Why the demonization of Obama?

I’m not talking about ideological criticism of Obama actual policies, like here, from the left or the right, or about at least arguably dodgy (if overly hyped) stuff like his association with Tony Rezko. I’m talking about stuff utterly divorced from reason or reality, like charges that Obama is a racist or a Marxist or a crypto-Muslim, when he’s really a fairly conservative Democrat with Chicago-school economic advisors. I actually read one post on Free Republic to the effect that Obama “must be the Antichrist.” See also this Pit thread. It’s like the RW thinks Obama is the second coming of Lenin or something.

I just don’t get it. High-strung partisan rancor is only to be expected in this environment, but I don’t recall anything like this level of insane hatred or fear directed at Gore in 2000 or Kerry in 2004. Is this just because he’s black and has an Arabic-African name, or is there something deeper going on here?

What else they got? If the Dems get elected in force, all those rocks will be turned over. You think the Pubbie rep is stinky now? And then there’s the old goldys - f’rinstance, by personal favorite, the Reagan papers which they’ve kept from view for loathe, these many years. If they can’t hold off this tidal wave, they are in deep kim chee.

Besides, I don’t see Obama being demonized any more than Kerry. More than Gore, fer sure, but how do you demonize creamed corn?

He’s a “liberal” Democrat; they’re GOP &/or “conservative.” Nothing else is necessary.

I think it’s because he reeks of success. Remember how frenzied, not to mention outright delusional the Right got about Clinton ? Kerry and Gore weren’t anything more than weak candidates; Obama is a strong candidate likely to become strong President. And raving, insane accusations are how the Right reacts to such people, judging by Clinton.

I’m sure that if he gets into office, we’ll be hearing the sort of thing we heard about Clinton; massive murder conspiracies, “America Held Hostage Day 104” and so on. And plenty of hints like “Where’s Lee Harvey Oswald when we need him ?”

Nothing deeper going on. The world’s full of dipshits with Internet connections, and a lot of those people will scream through the gaps in their teeth whenever someone brings up lib’ruls, especially if the lib’ruls are off-white. They’ll cling to every tiny little detail whether it’s true or not and just shake the shit out of it. There’s no use trying to use reason to appeal to them, because these kinds of grudges have little or nothing to do with reason.

You mentioned Gore and Kerry, but you didn’t mention Bill Clinton, and it’s really no different from how the right-wingers treated him. Clinton took as much flack as Obama, just for different reasons. Substitute “pervert” for “Muslim,” and you’ve got the same old game with the same old names.

I’m going to be voting for McCain this year, but not because I have anything against Obama; in fact, I really like him as a person, and it burns me when morons slander him. Then again, quite a few of those morons probably won’t vote for McCain either. They hate him as much as they hate Obama.

How is this any different from the demonisation of Bush (how many here call him stupid?), or McCain, or Kerry, or any other political candidate for high office in America? It’s just standard mud-slinging.

Bush is hated for the things he’s actually done, or is, and those are so egregious that we can at least understand why there is also some divorced-from-reality crap like 9/11 conspiracy theories. But I don’t see what Obama has done, or said, to deserve such.

Well, because in the case of Bush it appears to be true ? With the track record and body count to prove it. As opposed to the kind of kooky accusations thrown at Clinton and Obama.

Man, I’m a conservative, and Bush is a fucking moron! I’m sorry, but it’s true. He’s a spoiled rich kid whose daddy helped clean up all his messes so that he never had to learn to think for himself. When Bush went into politics, he got himself in wayyyy above his head. He should have stuck with the oil business.

I think I see at least as much deification than demonization around here. If you can understand the former, it shouldn’t be hard to understand the latter.

Really? You don’t? I sure do. It’s a common tactic of the right to play to fear and ignorance. One of my earliest political memories was the mock election we had in school in '88. All the kids were running around screaming not to vote for Dukakis because he was going to let all the prisoners in jail go free. Wonder where the got that idea? (Willie Horton ad, blown out of proportion by their parents is my guess with the benefit of hindsight.)

LOTS of people called Bill Clinton a murderer, the anti-christ, etc, etc. I personally knew people who stocked goods because they firmly believed he was going to declare martial law, suspend elections, and appoint himself dictator for life before the 2000 elections.

I don’t see the anti-Obama stuff as any different than the shit the right has been flinging at the left for as long as I can remember.

All that said, this part of your OP:

Really comes off as an appeal for people to come to the conclusion that Obama criticizers are a bunch of xenophobic racists.

Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.

I said as much in another thread, but I think it’s because Obama’s an unknown quantity. He was barely in the Senate before he was running for President, and people (people who aren’t political junkies) don’t know who he is, what he stands for, and what he plans to do. Sure, he’s written books and made speeches. But it may be assumed that a person who writes a book isn’t going to deliberately cast himself in a bad light, nor will he deliberately say things that make him look bad in a speech.

Had he taken the time to become a more visible, nationally prominent Senator before running for President, I think a lot of people who aren’t comfortable with him now would at least feel that they knew enough about him to make a decision without relying on rumors that are being passed around by other people - people they know and trust in other matters.

And it doesn’t help that many of his supporters are quick to hang the racism tag on anyone who doesn’t support him.

He’s too successful, too fast. That’s skeery. Must of made a bargain with Ol’ Scratch, he must.

Not one I’ve ever heard, but believe as you will. :wink:

I hear this all the time, but can you point out where this is happening? I haven’t seen it myself.

Unfortunately, I think it is because he breaks from the norm, and is a, hmm…colored guy.(saying this rather tongue in cheek] As simple as that, and that causes people to react in fear for a big change, and anyone yammering and playing on those fears gets an easy ear.

Why? personallly, I don’t know; I see the world as a place where all people, race, gender, and nationality, should be held as obvious equals. I don’t get fear of “others” at all. But, realistically, the US is only a scant 50 years into racial inclusion, and it has been a rather rocky ride. The patriarchal Daddy mode is still the MO for leadership, and that figurehead is a Mature White Male, in corporate or national politics. There will be many seasons of confusion, fear-mongering, and resistance to change before that model loosens to more inclusion.

I have high hopes for it, though. Honestly, with a pretty good eye and mind to racial equality, I didn’t think Senator Obama would be a viable candidate until 2012.

Well, an awful lot of the Republican critics are. That’s what happens when you spend decades appealing to the xenophobic racists for votes.

I remember listening to Limbaugh and some of his other fellow talk radio blowhards early in Bush’s first term, before Iraq and before any Democrats were jockeying for the 2004 bid. Tom Daschle was the Senate Majority Leader at the time, and the blowhards spent what seemed like most of their shows demonizing him. There were songs and skits about how awful he was. Someone who didn’t know any better would have thought Daschle was the anti-Christ.

To me this was like writing long, impassioned rants about how much you hate Wonder Bread. There just wasn’t anything about Daschle that could possibly inspire hatred or demonization, just like there was nothing that could inspire real passion. But talk radio and modern conservative punditry had been built on Clinton-bashing, and with Clinton out of office they had to fill his spot with the most powerful Democrat around, even if it was a milquetoast like Daschle. It was just hard to fill three hours a day otherwise.

Even though the conservative punditry has expanded out from talk radio and into Fox News, blogs, and just about everywhere else, demonization is still the biggest tool in its shed. I’d be surprised if they did it any other way.

An example from this board, where the OP states that it isn’t necessarily the reason but what else could it be? (Tried to link the "How other than racism can Hillary supporters justify voting for McCain? thread, couldn’t get it to work.)