Robert N. Taylor

*There was a spectacle in Iowa last week. It was a demeaning spectacle in which President Obama got into a heated argument with Ryan Rhodes – a leading member of the state’s ultra-conservative Tea Party Movement. It makes little difference what the argument was about. My objection flows from the fact that it even took place.

The nation’s first African American president has made the mistake of believing that his rhetorical and oratory skills are so great that he can persuade just about anyone to his point of view. As a result, he frequently allows himself to be trapped into debates and arguments with people who are so wedded to conservative ideology that they become irrational, if not borderline lunatics.

And that is exactly what took place in Iowa. Obama must realize that the Tea Party Movement hates him and his more progressive policies. They believe he is a socialist; they believe he was not born in America; they believe he is a Muslim who is out to destroy America; and they believe he favors Blacks at the expense of whites.

There is not one iota of evidence to support any of these beliefs but ultra (near racist) conservatives still believe them. When one holds tenaciously to beliefs which conflict with reality that person is being irrational. It is a waste of time to try to have rational, evidence-based arguments with them. They are a prime example of the politician who allegedly said, “Don’t bother me with the facts; I’ve already made up my mind.”

When President Obama debates or argues with these people, he elevates them and demeans himself.

As he gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Obama needs to focus on his base and true independents. Conservatives are a lost cause. He is wasting time and energy trying to win over people who are actually out to destroy his presidency. But during his recent “road tour” of which the Iowa trip was part, he did not visit a single predominantly black area.

According to the most recent Gallop poll, Obama’s popularity, or public approval rating, has reached the lowest point of his presidency. The primary reason for this is that his advisors have convinced him to adopt this middle-of-the-road, always seek compromise approach to governing which pleases just about no one.

He cannot win over the conservatives and he angers his black and liberal support base with “compromises” like the recent debt-ceiling deal with Republicans. The crop of conservatives dominant in America today basically wants to push the country backwards. They are dangerous because they are looking forward to the past. They want to undo progressive policies going back as far as the Great Society programs of President Lyndon Johnson and even the New Deal programs President Franklin Roosevelt.

People who want to turn back the clock must be fought. They cannot be won over with rational arguments.

[Robert Taylor is editor of the blog Daily Black News Journal. Visit him by logging onto http://dailyblack.webs.com .]