Classless

The Blog Prof has a story up about how President Obama and his lackeys used a public appearance last week to set up a Republican congressman for public humiliation.

In brief: Obama came to Congressman Pete Hoekstra’s (R-MI) district to speak at a battery plant. During his speech, he included a dig at Hoekstra, and afterwards the press (tipped off by Obama lickspittle Robert Gibbs) mobbed him to get a response to the presidential cheap shot.

Now, there’s a protocol to such presidential visits. The local elected officials — from the mayor right up to the congressman and the senators — are invited to attend, and often do — not out of any personal loyalty to the president, but out of respect for the office. And at these events, the president remains positive and minimizes the partisanship — especially to those who have shown him their respect by attending.

That’s not what happened here. The Obama administration scheduled the event and invited Hoekstra to attend. Hoekstra accepted, as traditionally The Obama administration confirmed Hoekstra would attend — a safe bet, as this is just one of those things that congresscritters do. It helps show the people that their elected representatives, regardless of party affiliation, do understand that they are the elected representatives of everyone, not just of one party.

Once Hoesktra’s attendance was confirmed, Obama made sure to include his dig at Hoekstra and Robert Gibbs informed the press that talking to Hoekstra afterwards would likely yield some quite newsworthy quotes.

This is part and parcel of Obama’s character, a tactic he’s used before. Take an opportunity when he can speak without being challenged, and take a cheap shot at someone in the audience when Obama knows they can’t hit back.

He did it during the State of the Union address last January, when he looked the Supreme Court right in the eye and outright lied about a recent ruling of theirs that he did not like. At that point, the cameras zoomed in on the Justices, and Justice Scalia’s Alito’s mouthed (but unheard) surprised outburst of “that’s not true” suddenly became positively scandalous. (Apparently truth isn’t an absolute defense when Obama pulls crap like this.)

And another time, when Obama was addressing a joint session of Congress and denied that his health care plan would cover illegal aliens, Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted “You lie!”

It turned out that Wilson was correct — at that point, there were two clauses in the proposed bill that did extend benefits to illegal aliens — but that didn’t matter. The only issue that mattered was that Wilson had broken the decorum of the House.

This is a trademark Obama move. Take an event where he can reasonably be assured he will not be contradicted, confronted, or challenged, and take cheap shots at his political opponents — who are present, but constrained from answering. When that happens, he’s assured that his attack will go unanswered — and if those he’s attacking do respond, even mildly, they will be criticized for doing so.

Two possible responses come to mind. The first is that the Republican leadership could serve notice that, from now on, if Obama uses a nominally non-partisan event to engage in partisan political attacks, they will recognize that “the gloves are off” and respond in kind. The next time Obama considers pulling this kind of crap, he will do so knowing that he very well might be challenged on the spot.

The other one is that Obama grows the hell up and starts acting like the president. That he stops campaigning and starts governing. That he stops being the “community organizer in chief” and starts being the “commander in chief.”

Frankly, I don’t like the odds of either happening.

Update: Trivial correction that changes nothing about substance of article made, another Lee Ward IP added to the banned list. It may be time to escalate his banning…

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