Does the U.S.A. Deserve Obama?

By Allston Mitchell, March 1, 2010

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Is it politics or just the channelling of hate? Suddenly President Obama is a terrible failure. Where did this bandwagon of criticism come from? Is this the slow season for journalists? Whatever next? Nostalgia for the Bush clan? Is Obama too smart or are Americans just too witless? The politics of loathing are in full swing.

Ever since the senatorial election in Massachusetts was won by a Republican, Barack Obama has suddenly become a lame duck and the most ineffectual, pointless, misguided President the United States has ever had the misfortune to elect. The election debâcle was not a failure of the democratic party but a personal Obama failure. Pelosi who? He has nose-dived.

An avalanche of invective and criticism has been unleashed on a President who in recent months has been described as having “no narrative”, he “spends too much time deciding”, does not “understand how Congress works”, “is too complicated, “too inclusive” and above all “overexposed” and “too intelligent”.

Americans throughout the land are crying out “We don’t know where he stands!”.

Barack Obama prides himself on his deliberate and reasoned approach to solving problems. He takes his time and then opts for the most realistic and intelligent option. Are we nostalgic for the knee-jerk jingoistic responses? They were admittedly more amusing and they did pander to our natural cynicism about political life.

The President is thinking and may soon make a rational decision. How upsetting! Might he be French?

The message seems to be that President Obama is confusing the electorate, treating them like University post graduates who will understand the nuances, appreciate the references and glean the wit and subtlety. Hell no! We are rednecks and proud of it and if we can’t think straight then God darn it, the President will just have to think crooked – just give us a one-liner so we know who he really is. Nuthin’ fancy.

Obama is not mean enough, he doesn’t kick ass, he doesn’t lose his temper, he is too cool. Are we becoming a tad nostalgic for a not-so-smart former President? He was so comforting and familiar. So patriotic!

In part journalists everywhere are just relieved that they have been given the green light to lay into a President who until now has been protected by a rather annoying divine aura. The crazy right has pulled out all the stops and is calling him Stalin, a Nazi and of course a granny killer – all of which feels like an alcohol-fuelled political pigsticking frenzy. Strangely, the criticisms of the President are not based on anything specific, not for lack of raw material certainly, the man is by no means perfect (he is a politician after all), but the draw of infantile loathing and the appeal of the name-calling is just too strong. It is all about channelling petty frustration – very little to do with politics.

The backlash is not even about being a Republican but is just plain anti-politics, a sort of log cabin fantasy that involves owning a gun, not paying taxes and being left alone to do your own thing. Strangely, these were the sticking points of the Constitution. Are we still finding our way out of the 18th Century? Is this a resurrection of a dormant revolutionary spirit? Albeit not in the shadow of Tom Paine. If that is the case then it is the Republicans who should be worried.

Obama clearly has no illusions about who he is dealing with. He nearly got into hot water on the campaign trail when he said that people when frustrated:

“Cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them”

He knows a redneck when he sees one but stating the obvious got him instantly labelled as “arrogant” and “out of touch”. He won’t be saying anything like that again any time soon, the red neck bigots are like a new clan of “untouchables”, politically speaking, as if somehow these dimwits are the country’s heart and soul. The fact that they are exactly the thing that is holding the United States back from being a truly progressive country is not on anyone’s agenda.

Thomas Jefferson may have been up against something similar as he revealed to John Adams:

“Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. education & free discussion are the antidotes of both.”

The facts are fairly clear, the United States as a country is split into two with nearly 50% of the population waving the flag of ignorance, bigotry and redneck culture and heaven help whoever tries to highlight this unhappy state of affairs because these frontier mullahs are suddenly the only real Americans, and the dumber the better. You can’t argue with someone who is proud to be ignorant. These so-called evangelicals confuse hate with steadfast faith and stupidity with divine awe. Overwhelming personal frustrations do not mix well with Christian charity.

Just about any other developed country would recognize the merits of Barack Obama and would cut off their right arm to have him as the head of their government but not in the United States. He is just too intelligent, too honest, too amusing, too hard working and by golly he’s just not one of us, he’s just not dumb enough.

So who has the problem, Obama or the dim-witted US electorate? It would be interesting to give the electorate a quick fire choice: stick with Obama, or bring back the crazy people, Bush, Cheney, Gonzalez, Rumsfeld? Happily that choice is not available because strangely enough Bush and his cronies would, despite everything, be more reassuring to this confederacy of pinheads. The Bush tribe was not smart, but its “narrative” was simple and it did not confuse anybody. Or perhaps we should just call it quits, bring back the hate-filled Christians and deceitful neo-cons and let Obama run for president in a country less easily confused?

Give the man a break and as George Washington wisely said:

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

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