(Article changed on May 29, 2013 at 12:09)
by from: http://www.ff.org
How telling our liveliest, most enduring public debate obscures endless war or economic misery, debt ceilings, size of government, even Obamacare. Forget about climate calamities, pandemics or food shortages. The raucous national discord, curious after his half a decade at center stage, comes down to Obama himself: who is he, what does he believe in, if anything except reacting to crises, and will his cult of personality offset countless lost chances?
For rightwing propaganda, a deteriorating Obama is bad news: how can a weak leader loom as towering evil, the epitome of all that is wrong with America? What redemption honors the right against a dictator who barely dictates, his administration adrift and his party coattails wearing thinner and thinner? Can a faltering lame duck qualify as an intimidating, demagogue pummeling Palin's "real America," the Illegitimate One sabotaging American exceptionalism?
The leftwing critique is not any friendlier, but far more evidence based: when Obama isn't being Bush III, his real-world compromises alienate the liberal base that elected him, too often favoring millions of dollars over millions of voters. Not only has Obama failed to developed the legislative clout needed for hard times, worse still his steady rightwing tilt that normalizes reactionary politics, undermining the spirit and future of liberalism.
No doubt the right will update its fictions, but they must surpass Minority leader McConnell's laughable slurs. By what logic does a distracted president orchestrate a "culture of intimidation" in which it's "long apparent" his "speech police" ruthlessly reward friends and punish enemies. Droning on, McConnell invokes a phony "we" who all "saw the president's reelection team using the politics of intimidation, with old-school "enemies lists" and explicit attacks on groups and other private citizens." Is anything less credible than rightwing masters of underhanded intimidation whining about being victimized by far less odious tactics?
Paling around with leftists
Regressing to what failed five years ago, McConnell recasts Obama as devious leftwing outsider with an enemies list, the reworked version of "paling around with terrorists." For here comes McConnell channeling Palin absurdities:
These tactics are straight out of the left-wing playbook: Expose your opponents to public view, release the liberal thugs and hope the public pressure or unwanted attention scares them from supporting causes you oppose.
Note the subtext driving the charade: Obama the all-powerful tyrant calling every tune, micromanaging the IRS and press violations, ruthlessly leveraging the federal juggernaut against his "old-school" (like Stalinist?) "enemies list." Wait a minute! Dick Nixon holds the monopoly on demonizing enemies.
Ear to the wingnut whistle, Charles Krauthammer likewise assumes this omnipotent leader controls some backwater IRA office by osmosis:
When some bureaucrat is looking for cues from above, it matters when the president of the United States denounces the Supreme Court decision that allowed the proliferation of 501(c)(4)s and specifically calls the resulting "special interest groups' running ads to help Republicans "not just a threat to Democrats -- that's a threat to our democracy.'
Then Krauthammer's full-fledged FOX paranoia bangs away:
For years the administration has conducted a concerted campaign to demonize Fox News (disclosure: for which I am a commentator), delegitimizing it as a news organization, even urging its ostracism. Then (surprise!) its own Justice Department takes the unprecedented step of naming a Fox reporter as a co-conspirator in a leak case -- when no reporter has ever been prosecuted for merely soliciting information -- in order to invade his and Fox's private and journalistic communications.
Ditto, the crazed Peggy Noonan, challenged to justify how the IRS scandal is "worse than Watergate," manufactures invisible powers for the scheming pres "giving a dog whistle to people who could launch this thing." Like old-style dictators forcing underlings to do their bidding, Obama simply had to blast opponents during the 2012 campaign plus the Citizens United decision. Absolute, unchecked tyranny alone caused Tea Party harassment thanks to intrepid decoding by the IRS of direct orders -- this from the right flooded with nefarious code words.
Surprise! The same controlling meme pours out from FOX's Kim Strassel: of course, an all-powerful Oz rules every corner of the government by mental telepathy. Obama "didn't need to pick up the phone:"