In the recent dust-up concerning President Obama’s planned address to Congress next week, two things show through clearly:
1) Obama is an arrogant prick.
B) Obama is way, way, way out of his depth.
Let’s look at how it all played out. Obama left for vacation, announcing that he would return with his jobs plan. Not to be confused with the jobs plan he said he’d have last year, but a brand-new one. On his return, he decided that the only way that would do his brilliance justice was before a joint session of Congress.
This let Obama do what he thinks he does best: give a big speech. In that speech, Obama would present himself as the mature, responsible adult lecturing the kiddies and magically entice them, through the sheer power of his oratorical brilliance, sway them to buy into what he was selling.
The timing of the speech was also classic Obama. He chose the night of the Republican Presidential Debate at the Reagan Library, scheduled months in advance. This would serve several purpose. It would draw public attention from those vying to be his rival next year. It would put three of the candidates — Representatives Bachmann, McCotter, and Paul — in the position of fulfilling their duties as Representatives or participating in the debate. And it would give the impression that Obama is the master of the federal government, including Congress.
Well, Congress itself believes differently. It believes that it is a co-equal branch of the federal government, and the president is only welcome there by invitation. And they have the Constitution and a couple hundred years of tradition on their side. They — especially the House, headed up by Republicans and whose chamber would be used for the address — saw right through the transparent ploy.
And here is where I have to give Speaker Boehner his due. The man showed remarkable political acumen. Instead of telling Obama to go pound sand (preferably on a golf course), he replied in a way that could not possibly be construed as political gamesmanship: “Wednesday’s bad for us. We’ll just be coming back from Labor Day, and there won’t be time for our required business and the mandatory security sweep of the building that the Secret Service insists upon. How about Thursday night?”
In one swell foop, Boehner utterly shredded Obama’s ploy. No longer would Obama be pre-empting the long-scheduled debate. By citing logistics, he avoided looking like it was a crass political response to a crass political move. That also avoided the issue of the speech simply time-shifting around the debate, preventing Obama’s speechifying either dominating the debate or him using it to quickly rebut anything that might have come up in it. Finally, it put Obama’s speech up against not the Republican debate, but the kickoff of the NFL season.
This incident perfectly encapsulates three aspects of Obama’s character:
1) He is always in perpetual campaign mode. There is absolutely no reason for him to present his program in a joint address, except for the visuals: it makes him look (in his eyes) presidential, giving his speech to the poor, benighted Congress (which he wasted no time in bashing immediately after gaining their consent for the address) who so need his wisdom and maturity.
2) All of Obama’s problems can be solved with him giving a speech. He seems to think — like a lot of liberals — that he can magically win over his opponents if he just finds the right combination of magic words. That if he just explains things right, he’ll overcome all resistance. He is constitutionally incapable of acknowledging that his adversaries just might be as smart (or smarter) than he is, that they might have actual principles, and those principles — not ignorance — just might be the cause of their opposition.
3) Obama, whenever possible, will resort to the classic “dick move.” For example, remember the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this year? Traditionally, it’s a chance for the press corps to take shots at the president, and the president gets to cut loose a little and show hey, he’s human, too. This year, though, Donald Trump was attending. So instead of Obama being the main target, Trump was — even by Obama. And unlike in the past, where the president gets to get in the last word, Trump was denied the chance to say or do anything but sit there and take all the shots, and smile all through it. Classic Dick Move.
When Obama was giving a speech on the debt ceiling issue, he invited several key members of Congress to attend — including Congressman Paul Ryan. He even made sure Ryan was sitting front and center, probably expecting a gesture of bipartisanship. Instead, Obama singled out Ryan’s plan for scorn and derision, while Ryan had to sit there and pretend it was just fine with him. Classic Dick Move.
When President Obama gave his 2010 State of the Union Address, he chose to single out the Supreme Court for some very pointed criticism — and, in the process, deliberately misstated the facts of the case in question. (The man is a former Constitutional Law lecturer, and allegedly a highly intelligent Constitutional scholar. Don’t tell me he got the facts of Citizens United wrong by accident.) The Supreme Court is there to show solidarity with their other branches, and their respect for their co-equals — not to get crapped on. Justice Alito, stunned at this breach of protocol, was caught muttering “that’s not true,” and was promptly deluged with criticism for stating a truth. Note that most of the justices chose to skip this year’s address. Classic Dick Move.
When Obama was giving a speech in Holland, Michigan, his staff made a point of inviting Congressman Pete Hoekstra to the event. This is also traditional; even though Hoekstra is a Republican, it’s a courtesy when visiting a district to have the Representative there, and to say something nice about them. Instead, Obama’s staff put him in the front row so he could enjoy Obama slamming him in his speech. Classic Dick Move.
With all that in mind, is it any wonder that President George W. Bush — who has quietly withstood being Obama’s scapegoat for everything and anything — politely declined Obama’s invitation to attend the Ground Zero ceremony observing the 10th anniversary of 9/11? Just imagine what Obama would say at that occasion, knowing that Bush wouldn’t be free to react in the least?
Here are the rules to remember when dealing with President Obama:
1) He is always in campaign mode.
2) He always thinks he’s the smartest man in the room.
3) He is always in political mode.
4) He will almost always go for the Classic Dick Move.
5) His idea of “bipartisanship” is “shut up and agree with me, you ignorant jerks.”
Boehner’s move is already being assailed on the left as “blatantly political” and “petty” and “arrogant” and talking about how he got Obama to back down. What is not being said — but should be noted — that Boehner countered a blatantly policital move in a way that defused the tension and showed who was the mature, intelligent adult in this confrontation.
Now, if Boehner really wanted to hit back at Obama in a way that would show just who the Master of the House is (hint: Boehner is the Speaker of the House), he’d arrange for some “technical difficulties” for Obama’s Teleprompter next Thursday night…