Thoughts on why the Tea Party hates Obama

I recently reviewed Jonathan Alter’s new book “The Promise: Year One of the Obama Presidency” for the Christian Science Monitor. Alter depicts the Obama White House as almost boring- just a bunch of smart people trying to solve problems. In my review I write about what it is about this technocratic approach that makes the far-Right so angry:

By parsing the difference between Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, Obama made it clear that he, too, aims to have a transformational effect on America. But transformational in what direction? The postpartisan mirage – if Obama ever really believed that would be his legacy – has been exposed as such. Obama is content for now to present himself as a technocrat solving problems, but one suspects that he has a grander design in mind. For those who have faith in him, this is the promise of his presidency. But for those who don’t, this is the real threat, that the best player at the table has not yet shown all his cards.


1 thought on “Thoughts on why the Tea Party hates Obama

  1. Was hard to see what you were trying to say about the Tea Party here, or why Obama’s perception of himself as a ‘technocrat solving problems’ has anything to do with the Tea Party’s objections. They are a group of people who recognize that the legitimacy that all government actions take on is often phony, and they want to be able to make decisions about their lives independently and privately, rather than to have things decided for them, publicly. These are literally the ideas America was founded on, and once taken away, they are pretty hard, if not impossible, to get back.

    We know very few things about economics, but there are a handful of things we know very well – that quality does not increase when incentives for success (or the consequences of failure) are reduced, that a system that isn’t profit-driven will not use its limited resources to the best of its ability, and that it takes higher salaries to command a staff that can outperform others. If we name the major decisions of the first year – Health Care, GM, TARP – we are lying to ourselves when we call these exceptions to the rule and only have to look at Europe to see their eventual consequences.

    The really unfortunate thing about the Tea Party specifically and mistrust of government in general is that it is married to a distrust of most everything else, including foreign agents, foreign people, other races, genders, you name it. Linking distrust with hate and aggression is simply ugly.

    It is awfully hard to argue in favor of ‘nothing’ in the place of ‘something,’ regardless of whether that ‘nothing’ implies faith in bottom-up ingenuity as opposed to top-down autocracy.

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