Next Up: Obama Derangement Syndrome

As I was writing yesterday about Bush Derangement Syndrome, Pajamas Media was preparing to post an article by Neo-neocon entitled “Avoiding the Clutches of Obama Derangement Syndrome.” Sage advice, as usual:

Yes, there are reasons to fear that Obama has a far left agenda, based on his history, some of his own statements, and his associations. There are even reasons to believe that whether he does or doesn’t have such an agenda himself, he will lack the inclination (or perhaps the backbone) to stop the far left agenda of those with the power to pass bills — in other words, the hugely Democratic Congress and its leaders Reid and Pelosi.

But I suggest that everyone stand back, take a deep breath, and wait. Wait, and observe. It will become clear enough as Obama chooses a Cabinet and advisers. And then it will become even more clear as he takes office and begins the work of government. More clarity will come as he handles the inevitable crises and tests that will occur on his watch.

Her column makes me feel like the cybergods are smiling at me. [Self-absorbed? Moi?] I briefly considered calling my blog “Neo-neo-neocon,” but I thought it might sound derivative. Now we’ve written about similar topics at the same time. As an added bonus, she links to the Wikipedia definition of BDS, where I find that the term originally was coined by… Charles Krauthammer, whom I quote often enough that he has his own tag on my blog.

Neo describes how the deployment of derangement can backfire:

Once again, I want to emphasize that we are not talking about mere policy disagreements here. We’re talking about demonizing and trashing a person, ascribing to him the worst motivations possible and imagining conspiracy theories everywhere.

I think this happened to a certain segment of the right with Bill Clinton. It was never anywhere near as widespread as BDS later was, but CDS existed and was a slow poison that may have contributed to the later development of BDS on the other side.

Criticism, even harsh criticism, has a valid role in a political system that draws strength from the clash of ideas. I try to avoid the temptation to lapse into name-calling, although sometimes I succumb when it comes to targets on the political margins, such as Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and Obama’s unholy trinity of Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko.

But the Presidency is different. Like it or not, an American President is a symbol of our country, and demonizing him diminishes all of us. I’m all in favor of expressing criticism in strong terms, but I have nothing but scorn for the kind of mentality that leads someone to say, “Bush [Obama] is not my President.” Actually, he is.

6 thoughts on “Next Up: Obama Derangement Syndrome

  1. Just a note about Rev. Wright: his sermon lines sound less nutty when you hear the 10 minutes that precede the famous lines.

    He really isn’t the basket case that people make him out to be.

    As far as the other stuff (e. g., the “US of KKK A” remark: Rev. Wright was stuck in a time bubble of sorts; there was a time when that sort of line would have been called for.

    Sometimes people refuse to see/acknowledge the progress that has been made.

  2. ollie, thanks for the comment, and thanks for the links from your blog.

    Based on your comment, I went to YouTube and found a video posted by someone who wanted to be supportive of Wright by telling the “whole story.” It doesn’t give “10 minutes” preceding the God Damn America snippet, but it gives 6:30 or so. It’s right here.

    After watching it, I have to say my opinion of Rev. Wright has not improved. I have high hopes that the Obama presidency will cripple the racial grievance industry that Wright represents.

  3. Bravo, Kirk. Bravo.

    My candidates rarely win, and that’s okay. What’s a bit unnerving is that so many take the negative stuff that plagues all campaigns and clings to that as reasons to turn their backs on their government if their party is not victorious. Frankly, now’s the time to pay attention, for we have ourselves to blame if we don’t like what’s happening and we do nothing.

    No matter who occupies the Oval Office, he (and someday she) has our backs. Criticism is fine. Turning your back to it for the next four or eight years is unacceptable.

  4. Negative campaigning WORKS, so campaigns HAVE to do it. It’s unfortunate, but true. McCain has been criticized from the right for not being aggressive enough.

    It’s pretty easy for me to shift gears to be more supportive because on social issues, I’m a lot closer to Obama to McCain. I just hope he’ll have some steel in his spine when he needs it.

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