Former MSNBC pundit Richard Wolffe is now a columnist for the U.S. edition of the left-wing British newspaper The Guardian. This past Tuesday, he declared that “we already have a winner in the 2016 election…Someone the pundits wrote off long ago…An unconventional politician…His name is Barack Obama. And he can thank the freak show that is Donald Trump’s Republican party for restoring his stature as a unifying, national leader with a moderated and mature approach to a complex and unstable world.”
Wolffe explained that the GOP’s counterproductive anti-Obama efforts predate Trump’s candidacy: “Eight years ago, Obama represented an existential threat to the Republican party…So the GOP leadership chose to make Obama unacceptable, unpalatable and un-American…The party of Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Roger Ailes had turned him into their own kind of freak.”
But that strategy, Wolffe contended, bespoke the sad state of the Republican party even then:
If your political priorities are the total defeat of a single politician – not the advancement of your own policies through debate or legislation – then you are already in pretty desperate shape…
You also look weak and foolish when you lose…
…Obama’s approval ratings (52%) are almost identical to Reagan’s in August 1988 (53%) and a dramatic contrast to those of George W Bush (32%) in 2008.
Wolffe recommends that the GOP do “some serious soul-searching” which would lead to “a dismantling of the politics of personal destruction, and the creation of a new, hopeful agenda that can appeal to the mainstream.” He conceded that Republicans had Obama on his heels for a while, “but then they contrived to revive him by nominating a man who would destroy everything Obama stood for, along with much of the free world as we know it…[Obama] is having an unusually successful end to his second term, and for that he can thank the Republicans who were so determined to destroy him.”