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Most Republicans are divorced from reality

Over the past five years, conservative pundits and politicians have helped the Republican base project all of its deepest fears and hatreds onto President Obama, in essence creating a giant straw man with little likeness to reality. Hence the continuing claims that Obama is a Muslim (he’s not), an illegal immigrant (he’s not), a socialist (he’s not) and a despot looking to confiscate everyone’s guns (definitely not).

In their obsessive zeal to oppose anything associated with the president, Republicans have reversed themselves on policies they once supported, including foreign intervention, the surveillance state, reforming health care through the expansion of private coverage and even across-the-board spending cuts. Because many see the president as the devil incarnate, conservatives have trouble digesting certain facts, including record numbers of deportations of undocumented immigrants, a falling deficit, a growing economy and the demise of Osama bin Laden. (“Where’s the death certificate?” Republicans ask.)

To the chagrin of many liberals, the reality is that Obama is an accommodating centrist: He continued or expanded many Bush administration policies on national security, including Afghanistan, drone strikes, surveillance and infinite detention; he pushed for a health care overhaul that has, historically, largely resembled Republican proposals; he expanded oil and gas drilling in Alaska; and he has shown a willingness to cut earned benefit programs such as Medicare and Social Security. But alas, so many Republicans are now so divorced from reality that they insist on claiming that the president is either a secret or a not-so-secret communist, depending on who you ask.

Chris Willett

Buffalo