GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

February 6, 2013

Letter: GOP obsession with Obama not grounded in reality

To the editor:

As someone who was never a big fan of G.W. Bush, and as someone who occasionally thought some of my fellow liberals had gone ‘round the bend with what many conservatives called “Bush Derangement Syndrome”, I have to say that liberals’ syndrome was nothing compared to the “Obama Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” that now afflicts the Republican party.

Most Republicans, especially those on the extreme right, are loathe to give the president credit for anything. That was not true of all liberals during the Bush years.

Many of us gave Bush enormous credit for his successful drive to make AIDS medications available to millions of desperately poor HIV positive people in sub-Saharan Africa. G.W. Bush, in collaboration with Ted Kennedy and John McCain, attempted to get comprehensive immigration reform passed in 2004 or 2005. It was an honorable and admirable effort that had the rug pulled out from under it by extreme, right wing, xenophobic elements within the GOP. And in the wake of 9/11, G.W. Bush, given what was known about the Taliban government’s aiding and abetting of al-Qaida, did what any president, regardless of party affiliation, would likely have done in relation to Afghanistan.

Many on the right love to compare President Obama to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and claim the two men are close allies. Truth be told, the Obama administration’s Latin American policy is, for all intents and purposes, an encore of the Bush administration’s. And with the issue of gun safety front and center, gun nuts like Wayne LaPierre of the NRA are singing about wild conspiracy theories claiming the Obama administration is plotting to use the Newtown massacre as a rationale for disarming the citizenry. Hard evidence says otherwise.

A half century ago, the political theorist and philosopher Richard Hofstadter wrote at length about the “paranoid streak” that has long permeated the American right. That streak today is as wide, angry, and potentially dangerous as it has ever been. One can only wonder what Hofstadter would have to say about it were he alive.

Americans who love the United States, and our never-ending quest to become a “...more perfect union” cannot be complacent in the face of this reality. Complacency, after all, is, at least indirectly, little more than collusion.

MICHAEL COOK

Gloucester and Vieques, Puerto Rico

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