As a parent with two young daughters, I spend a lot of time watching the Disney Channel. My favorite Disney Channel offering is Phineas and Ferb, an animated show about two boys who spend spend their summer days creating massive engineering feats in their backyard. Phineas and Ferb have a pet platypus named Perry who doubles as a secret agent with the special assignment of stopping Dr. Doofenshmirtz (pictured), an evil scientist with a German accent who comes up with wonderfully hilarious experiments to enforce the tyrannical reign of “Doofensmirtz Evil Incorporated” over the “entire tri-state area.” Doofenshmirtz just might be the funniest character in the history of animated children’s television.
Believe it or not, I often think about Doofenshmirtz when I listen to critics of Barack Obama describing the presdient as some sort of evil scientist intent upon bringing his sinister plans to bear on an unsuspecting American people.
Michael Medved, the conservative radio talk-show host, seems to be thinking along the same lines. He has an op-ed column in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal in which he calls out his fellow conservatives–Sarah Palin, Dinesh D’Souza, and Rush Limbaugh among others–for unfairly bashing Barack Obama. Medved begins by arguing that all United States presidents, despite their shortcomings and failures, took the office seriously:
In short, the White House record of more than 200 years shows plenty of bad decisions but no bad men. For all their foibles, every president attempted to rise to the challenges of leadership and never displayed disloyal or treasonous intent.
He then chides his fellow conservatives:
This history makes some of the current charges about Barack Obama especially distasteful—and destructive to the conservative cause…
These attitudes thrive well beyond the blogosphere and the right-wing fringe. On Jan. 7, Sarah Palin spoke briefly on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, saying, “What I believe that Obama is doing right now—he is hell-bent on weakening America.” While acknowledging that “it’s gonna get some people all wee-weed up again,” she repeated and amplified her charge that “what Obama is doing” is “purposefully weakening America—because he understood that debt weakened America, domestically and internationally, and yet now he supports increasing debt.”
The assumption that the president intends to harm or destroy the nation that elected him has become so widespread that the chief advertising pitch for Dinesh D’Souza’s best-selling book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” promises to “reveal Obama for who he really is: a man driven by the anti-colonial ideology of his father and the first American president to actually seek to reduce America’s strength, influence and standard of living.”
None of the attacks on Mr. Obama’s intentions offers an even vaguely plausible explanation of how the evil genius, once he has ruined our “strength, influence and standard of living,” hopes to get himself re-elected. In a sense, the president’s most paranoid critics pay him a perverse compliment in maintaining that his idealism burns with such pure, all-consuming heat that he remains blissfully unconcerned with minor matters like his electoral future. They label Mr. Obama as the political equivalent of a suicide bomber: so overcome with hatred (or “rage”) that he’s perfectly willing to blow himself up in order to inflict casualties on a society he loathes.
On his radio show last July 2, the most influential conservative commentator of them all reaffirmed his frequent charge that the president seeks economic suffering “on purpose.” Rush Limbaugh explained: “I think we face something we’ve never faced before in the country—and that is, we’re now governed by people who do not like the country.” In his view, this hostility to the United States relates to a grudge connected to Mr. Obama’s black identity. “There’s no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily.”
Regardless of the questionable pop psychology of this analysis, as a political strategy it qualifies as almost perfectly imbecilic. Republicans already face a formidable challenge in convincing a closely divided electorate that the president pursues wrong-headed policies. They will never succeed in arguing that those initiatives have been cunningly and purposefully designed to wound the republic. In Mr. Obama’s case, it’s particularly unhelpful to focus on alleged bad intentions and rotten character when every survey shows more favorable views of his personality than his policies.
Moreover, the current insistence in seeing every misstep or setback by the Obama administration as part of a diabolical master plan for national destruction disregards the powerful reverence for the White House that’s been part of our national character for two centuries.
Read the entire article here.