After this long campaign season I have developed a theory that explains the hostile political environment. I can sum it up with the new acronym of the century, R.A.L.O., Republicans Actually Love Obama. Now, I know it sounds like a stretch, but hear me out.
After Obama’s first term, the Republican party has taken the electoral wave of Democrats as a godsend. The end of the Bush administration was the low point for conservatives. They had followed the bible of Reaganomics in full after having a surplus in 2000: massive tax cuts for everyone, huge increase in defense spending including 2 unfunded wars, and unfunded increases to entitlement programs and domestic spending. It was the perfect recipe to a trickle-down economic boom. But it produced mediocre results for 8 years, and ended in a massive financial crisis with the largest accumulated debt in our history. The voters swept Republicans out of office like they were toxic to the touch.
So with the destruction of the Republican brand, a new strategy needed to be crafted by Republican leadership to win back their credibility in the public eye. That strategy is summed up perfectly by Senator Mitch McConnell. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-A09a_gHJc. “We need to make Obama a one term president”. For the next two years the Republicans opposed everything the democrats tried to compromise with them on, which included equating every bill to hyperbolic government takeover and destruction of free enterprise. The Republicans used the filibuster rule in the senate more times than any other congress before it combined to block any legislation unless it had universal support from all 60 democratic supporting senators. By making things like the health care bill take a year of debate and voting, they drummed up opposition to such bills by fear mongering, claiming things existed in the bill like death panels or government rationed healthcare. Senator Jim Demint revealed the strategy as a way to break Obama http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHV4nDS501Y. Repeat this ideological gridlocked process for every other democratic proposed bill for Obama’s entire first term. By ceasing government cooperation, they successfully brought a Republican wave against incumbents in 2010.
Republicans have deliberately started using the national debt as an issue, despite the fact that they ran reckless deficits during the Bush administration, to block jobs bills or additional tax breaks for middle class families so the economy does not improve. They have been trying to change history to make it look like our unemployment crisis is the fault of Obama, despite the depth of the crisis, a crisis his policies had no part in. How better to reinvigorate conservative economic policy than by spinning the story to make it look like it’s the Democrats who failed, while at the same time painting yourselves as fiscal heroes for preventing more aid.
Along with the numerous hyperbole critiques of Obama’s ideas, there was another tactic employed by the more fringe of the right-wing. It took the form of a sort of dog whistle racism, first starting just before the election with the accusation that Obama wasn’t actually an american citizen. They have been claiming he was born in Kenya and takes his ideas from his Kenyan father whom he barely knew, conveniently going alongside the chorus claiming Obama’s ideas are foreign (Obama 2016). Donald Trump, once considered the front-runner in the Republican party primaries, still has been demanding that the “real” certificate be released, despite the actual document being already released and vetted. Still 23% of Republicans were polled to have doubts about his citizenship http://www.gallup.com/poll/147530/obama-birth-certificate-convinces-not-skeptics.aspx.
Newt Gingrich said president Obama is a part-time president who doesn’t do anything a real president would do. He also went on to say “Well, but you have to wonder what he’s doing. I mean, I’m assuming there’s some rhythm to Barack Obama that the rest of us don’t understand, whether he needs large amounts of rest, whether he needs to go play basketball for a while. I don’t, you know, watch ESPN. I mean, I don’t quite know what his rhythms are.” http://nation.foxnews.com/newt-gingrich/2012/09/26/gingrich-obamas-part-timer-not-real-president. Former Governor and Romney spokesman John Sununu said “Obama is absolutely lazy and attached from his job.”, and believes the Colin Powell endorsement last week was based on race. There was also a flurry of welfare ads claiming that Obama was making it easier to get welfare. Republicans often call Obama the food stamp president as if he was expanding the program or somehow responsible for the increase in need. If any of that sounds a tad bit racist, it’s because it is. It’s the Republican base that eats this stuff up though, and they respond to the fake evidence that Obama is trying to compensate the black community for past abuse.
Obama is the perfect scapegoat that the Republicans needed to help restructure the party after Bush. He came into office facing the worst conditions since the great depression, advocating the exact opposite philosophy of mainstream conservatism. A robust bipartisan effort to jump-start the economy would have led to a faster economic recovery, but that wouldn’t have produced more Republican victories. They needed the economy to stagnate or fall back into depression, which is what the conservative policy in Europe has been doing. Obama is going to win this election, that I am sure of. But the true test is to see what the Republicans in the Republican controlled house do. If they succumb to the bipartisan spirit, I will be pleasantly surprised. But the more likely occurrence is more of the epiphany driven behavior by Republicans that suddenly any incurred debt or tax increases on the wealthy will doom us. And all of that political posturing is just a game to try to reassert their failed hard-line policies. When you see Republicans in the house stalling more common sense legislation, or some tea party millionaire calling him a socialist-kenyan-nazi, just think to yourself, “R.A.L.O.”, Republicans Actually Love Obama.