Why Republicans Are Ramping Up the Obama Derangement Syndrome

In case you hadn’t noticed, lately the Obama Derangement Syndrome on the right has been ramped up a few notches.

It all started when people like Rudy Giuliani said that President Obama didn’t really love America. Religious leaders on the right like Franklin Graham joined in by saying that this President only knows Islam and proceeded to mirror Sen. Joe McCarthy with his claims that this administration has been infiltrated by Muslims. Even Jeb Bush got in on the action by saying that President Obama is “the first president since World War II who does not believe that American power is a force for good” in the world.

Then we had the spectacle of the Republicans going behind the President’s back to invite a foreign leader to address Congress in an attempt to undermine this country’s foreign policy. That was followed by 47 Republican Senators signing a condescending letter to the leaders of Iran designed to undercut a sitting president in the midst of sensitive international negotiations.

All of that is why, by the time I got to the story earlier this week about Rep. Sessions (R-TX) accusing President Obama of being responsible for “murdering Americans all over our cities,” it was clear to me that Republicans have lost their ever-lovin’ minds.

Of course right wing radio, Faux News and tea partiers went there a long time ago. But one has to wonder why Republican leaders are ramping up the ODS.

You always have to start with the fact that this Democratic President is black. That lays the groundwork for fears to be exploited. We also have to remember that this President took office just as Republican policies – both domestic and foreign – had shown themselves to be a complete and utter failure.

Given that reality, GOP leaders made it their priority – in the midst of the Great Recession – to obstruct anything he tried to do in an effort to ensure that he was a one-termer. That failed. But they could always blame him for the slow economic recovery. Added to ramped up fears about Ebola and ISIS, Republicans were able to exploit their advantages into a great victory in the 2014 midterms.

But let’s take a look at what’s happened since then. Just as Republicans were ready to celebrate and expected contrition from President Obama, his policies enacted over the previous years began to bear fruit (as he told Steve Inkeep). For example, in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, 68% of Americans say the economy has improved under President Obama. And while Republicans continue to rail about them, both Obamacare and Dodd/Frank have proven themselves to be extremely effective reforms. Our government’s response to Ebola helped to stop a world-wide contagion and – as we speak – ISIS is being degraded – just as President Obama promised.

Meanwhile – and this one is a biggy – what have Republicans managed to do with their big victory in the 2014 midterms? They embarrassed themselves with their grandstanding about immigration and DHS funding and proved that, even with majorities in both houses, they can’t govern.

On the horizon are two potential major victories for President Obama when it comes to foreign policy. First is the prospect of a deal with Iran to halt their development of nuclear weapons. As you may recall, David Ignatius called these “the most important diplomatic negotiations of the last several decades.” A successful deal will be highlighted as one of this President’s most important legacies. Second will be an international agreement at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year – something that previous presidents have failed to accomplish, but is a real possibility this time given agreements already in place with China and India.

I say all of this because, along with the success of his domestic policies, the fact that he is the President who killed Osama bin Laden, and that the people of South and Central America see him as finally ending the Cold War, Barack Obama is very likely to go down in history as – not only our first African American president – but one of our greatest presidents.

That makes all of the Republican attempts to obstruct and discredit him a failure. The ramped up Obama Derangement Syndrome is much like a toddler’s ramping up of decibels when the adults in the room don’t respond to their temper tantrum. We need to send them to their room for a time out.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .