John Avlon for The Daily Beast: The Mount Rushmore Fight Club: A History of Hating Presidents, from Washington to Obama

February 17th, 2014

The Daily Beast
by John Avlon
February 17, 2014

We may think our modern partisans are nasty, but what about the critics who called Washington ‘Machiavellian,’ Jefferson a ‘howling atheist,’ and Lincoln an ‘ape-like imbecile?’

Perspective is the thing we have least of in our politics. And as the USA celebrates Presidents’ Day, it is tempting to lament the lack of respect given to the Oval Office these days—especially its current occupant.

Politics ain’t beanbag, but Barack Obama has been subjected what certainly seems like an unusual amount of paranoid projection from high places during his five years in office. In addition to the daily drumbeat from right wing talk radio and cable television, by the end of the 2012 election, no less than 89 books had been published with little purpose other that to propagate a monstrous image of the president. Among their titles were The Great Destroyer: Barack Obama’s War on the Republic; Trickle Down Tyranny; To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular Socialist Machine; and The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency. The themes are often carried forward by conservative members of congress trying to play to the base. During the State of the Union in January Texas representative Randy Weber tweeted that the president was a “socialist dictator,” while Senator Ted Cruz summed up his Wall Street Journal op-ed with this tweet: “In the nation’s history, there is simply no precedent for an American president so wantonly ignoring federal law.”

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