There are plenty of things I don't like President Obama. I don't like the way he's always finishing Goldman Sachs' sentences, or how every time I turn around, he's on the couch, spooning Monsanto or whispering sweet-nothings about the next free-trade deal.
But, at the end of the day, I don't think he does this or doesn't do that because he doesn't love America.
However, in the Republican party base, it has become not only socially acceptable to openly say that that the President doesn't love America, but Republican leaders are actually afraid to refute these bizarre claims.
We saw this a few weeks ago with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, refusing to say whether he agrees with Rudy Giuliani's claim that Obama "doesn't love America." When responding to a reporter’s question about Obama’s love of our country, Walker shrugged, “I’ve never asked him, so I don’t know.”
The silliest part of this is that most of Obama's presidency has consisted of defending public schools, unions, environmental protections, civil rights, and pretty much every thing else we think of as "American." In fact, I challenge anyone to name what Scott Walker and the rest of his nihilist Tea Party actually love about America beyond the flag, institutional discrimination, the military industrial complex and. . . the flag.
Now comes another fellow from Wisconsin: U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, who recently was named chair of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. He's up for reelection next year, and to shut up his critics about being out of touch, he's started holding "telephone town hall meetings" where people can listen in to Johnson answering questions from screened callers.
During his last such meeting, a woman named Pamela got on the call and started out with, "I do not trust the President. . . we don't even know who he is." She continued that "Obama's never been vetted," suggested that Obama had something to do with General Sanchez's house getting burned down and, finally, delivered the coup de grâce: "He doesn't love America." All of that laid the foundation for her argument that we should and figure out a way to shut down Obama and the federal government.
What was Johnson's response? He didn’t utter a peep about 99 percent of Pamela's call, instead saying that she's right to have a "healthy distrust of the federal government."
Pssst, Ron, here's a little tip: Maybe the best way to "restore faith and trust in the function of government" is to refute rightwing nut jobs who say the President of our government doesn't love America.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that a rightwing cuckoo bird smeared Obama with Ron Johnson's tacit approval. In 2010, when Johnson was a candidate, another person told him that Obama was a "Marxist anti-American, American hater" who is "determined to to destroy this nation." He then asked Johnson if he agreed ,and Johnson chuckled and said, "I’m not going to argue with. . . arm-wrestle you about it."
Now, where could the Republican base be getting the idea that Obama is a "Marxist anti-American, American hater"? We need look no further than politicians like Ron Johnson.
No, Johnson doesn't come out and say "Obama hates America," but he's termed Obama and the rest of the Democrats "Marxists," said that Obama is trying to "demonize" anyone that is involved in the private sector, called Obama a "demagogue," "diabolical," a liar, and compared him to a drug dealer trying to get people hooked on his welfare drug. Johnson has even said that Obama and the rest of the "leftwing radicals" in this country "have purposely dumbed down our population."
Nobody in Congress is more of an Obama conspiracy-monger than Johnson. Every month it's something new, and even when his wild-eyed allegations are proven false, he keeps on saying them.
Why? It's simple: Most members of the Republican base want to believe the worst about this President.
Jud Lounsbury is a political reporter based in Madison, Wisconsin. Previously, Lounsbury served as a press secretary for several politicians and organizations, including Russ Feingold, Tom Harkin, and Al Gore's Iowa campaign.