William Jefferson Clinton has a great name for a President. In my view, it evokes a sense of the past and of dignity. It just sounds Presidential. Much better than George Walker Bush, James Earl Carter, or even Ronald Wilson Reagan. That said, Bill Clinton--as President--had some decidedly un-Presidential moments. From the bald-faced lying to the American public, to the revelations about his trysts with an intern, to his wife's blatherings about a "vast right wing conspiracy."
In contrast, I look at Reagan and Carter and see men who--regardless of how one sees their actual performance in office--carried themselves with the dignity the office demands, the dignity we should expect from out Chief Executive. I think George W. Bush behaved admirably in this regard as well, though I know there is a large segment of the population who rejoices in labeling him a fool, in mocking his conduct. Still, I think people would be hard-pressed to point out specific instances where Bush acted less-than-Presidentially.
Still, such things are perfectly understandable and reasonable, in my opinion. Going back into history, past Presidents here and leaders elsewhere would commission paintings and sculptures of themselves, often in less-than-realistic situations and poses. It goes with the territory; it's the pomp and circumstance needed for the dignity of the office or for the state.
Barack Hussein Obama has a very uncommon name for a President, that much is certain. But it's something we--as a society--need to get past. The country is not all ancestors of Brits and Scots; time marches forward and names are as plentiful as people. As such, the President's name doesn't make him any less Presidential than his predecessors. His actions, however, are another matter entirely.
From the beginning of his Presidency, Obama has been snippy, petty, and condescending towards his political opponents, towards officials who dare to disagree with him, and--worst of all--towards everyday American citizens.
Jay Cost at the Weekly Standard traces some of this history in an analysis that shows just how divisive a President Obama has been and continues to be. He points to Obama's comments, just after he became President:
President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.
"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.That's the President of the United States publicaly singling out and attacking a private citizen. It's over the line and clearly so. Yet, Obama sycophants in the media applauded him for "sticking it to" Limbaugh, for having the "courage" to say what he said. Please. It takes courage to not shoot your mouth off, when you're the leader of the Free World, the most powerful man in the country.
Cost also details how Obama essentially adopted the "phony bipartisanship" he had previously criticized in his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, as his own administration's modus operandi. We have the Stimulus Bill--and others--as proof-positive of this reality. Obama has--from the beginning--used class warfare rhetoric and strawman constructs to criticize his political foes and their ideas, as well. There was never the "give-and-take" approach he had written about in his book, he had promised in his campaign.
Of course, his sycophants defend this too, insisting that it was all because of Republican "obstructionism," insisting that the previous Administration--that of Bush--did much worse, even as they ignore the reality of Bush actually working with Democrat leaders in Congress to craft various pieces of legislation, actually standing beside them to announce the passage of such things.
But this is just the beginning, with regard to un-Presidential moments for the President. For instance, there was Obama's "tsk-tsking" of Supreme Court Justices during a State of the Union Address, followed by--more recently--attempts to intimidate the Court over the fate of Obamacare. Hardly the actions of a stoic and noble Statesman. Can anyone imagine George Washington behaving similarly?
And perhaps Obama's least Presidential moment of them all was this in 2009, his public mocking of American citizens across the country engaged in non-violent, non-disruptive protests of Government miscues:
Remember that? "Folks waving tea bags around," complete with a demeanor of disgust and an obnoxious little hand gesture. For me, this was the low point of the Obama Presidency. It's when it went into the gutter and it's never recovered. People I know--friends, actually--defend it or claim it was no big deal, but I cannot--for the life of me--recall any past President making fun of private citizens in this manner, citizens who were doing nothing more than exercising their Constitutional rights.
When the Occupy Wall Street movement started, Obama was quick to express sympathy and understanding for those citizens. No mocking, no jokes there. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, in my opinion. I expect much more from the President, from my President. I expect him to respect citizens as a whole, to recognize and at least try to appreciate their concerns, even if he disagrees. Hell, Bill Clinton could do that. So could Bush, and Reagan, and Carter. Obama? Nope. He's just too damn petty.