Unlike some liberals, I don't chalk up all or even most conservative critiques of President Obama to racism. The man is after all a Democrat, and that's certainly sufficient to draw the ire of the right wing. But as both a Democrat and the nation's first black president, Obama has been subjected to a ludicrous conservative onslaught whose aim to portray him as something alien to what Americans are used to. For them, he's "the Other."
That's exactly what's behind Rudy Giuliani's comments at a private dinner featuring Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.) in Manhattan. According to Politico, the former New York mayor told attendees:
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America." He added, “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
(I can't speak for Obama, but for the record, I certainly don't "love" Giuliani or Scott Walker. If those guys want love, that's what their spouses, their children, and the Koch brothers are for.)
Giuliani made these comments at the 21 Club in Manhattan, which is only fitting since nothing says, "No, we're the ones who love and are in touch with America" like holding an exclusive dinner at a place where a bottle of Budweiser costs $8.50.
According to the Politico report, it appears Giuliani took particular issue with Obama's refusal to implicate Islam in any way when referring to ISIS -- something for which I've also taken the president to task. But I'd never say Obama doesn't "love America" because frankly, it's the political equivalent of calling someone a "doodoo head." It doesn't mean anything and is designed to elicit nods of approval from children -- both the young and the Republican kind.
Of course, Other-izing Obama is a favorite tactic of the right. As a part-time masochist, I reviewed Dinesh D'Souza's "documentary," America: Imagine a World Without Her. The film depicts Obama as part of an America-hating liberal cabal whose puppet-master Saul Alinsky is essentially reaching from beyond the grave to pull Obama's strings in such a way as to ruin the United States. And if you think I'm exaggerating, just read the review.
And back in 2010, Newt Gingrich credited D'Souza with making some "stunning insights" into Obama's mind before proceeding to retch one of the most bizarre "observations" ever made about the president:
"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?" Gingrich asks. "That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."
Three things here: One, notice how Gingrich completely dehumanizes Obama, talking about a "predictive model" for his behavior, as if he's a pigeon being studied by ornithologists, or a mathematician. Two, Obama is first and foremost an American. Three, anti-colonial behavior? Yes, Newt. Those damn Kenyans and their anti-colonial behavior against the British. Who do they think they are? George Washington?!?
This kind of rhetoric is going to continue throughout Obama's presidency and even after it thanks to race-baiters like Gingrich, D'Souza, and Giuliani.