Judging by a hefty percentage of reader comments on Monday, President Obama's bleak analysis of Chrysler and G.M.'s prospects for survival is seen by many Salon readers as a betrayal of the unionized autoworker and further proof that the White House may have changed occupants, but still pledges undying fealty to Wall Street.
Excuse me if I skip work tomorrow to see my doctor for whiplash. After all, just last week, I spent a fair amount of my time wading through right-wing attacks on the president that accused him of not only leading the country down the road to "socialism" and "economic Marxism" but also of a nefarious plan to sabotage the U.S. dollar. So I can't get it straight -- does Obama swear fealty to Ayn Rand or Vladimir Lenin? Because it can't be both, right? I know Obama's an accomplished politician, but come on!
I am sorely tempted to argue that anyone who can inspire such fear and loathing from both the extreme right and left has got to be doing something right. Certainly, I always feel an extra bit of pride when the same blog post has readers accusing me of being a capitalist stooge or a deluded Marxist revolutionary. Life is full of contradictions! Don't fear them -- embrace them! But there's a false equivalency at work here. I'd be the first to admit that I think the most paranoid fears of the right can only be the result of alien abduction brain-washings, while the growing clamor on the left has yet to be proven conclusively wrong. Watching the folks at National Review's the Corner try to convince themselves that Obama's use of a teleprompter proves that he is "dumb" really makes one wonder whether conservatives have a future in this country. The theory that Goldman Sachs is pulling Obama's puppet strings -- well, the best I can say is the jury is still out.