Conservative friend of mine (conservative but not flat out looney) recently started tweeting things about President Obama that I just thought were strange. “He’d do well to remember it’s the United States of America, not the United States of Obama” and “Obama should remember that America is bigger than the presidency and the presidency is bigger than the man”.
I had to question him on this because he and I can debate policy all day long and never agree but until now I’ve heard very few people speak about Obama this way. There’s the whole walks on water thing but that’s really more of an indictment of his supporters than anything he’s done. Same with the Paris Hilton thing. Even most of my conservative friends have said things like they wish they’d won and they often disagree with him, as you’d expect, but that they don’t feel the visceral hatred of him that they did of the Clintons. They fear for the worst, they hope for the best, and the’re patiently waiting for it to be their turn again.
I never understood the Conservative visceral hatred of the Clintons. You’d want to say they hated liberals and that spilled over but the Clintons have built their entire political careers being moderate to CONSERVATIVE Democrats. Pappy got the NAFTA ball rolling but it took Clinton to make it law. Clinton did don’t ask don’t tell, not Reagan. Clinton refused to move gay rights ahead, he was far from a rabid gun control nut. Clinton was the most pro business, deregulatory, free trading president probably ever until Bush, who was more of an anarchist than pro-business guy anyway. But none the less, hate the Clintona they did. I knew, still know, conservatives who can’t even come close to understanding how I could possibly… Not even like them but how I could possibly not despise them.
Which is just the way that great huge numbers of us feel about W. I have read more of his speeches than I’ve listened to because I couldn’t stand the sound of his voice. His policies were bad enough but watching him spew his stupidity while not completing sentences, mispronunciating words, grinning while he’s talking about death and dismemberment, it was all more than I could do. I loathed him. He was an embarrassment to me as an American. He didn’t have to talk about a policy at all for me to not like him. The sound of him blessing the Thanksgiving turkey would have made me blanche as much as any of the things he said.
With Obama there has been a lot less of this but you can feel it starting to brew. They’re starting to move away from him being one of the better people they could lose to if they had to lose to finding meaning in his mannerisms that hardly seems to be there, and then being infuriated by those mannerisms to the point where they are starting to loathe him.
So, it seems interesting how this process works and like something a lot of us as normal, everyday citizens would probably benefit from understanding more about. I suspect my friend might actually be comforted to learn that his growing disdain actually has more to do with him coming from the other tribe, no matter what tribe it is, than with Obama actually morphing before his eyes from a generally decent, competent, if young, man who disagrees with him on a range of policy issues to some meglomaniacal douche bag.
I don’t think a better understanding of this would have made listening to Bush any more palatable to me, but if it’s true it does make me a little less defensive about my friend saying these crazy ass, nonsensical things about my guy. It kind of makes it possible to discount it as “oh, never mind him, he’s naturally going to hallucinate like this because he lost. We all do that.” which seems more pallatable than trying to agree with him ok whether or not the guy is stuck up.