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On the President as Alien

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Posted on Feb 23, 2012
White House / Pete Souza

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

They say that President Obama is a Muslim, but if he isn’t, he’s a secularist who is waging war on religion. On some days he’s a Nazi, but on most others he’s merely a socialist. His especially creative opponents see him as having a “Kenyan anti-colonial worldview,” while the less adventurous say he’s an elitist who spent too much time in Cambridge, Hyde Park and other excessively academic precincts.

Whatever our president is, he is never allowed to be a garden-variety American who plays basketball and golf, has a remarkably old-fashioned family life, and, in the manner we regularly recommend to our kids, got ahead by getting a good education.

Please forgive this outburst. It’s simply astonishing that a man in his fourth year as our president continues to be the object of the most extraordinary paranoid fantasies. A significant part of his political opposition still cannot accept that Obama is a rather moderate politician quite conventional in his tastes and his interests. And now that the economy is improving, short-circuiting easy criticisms, Obama’s adversaries are reheating all the old tropes and cliches and slanders.

True, some of this is driven by cable television (a venue in which I acknowledge regularly participating). Attacks designed to gin up the conservative base are quickly recycled to gin up outrage within Obama’s own base. Moreover, Obama is not the first president caught up in the rank unpleasantness of this particularly unforgiving political moment. A quick Google search will unearth references to George W. Bush as a “Nazi,” and Bill Clinton’s Republican opponents went so far as to impeach him in a shameful episode of extreme partisanship.

On those Hitler metaphors: Can we please agree to a voluntary cross-party ban on invoking the Fuhrer in the context of American politics? Only dictators who commit genocide against millions qualify for this odious comparison. It trivializes Hitler’s crimes to use Nazi references as everyday epithets.

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But there is something especially rancid about the never-ending efforts to turn Obama into a stranger, an alien, a Manchurian Candidate with a diabolical hidden agenda. Are we trying to undo all the good it did us with the rest of the world when we elected an African-American with a middle name popular among Muslims?

In my experience, even Americans who voted against Obama were proud that our nation showed friend and foe alike that we are a special place. We know it’s wrong to judge people by their race or lineage, and we so value religious freedom and openness that we elected a Christian convert who is the son of a Muslim father and an agnostic mother to lead us at one of our most difficult moments. 

Yet many in the anti-Obama camp just can’t stop themselves from playing on fears that electing a man who defies old stereotypes was a terrible mistake. Thus did the Rev. Franklin Graham assert Tuesday on MSNBC not only that Muslims regard Obama as “a son of Islam” (because his father was Muslim), but also that “under President Obama, the Muslims of the world, he seems to be more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries.” Thus is a legitimate concern about the persecution of Christians transformed into a slander.

In the meantime, Republican presidential candidates want to take a disagreement over whether and how contraception should be covered in plans issued under the new heath care law and turn it into a war against religion itself. “Unfortunately, possibly because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda—they have fought against religion,” declared Mitt Romney.

It’s another breathtaking slander to label Obama’s choice as an attack on religion altogether—and I say this as someone who strongly opposed the president’s initial decision not to offer any accommodation to religiously affiliated institutions on contraception. And how strange it is that Obama’s critics imply that he’s a Muslim and also condemn him as a secularist. He must be terribly clever—maybe it’s that fancy education of his—to be both.

As for Obama as a socialist, ponder two numbers: 13,005, which the Dow Jones average hit earlier this week, up from a low point of 6,547 in March 2009. Some socialist.

We are blessed with the freedom to say whatever we want about our president. But those who cast Obama as something other than one of us don’t understand him, and don’t understand what it means to be American.


E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2012, Washington Post Writers Group


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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, February 24, 2012 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

I certainly wouldn’t vote for any of the commentors who’ve posted
before me.  Big mouth, small brain.  Outraged

In this specific instance, your closing comment is a fitting self-description.  Your avatar is an appropriate representation of your mental ability.

Report this
Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, February 24, 2012 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

Quote:“Attacks designed to gin up the conservative base are quickly recycled to gin up outrage within Obama’s own base.”

Thank you Mr. Dionne!

Fools is what they are, outright fools.  What really bothers me is why these types, since they’re (according to them anyway) so overly intelligent and pure didn’t run for president themselves?  It’s painfully obvious they couldn’t garner 10 votes!

I certainly wouldn’t vote for any of the commentors who’ve posted before me. Big mouth, small brain.

