Classic Obama: Bully as Victim
By Dave Andrusko
An interesting question, sheer speculation, to be sure, but interesting nonetheless. Now that pro-abortion President Barack Obama is about to be officially ensconced in the White House for four more years, is it possible (not likely but possible) that the halo that the mainstream media has placed on his head might be revealed to be just a tad tarnished?
I’m not naïve. I’ve been in politics since the 70s and editor of the Washington, DC-based National Right to Life News since 1981, so I have no illusions about fairness. The press is overwhelmingly pro-abortion and hostile to the point of bristling at the very mention of the word “Republican.”
As a consequence Mr. Obama had a huge advantage running for President the first time; enjoyed an extended honeymoon (like the entire first term!); and was given a free pass while the Washington Post and the New York Times and the major networks and a constellation of blogs just lit into pro-life Mitt Romney.
But that’s history. Now that he is about to be sworn in, any chance reporters and columnists will allude to the obvious: that Obama gives arrogance a bad name, is thin-skinned to the point of translucence, and is aggressive hostile to the very idea that there is such a thing as a legitimate contrary view?
In other words does the press baby him until he retires to become President of the World, or whatever comes next, or does it occasionally treat him as an adult—i.e., accountable for his deeds and words rather than his “intentions”?
A baby step, so to speak, might be Dana Milbank’s column in yesterday’s Washington Post.
The prevailing narrative into which everything about the President’s relationship with the Republican House of Representative must lodge runs like this. Obama is the model of patience, or alternatively, would be if it weren’t for the absolute intransigence of the Republicans who have no goal—NONE—other than frustrating Obama’s glorious agenda for transformation.
Milbank, a full-time apologist for Obama, challenges that framework ever, EVER so gently. The setting for the column was the President’s once-in-a-blue-moon press conference Monday in which a couple of reporters dared to broach the obvious: perhaps his relationship with Republicans in the House would be a trifle less adversarial if maybe every year or two he took ten minutes to treat them like human beings, if not equals.
His response was classic Obama: “I’m a pretty friendly guy,” he said in response to “the criticism that he and his staff are insular and that he doesn’t socialize.” He added, for good measure, “I like a good party.”
But if you’ve listened to him for more than an hour, you KNEW what was coming next. He’d be Mr. Sunshine if it weren’t for those dastardly Republicans who would see this as a sign of weakness. Worse yet taking pictures with the Prez wouldn’t stop them from running to “the floor of the House and, you know, blasting me for being a big-spending socialist.”
In fact, in that passive-aggressive whiny style of which he is a master, Obama insists he is doing Republicans a favor by not schmoozing with them. Pardon?
“Given the tendency by conservative media ‘to demonize me,’ Obama said, socializing with the president might lead to ‘a challenge from somebody in a primary.’”
The answer? “The only way to change lawmakers’ behavior, he said, is for voters to ‘reject’ the partisans who don’t compromise. ‘“
At the risk of stating the stupendously obvious, there is no one in Washington, DC who is more instinctively, habitually opposed to “compromise” than President Obama.
Without getting into a discussion of other issues, it is fair to say that Obama never changes his approach. No matter how little contact a particular proposal may have with reality, to offer a counterproposal is BY DEFINITION evidence of your bad faith.
He denounces you loudly and often, and because the media are such cowards, Obama gets away with it.
In the middle of his column, Milbank is honest enough to admit, “Obama showed unrelenting hostility toward the opposition, accompanying his remarks with dismissive shrugs and skeptical frowns.”
In fact, Obama’s comments were dripping with a mixture of condescension and dismissiveness. But perhaps there is hope.
More and more that smug superiority is on display in his attitude toward reporters, the few times he deigns to take questions. Might there ever come the day they grow a collective backbone and respond, “Hey, enough of this!”?