I have to say that, despite of everything the media has done to date, I nevertheless am frequently surprised by how readily they aim to convince us that American history, particularly presidential history, began in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama. Bolding and numeration is mine for the breakdown of this piece.
It is a peculiar, but unmistakable, phenomenon: As Barack Obama’s presidency heads into its twilight, the rage of the Republican establishment toward him is growing louder, angrier and more destructive(1).
Republican lawmakers in Washington and around the country have been focused on blocking Mr. Obama’s agenda and denigrating him personally since the day he took office in 2009. But even against that backdrop, and even by the dismal standards of political discourse today, the tone of the current attacks is disturbing. So is their evident intent — to undermine not just Mr. Obama’s policies, but his very legitimacy as president(2).
It is a line of attack that echoes Republicans’ earlier questioning of Mr. Obama’s American citizenship(3). Those attacks were blatantly racist in their message — reminding people that Mr. Obama was black, suggesting he was African, and planting the equally false idea that he was secretly Muslim. The current offensive is slightly more subtle, but it is impossible to dismiss the notion that race plays a role in it(4).
That is only the first segment of an editorial column in the New York Times, which means it is the official position of the newspaper of record and is not, therefore, able to be labeled as the errant opinion of a left-wing madman (which isn’t to say that the New York Times editorial is not filled with left-wing madmen and madwomen, but that this, even if they wanted to, can’t place the blame for such stupidity on anyone else). This entire editorial, which I encourage you to read (Trigger Warning: It is the New York Times), because it is filled with absolutely astounding claims that completely dismiss the entirely of American presidential history.
1) This may be true, although to say it is the Republican establishment is laughable when the two figureheads of that establishment, [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] have ushered in the Republican-controlled congressional era by frequently caving to Democrats’ whims.
2) Excuse me, New York Times editorial board, but didn’t Dennis Kucinich and Robert Wexler go further with impeaching George W. Bush than any Republican has with Barack Obama? Most Republicans have quickly dismissed any idea of impeaching the current president, but these two men wrote up actual articles of impeachment and brought them to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives who, in a 251-166 vote, sent it to committee. You cannot reasonably tell me, then, that it is Republicans who are the most guilty in the modern era of undermining the legitimacy of the president.
3) What Republicans in power did this? The Birther movement was entirely ridiculous, and was called out as such by multiple Republicans and right-leaning outlets. To this day, only people who probably wear tinfoil when they leave the house still believe in the legitimacy of the claim that Barack Obama is not an American citizen.
4) If you take every article written by the media, every speech given by a Democrat, and every cross word spoken publicly about George W. Bush, the efforts to denigrate and de-legitimize are easily seen as just as hostile, if not more so. Race did not play a factor in this shouting down of every word he said, unless of course the disagreements with him were purely over his privilege as a white man (you never know in this day and age!).
Don’t think, however, that I’m stopping there. Look at the next damn paragraph in the editorial:
Perhaps the most outrageous example of the attack on the president’s legitimacy was a letter signed by 47 Republican senators to the leadership of Iran saying Mr. Obama had no authority to conclude negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Try to imagine the outrage from Republicans if a similar group of Democrats had written to the Kremlin in 1986 telling Mikhail Gorbachev that President Ronald Reagan did not have the authority to negotiate a nuclear arms deal at the Reykjavik summit meeting that winter.
Sorry, New York Times, but THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED and IT IS OBJECTIVELY WORSE. Were the 47 Senators wrong about the deal with Iran? No. Because, and this is the hilarious part, that’s actually how things happen in this country. That’s what the Constitution of the United States of America tells us is the case. Obama can negotiate all he wants, but any deal on paper with a foreign nation is a treaty, which must go through the U.S. Senate. That’s the actual way things work.
The attempts at revisionist history later in the editorial are laughably misguided and are the result of an entirely left-wing world view with no basis in how things actually operate. The bit about the Arizona legislature? Also actually how the law works in this country.
Republicans defend this sort of action by accusing Mr. Obama of acting like a king and citing executive actions he has taken — on immigration and pollution among other things. That’s nonsense. The same Republicans had no objection when President George W. Bush used his executive authority to authorize the torture of terrorism suspects and tap the phones of American citizens.
Even with the improper wording the Times uses here, it is important to note the following: the actions taken by Bush are completely different than the actions taken by Obama in part because of scope. Bush did not disrupt commerce or completely ignore pre-existing law to fit a political agenda. Bush expanded upon an existing law to an ends that I might not agree with, but I cannot claim he violated law by doing so. Obama, on the other hand, is actively breaking current U.S. law and violating the powers listed in the Constitution because he sees himself as above the law. He, unlike Bush, was not seeking to help the United States, but is seeking to harm it and the people who live here.
You may not like it. You may disagree vehemently with me, but you cannot rewrite history to fit a shoddy editorial that stands in stark contrast to what we actually know happened in history. You, the Newpaper of Record, have once again let your readership down by writing and publishing this piece.