Obama White House Attacks Chief Justice Roberts

Via Commentary, I found this observation by ABC’s Jan Crawford spot on about the Obama’s administration’s constant yapping about anything and everything. The context is the White House’s response to Chief Justice John Roberts’ comments yesterday about President Obama’s calling out the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on a campaign finance case that may allow corporations a more direct rout to influencing elections.

Roberts said that the president’s scathing critique of that ruling during the SOTU address was inappropriate. Here’s what he said:

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said Tuesday the scene at President Obama’s State of the Union address was “very troubling” and the annual speech has “degenerated to a political pep rally.”

Obama chided the court, with the justices seated before him in their black robes, for its decision on a campaign finance case.

Responding to a University of Alabama law student’s question, Roberts said anyone was free to criticize the court, and some have an obligation to do so because of their positions.

“So I have no problems with that,” he said. “On the other hand, there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum.

“The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court – according the requirements of protocol – has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.”

The thin skinned Obama White House melted under this sugar coated rebuke and unleashed a Gibbs tirade to swat this pesky fly. ABC’s Crawford was quick to pick up on the pique:

For the life of me, I just don’t get why the White House continues to try to pick a fight with the Supreme Court. I’ve suggested before that perhaps it’s a sign President Obama intends to tap an outsider when John Paul Stevens retires, so he can beat the drum that the Court is out of touch with everyday Americans.

Whether the White House has a short-term or long-term strategy or no strategy at all, it’s flat-out absurd and ill-advised for the administration to think it should always have the last word. It’s like my 6-year-old: “I don’t LIKE your idea. I like MY idea.”

Once again, a minor kerfluffle highlights a major weakness in this White House. They can’t engage on the issues or lead legislatively because they are stuck with the only thing they know how to do: campaign. As Jennifer Rubin notes, the knee jerk response of the Obama message machine again creates the predictable result – they are hoist on their own petard.

This is par for the course at this White House. It’s the perpetual rat-tat-tat, the quintessential campaign quick-response mode. There is no respect for the Chief Justice or the Court as an institution, nor for the point the Chief Justice was making: that it’s unseemly for the Court to appear and to get dragged into partisan brawls. In their partisan vitriol, the Obami, of course, proved the Chief Justice’s case. But then, self-awareness was never the White House’s strong suit.

Is this the partisan political wagon Democratic congressmen want to tie their fortunes to in the 2010 midterms? Surely there are Democratic campaign consultants out there whispering in a low voice to some Democratic members of Congress something like this: “Just let go and back slowly away from them. When you are safely out of the District RUN, don’t walk home, and start acting like you never knew Barack Obama.”

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