Who fed conspiracists their paranoid fodder, when Obama misspoke to George Stephanopoulos during the 2008 campaign: “What I was suggesting—you’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith. And you’re absolutely right that that has not come”? Had the interviewer slipped, and said, “your Muslim faith” before being corrected by Obama, would that have been a conspiracist trope?
The point is not that Obama is foreign born or a Muslim, but instead that before the president started to damn the supposedly ignorant for their allegedly hate-driven conspiracy theories, he should have at least better policed his own once trusted confidant and pastor, his literary agents, his book editors, and his interview preppers.
Obama won two elections and transient popularity by community-organizing the country. His class warfare rhetoric, before and after elections, was effective in galvanizing both minority solidarity and white guilt. But those were politicized cheap shots that are not the path to unite a democracy behind a common agenda.
As we see in both Obama’s Clingers 1.0 and 2.0 riffs, Obama has learned, in classic Nixonian fashion, that winning elections in Humpty-Dumpty fashion, by smashing apart the electorate, does not translate into gluing back together a nation: win by divisiveness, perish by divisiveness.