Report this

By Alexandros, February 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I thought this website was all about truth. Why is this article even published here? It is an embarrassment. No facts are presented, it’s all about fantasized attacks against public opinion. This definitely doesn’t deserve my 3 minutes reading. Everyone knows the so called “president’s” true nationality, alien reptile. Kindly check for “Obama’s” (whatever the pseudonym implies) scars below the hair, the morphing ears (including the changing size), and the most obvious impossible to deny, reptilian eyes.

Thank you in advance to moderators, please do not delete my message simply for not stating my real name.

Cheers,

Alexandros

Report this
oddsox's avatar

By oddsox, February 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Like Dionne, I’m frustrated over the latest distraction:  whether Obama (or now Romney?) is really a Christian.

Jobs & the Economy will be the #1 issue to decide the winner in November. 
Diversion from the issue is such a bad tactic by the Repubs, but one rightfully embraced with glee by Obama supporter-pundits like Dionne.

Last night’s Repub debate was a great example. 
So very little said about the economy you’d think the Repubs were out of material on the issue, “now that the economy is improving.”

Dow’s back to 13k so our economy’s “hunky-dory” again, is it, Dionne?

Ask yourself: 
—has your laid-off brother-in-law been called back to work yet?
—has your neighbor found a job yet, the one who’s been looking for over a year now?
—that recent college grad you know: did she/he recently find work in their field?

Does unemployment FEEL like 8.3% and heading lower?

—-

“Obama’s adversaries are reheating all the old tropes and cliches and slanders.”
—EJD

..yep, but don’t worry, there will be NEW tropes, cliches and slanders in time for the election.

At the same time, understand that Obama’s PAC machine will respond in kind—gearing up now to hurl personal attacks at whomever the Repubs end up nominating. 
You can get a good sampling by reading comments here on TruthDig.

It’s gonna be a very muddy campaign.

The upside: 
as Dionne points out, it’s all happened many times before.
And somehow we survive.

Report this
oddsox's avatar

By oddsox, February 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Like Dionne, I’m frustrated over the latest distraction:  whether Obama (or now Romney?) is really a Christian.

Jobs & the Economy will be the #1 issue to decide the winner in November. 
Diversion from the issue is such a bad tactic by the Repubs, but one rightfully embraced with glee by Obama supporter-pundits like Dionne.

Last night’s Repub debate was a great example. 
So very little said about the economy you’d think the Repubs were out of material on the issue, “now that the economy is improving.”

Dow’s back to 13k so our economy’s “hunky-dory” again, is it, Dionne?

Ask yourself: 
—has your laid-off brother-in-law been called back to work yet?
—has your neighbor found a job yet, the one who’s been looking for over a year now?
—that recent college grad you know: did she/he recently find work in their field?

Does unemployment FEEL like 8.3% and heading lower?

—-

“Obama’s adversaries are reheating all the old tropes and cliches and slanders.”
—EJD

..yep, but don’t worry, there will be NEW tropes, cliches and slanders in time for the election.

At the same time, understand that Obama’s PAC machine will respond in kind—gearing up now to hurl personal attacks at whomever the Repubs end up nominating. 
You can get a good sampling by reading comments here on TruthDig.

It’s gonna be a very muddy campaign.

The upside: 
as Dionne points out, it’s all happened many times before.
And somehow we survive.

Report this
drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, February 23, 2012 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

“But those who cast Obama as something other than one of us don’t understand
him, and don’t understand what it means to be American.”  Dionne article

Inaccurate, even for E.J.Dionne´s “us” types, who try to makeover Obama into a
patriotic American that Obama is not.  Who is aware of a law that conveys
American citizenship to Kenyans who are long-time operatives for the CIA?  For
Americans who are aware of Obama´s heritage, and the Report of the Reese
Committee of the U.S. Congress, 1954, the opposite of Dionne´s summary statement
is accurate.  The falsified, recent caucus totals across the U.S. causes one to
question if the totals publicized for the 2008 election were also decided by two
digits punched into the master voting machine that allegedly totalled the U.S.
presidential vote.

As far as the idea that Mr. Obama´s sire was a Muslim, many historian types are
still searching for information that unquestionably establishes Mr. Barack H.
Obama´s paternity.  Recently generated birth certificates are worthless, as are
supportive articles generated by authors paid with CIA black budget dollars.

Since Dionne did not attack Dr. Ron Paul, one assumes that he is not a functionary
of the current MOSSAD defamation campaign against Dr. Paul and his supporters. 
However, Dionne´s spins of information consistently set highs for propagandists.

