Conservative Pundits: Our G-dropping President Is Too Callow For The Job

More than a week ago, President Obama was here in Missouri, in Kansas City. He gave a great speech to a packed house at the old Uptown Theater. The ending, where the President said he did not “believe in a cynical America” but “in an optimistic America that is making progress,” was typical Obama. After all the difficult years in office, after all the foreign and domestic crises, after ten thousand shivs of disrespect from resentful Republicans have been buried in his back, he still bleeds hope. He still resists the temptation of cynicism. He still believes in the country’s future.

But it was a lighter moment during the speech in KC that received most of the attention:

So some of the things we’re doing without Congress are making a difference, but we could do so much more if Congress would just come on and help out a little bit.  (Applause.)  Just come on.  Come on and help out a little bit.  Stop bein’ mad all the time.  (Applause.)  Stop just hatin’ all the time.  Come on.  (Applause.)  Let’s get some work done together.  (Applause.)   

They did pass this workforce training act, and it was bipartisan.  There were Republicans and Democrats, and everybody was all pleased.  They came, we had a bill signing, and they were all in their suits.  I said, doesn’t this feel good?  (Laughter.)  We’re doing something.  It’s like, useful.  Nobody is shouting at each other.  (Laughter.)  It was really nice.  I said, let’s do this again.  Let’s do it more often.  (Applause.) 

I know they’re not that happy that I’m President, but that’s okay.  (Laughter.)  Come on.  I’ve only got a couple of years left.  Come on, let’s get some work done.  Then you can be mad at the next President. 

He then makes fun of Republicans for deciding to sue him “for doing my job.” Clearly, he was having a good time, even though he used the playful bit to make a more serious point:

I want Congress to do its job and make life a little better for the Americans who sent them there in the first place. 

That Kansas City speech has now caused two different conservative pundits to reach into their bag of stupid and pull out a column. First it was Peggy Noonan, who used to write eloquent speeches for Ronald Reagan. These days her eloquence has either been murdered or died of natural causes. In its place we have the following racially-infected pap she wrote about President Obama making our “divisions deeper” by doing what he did in Kansas City:

He shouldn’t be out there dropping his g’s, slouching around a podium, complaining about his ill treatment, describing his opponents with disdain: “Stop just hatin’ all the time.”

Now, you can search that Kansas City speech from now until Osama bin Laden comes back from his midnight swim and you won’t find the slightest bit of “disdain” for his opponents. What you will find is a speech full of justifiable criticism of Republicans in Congress, which most on the right, reflecting their own feelings for Obama, necessarily interpret as disdain. All of the disdain is and always has been on the other side, as any honest observer of the Obama presidency can tell you.

Conservatives don’t like this man. They never have. They never will. They have utterly—utterly—despised him from the beginning. He can’t even have a little fun with them without right-wing pundits impregnating it with some kind of negative historical significance. Talk about your cynicism. Obama “dropping his g’s” and “slouching around” means, apparently, that we have an illiterate street thug in the White’s House purposely pissing off the real owners.

Then comes Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review and an opinion columnist for Politico. His most recent column was titled, “The Callow President.” Before we go on, I will supply you with a handy definition of “callow” from Merriam-Webster:

—used to describe a young person who does not have much experience and does not know how to behave the way adults behave

From that I think you can see where little Richie is going: back to that Kansas City speech. Lowry begins his column this way:

“Stop just hatin’ all the time.” If you haven’t been following the news, you might not know whether this bon mot was uttered by a character on the ABC Family show “Pretty Little Liars” or by the president of the United States.

Of course, it was the leader of the free world at a Kansas City rally last week, imploring congressional Republicans to start cooperating with him. The line struck a characteristically — and tellingly — juvenile and plaintive note.

Lowry next tells us how “certainly true” it is that Obama is a lefty who won’t admit to it, then he writes something that he no doubt thought was a brilliant insight into the mind of our first black president:

the deepest truth about Obama is that there is no depth. He’s smart without being wise. He’s glib without being eloquent. He’s a celebrity without being interesting. He’s callow.

