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Why the Right Really Hates Obama
In These Times ^ | May 8th, 2012 | Theo Anderson

Posted on 05/10/2012 4:39:21 AM PDT by Third Person

How much influence has the Tea Party really had in American politics?

The movement scored real successes in the 2010 election, when the GOP won control of the House and narrowed the Democrats’ majority in the Senate. That success bolstered the GOP’s budget-cutting fervor and set up the debt-ceiling showdown last summer. And wins by Tea Party candidates at the state level have helped create the wave of abortion restrictions recently passed by state legislatures.

On the other hand, there have been major disappointments during the past year. Sarah Palin didn’t run for the GOP presidential nomination, and one Tea Party favorite after another ascended in the primary race, then crashed, until Republicans settled for perhaps the least conservative candidate in the race: Mitt Romney.

And electoral successes haven’t guaranteed passage of hardcore conservative legislation, as the Tea Party-approved governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has learned. Scott began his term by nixing federal funds for high-speed rail in the state, and his approval rating dropped to the low 30s. Since then he’s been forced to move slightly toward the center, proposing more funding for education and backing off his campaign promises to pass Arizona-style legislation that targets immigrants.

But the Tea Party’s influence can’t be measured by its legislative and electoral victories alone. Its main “achievement” over the past three years has been to help the Republicans advance their goal of creating total cynicism about our institutions. The religious conservatives who form the core of the movement have theological reasons for decrying government as hopelessly broken. That makes them a perfect match with the modern GOP, whose leaders decry the corruption and overweening power of government as a strategy for gaining power within the corrupt, overweening government.

The classic example is Newt Gingrich. It’s hard to remember now, after his flameout as a presidential candidate, but Gingrich was the most powerful Republican in the nation in the 1990s, and he rose to that position by coordinating a relentless attack on precisely the institutions that he sought to govern.

As Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein wrote recently in the Washington Post, “From the day he entered Congress in 1979, Gingrich had a strategy to create a Republican majority in the House: convincing voters that the institution was so corrupt that anyone would be better than the incumbents, especially those in the Democratic majority.” Ultimately, Gingrich’s strategy “activated an extreme and virulently anti-Washington base … and helped drive moderate Republicans out of Congress.”

What makes this so damaging and dangerous is that cynicism breeds only cynicism, and hopelessness is a self-fulfilling prophecy. So it’s interesting to consider that, at the heart of the biblical narrative that so many of the Tea Party faithful claim to believe, there’s more than sin and corruption. There is also the possibility of redemption and a basis for hope. There is a Messiah.

Liberals often say that the Right’s hatred of Obama is about his race. Conservatives say it’s about his socialist agenda. But there’s something more going on, and it’s captured in the way that the Right has often mocked Obama as “the chosen one,” the Messiah. Dig a little under the surface of that derision and you’ll discover a world of confusion and ambivalence.

Obama is a deeply familiar figure among tea partiers and conservative Christians. He has the energy and charisma of a pastor, and he’s the sort of authority figure many on the far-Right are conditioned to respect. But the context is all wrong. The messenger is a black man. The hope he offers is grounded in the possibility that human institutions can be expressions of the common good.

In truth, they want to respond to this kind of hope-affirming message, because balancing despair with hope is fundamental to their theology. And the redemptive promise doesn’t even have to be otherworldly. Ronald Reagan became a demigod among conservatives by holding out a bright future for the nation while separating America from its actual institutions. He spoke to conservatives’ need to actually believe in something. And he made it possible for them to believe in America’s future while despising its government.

Obviously, no Republican since Reagan has rivaled his rhetorical gifts or his deftness at fusing electoral politics with a quasi-religious vision. George W. Bush seemed to understand the power of Reagan’s rhetoric but didn’t have the skill to pull it off. John McCain had no feel for it at all.

So the source of the Right’s hatred of Obama isn’t just that he’s a black man and a liberal. It’s also that he’s so much better than any Republican at articulating “that hopey changey stuff,” as Sarah Palin once derided it. The mockery of Obama as the Messiah reveals far more about the Tea Party than it does about the president. They long for a Reagan-style message of hope and possibility. What they get is…Mitt Romney.

