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Can POTUS Beat Back the Obama Hate Machine in 2011?

4 years ago
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In the epilogue to the new paperback version of his book on President Obama, "The Promise," Jonathan Alter notes that one of the president's major challenges for 2012 will be combating the "Obama Hate Machine." That's an appropriate name for the right-wing attack network that will throw any charge it can concoct -- regardless of the facts -- at the president. Alter has a point, but this task is a never-ending, 24/7 job that is unconnected to Obama's re-election campaign. It is crucial to Obama's overall mission of governing the nation well.

The OHM -- led by a wide-ranging collection of conservative media outfits, right-wing bloggers, and GOP partisans -- has already effectively undermined Obama's presidency by propagating lies about his administration's major accomplishments. It tarred Obama's health care reform initiative by falsely claiming it would establish "death panels." It pushed the falsehood that his $787 stimulus package created no new jobs. (The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that legislation created or saved up to 3.5 million jobs.) And don't forget the birthers, who are still yapping that Obama wasn't born in the United States. One recent poll found that 23 percent of Americans believe this (and 20 percent said they didn't know).

In the past week -- even after Obama (to the chagrin of his Democratic colleagues) showed that he was willing to compromise with the Republicans -- the Obama Hate Machine has been cooking up more lunacy-driven charges. Here are two that have emerged in the past week or so: Obama wants to disarm the United States unilaterally and give New York back to Native Americans.

Let's look at that disarm-the-U.S. charge first. As Obama was pushing for Senate ratification of the new START treaty, which will decrease the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia, Rush Limbaugh, who sits on the throne of the OHM, declared that this was part of "Obama's effort to disarm the United States." He also proclaimed that with the START treaty Obama and the Democrats had "finally" succeeded "in harming U.S. national security."

Limbaugh neglected to mention that ratification of the START treaty was endorsed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including its chairman. He also didn't note that it was backed by six former Republican secretaries of state: Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker III, Lawrence Eagleburger, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice. Do these Republicans all wish to disarm the United States and impair U.S. national security? Perhaps there was a conservative policy argument to be made against the new START treaty, but Limbaugh was not engaging in honest debate. He was accusing a commander in chief -- who, by the way, has beefed up the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan -- of practically surrendering. Limbaugh's aim, of course, was not to participate in a robust policy discussion, but to discredit Obama and brand him as essentially a traitor. Yet it would be absurd to say such a thing about Powell, Rice, Shultz, and the other Republican national security experts. The mission is to create anti-Obama noise (and, certainly, to earn millions of dollars a year).

As for Obama going native, Special Guests, a conservative outfit that supplies "experts" for media interviews, shot out an e-mail the other day with this subject head: "Obama to give NY back to Indians!" (Note the exclamation point.) This group maintains that Obama backs a United Nations resolution that would "set the table for turning regions of the U.S., including parts of Manhattan, back to Native American Indian tribes . . . [and] could create the theoretical framework for a dismantling of our entire country." Other conservatives, too, have asserted that Obama is plotting to return America to the tribes. Bryan Fischer of the right-wing American Family Association wrote on his blog, "Obama wants to give the entire land mass of the United States of America back to the Indians. He wants Indian tribes to be our new overlords." Really? Obama desires to be the president of a nation subservient to Native American tribal chiefs? The truth: The Obama administration supports the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which notes that "indigenous people have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources" that they have traditionally occupied or owned. This declaration is, eh, non-binding. It's merely a statement of principle, not an announcement that the Munsee Delaware tribe will be handed the deed to Rockefeller Center.

Still, the Obama-giving-land-back-to-the-Indians tall tale has been spreading within conservative circles. It's another sign that the OHM will use any cockamamie charge it can unearth or generate to undercut Obama. Facts don't matter. What counts is keeping the fire hose turned on and aimed at the fellow in the White House. If the born-in-Kenya-secret-Muslim-socialist thing doesn't pan out, there's always the disarm-American-and-go-native option. Who knows what this crazy guy is going to do next? As Special Guests said in that e-mail, "Elect a radical President, expect radical policy." Like backing a treaty approved by James Baker or cutting a compromise with Republicans that extends the Bush tax cut bonuses for the rich. Real radical.

The Obama Hate Machine is never slowed by the absurdities it manufactures. It just keeps spewing crap. The accusations don't have to be proved. The game plan is obvious: Even if he sidesteps the individual charges, Obama will somehow be dirtied by the ceaseless flow of mud. Meanwhile, the OHM professionals will reap profits, as they feed the irrational paranoia of their believe-anything anti-Obama audience.

Though Obama survived the OHM's assaults in 2008, its blasts did inflict damage during his first two years as president and -- credit where credit is due -- helped the Republicans seize control of the House and reduce the Democratic majority in the Senate. And the OHM will not be stopping. As Obama heads into the second half of this presidential term, the question is whether he and his posse will figure out a better way of confronting the craziness in 2011 and beyond.

