How the Right Invented 'Barack X'

Can't win against the real Obama? Create a fictional candidate who's your base's worst nightmare.

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What is it about this man, whose life has followed a classic, all-American trajectory -- raised by a struggling single mother, yet managed to attend Harvard, marry well and raise two beautiful children -- that so unsettles the conservative establishment? Why are they invested in his failure and demise?

Racism seems wholly insufficient an answer. Politics is power and money realized. Today's GOP is playing a long game. Race-baiting is simply a tactic and means to greater end: namely, keys to the White House.

On Nov. 4, 2008, black, brown and white alike, Democrat and Republican, all celebrated the realization of the American dream. Particularly poignant was the reality that Barack and Michelle's story could only be achieved here, in America.

But the dream quickly proved a mirage. The backlash became so insidious after Obama took office that it raises questions about the intent at the heart of the vile character assassinations being waged against him.

Of course, receiving criticism is par for the course for any president. It is only fair to point out former House Speaker Gingrich's call for Bill Clinton's impeachment, or left-wing accusations that George W. Bush masterminded 9/11. But at no point were these men framed as un-American or anti-American. No one questioned their birthplace, religion or national loyalty. No one yelled, "You lie" from either side of the chamber.

It is these dark imaginings about Obama, thrust onto our political consciousness by a power-driven GOP, that have brought the nonsensical attitudes that feed anti-Obama sentiment.

Perhaps Republicans need to distort and conflate because running against Obama's real record would only highlight his ability to successfully steer a struggling economy, save a near-bankrupt automobile industry and manage foreign policy challenges with maturity and precision.

The invented "Barack X" is easier to run against.

With an increasingly ill-informed electorate inundated with the GOP's dogma, the party plans to combine that ignorance with super PAC funds and a strategic attack on voter-registration laws. Disenfranchisement, by consent of the governed, is the intended pathway. No trick is too dirty, and playing on old stereotypes (using race and religion as fodder) is the preferred tactic.

GOP claims that Obama is all about raising taxes are belied by his recent signing of yet another extension of the payroll-tax cut.