The Morning After: Watching an Angry President

| Comments (0)

January 28, 2010 | Comments

Last night I felt we had just witnessed the spinning of a desperate man offering up a glorified campaign speech under the guise of a State of the Union Address. Today I awaken with a truer insight. What we actually witnessed last night was the pathetic tantrum of an angry President who does not understand – or simply does not want to understand — the basic tenets of the magnificent country he serves.

As someone on our local talk radio station said yesterday afternoon, this President needs to learn the difference between a leader and a ruler. I say that even if he does understand this, he has convinced himself that he was ushered into office with a landslide mandate (which he was not), an event, he seems to believe, that endows him with the title “ruler,” and, perhaps, “supreme being,” as well.

But last night’s disconnected, disjointed performance gave evidence that he realizes he is being regarded as mortal after all. Thus the root of his anger. He has forgotten, or simply chosen to ignore and disparage, the basic foundation of our nation – the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government – a separation that in every way offers us the ultimate safety net. Last night he lashed out at that safety net like a spoiled child, revealing to us once more how little he thinks of this nation, her system, and, yes, her people, who have had the audacity to stand in the way of his transforming America in his own image.

In one of the most inappropriate moments of all presidential history, he blasted the Supreme Court Justices seated as a group at his feet. With a nasty sneer, he berated their majority for daring to pass down a ruling that upholds our sacred right to free speech, a ruling with which he disagrees. He then urged the Congress to fight this ruling (by whatever means necessary, perhaps, Mr. President?). The members of the legislative branch in attendance who are in his camp responded with a rousing ovation.

But he berated the legislative branch, as well, scolding them for failing to push his agenda through swiftly and secretly. As a result, he found himself standing before the nation, unable to announce his long-coveted government takeover of the American health-care system. And now, it just won’t be that easy. The democratic supermajority has been squelched, he whined, thanks to the election of a man he did not name. His dominance of all three branches of the U.S. government has been destroyed, he said in so many words, and the republicans can now take the blame for standing in the way of progress.

Which led him to the target of his most ardent anger. He is angry at us, folks, the American people, and he didn’t even try to hide it. We dared to steal that supermajority – and, in turn, the unfettered power it offered him as a ruler. He bared his hostility toward us loudly and clearly, essentially obliterating any other message he tried to cloak in false sincerity and folksiness. And we will not forget that. I don’t think those Supreme Court Justices – particularly Justice Alito – are likely to forget either.

So I suggest the President consider, perhaps, getting himself to an anger-management class. Even more importantly, though, he needs to go back to school for a basic civics lesson. Time to refresh his understanding of the separation of powers, a concept he swore to honor when he pledged on his inauguration day to uphold that “flawed document” (his words), the Constitution of the United States.

If, as we hear, this President truly was a lecturer on constitutional law in his former life, this certainly makes me wonder what he taught his students in those classes. After hearing last night’s lecture to the American people, if I were the parent of one of those students, I’d be asking for my money back today.

Betsy Siino | Comments