Being Hated On

In a Daily Beast column suggesting that all of Obama’s recent Big Television Appearances (the convention speech, the 60 Minutes interview, and the debate) show a pattern, Mike Tomasky nestles this bit of speculation that I’m not sure I’ve quite heard anyone make, which is surprising given how obvious it is once you think about it:

I doubt Obama had ever been hated by anybody in his life. Now, 40 or so million Americans hate him. Must be stunning to him, still.

Think about that for a minute. Even with the protection of the White House bubble, Obama must be aware that he is widely and regularly compared to Hitler, Stalin, the Antichrist, the biblical villain Haman, and Judas. He’s been frequently, and by no means obscurely, accused of treason, infamous lies about his own background, and of evil intentions ranging from mass infanticide and euthanasia, to the abolition of free speech and religion, to the enslavement of the entire country. There are whole swaths of this country (including large chunks of my home state) where to identify oneself as an Obama supporter invites incredulity, ridicule, and spitting rage.

Personally, I have a hard time dealing with people just flat-out hating on me. I can’t imagine what it would be like, particularly for someone with Obama’s fundamentally conciliatory personality, to know many millions of people didn’t just disagree with me, weren’t just disappointed in me, but considered me actively evil and looked forward to celebrating with great joy my humiliation and defeat, and probably my death and damnation for all eternity.

Has that realization gotten to Barack Obama? I don’t think so, but it’s got to be a bit wearing on the heart and soul.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.