16 October 2009

The right and the president

According to the most recent Fox News poll, President Obama's approval rating has slipped to 49. I have offered my thoughts on the president many times on this site -- I have disapprovingly referred to him as a 50 percent president, saw through his changenhope charade from day one and ripped the starry-eyed Obamatrons who wistfully hang on his every word.

I continue to be dumbfounded, however, by his treatment from the lunatic fringe.

This comment from Glenn Beck -- I'm sure, echoed by many others on the right -- was just obscene. (Here, you'll find some gratuitous Beck weepage.)

Applause to Joe Scarborough -- a guy who was reviled by the far right as one of the first conservatives to criticize the Bush administration during Bush's first term, and who is now being criticized for pointing out the hypocrisy of Limbaugh, Hannity, et al., who willingly followed Bush over a cliff and now insist on calling Obama names to burnish their "conservative" credentials.

By the way, if, as Limbaugh mandates, refusing to call the president names makes you a "neutered chickified moderate," then I suppose Scarborough and I are in this together.

I genuinely don't believe that Barack Obama is Muslim, Marxist, a Manchurian candidate, anti-American, or a man who wishes to take away your guns and weaken our military. I believe he was born in Hawaii, is a Christian and yes, like most liberals, loves his country. I suppose I'm in the minority when I say that the president seems like a reasonably nice man who loves his family (after barely knowing his own father) but is simply wrong. He was wrong about the stimulus, he's wrong about "health care reform," he's wrong about deficit spending, and he's just flat-out wrong about the proper role of government.

If Limbaugh and I sat in the same congressional chamber, I'm sure he and I would vote together more often than not. In fact, away from his microphone, I might even like the man personally.

From 1992 to 1998, Rush Limbaugh shared the spotlight with House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the voice of a thoughtful opposition to the fiscally moderate, socially liberal President Clinton. After the revelation of Clinton's affair(s), the far right went into hysterics (the same people, by the way, who will likely re-elect admitted philanderer David Vitter to a second Senate term, and who would pull the lever for admitted adulterer Gingrich in a heartbeat), led by the thrice-married Limbaugh.

As a result of conservatism's uproar against Clinton's dalliances, Democrats, in turn, upon Bush's election in 2000, were almost universally aligned against the Bush administration from day one. After approving ratings in the 80s following 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, Bush's invasion of Iraq consolidated even moderate Democrats like Jim Webb and Claire McCaskill behind the likes of MoveOn.org and Nancy Pelosi. In the years that followed, some of the things said about Bush were nothing short of despicable. Bush limped through his second term, a lame duck from the very beginning, with very few and 70 percent of the country -- and probably nearly half of his own party -- lined up in firm disapproval of him.

And to this point, Republicans have been just as relentless with Obama. Look -- I don't agree with the man either, and think that his two signature initiatives -- the "stimulus" and his vague idea of "health care reform" -- are disastrous. But his treatment by the far right -- led by virtually every talking head from Beck to Savage and Ingraham to Levin in an effort to toss red meat to the base and spike ratings -- is just as disgusting as Democrats' treatment of Bush.

But I've found that my take on the president is shared by virtually no one: He is flat wrong on almost every policy initiative, but he's not an evil guy.

I suppose that puts me in a lonely place.

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