When I posted here Friday that President Obama’s demeanor was arrogant and his body-language offensive when he met with House Republicans, what I was reacting to more than anything else was the rather obnoxious way he responded to thoughtful, highly respected Rep. Jeb Hensarling. Repeatedly calling him “Jim” instead of “Jeb,” Obama cut him off and then basically called the congressman a liar. Well, Hensarling put the facts where his mouth was, and showed again that Obama’s reliability on facts is something less than admirable.
The Washington Post has the whole exchange here. It captures some of the nature of the president’s supercilious attitude towards Hensarling, but you had to see it live to see how peeved, how thin-skinned, how arrogant, and how insulting his demeanor towards Hensarling was — an attitude that, if you watched, was SO different from Hensarling’s question, which while pointed and a bit long-winded, was in both words and demeanor respectful toward the president as a person — a respect Obama did NOT return. Not only that, but Obama had no business acting as if Hensarling was obnoxiously filibustering (actually, Hensarling specifically had just said he was about to actually ask the question when Obama cut him off), when Obama himself spoke at much much much greater length than most of his Republican questioners. He himself spoke longer than Hensarling in “answering” Hensarling.
“I am happy to have any independent fact-checker out there take a look at your presentation versus mine in terms of the accuracy of what I just said.” That is what Obama said while lecturing Hensarling. Again, I’ll put the Hensarling link here and invite the president to refute Hensarling’s facts. He can’t. Hensarling’s facts are accurate.
There were other parts of the last half-hour of the session in which Obama was testy, in which he came across as belittling the GOP, and in which he made the claim again (WHY DON”T REPUBLICANS CALL HIM OUT ON THIS?!?!?) that many of their criticisms of him are mere cheap-shot politicking.
There is something so off-putting about Obama’s demeanor as to really raise the hackles of those who aren’t already convinced he is right. I think that this is why — this demeanor of his — is one big reason why he has been so polarizing. His attitude almost always is: If you are not with me, you are either stupid or ill-motivated.
Jeb Hensarling is neither stupid nor ill-motivated. And he’s a better man than Obama is.