Report this
vector56's avatar

By vector56, February 23, 2012 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

” But those who cast Obama as something other than one of us don’t understand him, and don’t understand what it means to be American.”

I guess that depends on your definition of “US”.

Report this
morongobill's avatar

By morongobill, February 23, 2012 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Wow, his closing argument is 13,000 dow!

How much of that money has trickled down to the members of this forum?

My guess- not much.

Report this
vector56's avatar

By vector56, February 23, 2012 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

Thanks BBFmail:


Larry Pinkney comments remind me of something I wrote on the Daily Kos back when Obama went to the dedication of the MLK statue: 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/18/1027575/-Obama-The-Great-Black-Hope-?via=blog_744899

“This is a man who, in Chicago, pretended to support the human rights of the Palestinian people but who is now known to be a huge supporter of the apartheid Zionists and their powerful and insidious political lobby in America.”

This was back when Obama “duped” Rev. Jeremiah Wright into thinking he (Obama) gave a rat’s rear end about the Palestinian people. Rev. Wright to this day still supports the Palestinians, just as Bill Ayers still works to improve the quality of education in poor Black neighborhoods. Both these men (in my opinion) are true heroes, yet in the eyes of the Corporate media they are the reverse.

“This man, Barack Obama, is but a more articulate, younger, and shinier version of the current and infamous US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, adorning himself dangerously and abundantly in superficiality and double-speak. “

I can’t say I disagree with the above statement. There was an old joke among the Black militant crowd that the first Black President would end up being a “House-Negro” on steroids! The way the Republican Congress and Bibi Netanyahu slap him around in public makes me wonder if these guys were smarter then they looked.

Awhile back Mike Huckabee threw out the idea that Obama could never see colonialism through “Western” eyes (White) due to the Mau Mau Rebellion (Kenya):

http://www.salon.com/2011/03/03/huckabee_kenya_mau_mau/

Huckabee’s framing of Obama as “the other” worked so well that Obama went out of his way to show the “old” Colonial powers (France England) he was “one of the boys” by providing 90% of the fire power needed to regain their old colony (Libya). 

To show the people who did not vote for him he is not “the other”, Obama declares that Reagan is one of the people he admires most; he has said many times that most of the ideas he places on the table are old (repackaged) Republican ideas.

Cap and Trade
ObamaCare = RomneyCare
Off Shore drilling

and a “Pay Roll Tax Holiday” something dreamed up by the Heritage Foundation a while back as a back door way of defunding Social Security.

Obama may be perceived as the “other” to the right even as he carries out their agenda; but to many on the left (I count myself among them) he is a “Trojan Horse!”

Report this

By BBFmail, February 23, 2012 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Larry Pinkney of BlackCommentator.com best described Obama so many years ago.  Mr.Pinkney was/is one of the few Black writers who was/is not infected with a “slobbering love affair” with Obama:

This is a man who has enjoyed the fruits of America at the blood and expense of Black Americans and others, but who has paid virtually no dues.

This is a man whose father had also enjoyed the fruits of university schooling in America but subsequently returned to his native Kenya.

This is a man, who also like his father before him, neither served in a branch of the US military nor in any organization in America opposed to US military adventurism.

This is a man who as a deeply corporate military industrial complex US Presidential candidate, has called for “unilateral” US military actions in other nations. [And why not? After-all, his father, himself, or his wife and children were not and will not be the ones killing and being killed.]


This is a man who, in Chicago, pretended to support the human rights of the Palestinian people but who is now known to be a huge supporter of the apartheid Zionists and their powerful and insidious political lobby in America.

This is a man who dares opportunistically to feign admiration for the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but does not share the collective memory, pain and deep concerns of Black America, other people of color, or even of numerous white Americans for that matter - in the ongoing struggle for equality and justice in this nation.

This is a man who has de facto contempt for the past supreme sacrifices made by thousands of activists from so-called “militant” organizations such the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), the Student National Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panther Party (BPP), Students For A Democratic Society (SDS), the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), etc.

This is a man who is silent about the need for reparations for Black American descendants of slaves and the genocide of the indigenous so-called “Indian” peoples on this continent. He is the consummate opportunist who, in reality, cares nothing about the horrors inflicted upon Black, Brown, and Red peoples in this nation, and has repeatedly signaled that he plans to inflict even more “unilateral” military horrors upon various nations and peoples of the world.

This man, Barack Obama, is but a more articulate, younger, and shinier version of the current and infamous US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, adorning himself dangerously and abundantly in superficiality and double-speak.

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