And who wouldn’t despair at that prospect?

Of course, there’s far less talk of hope and change this election cycle than four years ago, especially since the Obama campaign has formally changed its slogan to “forward.” And yes: It’s hard not to feel disappointed, perhaps even cynical, thinking about the gap between Obama’s rhetoric and his actual record these past three years.

But the Tea Party has only its cynicism, which leaves the field of positive solutions wide open for Democrats and progressives to occupy. It’s important to critique and shine light on the endemic corruption of our institutions, but Obama was onto something important–in fact, radical–with the “hopey changey stuff.”

Going beyond critique and offering an alternative vision–a measure of hope–isn’t just a rebuttal to the Tea Party’s cynicism and a good way to get under that movement’s skin. Ultimately, it’s the only path to reform.

TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
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To: BuffaloJack
no honor in him.

And that cuts all the way in and through the bone.
21 posted on 05/10/2012 5:42:51 AM PDT by Resettozero
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To: Third Person
which leaves the field of positive solutions wide open for Democrats and progressives to occupy
Interesting choice of words ... Dems, Progressives and occupy(ers) are one and the same ... commies.
22 posted on 05/10/2012 5:43:45 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: facedown

I don’t like him because he’s a commie bastard.

23 posted on 05/10/2012 5:51:14 AM PDT by MichiganCheese (It's now or never!)
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To: Third Person
We like the Reaganesque delivery, just not the message.

You believe this crap?

#1 0bama does not have Reaganesque delivery or content.
#2 0bama does NOT deliver the hopey changey stuff better than Reagan.

In the final analysis, I dislike 0bama because he disliked me first. I am an American. 0bama hates Americans.

24 posted on 05/10/2012 5:54:48 AM PDT by GreyMountainReagan ("Pray for America")
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To: Eye of Unk

You are right; it is called world communism

25 posted on 05/10/2012 5:55:00 AM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Third Person

I always find it amusing that liberals have to find some deep psychological meaning to the dislike of Obama. Heaven forfend that it be just straight forward antipathy to his policies

26 posted on 05/10/2012 5:59:55 AM PDT by Nifster
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To: Third Person

What a load of crap.

27 posted on 05/10/2012 6:13:36 AM PDT by pgkdan (ANYBODY BUT OBAMA!)
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To: Third Person

I found Newt’s speeches to be very optimistic.

Energy independence. New royalties by allowing our energy companies to drill for new oil and gas, enough in fact to pay off the government debt during the next generation. Think of the great future our children and grandchildren could have! With energy independence, we could begin to ignore those people in the middle east that hate us.

Saving Social Security through privatization using the Chile example. Now that’s hope for the future. imo. I wish I could have signed up for a system like that 40 years ago. I wish my son could sign up for a system like that now.

It’s too bad that the GOP-e and Romney beat him down the way they did.

As for Mr. Obama, there’s no hope like that in his actions. With his agenda, we’re headed down the PIIGS road. It’s as plan as day. The PIIGS example is right in our faces. Our children and grandchildren face a dismal future with the likes of Obama and the GOP-E. It’s as simple as that.

28 posted on 05/10/2012 6:36:38 AM PDT by MulberryDraw (He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind;)
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To: traditional1

The only place where the tea party has zero influence is inside the GOP.

29 posted on 05/10/2012 6:40:43 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Third Person

The country is on the threshold of fiscal collapse and the only think Obama has to offer is new spending programs.

When the country descends into violent chaos EVERYONE will be hating the name Obama.

30 posted on 05/10/2012 6:43:08 AM PDT by DManA
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To: traditional1

I agree with all you have posted, though I would add one thing to your last sentence: “There is NO way, in my lifetime, to see the Constitutional Intent restored, save if a CWII or Revolution occurs, period.”

A Soviet style bankruptcy in cash, credibility and support of the Washington government could have the same purging effect as CW.II or AWI.II, and possibly at considerably less cost. It was a relatively soft landing for the constituent ‘republics’ of the USSR. Perhaps it will be for Americans as well.

