Why Does the Right Hate Obama So Much?: Part 3

I'm still waiting for someone to give a satisfactory explanation for why the Right seems to hate Obama so much. So far, the answers seem to be: A) He's black or in some other way different and that's scary, B) He's not an ultra-nationalist who preaches that America is and has always been perfect, or C) He's a harbinger of a demographic shift that will leave the Republican Party in permanent minority status, and they are pooping their pants with fear and obstructing everything he tries to do in order to stave off the inevitable. Without anyone making a particularly persuasive argument for any of these, I tend to think it's C. Mostly, this is because I'm a sucker and I like to think the best of people. C allows me to think that Republicans are not racists, nor are they so blinded by ideology that they are willfully ignorant of our country's history. Instead, they are smart people who can accurately read the political tea leaves. Maybe I'm wrong to give them the benefit of the doubt in this way.  But seriously, you should read the explanations some people have tried to give me (here and here). One would think, in almost four years in office, Obama would have done some far more substantive things to pick on, but the arguments are just pathetic.

Here's a great example I came across today. I'm a liberal and an Obama supporter, and I'm also a gun owner (as I've explained here). Even though I'm not a member of the NRA, nor do I support half of what they do, I somehow got on their email list. The NRA has been going all-out against Obama. The level of vitriol is nuts. But, just as I've requested it here, I've been examining their posts to try to figure out why they hate him so much. They seem to have three big pieces of evidence against him. One is an offhand comment he made during the his election campaign about clinging to God and guns. It was a stupid way of putting it, but it's actually not an anti-gun or anti-God comment. He was talking about people who vote against their economic self interest, trying to explain why they would do that, and said that they have lost hope of any true political change and thus hold on to what is important to them. Saying that guns are important to people shouldn't be interpreted as anti-gun rights, but that's how it was spun and that's what the NRA heard.

Second, they're freaked out about the U.N. International Small Arms Treaty. I don't buy this critique, either. Is it a bureaucratic boondoggle? Probably. Will it be as toothless as most international agreements? Probably. Will it effectively keep guns out of the hands of warlords? Probably not. But is it part of some global plot to limit the rights of American gun owners, some nefarious first step in a worldwide gun registration and confiscation scheme? Absolutely not. At its best it will keep a few guns out of the hands of warlords who kill children and terrorists who shoot at our soldiers, but it probably won't do anything at all. If this is the case against Obama, it says more about NRA paranoia than it does about him.

Then there's the third piece of evidence, the mess that was Operation Fast and Furious. And guess who just reported to all its members that the blame for the mess lies with some ATF agents and the Pheonix District Attorney's Office? The NRA! Check it out if you don't believe me: "Draft Report Blames Many for Fast and Furious" Guess who the draft report does NOT blame: President Obama. Now, someone who really wants to believe that Obama is responsible could say this is part of a massive conspiracy to cover up his close, personal involvement with a local ATF operation, but I am not willing to live in that ideologically-driven fantasy land. To me, the NRA has just made a persuasive argument that one reason they hate Obama has no merit.

Here's Obama's track record on guns (well summarized by Steve Chapman for reason.com):

"[H]e has proposed nothing in the way of new federal restrictions on firearms. Even the "assault weapons" ban signed by President Clinton—and allowed to expire in 2004—has no visible place on his agenda.

"Not only that, he's approved changes that should gladden the hearts of gun-rights supporters, a group that includes me. He signed a law permitting guns to be taken into national parks. He signed another allowing guns as checked baggage on Amtrak. He acted to preserve an existing law limiting the use of government information on firearms it has traced."

As Chapman also points out, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence flunked President Obama on all seven of the items on its priority list.

Oh yeah, and Obama made his position on gun rights crystal clear. He said, "I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won't take your handgun away. … There are some common-sense gun safety laws that I believe in. But I am not going to take your guns away."

I think the NRA's antipathy towards the President is symbolic of the Right's feelings as well. They hate Obama. They can even give you reasons why they hate him. They just can't come up with any good ones. That leaves everyone else in America wondering where that deep well of hatred comes from, and it opens the Right up to some pretty damning speculation.