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Live from the Hotel Giraffe Lobby: Origins of Obama Derangement Syndrome

I remember how back in 2007 and 2008 I would say that one reason Barack Obama might be a better candidate than Hillary Rodham Clinton was simply that America was now less racist than it was sexist--that the conservative quarter of the country would not be motivated to throw the filth at Barack Obama that they had and that they would throw at Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I was wrong.

Ezra Klein muses on the racist origins of Obama Derangement Syndrome:

Ezra Klein: Obama Derangement Syndrome: "Bush Derangement Syndrome...

...was mostly about Bush's policies... a function of 9/11 and the Iraq War... an effort, often misguided, to explain how the worst terrorist attack in American history happened, and why the most puzzling war in American history was launched.

Obama Derangement Syndrome is... paranoia about the man himself--that he is, in some fundamental way, different, foreign, untrustworthy, even traitorous... odd[ly]... attached to a president whose presidency has been... conventionally liberal.... Obama Derangement Syndrome seeks extraordinary explanations for an ordinary presidency. Rudy Giuliani's now infamous...

I do not believe that the president loves America.... He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country....

Louisiana Governor (and 2016 hopeful) Bobby Jindal [gave] Giuliani... a non-endorsement endorsement. Gov. Scott Walker... refused, when asked, to say whether Obama loves his country, and then sparked a mini-furor when he said he didn't know whether he thought Obama was a Christian.... In the run-up to the 2012 election... Newt Gingrich mused:

What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?

Giuliani, Jindal and Gingrich are simply echoing a political movement that has never been persuaded that Obama is actually American.... Jenée Desmond-Harris... 'Among Republicans, the numbers were even more shocking: two thirds disagreed with the statement that the president was born in the states.'

What is so odd about Obama Derangement Syndrome is how thoroughly within our comprehension--sorry, Newt--Obama's presidency actually is. His path to power--Harvard Law School, Illinois legislature, U.S. Senate--is unremarkable. His White House is stocked with veterans of the Clinton White House and the Democratic congressional leadership. His policies are conventionally center-left. His vice president is literally Joe Biden. No one loves America more than Joe Biden. But then... Obama Derangement Syndrome... is about Obama... his blackness, his father's foreignness, his strange name, his radical pastor.... Seeing Obama in the White House... deeply unsettles his critics.... If it's really true that Obama doesn't love this country, if it's really true that his birth was a conspiracy and his ideology is baroque, foreign, and hateful, then the discomfort some Americans feel when they look at Obama is justified--it's a kind of patriotic spidey-sense. The alternative explanation--the one that looks at why Obama makes some Americans so much more uncomfortable than, say, Joe Biden — requires a much harder conversation.