Whatever Happened To Respecting The Presidency?

The Invasion of Iraq, The Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, The Tax Cuts, The Response To Hurricane Katrina, The Election Of 2000, Etc., Etc.

Nobody can ever accuse George W. Bush of not giving his opponents ammunition. During eight years of policies that involved us in multiple wars, turned a surplus into the biggest-ever deficit, and abridged civil liberties for U.S. citizens (and our prisoners), even those who agreed with his policies (by 2008, five people in Texas) had to agree that they were at the least aggressive.

Anything more than that, though, and you were a fucking traitor. Politics stops at the water’s edge, buddy, and you’re giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Don’t you remember the towers falling? Whose side are you on, anyway? Whether you agree with him or not, he’s the President of the United States and you need to show respect for the office.

What a bunch of hypocritical bullshit.

Obviously, anybody who remembered the Clinton years realized that the Republicans were running one of their patented short-term-memory games. They’re Dottie from Finding Nemo… whatever they see before them at that moment is the way it’s always been. And the Democrats are Charlie Brown, always believing that Lucy would never be a big enough bitch to pull away the football yet again. Good fucking grief.

The two Democratic presidencies of the past 30 years have been marked by a level of maliciousness and bad faith that is remarkable. Obviously, the U.S. has a combative two-party system that is growing more and more strained. But the difference in the level of respect for the Presidency between the parties is striking. Somehow, the Republicans have figured out how to show absolutely no respect for Clinton and Obama while muting criticism of their Presidents by calling it Un-American.

With Clinton, it was more intensely personal. Part of it was what he gave them… everybody knew he was just a pig fucker from Arkansas who would stick it into the nearest hole given half a chance. Part of it was what Hilary gave them… by becoming the face of health care and talking about the Presidency being a partnership, that lesbian, family-hating bitch was just asking for it. Part of it was the times… both because of Clinton’s policies and the blind luck that all Presidents are dependent upon (such as the Internet bubble), the economy was booming and America didn’t have any major foreign policy issues.

By all indications, Obama is squeaky clean, with a wife who’s content with tending her own garden (literally). So, the Republican have decided to go with straight out disrespect. They’ve gone after his citizenship and loyalty to the U.S. They’ve called him a Socialist and a Muslim (not sure which Republicans think is worse). They’ve accused him of wanting to kill the elderly. They’ve questioned his involvement in Libya and moved to cut off funding (can you fucking imagine if the Democrats even thought about doing something like that). They’ve even shouted out on the House floor that he’s a “liar” (ditto).

And on Wednesday, for the first time in history, the Republicans denied the President an invitation to address a joint session of Congress. What stunning disrespect for the Presidency… the Republicans must be up in arms.

“This is a pure campaign speech and to give it the imprimatur of a speech before a joint session of Congress, there’s no way, he doesn’t deserve that.” – Rush Limbaugh

“Instead of being a prop of another one of the President’s speeches, next Thursday I will fly home to IL to talk to real job creators.” – IL Rep. Joe Walsh

Of course, Speaker Boehner had a good reason to deny the date (after he reportedly agreed to it before pulling away the football when the White House publicly announced it). The House was going back into session that night, and there was a bunch of parliamentary and security stuff to do. But wait, the House never went out of session. They kept the session technically going in order to keep Obama from making recess appointments they didn’t like, something that Bush did all the time (such as U.N. Ambassador John Bolton). Of course, this is the party that threatened to use the “nuclear option” to stop filibusters, but are currently setting records for filibusters. This is the party that screamed about Democrats not confirming Bush’s appointments, but are currently setting records for unfilled appointments. This is the party that insisted on treating the Presidency with respect, but is currently treating the President with the level of respect they show their gardeners, nannies and drivers.

Obviously, Obama finally had enough and screamed bloody murder about the disrespect that the Presidency (and he personally) was being shown. He told Boehner to fuck himself, that he would give his speech on the Capitol steps if necessary to point out the unreasonableness of the Republicans, whose negative ratings dwarf his own weak numbers. He finally said enough is enough.

Hold on… OK, it turns out he quickly caved and moved it back a day, putting it in conflict with the NFL kickoff, which is one of the few things John Q. Public actually gives a shit about. Good fucking grief.

We could break down the factors that have led to this clusterfuck… the rise of the Tea Party, the rise of instantaneous social media, the lack of interaction between the members of the parties in Congress, race (anybody who thinks that this amazing level of disrespect has nothing to do with it being directed toward the first Black President is at best naive).

All of these are factors, but there’s only one thing Obama can do anything about… his own weak-ass response. When Obama took the Presidency, the biggest worry for Democrats was about his testicular fortitude. Not that he was weak (something that his ballsy call on the Osama raid showed wasn’t an issue), but that he didn’t have a taste for the bloodsport that is Washington politics. At heart, Obama’s a professor… he enjoys debate, he sees both sides, he realizes that rarely in life is there a right and a wrong answer. Which is great when you’re dealing with people who are interested in “truth” or “the best answer”. Which is not so great when you’re dealing with people who are only interested in winning (which is what politics always comes down to).

Obama is like the smart kid in school who keeps getting his lunch money taken by a bully. When the bully is in a good mood, he’s thankful to be able to play some kickball unmolested. When the bully is in a bad mood, he whines about how unfair it is that he’s so hungry. Obama seems to think there are rules on the playground, that eventually the bully will realize what a dickhead he’s being.

Say what you will about Clinton, but nobody ever accused him of not liking the taste of blood. Obama obviously realized his deficiency in this area when he twisted Rahm Emanuel’s arm into becoming his gatekeeper. Rahm may have been an imperfect Chief-Of-Staff, but at least he would tell Congress to go fuck themselves (see: pushing through Health Care Reform). While he was replaced by another Chicagoan, Bill Daley is a company man, someone who’s a good facilitator, not a protector (see: getting run over during the 2000 recount).

Obama has decided to steal Clinton’s strategy of co-opting Republican policies (the most long-term damaging of Clinton’s mistakes), instead of emulating his tenaciousness. He seems to keep thinking that good intentions and logic will win out over unreasonableness and disrespect, instead of fighting fire with fire.



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Filed under David Simon Cowell, Politics Has AIDS

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