The Founders’ principles are going to endure at least as whispers and aspirations as long as there are people. They will endure longer than any nation state.

31 posted on 05/10/2012 6:43:12 AM PDT by Psalm 144 (Obama's record is an open charnel pit. Romney's too, but under a whitened sepulchre.)
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To: Third Person

Thanks for this thread.



When you used the Liberal Agenda Media word “cynicism” you identified yourself as a Liberal!

Are you writing a hit piece on those who are NOT apathetic about America being taken over by Marxist Dictator Obama?

Do your re-search again and you will find that the Taxed Enough Already Folks used to be the Silent Majority.

Deal with it.

32 posted on 05/10/2012 6:54:16 AM PDT by Graewoulf ((Dictator Baby-Doc Barack's obama"care" violates Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Graewoulf

“cynicism”, working leftist definition,

not trusting in the moral and intellectual superiority of the ruling elite.

33 posted on 05/10/2012 6:58:43 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: Explorer89

writer is a moron running around inventing stuff to fit his narrative.

34 posted on 05/10/2012 7:05:48 AM PDT by wiggen (The teacher card. When the racism card just won't work.)
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Decades of affluence and television have ruined Americans and done nothing but breed a larger and larger class of non-producers. It hasn’t happened overnight, both parties are responsible (there’s really only 1 party), and ultimately it is the disinterested entertainment-addicted people who are getting what they deserve.

This campaign will degenerate to a reality show sports event style. There will be a poll released daily to let you know what the score is and who’s ahead.

35 posted on 05/10/2012 7:20:39 AM PDT by wrencher
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To: Third Person
The author is clueless in almost every respect. He especially misses the point with his comment that, "But the context is all wrong. The messenger is a black man." Obama's black identity is central to liberal support for him. Apparently, they cannot comprehend the fact that normal people just don't care about skin tone. I'd guess that the vast majority of conservatives would be thrilled with Thomas Sowell, with Herman Cain if Cain could have handled the "scandals" in a manner that caused them to disappear, with Allen West, or with any other politician from any racial group who agreed with decent Americans on the issues, and especially on fiscal responsibility.
36 posted on 05/10/2012 7:30:28 AM PDT by Pollster1 (Can we afford as much government as welfare-addicted voters demand?)
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To: MrB

Right. Critical statements by those of us on the Right are twist-labelled (=spin) into their trademark word “cynical.”

To a Liberal, the Goodness of THE GOVERNMENT is infinite. There is nothing that a BIGGER Government cannot do in their minds.

We saw this recently from thinkers on the left, such as Robert Reisch of Cal-Berkley, when he claimed that the TARP, Pelosi Porkbarrel Stimulus Bill and the QEs of Helicopter Ben all failed because not enough money was thrown at the various problems.

Those of us opposed to this destruction of OUR money were labeled “cynical.”

37 posted on 05/10/2012 7:44:19 AM PDT by Graewoulf ((Dictator Baby-Doc Barack's obama"care" violates Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND U.S. Constitution.))
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To: DManA

That’s about the best summary I’ve seen so far.

38 posted on 05/10/2012 7:48:36 AM PDT by norton
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To: Third Person
... as “the chosen one,” the Messiah.

This trope came right out of obama's election campaign and was furthered by the left and the media. All us "real people" did was mock it when it arose.

'Member all the pictures of the little chap with the quasi-halos behind his head.

39 posted on 05/10/2012 8:53:29 AM PDT by RobinOfKingston (The instinct toward liberalism is located in the part of the brain called the rectal lobe.)
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To: Third Person

“In truth, they want to respond to this kind of hope-affirming message”

Only an idiot leftst would think Obama’s screeching against the rich, bashing business, attacking our values, and calling for a government solution to everything is ‘hope-affirming’ ... Obama is positively Orwellian and Alinskyite.

Hype and Chains.

40 posted on 05/10/2012 9:50:54 AM PDT by WOSG (Anyone But Obama)
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