This election has always been a referendum on Barack Obama. For some, not on matters of substance. They can't have it both ways. It's hypocritical to distribute a vicious, false narrative about him while fancying yourself a patriot and a great American. Vilify a sitting president of the United States with fiction and innuendo, and you are neither.
I objected when George W. Bush was the subject of undeserved hyperbolic criticism, but the baseless scorn heaped upon President Obama makes Bush's detractors look diplomatic. The president, the office, and our nation deserve better.
It's been unrelenting. The day after Obama took office, Rush Limbaugh told Sean Hannity he wanted him to "fail." Later, Glenn Beck called the president a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Donald Trump's birtherism took hold while words like socialist were uttered with increased frequency. And a prairie fire of falsehoods spread through the Internet suggesting, among other things, that Obama is a Muslim or refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, paving the way for Dinesh D'Souza's fictionalized "documentary" 2016, which characterized Obama as fulfilling the anticolonial agenda of his father - a man he literally knew for just one weekend!
Among the usual memes used to undermine the president is the threat of some apocalyptic cataclysm, usually in the form of an assertion of federal power, like the seizing of guns. These predictions demand unthinking acceptance of the notion that the president, like a bizarre Manchurian candidate, is saving his nefarious agenda for a second term that might never arrive. By my count, the website Snopes.com has evaluated and debunked 103 of 124 Internet assertions about Obama.
Just before Hurricane Sandy hit, Ann Coulter called our sitting president a "retard," Sarah Palin mocked his "shuck and jive shtick," and John Sununu openly questioned Gen. Colin Powell's weighty endorsement as being motivated by race. At least earlier in the campaign there was some effort at camouflage. Such as when Mitt Romney aired an anti-Obama welfare commercial that falsely suggested Obama supported handouts ("They just send you your welfare check") when, in fact, Obama was accommodating requests of several governors, two of them conservative Republicans, to try new ways to put people back to work. A similar sentiment was expressed by Romney when he maligned the 47 percent who don't pay federal income taxes, overlooking that 83 percent of that group are either working and paying payroll taxes or they're elderly.