Barack Obama is extremely popular. People like him a lot; 79% of us are optimistic about his chances of fishing the nation out of the cesspit in which it’s currently festering. Including, strikingly, 56% of Republicans (scroll down). That’s pretty impressive. So much for calls for Operation Leper-like wingnut baseturbation. As it turns out, manipulating the "conservative base" into furious, agitated, if always deferred anticlimactic excitement is something most Americans see as shameful and pointless, in terms of exorbitant AstroGlide and Kleenex expenditures, anyhow, especially in these trying economic times. (However can Erick Erickson even type on a keyboard with those hairy palms and inferior eyesight? Perhaps his faith preserves him.)
But then, there is a real question here: Why Is This Man, This Mr. Obama, So Beloved? Because he is. He enjoys the goodwill of the overwhelming majority of the American people, something George W. Bush needed over 3,000 dead Americans and a speech someone else wrote to ever achieve.
"Conservatives" are inclined to think it’s because Liberals are Cultists. The Power Lint fellows even attempt snark, of all things, to illustrate their amusement over how those silly Liberals adore the President-Elect in comical ways, something they themselves would never do, being of course far too mature and dignified to lose their shit in political teenybopper adoration.
But these people are shitheads. There’s no need to take Power Lint seriously; they’re even more useless than the National Review, in the sense that the National Review has a print edition so you can wipe your ass with it if you run out of toilet paper.
So back to the issue: why is Obama popular?
The most obvious answer is that he’s black. That is not a minor consideration. In the past (and even in the present) this country has been less than hospitable to people with Obama’s pigmentation. That he has this pigmentation and has now been selected to be in charge of the country is, frankly, amazing. I’m a cynical bastard with a very low opinion of human beings generally, and I had honestly been skeptical we’d ever be mature enough to get this far. (Of course we’re still much too bigoted to elect a homosexual or an atheist, though, so we’re still mostly a bunch of bigoted assholes and shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back too gustily just yet. At least, the back patting should not turn into a National Hand under the Sweater leading to an Unhooking of the Bra Strap of Jeffersonian Democracy. That much is clear.)
But the deeper answer, the one that rings most true to me, is that people like Obama to the extent that they loathe George W. Bush. Look at the numbers, in every category: they’re mirror images. People HATE George W. Bush. A lot. Why? Because he’s a hideous little shit who fucked everything up, that’s why. He made a lot of people dead and even more people poor. And everyone knows it. Our country has had problems acknowledging how black people are humans with brains and ability; we’ve had difficulties admitting the same when it comes to women; I’m not taking anything away from Obama’s skills in asserting that if Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic nomination, she’d have approval ratings in the same ballpark as his are now. And I’m not taking anything away from either in saying that if we’d nominated Bill the Motherfucking Cat it would be about the same.
Looking back through the Bush years for his Positive Accomplishments is, for me, like picking through my toddler’s diaper for the undigested corn. Everyone hates that asshole. Bush Derangement Syndrome, it emerges, was sanity all along.