When everything is a scandal, then nothing is. The conservative entertainment complex, like social media, has become a fertile breeding ground for nitpickery and non-controversies, circulated by unhinged outrage and kneejerk reactions to misleading headlines and 140-character misrepresentations of the facts.
It’s not just politics, but the entire internet seems to be focused on great big nothings — minor gaffes and blips on the cultural radar, amplified into unforgivably egregious atrocities for the duration of our increasingly brief attention spans. Suffice to say, if Twitter and Facebook had been around during the first 220-or-so years of the American republic, some of our greatest leaders and the nation’s most significant accomplishments would’ve been picked to death by trolls and crackpots who feed on trivialities to burnish their horseshit brands and website pageviews.
Few if any other presidents have been so relentlessly attacked for non-controversies like our current chief executive. Perhaps George W. Bush topped Obama on this front, but who knows since social media hardly existed during his presidency and therefore we’ll never know for sure how noisy it would’ve been. That said, the Bush gaffes and controversies were arguably more horrendous than anything from Obama, whose biggest errors tend to be minor optics problems and not the routine butchering of the English language coupled with breathtaking wartime policy scandals. (Find me one Obama gaffe that’s anywhere close to this ridiculous.)
So, by way of an historic review, here are the top 10 Obama non-controversies as circulated by the far-right outrage machine.
10) Latte Salute Gate
As The Daily Banter‘s Tommy Christopher covered today, not only did the president commit the Hague-worthy crime of saluting a Marine while holding a cup of coffee in the same hand, but somehow the sleuths in conservative media were able to ascertain that the beverage in question was absolutely a latte, and thus, not only does this mean the president hates the troops, but he’s also clearly gay because lattes are soooo very gay. Fact: the far-right has no idea the content of the cup, so anyone who reports “latte” is making it up. Also, so much for not criticizing the commander-in-chief during wartime, which I thought was a rule — at least during a Republican presidency.
9) Feet Gate
Nearly every modern president has been photographed with his feet propped up on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. But Obama is the only president who was publicly excoriated for it. Why? Take a guess. See, the president has to drink beer with you, and he has to be plain-spoken just like you, but putting his feet on his desk is way, waaay outside the bounds of decency.
8) No Jacket Required Gate
Same problem here. Why is it that all other presidents can be photographed without suit-jackets inside the Oval Office, but when Obama does it he’s taking a huge shit all over the hallowed executive mansion?
7) Assman Gate
The conservative entertainment complex hates the fact that the president is a loyal family-man — no juicy sex scandals. So, when a still photo emerged of the president appearing to stare at a woman’s ass, it automatically meant that Obama was a philandering adulterer, wantonly perving-out on anyone in a short skirt. Not only did the actual video reveal that he wasn’t checking out the woman’s ass, but wouldn’t checking out a woman’s ass contradict the meme that Obama is an effete dandy? A corollary to these conflicting scandals is the dissonant meme that Obama is both too professorial and an angry Chicago gangsta.
6) Greeting Gate
Forgetting that George W. Bush literally held hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Obama was ripped to shreds in the conservative media for, like Bush, merely adhering to diplomatic protocol. Yes, Obama customarily bowed (barely) to Chinese President Hu Jintao — a rather important international figure who we probably don’t want to piss off. Again, another impeachment-worthy apology for America. Or something like that.
5) Bike Nerd Gate
Stop the presses! The president looks like a nerd when he rides a bicycle with his children! And he wears Dad jeans! Just like Benghazi!
4) Mustard Gate
Oh, the things we learn from Fox News. Evidently if you prefer spicy mustard over yellow mustard, you’re an elitist queen. That’s what Hannity and others tried to tell us when Obama asked for “spicy mustard” on his hamburger. I think Hannity’s head would’ve exploded if the president had asked for organic beef.
3) ‘Terrorist Fist Jab’ Gate
Heaven forbid two African-Americans fist-bump on a stage during a campaign event. A handshake-alternative used for at least a decade by everyone regardless of race or social strata was both frightening and confusing to race-baiting producers at Fox News Channel who aired an analysis of the bump between the Obamas — pandering to out-of-touch oldsters and suggesting that perhaps it was a secret message between Muslim terrorists.
2) Gherkin Gate
During the 2008 election, the president welcomed 60 Minutes cameras into his home for a demonstration of his egg salad recipe. Much to the shocked horror of nutbags like Michelle Malkin, the president’s recipe included those tiny cocktail pickles, known as “gherkins.” This, along with the related Mustard Gate and Arugula Gate non-controversies, clearly indicated that the president was both a closeted homosexual and out of touch with Real America.
1) Tan Suit Gate
This was recent enough to recall quite distinctly. Even sitting members of Congress seemed to suggest that the president’s tan suit — a color choice worn by all modern presidents — was inappropriate and unserious. There is no better example of literally nothing being trumped up into the most impeachment-worthy trespass in the history of the presidency. But that’s exactly what happened, and it was not only a disgraceful chapter in far-right demagoguery, but observers on social media of all political stripes should be ashamed for turning this into a thing.