In typically cogent fashion, Thomas Sowell wrote a couple of weeks ago that “contempt for ordinary people” has become a “hallmark” of the Obama administration. He is, of course, not wrong about that. However, the way the inestimable Dr. Sowell framed the sentence may be, if anything, completely on target, but just shy of the bullseye. Indeed, it is difficult to recall a President who has indulged in more insults towards anyone with whom he disagrees or whom he generally finds unappealing than the current White House occupant.
For a President who was heralded far and wide as a beacon of hope, inspiration and (we dare not forget) CHANGE, the derisiveness was unleashed early on, before the 2008 primary season had even wrapped. At a California fundraiser in April 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama lampooned Pennsylvania voters as people who “cling to guns and religion and antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”
To his credit, Obama probably believed he was speaking to a closed audience, though this hardly excuses the vitriol he displayed. Four months later, emboldened by the nomination he had secured, flanked by the now infamous faux Greek pillars of Denver, Obama offered a disparaging assessment of his Republican opponent’s outlook on the state of the American economy: “John McCain doesn’t get it.” Try to locate a news item anywhere quoting Reagan stating that Carter “doesn’t get it.” Or the Bushes 41 and 43 iterating a similar sentiment towards, respectively, Bill Clinton or Al Gore. You won’t, because nothing of the sort ever occurred.
Once Obama took the Presidential oath, one of the first orders of business in a meeting with Republican congressional leadership was to make sure they also were put in their place. When challenged by Senator Jon Kyl on the sizeable spending in his stimulus package, Obama replied, “I won”, snidely quelling dissent.
And so an unbroken pattern of patronizing insults by the President of the United States towards a broad array of groups and individuals was firmly established that has continued, largely unabated, for the ensuing 2 years.
Fox News? In the Obama lexicon, it is a network that promotes a perspective that is “ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of America.” In a rare appearance on the Fox News Channel, four days prior to the passage of his Health Care bill, Obama interrupted “Special Report” host Bret Baier so obtusely and so often that Newsweek (“We Are All Socialists Now”) gauged an interrupt-a-thon to commemorate the event. Shortly afterwards, Obama referred to Baier’s fellow Fox News broadcaster, Glenn Beck, as “troublesome” and tacitly accepted CBS host Harry Smith’s premise that Beck was Obama’s “enemy.” Rush Limbaugh? Listening to him, Obama admonished Republican leaders, is not advisable “if you want to get things done around here.”
As millions of gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico for months earlier this year, Obama’s impulse was not geared towards finding a solution, but rather, to fling blame. He grandly bragged that his Administration now had placed their collective boot on the neck of British Petroleum, while simultaneously pining that he needed to convene a group of academic experts “so I’ll know whose a$$ to kick.”
One week before the November 2 election, Obama went on the radio and issued a staggering plea for Hispanic voters to help him “punish our enemies”…i.e., to vote against Republicans across the country in the polling booth. Even at the height of the Civil War, the single most intense period of inner strife our nation has ever faced, Abraham Lincoln graciously advocated “malice toward none and charity for all.” Rather than learning some lessons in collegiality from the 16th, the 44th President opted to refer to a sizeable portion of the constitutionally endowed American electorate as his enemies.
Now, this week brings the latest slur. In a sullen press conference on Tuesday of this week (December 7), Obama compared the Republican Congressional leadership to hostage takers: “It’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers, unless the hostage gets harmed. In this case, the hostage was the American people, and I was not willing to see them get harmed.” Never mind that this strident leap of logic completely fails to account for exceedingly temporary nature of the Bush tax cut extension deal to which he himself had consented. Petulance was the order of the day once again, as it has clearly been from the time Barack Obama has been awarded any resemblance of a public stage.
President Obama has at least two more years to transform himself from the Insulter-in-Chief to the Commander-in-Chief. Is he up to the task? Given his rhetoric thus far and his pathological disregard for personal responsibility, the prospects appear grim.