Obama's hostility to those with a different point of view
So here is what is utterly remarkable: President Obama has been using the days and weeks leading up to his inauguration to show the depth of his disdain for the leaders of the other major party and, by inference, that party’s voters, which is to say more or less half the country. He has been spending his time alienating instead of summoning. It has left the political air more sour and estranged.
As a presidential style this is something strange and new. That has to be said again: It is new, and does not augur well.
What was remarkable about the president’s news conference Monday is that he didn’t seem to think he had to mask his partisan rancor or be large-spirited. He bristled with unashamed hostility for Republicans on the Hill. They are holding the economy “ransom,” they are using the threat of “crashing the American economy” as “leverage,” some are “absolutist” while others are “consumed with partisan brinkmanship.” They are holding “a gun at the head of the American people.” And what is “motivating and propelling” them is not a desire for debt reduction, as they claim. They are “suspicious about government’s commitment . . . to make sure that seniors have decent health care as they get older. They have suspicions about Social Security. They have suspicions about whether government should make sure that kids in poverty are getting enough to eat, or whether we should be spending money on medical research.”
And yet, “when I’m over here at the congressional picnic and folks are coming up and taking pictures with their family, I promise you, Michelle and I are very nice to them.”
You’re nice to them? To people who’d take food from the mouths of babes?
Then, grimly: “But it doesn’t prevent them from going onto the floor of the House and blasting me for being a big-spending socialist.” Conservative media outlets “demonize” the president, he complained, and so Republican legislators fear standing near him.
If Richard Nixon talked like that, they’d have called him paranoid and self-pitying. Oh wait . . .
Throughout the press conference the president demanded—they’d “better choose quickly”—that Republicans extend the debt ceiling. Pressed by reporters on whether he would negotiate with them to win this outcome, he made it clear he would not. He would have “a conversation.” Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman asked: “So you technically will negotiate?”
“No, Julianna,” he answered. “Either Congress pays its bills or it doesn’t.”
There was a logical inconsistency to his argument. A government shutdown would be so disastrous to the economy that he won’t negotiate with Republicans if that’s what it takes to avert it.Obama is taking his presidency to new depths of demagoguery. Noonan gives his performance the appropriate response--ridicule. That he would be such a small minded person should not be a surprise since he ran one of the most dishonest negative campaigns in history. With his record he must have thought that was the only way to win, and he now must think that demagoguery is the only way to survive.