I have to say that I'm not too terribly concerned about this. It is something to be a little worried about, though. I'm quite sure that at least some elements of the right will dedicate themselves to smearing Obama from the beginning of his presidency until the end. But those smears didn't destroy Bill Clinton--he actually left office with very high approval ratings, and George W. Bush had to run in 2000 as a "compassionate conservative" who wasn't of the DeLay ilk.
Here's how I see it: if Obama wins, as is likely, and especially if he wins with a mandate, it will be a clear sign that the public favors his policies on the economy and healthcare. He'll likely have a healthy congressional majority. If he's anywhere near 60 votes in the Senate he's going to get healthcare done--even in a relatively anemic scenario like 55, he'll be able to enact Wyden-Bennett and thus deal with healthcare.
I doubt that the honeymoon will last too long, but Waldman is dead right about the stakes: Obama could easily go down in history as the most important president since FDR. The Republicans don't want that to happen, but they didn't want it to happen with FDR either. FDR had virulent enemies and he overcame them. Bill Clinton had less success, but then again, Clinton's judgment was really questionable on so many things, so there was plenty for the loony right to latch onto (and did the allegations that Bill was running a drug smuggling operation really resonate with the public?). With Obama the Corner gang are already grasping at straws. If Obama manages to do accomplish some serious measures w.r.t. healthcare and energy, plus reviving the economy and ending the Iraq war, the public is not going to be terribly interested in Bill Ayres ghostwriting flights of fantasy.
The significant thing here is that the article ignores a pretty important fact about the Republicans: the impending GOP intramural slugfest. It's gonna be bad, and it might well distract some attention from the evils of Obama, such as the right thinks they are.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.