doesn’t mind too much because these nuts are one of his assets”

    Yeah. I think Obama shares something with Clinton in that wise: Being lucky in your enemies.

  25. steve says:

    “A] n afternoon spent on an outdoor rifle or pistol range Kristi Noem, Sarah Palin, or Michele Bachmann would be entertaining, educational and easy on the eyes.”

    Just make sure you load for her if her father is not there.

    Steve

  26. Steven Plunk says:

    anjin, I’m staying on the point of this post. My arguments against his policies can be read in many other response I have posted over the last few years.

  27. Rock says:

    “Just make sure you load for her if her father is not there.”

    Gladly!

  28. matt says:

    Rock : While you’re at it please teach her how to properly hold/fire a rifle.. thanks.

  29. MBunge says:

    “Can you explain to me how my moral fabric has been weakened as a result of Clinton’s actions?”

    It’s pretty much impossible to argue that any particular individual’s moral fabric has been weakened because of Clinton, but I do think that he paved the way for many of the worst aspects of the Bush Administration. The best example of that is how Clinton and his idiotic liberal defenders promoted and validated in the mind of the American people the idea they shouldn’t care about ANYTHING unless it directly affected them. So, the same impulse that people followed in not caring about Clinton disgracing himself with an intern is the exact same impulse that led them to not give a damn about the U.S. torturing people.

    Mike

  30. matt says:

    MBunge : You haven’t been around for long because what you described is human nature and I saw plenty of it back in the 80s under Reagan. At the very least you have to believe that Iran contra happened.. Seriously the shit Reagan got away with was amazing.

  31. MBunge says:

    “I saw plenty of it back in the 80s under Reagan.”

    American soldiers and intelligence agents were systematically torturing people during the Reagan administration and high level Republicans and conservatives were defending that behavior? I think somebody needs to put down the bong because their long-term memory is starting to degrade.

    Let’s try again. Why are liberals so upset about Bush, Cheney and company breaking the law to protect America from terrorist attack, which even the most berserk Bush-hater accepts was their basic motivation, but weren’t bothered at all by Bill Clinton breaking the law to cover his own ass? How could they be surprised at lockstep Republican support for Bush after their own mindless propping up of Clinton at all costs? And why exactly should America NOT have invaded Iraq after Clinton’s military adventure in Bosnia?

    Liberals appear to have adopted two genuinely bizarre understandings of history. First, absolutely everything in America was hunky dory until Reagan came along and screwed it all up. Second, nothing that happened in the Clinton Adminstration (like Slick Willie officially authorizing and legitmizing the rendition of suspected terrorists) has anything at all to do with anything that happened under Bush II.

    Mike

  32. matt says:

    I’d like to start this post with a heartfelt reaching out to you. When you refer to those that don’t agree with you as “the liberals” you’ve reached a level of rabidness which is just not healthy. The people that disagree with you aren’t some kind of worldwide cabal with leadership planning to disagree with you. So for the love of god work on expanding your intellectual capability a little by cutting the stereotyping down a bit please..

    “American soldiers and intelligence agents were systematically torturing people during the Reagan administration and high level Republicans and conservatives were defending that behavior? I think somebody needs to put down the bong because their long-term memory is starting to degrade.”

    Oh so you’re referring to Bush Jr’s era causing the moral decline of America and not Clinton now? Have you forgotten the raping torturing and pillaging that the Contra rebels engaged in with our full support?

    “Let’s try again. Why are liberals so upset about Bush, Cheney and company breaking the law to protect America from terrorist attack, which even the most berserk Bush-hater accepts was their basic motivation, but weren’t bothered at all by Bill Clinton breaking the law to cover his own ass? How could they be surprised at lockstep Republican support for Bush after their own mindless propping up of Clinton at all costs? And why exactly should America NOT have invaded Iraq after Clinton’s military adventure in Bosnia?”

    I don’t accept that protecting America was their basic motivation. Based on their behavior their basic motivation was to loot and pillage the treasure of the United States and boy have they succeeded at that (billions of dollars on pallets disappearing etc). Clinton was impeached for lying and he wasn’t even convicted. Meanwhile your boy expanded the intrusiveness of gov’t in ways that even Reagan would of found ridiculous. For god’s sake he created a whole new bureaucracy and even gave it a very fascist feeling name. Bush invaded one country under false pretenses that he and others in charge should of been well aware of (I was as an unimportant citizen and boy did I get heat for saying so about Iraq leading up to the war). Under Bush the CIA normalized the use of torture facilities which you should know is very very VERY illegal in a way past felony way. Dude I could sit here and type out a paper of Bush’s illegal dealings but according to you everything he did was no worse then Clinton lying about getting a blow job…

    The Bosnian war is one of the few times we’ve had a clear cut of a successful military campaign in a long while. WE had a plan at the start we got in and we got out while accomplishing our listed goals. I didn’t support the Bosnian war either as I believed it was going to be another Vietnam (being the believer at the time that a Democratic lead government was always incompetent) but I was quite clearly wrong about that. Lets look at the stats of what you’re comparing shall we?

