Even for President Obama, it was an outrageous statement, and he needs to apologize to the nation for it.
On Wednesday, at American University, Obama said the genocidal fascist freaks in Iran who chant “death to America” are “making common cause with the Republican caucus” for opposing the deal.
It was a gratuitous, unsupportable, vile insult. Remember six months ago, when the entire press corps had a convulsion because an ex-mayor of New York who hasn’t held public office in 14 years said, “I do not believe the president loves America”? The media demanded Rudy Giuliani apologize. They couldn’t talk about anything else for days.
Now the sitting president of the United States says the entire Republican caucus not only doesn’t love America but doesn’t like America, even hates America. But not only that — craves death for America. By logical extension, anyone who agrees with the Republican caucus on the Iran deal also must be in “common cause” with the “death to America” savages.
Guess that now includes Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who came out against the deal Thursday.
Oh, and it also includes two-thirds of Americans who have expressed an opinion on the matter. (A poll this week said that by a margin of 57% to 28%, Americans oppose the Iran deal).
Even Obama supporters have to concede that he is the most divisive president in US history.
Obama has been a my-way-or-the-highway guy since Day 1. (Or at least Day 3 of his presidency, when a group of senators challenged Obama on the details of a proposed economic stimulus plan and he replied, “I won.”)
This would-be master of rhetoric can’t avoid the most obvious traps, such as the fallacy of the false dilemma and its neighbor, the straw-man fallacy.
Last week he actually said it’s his Iran deal or war. Nothing in between.
He does this all the time, suggests that there is no reasonable option other than what he proposes. It illustrates the extreme, nearly hysterical way he perceives all opposition: Everyone else is obsessed with this thing called “politics.” He is the only one who is even trying to do what’s right for the country.
His immigration policy, he noted last fall, was the following: “To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.” Do it my way, or I’ll simply impose my will, unilaterally and using tactics I previously conceded would be illegal.
In speeches, Obama often charges that others believe there are only two extreme choices and he represents the sensible middle. But he himself reached the apotheosis of this kind of thinking in his second inaugural address when he actually said that since no one person can do everything that needs to be done, the government has to step in. (“No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future,” he said in that speech, as if anyone is arguing that, “or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together” — his euphemism for more government.)
This week, projecting his own extremism on his ideological opponents, he told a group of columnists, “If I presented a cure for cancer, getting legislation passed to move that forward would be a nail-biter.”
Obama first came to national prominence with his 2004 Democratic convention address. He positioned himself as the soothing moderate: “The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states. . . . [but] We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the red states.” (He planned additionally to say, “I see us as one America: red, white, and blue,” but John Kerry’s people made him take out the phrase so the presidential candidate could say something similar, causing Obama to complain to David Axelrod, “That f—er is trying to steal a line from my speech.”)
In 2013 we learned that Obama had told aides he yearned to be like Bulworth, the senator in a 1998 Warren Beatty movie who, feeling he had betrayed himself by pretending to be an ordinary liberal Democrat, dropped the mask and revealed he was actually an angry extremist. Whenever he’s upsetting representatives of red state America, Obama feels as free and fulfilled as Bulworth.
If lots of Democrats and independents also are unhappy — if most of America is unhappy — that’s just collateral damage.