Kincaid, based in Owings, Md., recognizes that impeachment is a long shot, so he is focusing on pushing the GOP rightward. “We can survive Obama,” he says, “but is there another Reagan-like conservative who can lead the charge? Romney refused to run as a conservative. We had a failure of conservative candidates and conservative media, not of conservative philosophy.”
Although many Americans have thought about whether the president’s approach to health care and the role of government equates to socialism — “socialist” was the most looked-up word in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary in 2012 — polling indicates more widespread support for the conclusion that Obama is what he has called himself, a pragmatist. Before his first inauguration, he said that “what is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives — from ideology and small thinking. . . .”
Still, Obama’s more severe critics see him as highly ideological. Francis Cianfrocca, a New York cybersecurity entrepreneur, believes the president is determined to limit freedom and wealth. “He called people like me ‘fat cats,’ ” says the successful businessman. “What are we supposed to do with that? A lot of the personalization of the opposition to him comes from his saying personal things against capitalism, business people and Republicans.”
Although Cianfrocca thought of Obama as “a thoroughgoing socialist looking for wholesale reconstruction of the economy,” the president’s reelection persuaded the businessman that “the country is with him and that gives him tremendous moral authority.”
Cianfrocca’s disagreements with the president are mainly philosophical; he believes the country will right itself and flourish again within a decade. Many birthers and other hardcore anti-Obama activists, in contrast, see the president as the final architect of the collapse of American power.
“I despair for the future of our country,” says Bell. “He’s an emperor with no clothes.”
Even if the birther movement has lost some steam since Obama released his birth certificate in 2011, Davidson sees evidence that birthers are diversifying into other anti-Obama issues, using their Web sites and radio shows to focus attention on the next phase of the health-care debate, the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya and the latest Cabinet nominations.