Teagate is not the only sign of paranoid reaction. Gun sales have reached record levels, fueled by the improbability that the President is plotting new gun control laws. Republican Senator Jim DeMint arraigns Obama as “the world’s best salesman of socialism.” The comically malaprop Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has proclaimed her fears about Obama creating “re-education camps for young people” through the new National Service Bill named for Edward Kennedy, which is scheduled to be signed into law at a White House ceremony Tuesday. (You can bet she won’t be there.)
This is a time of great change and, for many Americans, Obama is “the other”—the first African-American President. It’s no accident that in all the images of Teagate, it was hard to find minority faces. But there is a real and diverse majority of Americans that seems increasingly confident as Barack Obama nears the end of his first 100 days. From economic policy to health care, from the G-20 Summit to the Summit of the Americas, he offers hope for a transformative national renewal. Most Americans aren’t drinking the rightwing tea. It’s just a shame that instead of seeking common ground or offering genuine alternatives, the GOP is pandering to the paranoid style in American politics.