I have been pondering for some time now the comments of some on the right, most notably Limbaugh, that they hope that Obama's policies fail. It really is worth thinking for a minute about what exactly they are saying and to play out the implications of the sentiments these comments reveal.
To begin with, the comments are generally along that lines of saying something like, "Do I hope Obama's policies succeed? Of course, not, I hope they fail!" Well, let's focus on the outcomes intended by the various economic policies Obama has put forward. In short, those policies are intended to have the outcome of avoiding a severe economic depression and of restoring economic vitality. If the policies he has launched succeed, what will be the outcome? Well, we will avoid a severe depression, which means, for example, that unemployment will top out at a lower rate. In turn, this means less suffering for those who might otherwise have become unemployed. Similarly, having things improve more quickly means that those who have already become unemployed will be able to find jobs. Less homes will be foreclosed upon, less folks in bread lines, more folks off unemployment compensation sooner, etc.
Realizing these things leads one to ask exactly why some one would not want those outcomes. Why would Limbaugh et al desire higher and longer levels of unemployment? Why would they desire to see more homes foreclosed upon? Why would they want to see more folks lose insurance coverage and the attendant suffering that goes along with that? We should make no mistake about this, a naked claim that one hopes Obama's economic policies fail is directly transferable to a claim that one desires to see increased levels of human suffering. We, likewise, ought not to be the least bit bashful about pointing out these implications and connect them directly to the folks who are making these outrageous claims.
In all fairness, we should recognize that it would be fairly easy for folks like Limbaugh to offer a much more reasoned claim. For example, they could say something like, "I am firmly committed to conservative policies and, as such, I firmly believe that human suffering will be minimized by adopting conservative policies. If I am correct, then Obama's policies will fail. However, my first priority is to see beyond my own ideology to hope that whatever best alleviates human suffering is adopted and succeeds as quickly as possible." Of course, a blowhard like Limbaugh, who makes a living on stirring up folks by pontificating on exxagerated claims can hardly afford (literally, afford) to make these more reasoned claims. His success depends on being outrageous, not reasoned. "Talent on loan from God." One wonders what God is going to say about how he used it when he returns it.....
When you get a chance, be sure to point out these implications. Remind folks that ideological blinders (or, even simple profit motive) force folks to make these sorts of unfortunate claims, and remind them, especially in Christian circles, that our first goal is NOT defending ideologies but rather to defend human flourising.