“Democrats worry that Mr. Obama, hampered, too, by his own inexperience and dispassionate style, is increasingly weakened by what they fume is a party that fundamentally disrespects him and his office. They fear the outcome as Congress and the White House face off on a host of new issues: the national deficit and finishing this year’s budget, reauthorization of a controversial federal aviation bill and the fate of the cash-strapped Postal Service. The relationship was foreshadowed in 2009 when Representative Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, yelled ‘You lie!’ during a presidential address to Congress — a remarkably rare outburst on the House floor. Since then, Congressional Republicans have turned down requests for White House meetings, refused to return the president’s call and walked out of budget talks…
“‘The closest we have come to this was Tom DeLay’s hatred for Clinton when he demanded impeachment of him,’ said Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group. ‘But that was one guy or a handful. Now it is much more widespread, and the toxicity is, and culture is different now.’…
“Many Republican members ‘don’t respect him,’ Mr. Grijalva said, adding, ‘Not even in our worst days as Democrats did we demean and attempt to cripple the office of president.'”
“When George W. Bush was president, harsh things were said all the time by congressional Democrats and their leaders. Some even crossed the line.Yet, while there was disdain for the man in the Oval Office, respect for the office itself was never in doubt. I seriously worry that it’s in doubt now among some Republicans. Each petty slight by Boehner is one more chip away at respect for the presidency.
“In Obama, we have a president more grounded and comfortable in his own skin than many of the people he has to work with to govern this country. He’s bigger than most of us. So the petty slights that get a lot of us riled up probably don’t register to him. He’s a thinker and plotter with his eyes on the prize down the road, not the daily hysteria taking place on the road to get there. That’s why I’m praying that when the real fight comes, the president will show Republicans — and the American people — that he’s not the pushover they believe him to be.”
“At an Illinois gathering earlier this week, Walsh called the president ‘idiotic’ and said he ‘destroyed job creation systematically for three years.’
“Walsh told Bashir that he apologized for the statement at a town hall meeting on Thursday, saying he meant to call Obama’s plan to present a jobs speech ‘idiotic,’ rather than the president himself.
“‘I did not mean to say that,’ Walsh told Bashir. ‘That was over the line.'”
“President Barack Obama will honor NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and the 11 other Chase drivers from last year in a White House ceremony on Wednesday – but nearly half of the 2010 playoff contenders won’t be there.
“NASCAR said Thursday that five drivers – Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart – will not be attending the White House visit due to ‘schedule conflicts.’
“They must be very busy people. Regardless of one’s political views, the president is still the president – and an opportunity to speak with the leader of the free world is a rare and special one.”
“From the Republican perspective, there was no real downside to making Obama feel ‘frustrated,’ as the president described his feelings in an e-mail to campaign supporters. Boehner’s resistance to the president’s request, even if justified under the circumstances described, merely added to the growing perception that Obama is weak. He can’t get no respect. Recall that Boehner also refused to return the president’s phone calls for several days during the debt-ceiling debate.
“Rude, or just shrewd?
“The answer depends on whose side you’re on and whose team is ‘winning.’ Though Democrats may protest the speaker’s “rudeness,” they also feel the increasing loserness of Obama. As pure gamesmanship, whether intended, Boehner’s move was brilliant. Just as Obama’s team had to know that his original request conflicted with a much-ballyhooed Republican debate, Boehner’s surely knew that the big game was on the alternative date he suggested. If Obama’s speech wasn’t compelling enough for Congress to pull a hasty resolution together, then what does it say that he can’t compete with a ballgame?”
“These guys in the Obama camp are in for a horrible, rude awakening. Sometime in the next year, they are going to blink and realize they are lying flat on their back on the canvas. Then as they finally stumble up, they’ll realize they should have started fighting 11 rounds ago. Then a panic will set in, but I’m afraid it will be too late by then.
“Here is what all voters, and especially independents, despise and disdain in a politician — weakness. Nobody wants to see their leader get beat to a pulp every night and then bow his head again.
“There is no secret, brilliant strategy. This White House is in a bubble. They think they’re winning when the roof is about to cave in.”
“No, the only truly bold and inspirational thing that Barack Obama has ever done is run for president. It is a trick he has already proven himself incapable of repeating. Even a re-elected Obama will be a cipher and an albatross, just as George W. Bush dragged the Republican Party deeper into discredit the greater the pile of ‘political capital’ he had to spend…
“It’s not just that Barack Obama seems willing to diminish every liberal’s dreams but his own. It’s that he’s tarnishing his party’s reputation just at the moment of its once-assured triumph. Having owned up to their disappointment, Democrats must now decide whether to go to the mat to reelect the president anyway. Without their total support, he’s sunk. This, more than any mumbo-jumbo, is why Rick Perry is striking fear into the hearts of Democrats.”
Via Greg Hengler.