By George E. Curry
No United States president has been more disrespected than Barack Obama – and his family.
The hatred for the nation’s first African American president is so deep that all but seven Republicans in the U.S. Senate were willing to write a letter to Iran that amounted to treason on a grand scale.
In an effort to derail talks that would limit Iran’s nuclear weapons, 47 Republican senators signed an “open letter” to Iran’s leaders claiming any deal they reach with the administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.
In an issue that caused the Republican senators to be labeled traitors in a New York Daily News headline. An editorial: said, “Regardless of President Obama’s fecklessness in negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, 47 Republican U.S. senators engaged in treachery by sending a letter to the mullahs aimed at cutting the legs out from under America’s commander-in-chief. We join GOP signatories in opposing the pact as outlined, but we strenuously condemn their betrayal of the U.S. constitutional system.”
In case there is any doubt, the liberal political website PoliticusUSA stated, “According to the dictionary definition, a traitor is one who betrays a person, a principle, or especially their country. It is of no consequence why someone, or a group, chooses to work in opposition to their nation, or fellow citizens’ well-being, because if their intent and result of their actions is to deliberately damage or cause harm to their country or fellow citizens, they are by definition traitors.”
It wasn’t all that long ago that Democrats and Republicans observed the rule that while we might have our internal debates, when it comes for foreign policy, we speak with one voice – that of the president.
House Republicans ignored that long-standing custom by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, knowing he would be critical of ongoing negotiations by the U.S. and its allies to freeze Iran’s nuclear weapons. The White House was not consulted on the invitation, a sharp departure from established protocol.
The disrespect for Obama and the presidency itself has reached such a low point that a headline in the Washington Post summed it up this way: “Republicans are beginning to act as though Barack Obama isn’t even the president.”
The story explained, “It’s safe to say that no president in modern times has had his legitimacy questioned by the opposition party as much as Barack Obama. But as his term in office enters its final phase, Republicans are embarking on an entirely new enterprise: They have decided that as long as he holds the office of the presidency, it’s no longer necessary to respect the office itself.”
And many argue that the hatred extends well beyond partisan politics.
PolitcusUSA stated, “It is likely that throughout America’s short history, except for the traitorous Confederacy, no group of individuals has exhibited the characteristic betrayal of a traitor more than conservatives in general, and Republicans in particular. What makes their actions all the more despicable is that their traitorous actions are founded on racial animus for one man; and allegiance to foreigners and one tiny segment of the population.”
The attacks on Obama began when he first ran for president, with some conservatives openly questioning whether he was a U.S. citizen.
Marilyn Davenport, a member of the Orange County Republican Party in California, e-mailed a cartoon in 2010 with the face of President Obama superimposed on a chimpanzee. Also pictured were two older chimpanzees described as “parents.” The inscription on the cartoon read: “Now you know why – No birth certificate.”
The New York Post went well over the line of respectability by publishing a cartoon in 2009, in the wake of Connecticut police shooting a pet chimpanzee, depicting the authors of the stimulus bill as a dead chimpanzee.
And who could forget Rep. Joe Wilson [R-S.C.], interrupting a 2009 presidential address on health care to Congress in by shouting, “You, lie!”
The personal attacks have not been limited to President Obama – his entire family has been attacked.
Last week, Emmy-winning Univision host Rodner Figueroa was fired for saying, “Michelle Obama looks like she’s part of the cast of Planet of the Apes.”
Michael O’Neal, Speaker of the Kansas House, circulated an email referring to the first lady as “Mrs. Yo’ Mama.”
Even Sasha and Malia have been targets of conservatives. They have been upbraided from everything from taking their spring break in the Bahamas to the clothes they wore when their father pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey.
As Media Matters, the watchdog group, stated, “On May 27,  President Obama explained at a press conference that he was reminded daily about the consequences of the oil spill by his daughter Malia who asked him did you plug the hole yet? while he was shaving.”
Both Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh saw fit to imitate Malia on air.
No stunt is too low or too vile for conservatives who hate everything about Obama, including his race.
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA) and BlackPressUSA.com. He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge and George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook. See previous columns at http://www.georgecurry.com/columns.