by Justin Rosario
American conservatives have long perfected the practice of psychological projection in which they claim liberals have nefarious plans to overthrow American democracy which they, themselves, would very much like to implement. This disturbing behavior has never been more apparent than during the Obama administration and confirmed by their full-throated support for the autocrat-wannabe Donald Trump.
Here are five things that conservatives wailed and gnashed their teeth about during the Obama years that, suddenly, they don't seem to mind. There's way more than just five but these speak directly to the right's fears that Obama was going to be the same kind of strongman dictator they've been longing for only with the wrong skin color and politics:
1. Refusal to release personal information - Long after Obama released his long form birth certificate, conservatives were still demanding he prove he was born an American citizen. They also ranted and raved about his college transcripts because he was clearly hiding bad grades or a fake name or maybe a gay marriage. It was never quite clear what they expected to find. The general idea was to raise suspicions about the president being some kind of foreign agent and the right ate it up like spoiled yogurt well past its expiration date.
Now that Trump is president, however, they are completely OK with their guy hiding actually relevant personal information. If Obama had refused to release his tax returns, the right wing would have demanded impeachment for that alone. Part of it has to be that they're concerned that it would reveal damaging information but I guarantee not a a small amount of their seeming disinterest stems from the natural deference conservatives have to the rich. The rabble dare not petition the king in such a fashion.
2. Executive orders - This one we all know. Up until January 20, 2017, executive orders were the work of Satan himself. Obama was a despot, abusing his power to reshape America against the will of the people.
Now that Trump is slamming out executive orders in lieu of actually governing, it's the best thing ever as far as his followers are concerned. As long as their guy is doing it, it must be for the good of the country. Or at least for banning Muslims and making liberals cry and that's all that matters.
3. The "rule of law" - Republicans spent a lot of time complaining about how lawless Obama was:
Sen. Ted Cruz: “Undeterred, President Obama appears to be going forward. It is lawless. It is unconstitutional. He is defiant and angry at the American people. If he acts by executive diktat, President Obama will not be acting as a president, he will be acting as a monarch.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann: “He’s a dictator now. He’s making up the law as he goes along.”
Sen. Rand Paul: "The president acts like he's a king. He ignores the Constitution. He arrogantly says, 'If Congress will not act, then I must.' These are not the words of a great leader. These are the words that sound more like the exclamations of an autocrat."
Of course, all of these champions of freedom now back Donald Trump, the most autocratic and corrupt president in modern times, possibly ever. Trump is making millions from the presidency, taking huge bribes from foreign governments, and is basing America's foreign policy on what's best for his family's fortunes as opposed to national security.
But the rule of law is for Democrats and little people. Conservatives aren't really bothered by any of this obvious corruption. And why should they be? They like it just fine when the rich get richer.
4. Obama hates the Constitution - Obama is a constitutional lawyer that's actually taught courses at Harvard about the Constitution. He was still accused of shredding the Constitution because he's an un-American Kenyan Muslim something something something. Trump, meanwhile, literally said that the system that has been stymieing him is "archaic" and needs to be changed. He's also repeatedly attacked the freedom of the press, the legitimacy of the judiciary and, my favorite, threatened to actually "break up" the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because he doesn't like the way they keep ruling against him.
Trump is so utterly and openly disdainful of the Constitution that it's amazing that some Trump voters can still call themselves "Constitutional Conservatives" with a straight face.
5. The most egregious but mostly unspoken hypocrisy: "Czars" - I'm old enough to remember when Obama having "Czars" was a sign that he was was a commie. Republicans, AM Hate Radio, right wing blogs, and Fox News went insane over Obama's czars for years even though A. "Czars" was a shorthand invented by the press and B. Every president for decades, including Saint Ronnie, had them.
But the key complaint the right had was that Obama was running the government with these "unelected czars":
By now most informed political observers know something of the executive branches attempt to replace Congress as the major rule-making body by appointing, what are called Czars, who create policy and manage programs in areas where the president has no Constitutional authority as outlined in Article II, Sections II and III. Moreover, these appointments are made without the “advice and consent,” of the U.S. Senate as is required by the Constitution. They function much like cabinet officers but are unconfirmed and are accountable only to the president. They also are not required to swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.
The last two administrations have made extensive use of the word “czar” to describe unelected political appointees tasked with leading crusades against illegal drugs, AIDS, federal budget deficits, climate change, unsafe products, automobile company bankruptcies and the like. It bothered no one that “czars,” in history, were capricious absolute monarchs who presided over a system of government that cared little for human dignity, entrepreneurship, individualism or economic advancement. Which, come to think of it with regard to those administrations, might not be far off the mark.
Another day, another unelected czar is added to the Obama Administration. The President’s reliance on unelected czars to implement his radical agenda skirts the very checks and balances our nation was founded upon, and directly contradicts President Obama’s pledge to be the most transparent Administration in history.
This was a talking point repeated ad nauseum. Obama the tyrant was handing all this power over to unelected scary people. Where's the democracy? Where's the accountability? Where's the freedom and Mom's Apple Pie™?! The tree of liberty needs watering because of this!
Yet, here we are, with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner being given greater and greater control over policy like we're a banana republic and Generalissimo Trump needs his family to watch his back. This nepotism violates the law, ethics and tradition. It's a gross abuse of power and a conflict of interest so enormous it's impossible to truly understand how much it's distorting our foreign policy, especially since Trump refuses to release his taxes.
And those same freedom and Constitution loving patriots that were ready for "Second Amendment remedies" to deal with Obama's lawlessness? Well, they're pleased as punch that someone as smart as Jared is going to solve everything (even if he is a globalist liberal Jew cuck). And Ivanka is so lovely and smart and she's such a good influence on her father, why, how could anyone object to her taking a nebulous, yet official, position with no accountability? Nothing to see here, everything is just peachy.
Not only is Trump doing everything the right hated Obama for doing (except, you know, Trump is actually doing it), he's going further than the imaginary tyrant Obama ever did. It's giving pause to the right's thought leaders but they always knew their Obama hysteria was bullshit, something to rile up the rubes in White America. The rubes, on the other hand, actually believed it so watching them swoon over Trump goes way beyond hypocrisy.
They were never concerned with the breaking of America democracy. They were never worried about the Constitution being shredded and discarded by a man who would be king. They were never afraid of giving away their freedom to a dictator. The only thing they ever cared about was whether or not the dictator would be one of their own: Hate-filled, ignorant, angry, small and, above all, white.
I know I harp on this point a lot but it simply cannot be overstated: These are people who are fundamentally incapable of acting responsibly or in the best interest of this country. They can't even act in their own best interest. The only thing they know how to do now is vote against the rest of us in retaliation for demanding equal treatment. And if that retaliation destroys their own future and the future of their children, it's worth it because if they can't have it all, then no one should get anything but ashes.
It's time to vote them down and keep them far away from the levers of power until they grow the fuck up.