President Other

Obama as alien

They say that President Obama is a Muslim, but if he isn't, he's a secularist who is waging war on religion. On some days he's a Nazi, but on most others he's merely a socialist. His especially creative opponents see him as having a "Kenyan anti-colonial worldview," while the less adventurous say he's an elitist who spent too much time in Cambridge, Hyde Park and other excessively academic precincts.

Whatever our president is, he is never allowed to be a garden-variety American who plays basketball and golf, has a remarkably old-fashioned family life, and, in the manner we regularly recommend to our kids, got ahead by getting a good education.

Please forgive this outburst. It's simply astonishing that a man in his fourth year as our president continues to be the object of the most extraordinary paranoid fantasies. A significant part of his political opposition still cannot accept that Obama is a rather moderate politician quite conventional in his tastes and his interests. And now that the economy is improving, short-circuiting easy criticisms, Obama's adversaries are reheating all the old tropes and cliches and slanders.

True, some of this is driven by cable television (a venue in which I acknowledge regularly participating). Attacks designed to gin up the conservative base are quickly recycled to gin up outrage within Obama's own base. Moreover, Obama is not the first president caught up in the rank unpleasantness of this particularly unforgiving political moment. A quick Google search will unearth references to George W. Bush as a "Nazi," and Bill Clinton's Republican opponents went so far as to impeach him in a shameful episode of extreme partisanship. 

On those Hitler metaphors: Can we please agree to a voluntary cross-party ban on invoking the Fuhrer in the context of American politics? Only dictators who commit genocide against millions qualify for this odious comparison. It trivializes Hitler's crimes to use Nazi references as everyday epithets.

But there is something especially rancid about the never-ending efforts to turn Obama into a stranger, an alien, a Manchurian Candidate with a diabolical hidden agenda. Are we trying to undo all the good it did us with the rest of the world when we elected an African-American with a middle name popular among Muslims? 

In my experience, even Americans who voted against Obama were proud that our nation showed friend and foe alike that we are a special place. We know it's wrong to judge people by their race or lineage, and we so value religious freedom and openness that we elected a Christian convert who is the son of a Muslim father and an agnostic mother to lead us at one of our most difficult moments.  

Yet many in the anti-Obama camp just can't stop themselves from playing on fears that electing a man who defies old stereotypes was a terrible mistake. Thus did the Rev. Franklin Graham assert Tuesday on MSNBC not only that Muslims regard Obama as "a son of Islam" (because his father was Muslim), but also that "under President Obama, the Muslims of the world, he seems to be more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries." Thus is a legitimate concern about the persecution of Christians transformed into a slander. 

In the meantime, Republican presidential candidates want to take a disagreement over whether and how contraception should be covered in plans issued under the new heath-care law and turn it into a war against religion itself. "Unfortunately, possibly because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda -- they have fought against religion," declared Mitt Romney

It's another breathtaking slander to label Obama's choice as an attack on religion altogether -- and I say this as someone who strongly opposed the president's initial decision not to offer any accommodation to religiously affiliated institutions on contraception. And how strange it is that Obama's critics imply that he's a Muslim and also condemn him as a secularist. He must be terribly clever -- maybe it's that fancy education of his -- to be both.

As for Obama as a socialist, ponder two numbers: 13,005, which the Dow Jones average hit earlier this week, up from a low point of 6,547 in March 2009. Some socialist.

We are blessed with the freedom to say whatever we want about our president. But those who cast Obama as something other than one of us don't understand him, and don't understand what it means to be American.

(c) 2012, Washington Post Writers Group

About the Author

E. J. Dionne Jr. is a syndicated columnist, professor of government at Georgetown University, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His most recent book is Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (Bloomsbury Press).



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But there is something especially rancid about the never-ending efforts to turn Obama into a stranger, an alien, a Manchurian Candidate with a diabolical hidden agenda. Are we trying to undo all the good it did us with the rest of the world when we elected an African-American with a middle name popular among Muslims?


Wish as you might, you just can't wish people into thinking correctly.  And if you listen correctly, you'll find that some of them even think very incorrectly.

Why get mad at them?  Why not try to understand where they might be coming from?  Every blind bias has a hundred parents.  Freud and their confessors would understand.


