Lindsey Graham is going to get in trouble for saying this, but this is how Americans used to disagree:
“President Obama is a fine man. He’s a good father. He’s a good role model. He’s an American liberal. The reason I don’t say he’s a socialist, because most people associate that with being un-American. He is an American just as much as anybody else. The idea that he’s very liberal I think is pretty clear to the American people. He ran as a centrist, he’s governing from the left ditch, that’s his big problem. And we don’t need to call each other names.”Speaking as one who's actually in the left ditch, I believe Graham is wrong on that point--but he's actually arguing to the point and actually on the same planet I am.
What's sad is that Graham's mild tone is so noteworthy, and that not only will he be attacked for offering modest praise, but he felt the need to even say the president is "a fine man" and "a good father" despite their policy differences.
Graham is living in a party where, a recent Harris poll notes, "Two-thirds think he's a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say he may be the Antichrist."
So, what's the source of all this hate? "The Rage Is Not About Health Care," writes Frank Rich at the NYT:
The health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.So a tip of the beret to the very conservative Senator Graham, literally the successor to Strom Thurmond, for making the differences about issues. His friend John McCain used to be like that, too, ten or so years ago.
If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.