Giving the President the Finger

Does President Obama have to smack a governor?

Seems there’s a little tension between President Obama and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. She wrote a book nobody read where she griped about how the president wasn’t very nice to her.

President Obama and Gov. Jan Brewer had a tense exchange Wednesday, sparring over the Arizona governor’s portrayal of Obama as “patronizing” in her memoirs.

Obama was greeted by Brewer soon after Air Force One landed in Phoenix this afternoon. The president was handed a handwritten letter by Brewer, and they spoke intensely for a few minutes, according to a White House pool report. At one point, she was pointing her finger at him and at another, they were talking at the same time, seemingly over each other, according to pooler Carrie Buddof Brown of Politico.

“He was a little disturbed about my book, ‘Scorpions for Breakfast,’ ” Brewer told reporters traveling with Obama. “I said to him that I have all the respect in the world for the office of the president. The book is what the book is. I asked him if he read the book. He said he read the excerpt. ”

In her 2011 book, Brewer is critical of the president and accused the president of being “patronizing” and said “he lectured me” during a June 2010 Oval Office meeting. In media interviews after the event, she described their conversation as cordial.

The White House offered a statement with their version of what transpired on the Phoenix tarmac:

“The governor handed the President a letter and said she was inviting him to meet with her. The President said he’d be glad to meet with her again, but did note that after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book. The President looks forward to continuing taking steps to help Arizona’s economy grow.

The President has to work with the Republican governors as well as the Democratic ones and some of them became governor running on platforms of opposing many of his major initiatives. It’s a volatile and delicate dance both sides have to play because there are times when the statehouses need to receive favorable responses from the White House.

But with this particular crop of Republican governors, Obama is often dealing with heads of states that are from unfriendly territory and are actively working against him. It’s a hard balance to strike between the presidential and the political. For the most part, Obama does his best not to belittle his Republican colleagues.

They seem to have a problem returning the treatment.

Republicans and rudeness. It's a trend, not an accident

No matter what your reason is you don’t shake your bony finger at the president. You just don’t do it.  You shake your finger at a misbehaving child, not the leader of the free world because you got beef with him.

You lose the argument and the high road when you interact with another person in an insulting, belittling and high-handed way. Your boss or your significant other is not going to react positively if you start jabbing your finger in their face.

It’s a hostile and unfriendly gesture. I’m not at all surprised that the criticisms and defenses of Gov. Brewer’s rude move fall along party lines. It’s yet another example of how the coarsening of our political discourse resembles wrestling matches. We choose up sides and cast the protagonists in the roles of good guys and bad.

The real substance of the issues gets lost in the sideshow,   Republicans like Brewer have been disrespecting the president since Day One and their disrespect has infected the entire politics of the country where heated rhetoric, name-calling and destroying your opponent’s good name is all the rage.

As far as the professional Obama haters are concerned, the only thing wrong with Brewer’s little stunt was she used the wrong finger.

If it were President Obama pointing his finger in the face of Governor Brewer, the condemnation of him would be nearly unanimous. At best, Obama would be blasted for being rude. At worse, he would be called a horrible sexist for treating a woman in such a condescending manner.

Should a woman get a pass for her bad behavior? I don’t think so and most citizen who believe you respect the office of the president, even if you’re not crazy about the guy doing the job, agree with me.

Is Jan Brewer having a Driving Miss Daisy moment where she’s telling Hoke he’s getting mighty uppity these days?   She said later she felt “intimidated” by the President.   Now that I can understand.  President Obama is intimidating.  It’s quite a culture shock for some Whites when they encounter a Black man that is not only their intellectual equal, but superior.  There are 50 governors, but only one president and he has more power than any governor can imagine.

I can’t look into Brewer’s soul and tell if she’s a bigot. Obviously she’s bad mannered and a less than gracious host to a visiting dignitary. Yet, let’s be judicious before calling Brewer a racist.

To paraphrase: never attribute to racism that which is adequately explained by rudeness. Or stupidity,

"See? You CAN make your point without pointing your finger."