What's next for anti-Obama toxic talk?


As we know, there were lots of dubious claims cast against Obama during the bygone presidential election. Such talk has mostly dissipated, perhaps because of the largely centrist course pursued by the president-elect in the run-up to his inauguration. My Boston Phoenix colleague Adam Reilly looks at what's ahead (in a sidebar, Adam also writes on why tightening up on anti-Obama speech is a bad idea): 

In fact, a decent case can be made that the most intense days of Obama hatred are behind us. During the campaign, one major source of Obama-phobia was the conviction that, despite all his campaign rhetoric, he was secretly an ultra-liberal (or socialist, or whatever) who'd run amok if elected. But thus far, Obama's big pre-presidential decisions — his cabinet picks, his public-policy pronouncements, even his controversial choice of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation — have shown him, instead, to be what many of us expected all along: a centrist Democrat with a conciliatory bent and occasional liberal leanings, but not a havoc-wreaking radical. ....

.... however, an even stronger argument can be made that extreme anti-Obama hate is here to stay — and may even get a whole lot worse.

Start with the accountability issue. Strange as it is to say, George W. Bush is still president, and will be until January 20. Then Obama gets the job — and then, when things go wrong, he's going to get the blame. If the economy keeps tanking, it's on him. If the Middle East erupts into all-out war, it's on him. And if another major terrorist attack hits the US, Obama's presidency will suffer immeasurably (complete with renewed conspiracy theorizing about Obama's secret Muslim birthplace and terroristic sympathies).

In addition, Obama confronts a mixture of real and possible problems that's downright toxic: abiding anger over illegal and non-white immigration; the impending end (in 2042, if the US Census Bureau is correct) of white-majority America; rising unemployment and the economic mess in general. This, the [Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark] Potok suggests, may be the biggest reason to expect that the anti-Obama backlash will resume in earnest.

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