In one column, Lowry disavows all that conservatives have told us about Obama for five or six years: that he is cleverly crafting a plot to undermine and then destroy the country as we know it; that he wants to transform America into Amerika or into some kind of socialist paradise. Now we find out that he isn’t capable of such a thing, that there is no depth to him. He is simply a boy in a man’s job. “The notion that Obama might be a grand historical figure was always an illusion,” says the same guy who, after Sarah Palin’s lackluster debate with Joe Biden in 2008, gushed like a masturbation-ready teenager:

I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. 

Whether he was mesmerized by the sparkling smile on the face of a quasi-vacuous Sarah Palin, whether he was hit in the head and knocked unconscious by little ricocheting starbursts, it is clear that the writer of that disturbing prose, one Rich Lowry, should never, never, never, never, never pretend he knows anything about grand historical figures, even if he, and Peggy Noonan, know a great deal about illusions.

[photos: White House]


  1. King Beauregard

     /  August 8, 2014

    “I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile.”

    Dude, I hate to break it to you, but the stripper doesn’t really like you. She does that for all her customers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You really nailed Lowry with the Palin story, Duane. Pure confirmation bias. That said, I have a shameful admission to make: I too was one of those who, on seeing her first appearance, thought she was a breath of fresh air. I naively assumed that if McCain had picked her, there would be substance behind that perky pulchritude. Nope. Just air, and not fresh, only hot. 😦


    • Yes, we all assumed that John McCain, at least the older version of him, would not pick someone who was so obviously unqualified for the job. And a lot of people were taken by her, when she first bounced on the stage and started winking at everyone. Even Anson got bitten, at least a little bit. In the Globe on September 3, 2008, he finished his column on the criteria for presidential leadership with this:

      One last point to try to show what I am writing about. I am a reasonably pro-choice voter when abortion is being considered. But I would vote for Sarah Palin in an instant if abortion were the only issue at hand because I admire her courage to live her convictions. When the chips are down, I could care less about her views on abortion. It is the courage and conviction I will look for in my leader.

      Needless to say, when I was contributing to the Globe’s editorial page, I had a good time with that one. I think it generated a couple of LTTE from me.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. ansonburlingame

     /  August 11, 2014

    What you fail to analyze, Duane, is WHY there has been such resistance to Obama. You blame it on red necked malcontents by and large and some religious nuts.

    I submit there is far more substance to the reactions to Obama from sound thinking and reasonable Americans. I have now long written and said that I have never before seen such a divided America in my 72 years of looking at America (well maybe 60 years). I hold that to be self evident if you will, even when looking back and living through the late sixties and early seventies with all the anti-Vietnam rhetoric flying around.

    Obama has only promoted a rather extreme (for a President) left wing agenda for America, constantly dividing the nation between have’s and have not’s. I don’t believe he is capable of healing such a divide but only perpetuating it.

    You and yours call for only a Democrat dominated House, Senate and White House in order for “your way” to prevail and you are correct, in my view. As well to keep prevailing you would need to sustain that political dominance, a one party America. That is not the way America has been successfully goverened for about 238 years. Only when both sides agree to big things is America successful.



    • Anson,

      Not all the malcontents are rednecks and religious nuts, though that’s a good start.

      You can blame America’s division on Obama if you want to, but to the extent that it is worst now than it was before, you can blame that on him only because of the harsh reaction, by Republicans, to his presidency. From the freaking beginning. In other words, I guess you could argue that he should not have gotten himself elected. Then the strange and bitter reaction to it by Republicans would never have happened.

      As for his using the haves and have nots to “divide” America, Jeezus. Have you ever heard a speech by FDR or Truman? 

      Finally, we agree that the country needs politicians who will agree “to big things.” When is the party you support ever going to do that? Our side, especially President Obama, has practically been begging for it.



      • RDG,

        Don’t forget Nixon. He created the EPA, Clean Water Act, OSHA, pushed for school desegregation (the Philadelphia Plan), and the first affirmative action program. Nixon even supported the Equal Right Amendment for Women. He appointed more women to office than LBJ.

        President Obama’s biggest problem for too many supposedly “color blind” pseudo- conservatives is holding the office while black.


    • King Beauregard

       /  August 11, 2014

      The Part of Responsiblity once again refuses to take responsibility for its own failings. That’s two drinks.


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