Obama the Tyrant: A User's Guide for Conservatives

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 28 2014 2:03 PM

Obama the Tyrant: A User's Guide for Conservatives

92430568-president-barack-obama-applauds-after-delivering-remarks
Cooking up more tyrannical schemes.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

My latest story looks at the legal troubles of Dinesh D'Souza as a way into the world of profitable Obama-conspiracy-mongering. D'Souza, a self-assured icon of the New Right from the late 1980s to today, embarrassed himself horribly with his alleged illegal donations to a friend's Senate race. His recovery plan, so far, has been to stoke paranoia that he's being targeted by the administration. He's had some success with this. That's after alienating scores of old allies and possible supporters by torpedoing his career as a university president and by releasing a movie about Barack Obama that actually alienated possible swing voters.

How strong is the paranoid instinct? Here's a great example of it, buried at the end of Jennifer Epstein's story about what various interest groups can get out of the State of the Union.

Common Core was developed by associations of state officials and nonprofit groups. But once Obama embraced it and had given states financial and policy incentives to adopt it, it immediately sparked a backlash. States including Indiana, South Carolina and Missouri are considering pulling out of the standards.
“It’s imperative that the president not say anything about the Common Core State Standards,” said Michael Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. “For two years running, he’s taken credit for the adoption of these standards, which has only fueled critics on the right who see this effort as a way for the federal government to take over control of the schools.
“If he cares more about the success of this initiative than credit-taking, he will skip over it.”
Advertisement

Got that? It's been true for decades that presidents polarize the issues they embrace, that they scare away members of the other party who might have come aboard. But the specific worry from educators, as relates to Common Core, is that whenever the president talks about it, opponents see the program as part of a vast conspiracy.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

So, Apple Is Not Shuttering Beats, but the Streaming Service Will Probably Be Folded Into iTunes

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 5:45 PM The University of California Corrects “Injustice” by Making Its Rich Chancellors Even Richer
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.