    Bosnia

    Combat deaths : 1
    wounded : 6

    End Result : A stable country that recently passed laws condemning their past misdeeds during the war.

    Iraq

    Combat Deaths : +3,510 and rising
    Wounded : 31,395 and rising

    End Result : An unstable government which is on the verge of civil war. Billions of dollars have gone “missing” and what has actually been built is of generally shoddy quality.

    Yeah those two wars are totally the same..

    “Liberals appear to have adopted two genuinely bizarre understandings of history. First, absolutely everything in America was hunky dory until Reagan came along and screwed it all up. Second, nothing that happened in the Clinton Adminstration (like Slick Willie officially authorizing and legitmizing the rendition of suspected terrorists) has anything at all to do with anything that happened under Bush II.”

    Dude you’re the one that tried to blame Clinton for the moral decay of America so all I did was point out that a previous president was far worse. Bush Sr was a lot of things but he wasn’t involved with the moral decline of anything and overall is an outstanding person. So next up on the history express would be Reagan who just happened to do a LOT of bad things that you cannot declare to be moral.

    Oh god you pulled out the slick willy crap. I knew it you’re one of those rabid idiots I had to deal with in the 90s that declared everything Bill did as evil (I was only slightly to the left of the slick willy crowd back then). Look I didn’t like a lot about Bill either but dear lord get a grip. As for the rendition thing I’m not aware of Clinton and his supporters appearing on national TV bragging about torturing people like Cheney and Republicans have. I would like to know what bits of information you’re referring to as you’re completely undermining the standard right wing talking point that Clinton was weak and didn’t care about terrorists..

  33. Eric Florack says:

    James, I’m unconvinced.
    Look, you and I screw up. Call it human nature call it falible humanity call it what you will. A certain percentage of the time, we door say the wrong thing. we make mistakes. But, thing is, that’s only a percentage of the time.

    Explain tp me one thing…one… that Obama and the Democrats in Congress have gotten RIGHT since 08. You don’t get that kind of consistency without there being some degree of intent attached to it.

  34. matt says:

    Eric : The problem is anyone with a D attached to their name can never do right in your world..

  35. MBunge says:

    “Have you forgotten the raping torturing and pillaging that the Contra rebels engaged in with our full support?”

    See, I don’t need to read anything else from you. Contra rebels were not, by any definition, “American soldiers or intelligence agents”. Governments, US and otherwise, have been turning their heads for years at the actions of unsavory allies, but what Contra rebels did or didn’t do doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with my point. If you’re not going to respond to what I say and instead just recycle the same damn arguments you’ve probably been making for years, why should I bother.

    Oh, and when did I use the phrase “the liberals” in this thread? I just checked and it seems I only refered to “liberals” in much the same way as one would refer to “conservatives”. So what the hell are you getting your panties in a bunch over?

    Mike

  36. matt says:

    See, I don’t need to read anything else from you. Contra rebels were not, by any definition, “American soldiers or intelligence agents”.

    The rebels themselves weren’t but there were CIA agents and more on the ground providing training and money in our name. This was supported at the highest echelon of government and was justified because “communists are evil”. So never mind that we were fully supporting evil ourselves as long as that evil was fighting an evil we didn’t like.

    “Governments, US and otherwise, have been turning their heads for years at the actions of unsavory allies, but what Contra rebels did or didn’t do doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with my point. If you’re not going to respond to what I say and instead just recycle the same damn arguments you’ve probably been making for years, why should I bother.”

    So you continue to prove my point that Clinton wasn’t the begining of the moral decline of our country as you had originally claimed. Reagan provided the above mentioned support despite the Boland Amendment specifically outlawing such assistance. So Reagan willfully violated the law in a very clear way and you still think it has nothing to do with displaying good morals..

    Using your logic slavery was fine and shouldn’t of been condemmed because we had been doing it for years. Since slavery had such a long history in the USA why bother changing it by outlawing it?

    “Oh, and when did I use the phrase “the liberals” in this thread? I just checked and it seems I only refered to “liberals” in much the same way as one would refer to “conservatives”. So what the hell are you getting your panties in a bunch over?”

    Your inability to see reality beyond a simple black and white existence where you’re either with us or against us is the issue here. As stated earlier just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I’m some pink communist liberal. You obviously have issues that keep you from seeing your ridiculous stereotyping of liberals.

    Your method of justifying horrid behavior with the “well they did it first” or “it’s been done for years” excuses are just pathetic…

  37. Reality says:

    Explain tp me one thing…one… that Obama and the Democrats in Congress have gotten RIGHT since 08. You don’t get that kind of consistency without there being some degree of intent attached to it.

    Lowering taxes for 95% of Americans, a stimulus which helped pull the economy back from the brink of total disaster, passing meaningful health insurance legislation, passing meaningful financial services regulations, repeal of DADT, health care for 9/11 first responders, START treaty, Lilly Ledbetter act

    Seems to my like they have consistently implemented policies with a positive effect on America.