3/22/2010

HOPING FOR THE BEAST?

I just read a blogger who concluded that Mr. Obama is now a one-term president. They are perhaps convinced by the argument that (nearly) half of Americans were opposed to the passage of the health care bill, and by his approval ratings:


On a more anecdotal level, the open protestations of hatred for the President have noticeably increased in my neck of the woods. An otherwise charming female student in one of my morning classes remarked in an off-hand way that she can't believe the President hasn't been assassinated yet, and that her mother is, frankly, hoping that day will come sooner than later. Then she laughed, or more accurately, giggled.

Out of the mouths of babes. I have felt dirty all day, knowing that some young person would cheerfully repeat such views.

But this is Fresno, where the local evangelicals decide the mayor's race, Planned Parenthood routinely received bomb threats that are not investigated, the County Superintendent of Schools quietly collaborates with efforts to put creationist literature into elementary classrooms and the biggest media outlets openly cater to conservative politicians. So it's not completely unexpected, I suppose, to hear venom recited with gleeful cluelessness.

But the more extreme Tea Party-goers (like the readership of the increasingly creepy Free Republic) have seemingly forgotten the conventional script where charismatic politicians are concerned. In their world, since he's unpopular, he's got it coming. And recrudescent embarassments like Tom DeLay aren't helping. I watched him wave a dog-earned pamphlet edition of the Founding Fathers at the TV screen last night while ripping the Democrats. Shorter DeLay: The Constitution does not permit government interference in the delivery of health care.

That's rich. Apparently all that FDA and Medicare stuff is a scandal, as well. This is a guy who has openly pandered to various groups that would love to repeal sections of the Constitution, notably the Establishment Clause, so that they could get their prayer-in-school, privileged Christianity, creationist viewpoints into the curriculum. I'd be more amused, except his breathless outrage is clearly intended to play to the fringe who already think the black helicopters and the New Apollyon is on the way. Yes, it's a dynamite pun.

But of course one doesn't need an Apocalypse to explain Mr. Obama's dip in the polls. As anyone who follows politics knows, Presidential approval ratings typically dip en route to the mid-term elections. Ronald Reagan is often remembered as a popular President, especially by his latter-day acolytes, but the truth is (as this article shows) his average approval rating was in the middle of the pack. Interestingly enough for my would-be assassin, Reagan's highest approval ratings occurred after a nutbag put a bullet in him. The conservatives calling for Mr. Obama's head are no doubt hoping to avoid martyrdom. Well, at least the ones who aren't fervently hoping for greater marksmanship, with their eyes on Jerusalem, and their hopes in the fervid imagination of Tim LaHaye.

Like I said, I feel dirty.

***UPDATE***

The day after I wrote this, the results of a new Harris poll were announced. If anything, I may be understating the role of eschatological thinking in today's politics.

1 comment:

Richard said...

I keep trying to think of a meaningful comment. I can't come up with anything other than I feel dirty too.