There are a lot of people who could spark anger in an American president these days. Terrorists with US citizens in their crosshairs. Mass shooters who prey on innocent people. Foreign dictators with evil in their hearts.
And yet, for the past seven years, President Obama has consistently saved his most potent vitriol for the people he seemingly despises most: Republicans.
This president has never wavered on making Republicans his sworn enemy. Their crime? Disagreeing with him and his agenda.
Obama and the Democrats, who pride themselves on their intellectual open-mindedness, leave no room for a civilized discussion with Republicans. To Democrats, passing their liberal agenda is tantamount to "getting it right." Anyone who might disagree is fair game for ridicule.
Obama has publicly compared Republicans to "hard-liners" in Iran for opposing his Iranian nuclear deal. In 2013, then-White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer likened House Republicans to "people with a bomb strapped to their chest" who "show up at your house and say 'give me everything inside or I'm going to burn it down' " when they didn't want to capitulate on raising the nation's debt ceiling. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has openly compared Republicans to "terrorist groups."
The nastiness has spilled out on social media, as well. When Gail Huff, wife of former Republican senator Scott Brown, recently posted on Facebook that her daughter would be singing the national anthem before the Republican debate, a commenter posted that she would have an "issue" if her own son "sang for this group of bigots."
Terrorists? Suicide bombers? Bigots? Apparently, talking about one's beliefs in Obama's America carries with it a high price and a heavy burden — that is, if you're disagreeing with Obama.
The presidential campaign, with firebrand Donald Trump the front-runner for the Republican nomination, is providing plenty of excuses for Democrats to bash the Republican party. But Obama began his war on the GOP long before Trump was a twinkle in the election's eye.
Republicans need to fight back in 2016. It's worth it, because there's evidence Americans are willing to listen. A CBS News/New York Times poll taken after the shootings in San Bernardino found 57 percent disapprove of Obama's handling of terrorism, while 68 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
It's up to Republicans to seal the deal at the ballot box. How? By proving that the labels Democrats seek to place on us are wrong.
For example, I've yet to meet a Republican who thinks a woman should be paid less than a man. Yet when congressional Republicans opposed a Democrat-sponsored "equal pay" bill, Democrats chalked the opposition up to another transgression in the GOP's supposed "war on women." Republicans should have made a stronger argument that it is already illegal to discriminate against women and pointed out specifically why the particular bill the Democrats were pushing was flawed.
Then there's the debate over raising the debt ceiling. Obama and Democratic leaders have made the fight about Republicans being hell-bent on shutting down government. But Republicans never successfully counter with a solid argument for the valid point that raising the ceiling only adds to the monstrous burden on future generations.
In 2016, Republicans will have plenty of opportunities to get the message out and set the record straight. Let's fight back. Not with the same vitriol Democrats reserve for us, but by making a solid, reasoned case for why Republicans are in the best position to lead America forward.
Meredith Warren is a Republican political analyst and consultant.