You can follow David Corn's postings and media appearances via Twitter.

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I know this is useless as I am a 78-yr. old greatgrandmother, love the English lanaguage and never use vulgarity to express my opinions, and do not say anything that has not been said before by someone. On the other hand, I see vulgar, "spit-falling-off-the-page" barrages going back and forth many times. Do the "editors" take breaks? At any rate, I was shocked when the media and the Democrat followers literally tore Pres. Bush to shreds over and over until it was impossible for him to finish some things he had started and therefore, killed his Presidency. Guess it is the same people who accomplished that who are now calling for a "different" kind of free speech. Actually, this should have always been true, but never has been. When you are in the public eye, you take the chance. Which President said, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen"? By the time, enough "laws" will have been passed unlawfully, that issues of more importance (i.e., our freedom to be the USA, the economy, etc will fall thru the cracks. aka Wilma Lanier

January 29 2011 at 9:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hi David,

Nobody hates quite like you guys. You should be ashamed that you ever took a paycheck from Fox News.

January 09 2011 at 5:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The word "hatred," is a sickness and akin to racism. One of these day's racism will be looked upon as a "bad penny," perhaps not in my lifetime or the next, but it will happen, and the sooner the better. Moreover, you can't go around calling yourself a Christian or attend church services on Sunday's, and have hatred in your heart. Jesus was all about love, and not the opposite! Is that so really hard to digest or understand?

January 07 2011 at 9:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This bit of drivel is eviscerated in a great article at the American Thinker, which says in part:

"In a recent column, David Corn bemoans what his friend Jonathan Alter refers to as the "Obama Hate Machine (OHM)." Corn concludes, "That's an appropriate name for the right-wing attack network that will throw any charge it can concoct -- regardless of the facts -- at the president."

This from the man who, in 2004, penned The Lies of George W. Bush, where, in the introduction, he declares, "George W. Bush is a liar. He has lied large and small, directly and by omission. He has mugged the truth-not merely in honest error, but deliberately, consistently, and repeatedly."

According to Corn, among Bush's top ten lies were:

"I have been very candid about my past."
"I'm a uniter, not a divider."
"We must uncover every detail and learn every lesson of September the eleventh."
Number 1: "It's time to restore honor and dignity to the White House."

Of course, these statements -- the best Corn had, mind you -- are not lies at all, but things with which Corn simply disagreed. The mental manipulation necessary to turn such words into "lies" certainly qualifies one for what is now known as "Bush Derangement Syndrome."

For the full article go to:

January 07 2011 at 12:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Americans want a President who is not apologetic, who is Pro-America, for a balanced budget, and who is honest and transparent. Americans don't want rhetoric, they want action.

January 06 2011 at 6:13 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Robert R Hodges

Rush Limbaugh is a threat to our country. He is a liar and scoundrel that uses drugs to get high enough so as to be able to rant and rave. Rush Limbaugh is Anti-American and he should be living in Cuba where he belongs with his attitude of hate.

January 03 2011 at 8:13 AM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply

The problem that Obama faces, and any reasonable citizen for that matter, is the extent that the right has taken their absurd logic, and cult like belief, to heart. The corporate interests that are at work here, understand that 'belief suspends logic', such as brand identity, or team loyalty. This is Marketing 101. Until the defenders of the right, such as from the many comments posted here, realize that they have been taken in, and fooled by false prophets, there is really little that can be done. One can only hope that the more reasonable among them will be turned off by the increasing rhetoric of hatred they represent and increasing demands of ideological purity. Even now, the right wing commentators are trying to outdo each other at how outrageous they can be. For that seems to be the secret to personal wealth and power. The sad truth will be if and when their rhetoric breaks out into events of violence.

January 02 2011 at 4:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This article reminds me of the George W. Bush hate machine. It was relentless as, it seems, the commentary on Obama. Has this become a normal part of our politcal discourse? If so, how sad.

January 02 2011 at 10:50 AM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jallens2dc's comment

The left has conveniently forgotten about the distant past (2000 to 2008) when they ridiculed President Bush constantly, portrayed him as Hitler, and drew cartoons showing him mugging the Statue of Liberty while having the fangs of a vampire. The left called him a racist, a liar, a murderer, and a dunce. But, of course that wasn't the Bush Hate Machine- NO, NO, NO,- that was just good journalism.

January 03 2011 at 5:49 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

"The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that legislation created or saved up to 3.5 million jobs."
Uh, what part of "estimates" do you not understand? If ANYONE can PROVE that legislation created even 1% of that number (350,000) I will personally promise to read every David Corn column until my death, which may be hastened by that process.

January 02 2011 at 3:43 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wayneofwoodstock's comment

Where does the $ 3.6 billion per day in spending come in?

January 03 2011 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


January 01 2011 at 9:54 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply

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