Destroying Democratic Presidents (Salon)
Alex Pareene captured the craziness of conservatives and business leaders who demonize President Obama, the man most progressives, whether they like it or not, recognize as the conciliator in chief. Home Depot chairman Ken Langone is just the latest to become unhinged on the topic of Obama, blasting him on CNBC recently:
"He is not acting presidential. He is behaving in a way designed in my opinion to divide us, to make us look at each other with skepticism, with suspicion. That is the end of America as we know it," Langone fulminated. "The destruction he is inflicting by his behavior will carry on long after we settle the debt limit."
I don't know who Langone is describing, but it's not Obama. Sure, he's taken a jab or two at fat cats, and quickly retreated. Mostly he's reached out to Republicans time and again, only to be rebuffed and humiliated, from the earliest days of his term. On "Hardball" today we discussed the extreme reaction this conciliating president has triggered in the GOP, from the earliest moments of his presidency.
Obama does want to be conciliator-in-chief, but the way he passed Obamacare in the face of majority opposition from the American people shows why he can't be. The force of Obama's rhetoric, like a Jedi mind trick, has great power over the weak-minded, but and also, of course, he seems conciliatory to those who already agree with him. But he lacks real respect either for ordinary people or for his conservative opponents, and he will not compromise when it is for the good of the country, but only when he is forced to. He is habitually condescending, which is the more galling since most of those he condescends to are smarter and more sensible than he is, and he can get nasty when rebuffed.