Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Obama Derangement Syndrome?

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO- The Corner

47Some, like Ezra Klein, have posited that Rudy Giuliani’s suggestion that Obama may not be patriotic and Scott Walker’s hesitation to assert that Obama is a Christian illustrate a sort of unhinged Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Aside from the fact that Obama himself characterized President George W. Bush as “unpatriotic” (for overseeing deficits at about half the size of the debt that Obama will bestow on us in his tenure), and aside from Nancy Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s chronic tendency to smear their conservative critics as “un-American,” there should be an easy standard to identify the point at which criticism becomes clinically deranged.

I’d suggest that there is. Certainly, a pathology is at work when writers and artists wish, dream, or fantasize about the death of a sitting president and express such abject, irrational venom in a mainstream venue.

In other words, we should monitor Alfred A. Knopf to ensure that it would not publish another novel like Checkpoint fantasizing about killing then-President Bush, and object loudly if another filmmaker should produce a docudrama like Gabriel Range’s Death of a President indulging in the same fantasies, and watch for anything similar to Guardian “satirist” Charles Brooker’s 2004 op-ed wishing for another John Wilkes Booth or Lee Harvey Oswald to step forward.

By the same token, if a contemporary writer were to publish anything along the lines of Jonathan Chait’s infamous essay “Why I Hate George W. Bush” in the New Republic or a similar magazine, he would instantly qualify for a diagnosis of Obama Derangement Syndrome:

I hate President George W. Bush Barack Obama. There, I said it…I hate the way he walks — shoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo. I hate the way he talks — blustery self-assurance masked by a pseudopopulist twang. I even hate the things that everybody seems to like about him. I hate his lame nickname-bestowing– a way to establish one’s social superiority beneath a veneer of chumminess (does anybody give their boss a nickname without his consent?). And, while most people who meet Bush Obama claim to like him, I suspect that, if I got to know him personally, I would hate him even more…There seem to be quite a few of us Bush Obama haters. I have friends who have a viscerally hostile reaction to the sound of his voice or describe his existence as a constant oppressive force in their daily psyche.

When conservatives adopt the now apparently mainstream vocabulary of disparagement that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have institutionalized, it might be rude and unwise, but it could hardly constitute derangement.

On the other hand, if anyone of prominence on the Right should ever emulate the Left’s hate speech and death wishes toward a sitting president, that most surely would be deranged, and should be called out as such.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

11 Thoughts on “Obama Derangement Syndrome?

  1. Joe D'Agostino on February 25, 2015 at 8:40 am said:

    Thanks for your insightful, balanced understanding of political invective. I have a much better appreciation of your personal restraint in such criticism of the sitting president.

  2. Kathleen on February 25, 2015 at 9:15 am said:

    Hey, I can sign my name to that edited version. I would line out the sentence about people liking Obama after meeting him. That is impossible for all but the lamest brains.

  3. JohnnyBoy on February 25, 2015 at 9:30 am said:

    I seem to be bordering on this feeling of derangement. He makes me crazy and I almost hate hearing his name. I am beginning to dislike a lot of people that I pay to stand up to this idiot Communist, and they do nothing, or make excuses for why they are helpless. Has everyone in Washington lost their spine, even after the American people gave them one back?

  4. I remember about ten years ago seeing flyer posted at my workplace – a medical research/teaching hospital. It consisted the face of George W Bush in the top left corner morphing through about twelve steps into the face of a chimpanzee in the bottom right corner. This was in a faculty / researcher office area.
    If there were to be a similar office decoration featuring Barack Obama….. oh wait; that would never happen.

  5. sir:

    i disagree. hatred is as legitimate an emotion as any other, and when any politician threatens our liberty & freedom as much as obama, is it legitimate to hate such a person. what, george washington had no legitimate reason to hate king george?

    of course he did? and, such an emotion helps one acquire the nerve to arrive at a “sticking point,” should such violence be necessary to secure ones freedom. do not, good sir, forget how your ancestors secured your freedoms. nor, the emotions and mindset that allowed them to.

    john jay

  6. One benefit of growing up Catholic. Only your priest would hear your confession of hate and assist you in redirecting your thoughts and actions in order to help you mold your character, as opposed to spewing out that hatred in public and unnecessarily polarizing others. It’s (hate/anger) is one of the 7 deadly sins.

