The ‘othering’ of a law-abiding president

The ‘othering’ of a law-abiding president

The Republican messaging machine is at it again, cranking out scurrilous memes that defame the president and distract from the party’s inaction.

The latest talking point is that the president is a “lawless” “dictator” hellbent on operating outside, and indeed above, the law.

This is not a particularly new line of attack. Conservatives have been using some variation of the lawlessness theme for some time to refer to the president’s actions, particularly to the administration’s adjustments to the Affordable Care Act.

But the distillation and repetition of the word “lawless” gathered new steam last month when the president signaled that he would work with Congress where he could but would issue executive orders, to the extent that he could, when he was stymied by Congress.

Before a cabinet meeting, the president said, “One of the things that I will be emphasizing in this meeting is the fact that we are not going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we are providing Americans the kind of help that they need.” He added, “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.”

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