Now that President Obama’s second and last term is about to come to an end, I’ve seen an increasing number of adoring essays such as this one, subtitled “Our outgoing leader brought out the best in all of us”:
The Obamas represented not just the best of black people, but the best of ALL people — white, black, brown and everything in between.
The Obamas are a credit to the race all right — the human race.
Yet President Obama, the most honest, decent President of my lifetime, who leaves with a 56% approval rating, is, if you listen to the right wing’s very mainstream media, a man loathed and hated.
How can that be?
Oh, you know how, right? Because there can only be one reason that anyone on earth can fail to see the astounding, most honest and decent president’s incredible wonderfulness, and that is this:
So — what is the cause for the hate?
Maybe, just maybe, the most decent President of modern times, a man without a whiff of scandal, who didn’t plunge the country into an unwinnable and unjustified war, a man who won’t be forming any billionaire’s family foundation, is hated simply because … he’s black, a black president in a white country? Likely.
This constant refrain began with Obama setting up the meme that the reason motivating his opponents was racism (I documented that message of Obama’s back in real time during his 2008 campaign, here and here). It’s apparently still one of the most basic of the stories that the left tells itself (and the rest of us) when evaluating the very flawed administration of President Obama, as was evident in the New Republic panel I wrote about just the other day.
I wouldn’t pay that much attention to it if it weren’t for an experience I had about a week ago, when I attended a gathering of about ten women, quite a few of whom were talking about Obama in reverent terms. I mean “reverent” quite literally. They were saying that he is one of their most admired people on earth, ever, right up there with Mother Teresa and Gandhi. These are not leftist activists; these are liberal women who are not especially political but who follow politics and world events in average fashion, and are quite intelligent. But they were very sincere about this, and waxed quite eloquent on the subject. In addition, they are completely convinced that Trump’s presidency will bring back another era of Jim Crow, lynchings, and the like.
These appear to be mainstream liberal thoughts at this point, as far as I can tell.
And here is another popular message, although a less race-focused and worshipful one: Trump is already a tainted president, and the Democrats were just too nice and too compromising towards Republicans for too long:
Trump, with the heavy asterisks hovering over his Putin, FBI and 3-million vote deficit-tainted election, could finally put an end to our collective reverence for the presidency. That’s an outcome the country’s anti-monarchal founders might heartily endorse, and it’s the first step to fighting back. Come Jan. 20, many Americans will revere the presidency no more.
It’s a spell worth breaking. Reverence for the office has made Americans too compliant, too soft, too comfortable, and too ripe for autocracy.
Too great a love for the presidency has caused Democrats to neglect state and local politics and to overly prize compromise and a futile quest for bipartisanship. It has made liberals too allergic to federalism and too shy about grassroots politics.
Well, as far as I can see, reverence for one particular president (rather than the presidency itself) is higher than ever.
I agree with one part of that quote, though: the Democrats neglected grassroots politics—although actually, they didn’t neglect it, they compartmentalized it. They felt they had total control of populous blue states (California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and a few more) and that those were the states that counted, so they didn’t need to do much else. Meanwhile, Democrats at the state legislature level were fading away.
Oh, and Democrats are “too allergic to federalism” when it’s invoked by Republicans. Democrats have never had any problem using it when it benefits Democrats.