The Real-World Consequences of Obama Derangement Syndrome

Jim Tankersley has a fine piece in the Washington Post today about the anger that people in conservative communities feel about both the stagnant economy and the man they blame for it: President Obama. One guy in Rome, Georgia, obviously lost his specialty butcher shop business because of the recession and a new supermarket opening down the street, but apparently his bank decided to tell him they wouldn’t extend him another loan due to Dodd-Frank. This was almost certainly just a convenient fib, but he believes it. Another guy is shutting down his wholesale produce business because of the recession and the loss of a big contract to another bidder, but he blames Dodd-Frank too. Needless to say, both these folks would be better off if conservatives in Congress had permitted a stronger response to the financial crisis. Instead they blame Obama and praise their congressman for shutting down the government this month.

And then there’s Donald Rizer:

Rizer did not have a new job lined up. He had come down to Rome after leaving a carpet factory several years ago. He needs shoulder surgery but can’t afford insurance. And because of a quirk in the health-care law, and the fact that Georgia declined to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income people like him, Rizer can’t qualify for a subsidy to buy coverage on his own.

When he visited the federal health insurance exchange Web site, he found the cheapest policy available to him cost $200 a month — one quarter of his current salary. “Obama,” he said, “he thinks that he’s helping things, but he ain’t.”

As Tankersley points out, Rizer should soon qualify for free health coverage thanks to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. The reason he’s not getting it is because (a) conservatives on the Supreme Court made Medicaid expansion optional, (b) Georgia’s conservative governor has refused to be “bullied” into joining the expansion, and (c) conservatives in the Georgia legislature supported him.

But who does Rizer blame? Obama, of course.

The whole piece is worth a read. It places a small spotlight on the real-world consequences of Obama Derangement Syndrome, and it’s both a little bit sad and a little bit enlightening.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.