  7. Chris Dannon on February 26, 2015 at 3:58 pm said:

    Well, Obama is either:

    1) a closet 9-11 truther… Plenty of Bush hate there… And casting Bush as responsible for all of the middle east mayhem is not so incredulous, at least for the Left, as Obama would be joining ex VP Al Gore, who claimed publicly that George Bush and Dick Cheney were active agents and/or knowledgeable in the 9-11 attacks. Before you say President Obama couldn’t be this stupid, realize this is a best fit as the reason that Obama proclaims the threat of jihadist Islam is overblown and he won’t allow anyone to use the words Islamic and terrorist in the same sentence. Obama believes a scapegoat was needed for creating the Iraq war. The most palpable threat during the Bush Presidency was radical Islam and staging the 9-11 attack meant using Islam as the perfect scapegoat. Thus, Obama’s rapid, guiltless abandonment of Iraq and Afghanistan….. But don’t worry they’re just Bush’s wars.

    2) a devout Muslim who has been masquerading as a Christian (albeit Jeremiah Wright’s racist and apostate version) until the masque could come off once he became a lame duck president. If you prefer this one, it best explains Obama’s seeming preference for a middle east caliphate and his swooning over Iran to lead it. It also explains the simultaneous upending of all that the United States has accomplished in decades of painstaking efforts to foster reliable allies and bring about stability and peace in the middle east.

    3) a community organizer who made it to President because he came across as a moderate, and perhaps most of all, was the perfect black candidate for the low-information 20-to-30-something democrat voters who elected him. To them he was proof that democrats had cleared a hurdle and expiated themselves of xenophobia with a showcase piece for President… But in truth he’s a Gromski marxist, an anti-colonialist, and likely wasn’t born in the US (see the birth certificate presented by the White House; it reveals a multi-layered digital creation in even the standard photoshop program). Somewhat like the startling rise of Hitler, Obama gained populist support through rousing speeches calling for fundamental social transformation. Yet aside from creating a legacy among a flood of illegal aliens who will be future democrats, Obama has suckerpunched the United States, leaving us with an even greater problem of wide- open borders and an invitation for millions more to cross them illegally….and a subculture problem we will be dealing with for the next 4 or 5 decades. Obama still doesn’t really know what the heck he is. But what does it matter as long as he can be emperor.

    Lets see, might it be a mix of all three?

  8. James Gibson on February 26, 2015 at 11:41 pm said:

    The other day I was walking past some high school students heading for school. I noticed one of the boys, couldn’t have been older then 17 was wearing a shirt calling for Bush and Rove to be charged as war criminals. In California kids his age can’t wear a shirt depicting the American flag without offending the hispanic students. But he can wear a shirt calling for an ex-president to be charged with war crimes over six years after the president leaves office. We are talking about Obama Derangement syndrome while teachers and parents are still instilling Bush Derangement syndrome in the Kids. One thing for sure, that kid will Blame Bush when he leaves high school in another years and can’t find work.

  9. What I hate about Obama! Just about everything. He will go into history as the worst sitting president ever.. His entire life is a made up lie for the consumption for the idiot voters. He is a muslim–his degrees if they even exist were purchased with soros or middle eastern dollars. He is the most corrupt person to ever lead the U.S.A. He is an indecisive coward who leads from the rear. He has an addictive streak as a user of drugs and alcohol. he is a homosexual who has imposed his own mores on our military even as he shreds the morale of our fighting men. He micromanages the military right into defeat because he is such a narcissistic psychopath. He and his family have broken all past records for their spending of taxpayer dollars on themselves and their incessant travels around the world where they further denigrate, apologize and embarrass the U.S.A. Why our sitting congress does not use this opportunity to demand that he come clean and open all the past records he has sealed at a huge cost to the taxpayers before this lame duck mess of humanity completely destroys what is left of this once great country.

  10. Carl Sesar on February 27, 2015 at 1:46 pm said:

    It’s those who love, admire, and shower Him with praise that suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome.

  11. Anybody who listened to Netanyahu’s speech today and isn’t worried sick over the fact that we have an idiot for president, who is kowtowing to Israel’s deranged mortal enemies in Iran in that country’s race to start a Middle East nuclear arms race, has to be either asleep or deluded.

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