Mother Jones' Kevin Drum finally snaps, as I have been snapping for the last several months:
If you express anything short of absolute condemnation of everything the NSA has done, your Twitter feed quickly fills up with hysterical proclamations from the emo-progs that you're a right-wing shill, a government lackey, a useful idiot for the slave state, and an obvious fool. Conversely, if you criticize the NSA's surveillance programs, your Twitter feed quickly fills up with equally hysterical proclamations from the O-Bots that you hate Obama, you've always hated Obama, and you're probably a racist swine who's been waiting ever since 2009 for a chance to take down the nation's first black president....
I'll confess that although the leftier-than-thou types have always been around, I've long been skeptical of the idea that Obama has a core group of supporters from 2008 who really do consider him The One, a shining beacon of light who can do no wrong. But I'm the one who was wrong.
National Review's Charles Cooke posts an hilariously sympathetic note: "Welcome to my world, Kevin.... I have been called a 'racist' for so long now that I’m almost looking forward to a Hillary presidency so that I can be called a 'sexist' instead."
Yet it's even worse than Drum and Cooke observe. The charge of racism as affixed to Obama's occasional critics who have largely and enthusiastically supported him since 2007 is so conspicuously vapid, even the "O-Bots," or so my experience suggests, are reluctant to throw it around, at least in my direction. Instead, they essentially argue that any criticism of Obama--and their argument is always made on a piece-by-piece basis, thus providing maximum defensive flexibility--is just hopelessly ignorant. My, his, her, their criticism--anybody's criticism, from left, right, or middle, on any given topic--simply fails to grasp the radiant but on occasion obscured brilliance of the wickedly strategic Obama administration's position.
The paradoxical pity of such cultish arrogance is that it's injurious to the very administration that the unmitigated loyalists support. No administration is well served by bloc-subservience--the paradigmatic proof of that being, for all time, the George W. Bush administration. Any great presidency--a category which Obama still has a shot at--not only asks for disagreement, it demands it, for it's the only protection the president has against a bubbled cluelessness and journeys down very dark alleys.
In short, Obama's occasional critics are the best friends he has. And indeed, as a student of history, Obama knows that better than anyone.