Amanda Marcotte: Right’s Reaction to Obama’s Tears What You’d Expect From Masters of ‘Fake Emotion’

President Obama’s teary presentation on guns was a teachable moment, contended Salon blogger Amanda Marcotte in a Wednesday post, but conservatives, busy directing figurative spitballs at the POTUS, missed the lesson.

To Marcotte, Obama showed that “emotion need not be the enemy of reason. For the right, emotions like fear and grief are treated primarily as justifications for abandoning reason, from invading countries for no good reason to terminating effective sex ed because the idea of your children growing up terrifies you. But Obama demonstrated that it doesn’t have to be that way. His emotion served his reasonableness…Perhaps conservatives should learn from him, instead of mocking him.”

As for allegations that Obama’s tearing-up was staged, Marcotte didn’t find them surprising, given “the important role that fake emotion, especially phony expressions of fear, plays in right wing politics. If you spent so much time dropping  crocodile tears over the deaths of fertilized eggs, pretending that ISIS is about to march on Wichita, and working yourself into a faux outrage over Hillary Clinton supposedly not loving women, you might start to think that any expression of emotion from your opponents is insincere, as well.”

From Marcotte’s post (bolding added):

That invoking [the Sandy Hook massacre] would cause tears was completely understandable.

Or at least to most people, that is. For right wingers, such a reaction from a grown man was preposterous…

…“So, I would check that podium for like a raw onion or some No More Tears,” [Fox News’s Andrea] Tantaros said. “It’s not really believable”…

This reaction makes a lot more sense when you consider the important role that fake emotion, especially phony expressions of fear, plays in right wing politics. If you spent so much time dropping  crocodile tears over the deaths of fertilized eggs, pretending that ISIS is about to march on Wichita, and working yourself into a faux outrage over Hillary Clinton supposedly not loving women, you might start to think that any expression of emotion from your opponents is insincere, as well.

For those on the right who mistake acting like an asshole with strength, however, Obama’s tears were indicative that he lacked the levels of sociopathy supposedly necessary to lead a country.

Eric Bolling of Fox News was all over this talking point. “Those tears, Mr. Obama, ya’ think ISIS sees them as emotional strength or weakness?” he ranted…

On a similar front, the Drudge Report tried to spin this not as an expression of grief, but of fear…

Again, this feels mostly like projection. Conservatives have been pretending to be afraid of Islamic terrorism for so long that they just assume that must be what’s going on here, but with mass shootings. (Which do legitimately happen much more often.)

But Obama’s speech was actually the opposite of the histrionic fear-mongering that goes on every day on the right…[H]e offered a sober, reality-based assessment of the situation…

It was an excellent demonstration of the fact that emotion need not be the enemy of reason. For the right, emotions like fear and grief are treated primarily as justifications for abandoning reason, from invading countries for no good reason to terminating effective sex ed because the idea of your children growing up terrifies you. But Obama demonstrated that it doesn’t have to be that way. His emotion served his reasonableness. His sadness at loss of life compelled him to seek effective solutions, instead of flailing around screaming nonsense. Perhaps conservatives should learn from him, instead of mocking him.

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters