Mistaken Perhaps, But Evil?
By Patrick F. Cannon
I can believe that President Obama made a mistake in forcing through the Affordable Care Act without making a serious effort to accommodate the ideas and concerns of the Republican members of Congress. Had he done so, perhaps many of the obvious failures of the act might have been avoided.
One might also question his handling of foreign policy, particularly as regards Syria, and his tendency to use executive action to get around the gridlock in Congress on immigration and gun control. At the very least, it smacks of a kind of “I know better” arrogance. But nearly everything he’s done is consistent with his essential political philosophy, i.e., progressive liberal activism.
While I might not agree with most of his policies – in fact, I strongly disagree with much of what he has done – my opposition is on purely political grounds. I do not hate President Obama. I’m able to make a distinction between the policies and the man. The man has a wife and kids, and loyal friends, just like most people. He has a dog, always a plus with me. If we broke bread, it’s likely we would find things in common as well as areas of disagreement. You know, just like your friends. Or do your friends have to march in lockstep with you and your politics? Is that all that matters?
If you listen to conservative talk radio, or watch the pundits on Fox, you might be forgiven for thinking that all the President really cares about is screwing over you personally. He’ll begin by taking your guns, and then force you to like illegal immigrants, abortionists and gays. After that, he’ll grab your dough and give it to the undeserving poor.
This kind of partisan hatred is, of course, nothing new. George W. Bush got pretty much the same treatment for this two terms (what President would actually want to serve more)? In his case, the attacks came from the hard left; insert MSNBC for Fox, and Bill Maher for Rush Limbaugh. Bill Clinton was a special case with his sexual peccadilloes, but presidents before him really didn’t have to undergo the same level of demonization that seems to have become common in the age of partisan 24-hour news outlets and the internet.
It’s far too early to say what history will make of either Obama or Bush. It’s only fairly recently that we have come to really understand the malignancy of Andrew Jackson, for example. Other bad presidents (but not necessarily bad men) include Tyler, Buchannan, Pierce, Fillmore, Grant, Harding, Hoover and Carter. Aside from Jackson, it’s hard to summon up much hatred for any of them. Grant and Harding, for example, trusted people they shouldn’t have. And Hoover was a great engineer, but a lousy economist.
Of the presidents who have served in my lifetime, I can summon up genuine animus for only one: Richard Nixon. And even he has some apologists! So, let’s save our hatred for terrorists and the creators of reality television.
Copyright 2016, Patrick F. Cannon