The Obama Watch

Our Prickly President

Obama gets irritated with those who dare question him.

By 7.6.11

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Has the Anointed One disrobed before our very eyes?

The presidency of Barack Hussein Obama might very well have begun its sharp and steep descent towards its nadir last week with his ill-advised press conference which alienated his normally steadfast allies in the liberal media.

No member of the fourth estate was more perturbed with President Obama's unpleasant disposition than Mark Halperin of Time magazine. While appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Halperin referred to Obama as "kind of a dick." Halperin's apology to Obama a short time later was insufficient for MSNBC, who indefinitely suspended him from running afoul of their Emperor. To put it into perspective, Ed Schultz was only banished for a week last May for referring to Laura Ingraham as "a right-wing slut." At MSNBC, clearly some offenses are more equal than others.

Nevertheless, one could certainly take Halperin to task for being rude and impolitic. After all, his remark forced him to absorb the white heat of scrutiny which would have otherwise been directed towards President Obama. I suppose Halperin could have said that he was merely likening Obama to Richard Nixon. But alas that would have been tricky.

Perhaps Halperin ought to have given the matter another seven seconds worth of thought. Had Halperin done so, he could have just as easily found another word to describe the president's performance that would have conveyed his displeasure without facing the consequence of disciplinary action by the overlords at MSNBC. Halperin would have been better served had he described President Obama as, well, prickly.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines prickly in part as being "easily irritated." Whether he's impugning the motives of a Republican adversary from the Midwest or staring coldly at a stalwart ally from the Mideast, it doesn't take much to arouse President Obama into an agitated state. Just ask Brad Watson, anchor and reporter from WFAA-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth.  Last April, Watson was granted an opportunity to interview President Obama at the White House. When Watson had the temerity to correct Obama about his margin of defeat to John McCain in Texas, Obama told Watson to let him finish his answers in the future. Unless Watson agrees to bow before him, I don't think Watson will be granted an audience with President Obama again. Perhaps it's just as well because somehow I suspect that Brad Watson is no Brian Williams.

Yet Barack Obama's prickly disposition can hardly be described as a characteristic he inherited during his thirty months in office much less cast blame for it on George W. Bush. It was on full display during the 2008 campaign. Case in point: the question of Barack Obama's patriotism. On June 30, 2008, in a speech given at the Harry Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, Obama admonished those who questioned his love of country:

I have come to know this from my own experience on the campaign trail. Throughout my life, I have always taken my deep and abiding love for this country as a given. It was how I was raised; it is what propelled me into public service; it is why I am running for President.

And yet, at certain times over the last sixteen months, I have found, for the first time, my patriotism challenged - at times as a result of my own carelessness, more often as a result of the desire by some to score political points and raise fears about who I am and what I stand for.

So let me say at this at outset of my remarks. I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine.

Of course, Obama never identified those who supposedly questioned his patriotism much less how they purportedly did so. Yet almost exactly three years to the date of this speech, consider what President Obama said about those in Congress who want to check his powers where it concerns our involvement in Libya:

We have engaged in a limited operation to help a lot of people against one of the worst tyrants in the world -- somebody who nobody should want to defend -- and we should be sending a unified message to this guy that he should step down and give his people a fair chance to live their lives without fear. And this suddenly becomes the cause célèbre for some folks in Congress? Come on.

Well, so much for President Obama not questioning the patriotism of others. On the other hand, one could argue that Obama only promised not to question the patriotism of others during the 2008 election and that such noble sentiments didn't apply once he took office. President Obama might deny there are "hostilities" in Libya but he has most certainly put his hostilities on full display towards anyone who dare cross his path.

Now when push comes to shove, the liberal media's annoyance with Obama will be fleeting. Regardless of which Republican he faces next year, the liberal media will resume its role as Obama's cheerleader, including Mark Halperin who will undoubtedly be eager to seek the forgiveness of The Anointed One. I fully expect that he and his cohorts will revert to a Nina Burleigh-like state in which they fall to their knees before Obama with their mouths agape.

Yet it might not be enough. Even the liberal media cannot stop Obama from self-destruction. If the economy continues to stagnate, Obama is one malaise speech away from being a one-term president. If Jimmy Carter's three decades away from the White House is any indication, we will only have begun to see the prickliness of Barack Obama. But I would much rather have a prickly Obama outside the Oval Office than in it.

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About the Author
Aaron Goldstein writes from Boston, Massachusetts.