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Too Often, America's 'Obamabashers' Lack Dignity

02/17/2016 11:25 EST | Updated 02/17/2017 05:12 EST
ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Barack Obama walks to the podium to speak to reporters about the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Scalia, 79, was found dead Saturday morning at a private residence in the Big Bend area of West Texas. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Barack Obama appears more popular with Canadians than Americans. In the United States, Obama has struggled with his approval ratings. Much of this is a function of his critics discomfort with his proposing such 'wretched' things as universal health care and gun control. Yet others blame him for America's ongoing economic woes. One sometimes gets the impression that the U.S. stock market correction that erased massive value from North American pension plans occurred during Obama's watch when, in fact, it was under the Presidency of George W. Bush.

To his credit the president has been most dignified in his response and/or non-response to such vitriol.

When they malign the president, supporters of the U.S. "Tea Party movement" purport to speak on behalf of America's grass roots. Undoubtedly, the sustained smear campaigns on the part of 'Obamabashers' have been effective. For some time after his election, his opponents sought to disqualify him from office by insisting his birth certificate was falsified and that he was actually born outside of the United States. Yet others charged that he supported fundamentalists that wished to impose Islamic law around the world. In fact in a 2010 Newsweek poll of Republicans it was revealed that a majority believed Barack 'Hussein' [they like to highlight his middle name] Obama is an Islamist sympathizer. To his credit the president has been most dignified in his response and/or non-response to such vitriol.

Some 'Obamabashers' have not been good at knowing where to draw the line. Taking hyperbole to a new height, one-time Republican leadership hopeful Mike Huckabee likened the agreement on an Iranian nuclear deal to "marching the Israelis to the door of the oven." While it's legitimate to have misgivings about the Iran deal, analogies to the Holocaust are reprehensible and constitute a severe injustice to its six million victims. Israeli Ambassador to the United States described Huckabee's remarks as inappropriate. Condemnations of Huckabee by American Jewish community leaders were more forceful. Nonetheless Huckabee insisted that he received considerable support from within the Jewish community including from Holocaust survivors and their families. But his preying on the fears of Jews with such inadmissible analogies is a sad commentary on the state of politics in some parts of the United States. It's worth noting that an American Jewish Committee poll conducted in August 2015 showed that 50.6 per cent of Jewish respondents approved of the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal between Iran and six major powers.

Frequently underlying the purported threat Obama represents to his own country is innuendo about his 'true' identity accompanied by allegations about the hidden Islamist tendencies. Given the absence of any proof to support such ludicrous assertions, 'Obamabashers' conduct whisper campaigns often around dinner tables or other social gatherings. Many revel in a good tirade against the president. When asked about the source of their claims, the typical response is "someone said so" and/or they read it in the paper.

Obama bashing sometimes bears a resemblance to the McCarthyism of an earlier era. One would have hoped that this behaviour is behind our valued neighbors to the South. But that does not appear to be the case and it has been sad to observe the important number of Americans descend to the gutter politics that is driven by hyper-partisanship. Ideally, with less than a year left to the end of his term, rather than constant 'Obamabashing' several Americans need to identify a more constructive and dignified way of addressing their concerns. In the meantime, President Obama can take solace in the fact that he remains very popular in Canada and will always be welcome on this side of the border.

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