I’m catching up on the President’s health care summit that was held, what, last Thursday? I don’t have the C-SPAN, nor do I have the stomach for watching such things even if I did have the C-SPAN, so I’ve been leisurely poking my way through it via news commentary and podcasts. It’s not that I’m really that interested, but that’s what folks have been talking about, so that’s what I’m reading-slash-listening to.
Indeed, I have nothing to say about health care or the health care bill. Nothing! I’m just here to make random remarks about trivial items. To wit:
Some commentators have commentated on the President addressing the senators and congressmen by their first names. They think it is too informal and indicates a lack of respect on the President’s part, refusing to use their titles when everyone else is calling him “Mr. President” (as well they should). As much as I believe in using people’s titles, I can’t get myself too worked up over this. I mean, I know George Bush liked to go around calling people “Freckles” and “Sweet Cheeks” and whatnot, and while I don’t know that he ever did that in a formal setting, I don’t know that he didn’t, and the bottom line is that I technically think it’s inappropriate but in the real world I have bigger fish to fry. It did make me wonder, though, how Senator “I worked so hard for that title” Boxer would respond if the President tried to call her “Barbara” in this venue. I have this funny feeling she wouldn’t mind so much. (I mean, Barack Obama! :giggle:)
Some other commentary criticized the President’s posture and body language, like he was trying to give the impression that he was above it all, and dare one say it, he even had what appeared to be a smirk on his face. I have to say, I don’t put much stock in people’s facial expressions. (Is it “put much stock”? “take much stock”? I can never remember what the expression is, so I usually end up saying “don’t give much credence to.” In any case, I don’t do either.) My own facial expression is rarely indicative of my true intentions and motivations. If you had to go strictly by my facial expressions, you’d probably conclude that all of humanity disgusts me and I’m bored by everything–which is only partly true and certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. So, bottom line: I didn’t care about George Bush’s smirk, and I don’t care about Pres. Obama’s alleged smirk. The man’s leader of the free world; Lord knows he has plenty to smirk about.
One thing I didn’t like was how the President responded to Senator McCain’s remarks with, “Well, John, if we could stop campaigning for a minute–because the election is over…” I thought that was kind of a douchey thing to say. Ordinarily, I think, the President is a fairly classy guy, but that comment struck me as gratuitous and made him look small. Clearly John McCain said some things that irritated him, but to come back with “yeah, well, the election’s over, LOSER” was pretty weak. The fact that McCain laughed it off just made McCain look better in comparison. The President should have stuck with his alleged smirking.
It is one of the President’s strong suits, maintaining this “above-it-all” demeanor. It served him well in the campaign, and even though the election’s over, he should not be letting his guard down. Appearing to be above it all makes him look presidential. Remember my post about how we should decide presidential elections with fistfights? As I recall, at the time I wasn’t sure who would prevail in a fistfight between Barack Obama and John McCain. Mr. Obama is younger and doesn’t have any war injuries that limit his mobility, but Sen. McCain is scrappy and a stubborn SOB, so you can never really write him off. As I think on it now, though, I imagine that this is how an Obama-McCain fistfight would have gone:
SEN. MCCAIN: You wanna take this outside, my friend?
THEN-SEN. OBAMA: John, with all due respect to your service, I don’t think it behooves either of us to let this debate devolve into a common brawl. I want to reach across the aisle to you in a spirit of bipartisanship and resolve our differences in a way that honors the traditions of our great country–
MCCAIN: Bipartisanship, my @$$! You wouldn’t reach across the aisle if they were giving out free arugula over there. I’m the bipartisan one. Me! Now put ’em up!
OBAMA: Let me be perfectly clear: it isn’t that I’m unwilling to fight you. It’s that the American people are tired of politics-as-usual. We need to usher in a new era of hope and–
MCCAIN: Are you just gonna stand there yapping all day? Let’s do this thing! I’ll mop the floor with you!
OBAMA (chuckles): I’m sure you will, John. But what you’re saying just isn’t true. Let’s take a moment and reflect on…
…and blah blah blah. It would just go on like that forever, McCain dancing around Obama, trying in vain to engage him in an honest rumble, mano a mano, getting more and more agitated by the second as Obama just stands there looking poised and dignified. And the voters see that and think, “I would like the non-psycho person to be my President.” Kind of similar to how the campaign actually went.
Well, unlike some people in this country, who have nothing better to do than hold summits on major policy issues, I have to take a shower and go to the grocery store–hopefully in that order. The news of the day will just have to wait.