It isn't so much paranoia about President Obama's policies as it is paranoia about the man himself — that he is, in some fundamental way, different, foreign, untrustworthy, even traitorous. What's odd is that it is attached to a president whose presidency has been, in almost every respect, conventionally liberal.(....)
Obama's presidency is in many ways ordinary, but the feelings it evokes are not. There is something about seeing Obama in the White House that deeply unsettles his critics. Obama Derangement Syndrome rationalizes those feelings.
If it's really true that Obama doesn't love this country, if it's really true that his birth was a conspiracy and his ideology is baroque, foreign, and hateful, then the discomfort some Americans feel when they look at Obama is justified — it's a kind of patriotic spidey-sense. The alternative explanation — the one that looks at why Obama makes some Americans so much more uncomfortable than, say, Joe Biden — requires a much harder conversation.And commenter Claudius on Brad DeLong's site makes the obvious comparison between criticisms of GW and criticisms of Obama, and why the latter have to be invented:
I think that in a way, this President is unusually scandal free. He really is a rather remarkable individual and politician, and going from Columbia and leaving behind a more traditional role in business and consulting, became an organizer in poor, rough neighborhoods of Chicago, then the Chicago school of law and a civil rights firm. And what he did growing up, he fully confessed in his first book.
For someone coming out of Chicago politics, they have nothing to hang on him.
I don't think the Clintons were guilty of any of the petty scandals created on the right, but there was more fertile ground to till; there actually were associates who went to jail, and an early cabinet member that committed suicide. They still made things up about the Clintons, but didn't have to stretch as far. For Obama, because he is either clean or already confessed his sins, and has such an idyllic family life, they have to make up so much ridiculousness.
I didn't like W, but it was because he wasn't paying attention before 9-11, allowed torture, blundered the US into war in Iraq and then mismanaged the occupation, and otherwise neglected America in service of the rich and corporate interests. He didn't need any strange background - it was enough that he was a poor leader, poorly advised, making poor decisions, and intellectually incurious. I was perfectly comfortable judging him on what he did as president, and without hyperbole. Obama's critics have no such easy ammunition.