GOP: Obama Is Responsible for “A Culture of Intimidation”

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Apparently this is the latest Republican thing. They can’t show that Obama has been actually involved in the IRS scandal—or in any of the other squabbles currently roiling Washington DC, for that matter—so now they’ve gotten together and agreed on a new party line: Obama is responsible for all of this stuff anyway because he’s relentlessly stoked a “culture of intimidation” against his adversaries. “The president demonizes his opponents,” Mitch McConnell said with a straight face on Sunday, and this is at the root of all our problems.

Paul Mirengoff correctly suggests that this sounds whiny—”the kind of thing I’d expect from Democrats.” But he agrees with the basic premise that Obama demonizes his opponents, and points us to an NRO piece by Eliana Johnson that provides the proof. I was curious, so I clicked the link. Just what has Obama done to strike fear into Republicans’ hearts?

Well, only three things apparently. First, he dissed Fox News and then tried to exclude them from the network pool. Second, at an explicitly partisan DNC fundraiser following the Citizens United decision, he castigated “groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates all across the country.” AFP, of course, is supported by the Koch brothers. And apparently Obama has also said some uncomplimentary things about Rush Limbaugh. This is the full bill of particulars.

I’ll give them the Fox thing. Trying to keep Fox out of the press pool was bush league nonsense. But really. Kicking back at the rancid bile that spews out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth on a daily basis? Telling a bunch of rich Democratic donors that they’re up against lots of rich Republican donors, so please open your wallets? This is a culture of intimidation?

Conservatives, of course, have fostered a culture not of intimidation, but of rank hatred so insane you can practically see the spittle flecks every time they talk about Obama. And yet, when Obama returns fire, even with his trademark restraint, it’s time to bring out the smelling salts. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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