You know, as I wander around this series of tubes, occasionally heckling some poor deluded right-winger (and by "heckling," I mean "pointing out facts to someone with a limited grasp on reality"), I find myself frequently called by some variation on the term "Obamabot."
The reason for this is fairly simple (as are many of the people who use terms like that) - the Far Right tends to view the entire world in black and white terms. Every Muslim is an extremist and a terrorist. All atheists are violently opposed to all religion, everywhere. All gays are sexual deviants, and will cheerfully perform any other sexual deviance, whether it's beastiality, pedophilia, prostitution or incest.
It's the foundation of their entire world-view: America - love it or leave it. (Unless a Democrat is in charge, of course.) You're either with us, or with the terrorists.
The Bush/Cheney White House exploited this simplistic outlook to push their neocon agenda as far as they could. Fox "News" is still eating from the rotting carcass of that mentally (and often morally) bankrupt philosophy.
Black and white. No shades of grey. And so, following this simplistic and twisted "logic," if I don't immediately condemn everything that Barack Obama does or says, I must therefore support every action taken by the president. I must worship at his feet and call him the Messiah. And I must have a shrine in my living room with a bronze statue of Obama gazing off into the socialist future that the Right likes to imagine he sees.
No middle ground. Black and white.
But let's be real: there is fuck-all in this world that isn't actually some shade of grey. In the end, there are very few saints and only marginally more sociopaths: most people are simply self-centered, venal creatures with lusts they barely control and damned few positive traits. The trick is that some of us hide these traits in ourselves better than some others can manage.
So, do I believe that Barack Obama is the Chosen One, who brings the dead to life and craps gold bars? To be honest, not so much. I do, however, compare him to the previous tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and find him to be superior in pretty much every measurement.
Do I agree with everything Obama has done, though? Hell, no.
While I believe that Dick Cheney is dithering about that craniorectal surgery he's been putting off, I don't see Obama's measured approach to a complex situation in Afghanistan to be a problem. I would prefer if American troops were pulled out of what has historically proven to be an amazingly truculent piece of real estate, especially since my son (the Marine) has just deployed to that ugly, nasty, and excessively frigid country.
On the other hand, I can't figure out why we still have troops in Iraq. Every measurable mission that's been given our military in Iraq has been fulfilled. We didn't go into that hellhole for any particularly good reason, and I don't believe we need to stay.
And moving in from the bigger, strategic picture, I don't like all of the tactical decisions that have been made. For example, we have a program using unmanned predator drones targeting potential terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I support the fact that it keeps our troops out of harm's way. But if we had "actual" people (as opposed to "virtual" people) doing that job, they would be referred to as "hit squads." And Obama has approved this program. I do not like the fact that the White House has endorsed a program of assassination by proxy.
Since the GOP has shown that their definition of "bipartisan" is "we get our way on everything," I think that Obama is wasting his time trying to appease the Right. Just ram your agenda through Congress and move on. For example, America needs a real, robust public option, and I'm disappointed that Obama isn't pushing harder for it.
I have problems with some of his choices for advisors and cabinet positions. I think one of the best examples would have to be Islam Siddiqui, a former pesticide lobbyist, as chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The potential bias implicit in that choice makes my balls itch.
There's plenty of other things I disagree with. But that's the difference. I see the president as a talented man in a difficult situation, and I understand the bigger picture: nobody does everything exactly right. I have no problem with that.
Do I think Obama is the Messiah? No. But then again, I also believe that anyone who wants to see the president fail must love their politics more than they love their country. Because if the president fails, so does the United States.
Those on the right see America's first black president, and a Democratic president at that, and actively search for any tiny mistake (or anything that they can twist and suggest might be a mistake), because they can't stand the thought of him succeeding. This became most obvious when, six months into Obama's presidency, the Right was already calling this administration a failure.
They have an instantaneous, knee-jerk response to anything that Barack Obama does: they oppose it, and it doesn't matter whether this hypothetical "something" is what would be best for the country. They're stuck in a feedback loop: if they see anything done or said by Barack Obama, they immediately search for the worst possible interpretation, despite all evidence supplied by reality.
It's a simple, mindless reaction process, performed almost automatically. They receive input labeled "Obama" and they respond to it. They will then continue in that direction, even if they end up running into a wall. And if the path that their minimalist programming lays out for them runs them off a cliff? Then they'll heedlessly march over the edge and keep right on marching until physics abruptly brings to an end what logic couldn't change.
Obviously, what we need is a better definition of "Obamabot."