I can't believe that I've read what I just read. What if the economy soars? What if the President can put on the appearance of a "regular guy?" Is that the measure of truth? Is that what should make us "happy?" The niavete here is frightening. And what of the Scripture that states clearly that evil can disguise itself as an angel of light? What about the first and second amendmenments? This doesn't matter now? The color of any man is certainly not the main issue. The moral direction that he is leading the country in, and that includes fidelity to the principles of the founding fathers, is.  John J Plick      

If you look at comments about Obama in Catholic conservative websites they make the muslim, commie guy stuff in the so called MSM look tame. No push back from our Church Leaders either. They not only don't push back on these 'Catholic' websites [free posting] but they pile on with, 'BC is the greatest threat' to religious liberty in US history crap.. They can't really explain how non-Catholic and Catholic employees of these independent entities, that the bishops  have absolutly NO control of, by getting free BC at no cost to bishops is the 'greatest threat to religious liberty' ..what about preemptive war in the  next 2 months.. any miter interested?

I surely don't understand the diatribes against our President, and especially the endless commentary that goes on and on, on the web and on Fox TV.  I tend to think that this voice, though loud and seemingly pervasive, is an illusion.  Yesterday at the University of Miami the young people cheered and were inspired as the President outlined his energy policies.  The arena was packed, with many turned away.  Meanwhile Mitt Romney could barely generate enough people to fill a camera frame in a stadium in Michigan.  Web commentary only pretends to determine the talking points and how the story is framed. This medium cannot compete with what is going on in the real world.  The arc of history bends toward justice and clearer thinking, and those who persist in partisan hatred are left behind, thank you God.

when Clinto was president, I really felt I could reason with those who opposed him.  He did take some of their ideas like welfare reform and got it passed.  But Clinton also had the guts of passing a budget in 1993 that corrected some of the defects in supply side economics.

Now we have Obama, our first African-American President.  Many of my African-american friends, as well as I, were happy the country could elect a person like Barack Obama.  But we were really concerned the wrath that would come his way when the consequences of the 2008 Financial meltdown would play out.  How would he respond?  As the economy got worse the wrath against Obama increased a 100 fold.  We witnessed the 'black man's burden in the White House.  Not only did Obama have to an incrediably good President, he had to be the best ever, or he was a dreadful mistake!

Rescuing the auto industry was a brilliant move.  Rescuing the financial sector could have been stronger, but it plugged a huge hole in a huge sinking ship.  And Healthcare reform was due.  I wish the Republicans in Congress were helpful to get this country back on her feet.  But they haven't figured out why the ideas they espoused for the past 30 years beared little fruit.  We need a Democratic House and Senate to allow Obama to get this country back on it feet.  With the Dow near 13,000, we know is a horrible socialist.




"Rescuing the auto industry was a brilliant move." As I recall, the unions sabotaged the American auto industry. Management begged them for concessions, but they (the unions) refused. I hear you can get a house real cheap around Detriot. Is that so?



It is incredible to see the paranoid style of American politics unleashed against a man who seems more and more like a Democratic Ike...plagued by fantasies of the enemy within. The Right has, indeed, exhumed McCarthy. John - I hear you can also buy a house cheap in Florida where they haven't had much union activity or a Democratic governor for quite some time...

Florida, a place I know. A chief industry, tourism, and in the past in a certain area also, NASA, which has been disenfranchised by the federal government due to "more practical" concerns. Also very sensitive to environmental variations such as hurricanes and cold weather. I would suppose then that if a "Democratic governor" and "unions" could improve the national economy and alter the weather, then they (the Floridians) would have something going. Hmmmm; maybe God has something to do with it.

Ranting against the wingnuts because they act like wingnuts is kind of like complaining that wasps sting, isn't it?  Neither is capable of any other reaction to a perceived threat.  Both are acting on the basis of atavistic instincts and impulses.  Neither is animated by anything resembling rational thought or consideration.  You should save your breath on this one.

A "rather moderate politician"!!!!  The man openly opposed a law requiring that medical attention be given to a child that survives abortion.  Even Barbara Boxer didn’t go that far. 


His father was Muslim and his mother a leftist agnostic.  His background, d, school transcripts and other personal records remain shrouded in secrecy.   He was an adherent of the Alinsky bible that teaches prospective radical community organizers to be effective should use the churches in the community.  In Chicago, Obama found a church whose pastor, Rev. Wright,  idolized Louis Farrakhan, the head of the Nation of Islam and hated the US.  What a fit!!!  Since his inauguration, Obama has rarely seen the inside of a church.


Poor E.J. can’t understand why a man who spent his formative years in a Muslim country and whose transcripts and other personal records have never been disclosed would be a subject of interest.  You and I have to show our birth certificate to get a passport, but Obama fought tooth and nail to keep his secret and seemed put out that anyone would ask.  When you see him throw out the first pitch, it is obvious that he never played baseball, softball, or stickball as a kid ( but probably E.J. didn’t either.)  Obama claimed to be a fervent Cub fan, but when asked who his favorite player was, he couldn’t name one.  Sorry, E.J. nice try.  He still seems alien in so many ways to so many people for very good reasons.

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