December 23, 2010

Shouldn't we have more respect and reverence for the President of the United States?

That's the question raised in this NPR segment:
[D]oes our increasingly informal relationship with the man in the White House — not just President Obama, but any sitting president — diminish our respect for the man and reverence for the office? Should we leave the uncovering of private and behind-closed-doors habits to the historians?...

Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University, believes there are pros and cons to having Too Much Information. "Knowing too much about a president makes them seem more human, but it certainly detracts from some of the prestige that Americans once held for the office," says Zelizer. "If the president is too much like us ... we have more trouble developing respect for the officeholder and we start to find fault, too easily, about issues that don't really matter."
I thought the American tradition was disrespecting authority. I can't remember a President who wasn't disrespected. (And I can remember back to Eisenhower.) Disrespecting authority is a check on power. When I hear journalists, historians, and other purported experts promoting reverence for the President, I suspect them of having the political agenda of increasing his power. Did NPR and that Princeton history enthuse about reverence for authority when George W. Bush was President?

***

The 2012 presidential campaign season has begun and the usual media outlets are shoring up President Obama. I'm seeing many articles this week touting the President's amazing achievements in 2010.

85 comments:

Pogo said...

We didn't want a king. Hence we left Europe and wrote a Constitution.

The President wants respect?
He's already got a dog. That's plenty.

Comrade X said...

let me be the first to question the timing.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

George W. Bush was ChimpyMcHitlerBurton over at NPR.

Now, of course, they want respect and reverence for their God ... The Won.

They are pathetically transparent morons dispensing Democrat Party propoganda and the new Republican leadership in the House should refuse to fund National Public Radio.

Otherwise, what use do we have for a Repbulican Party if it is going to fund Democrat Party propoganda using conservatives' tax dollars?

chr1 said...

NPR's ideals match up very closely with Obama's. I am genuinely surprised when they attempt neutrality.

And Obama is trying to lure back independents again it seems.

Dream, Obamacare, A weak stand and cave-in on education, DOJ in AZ, A base that will push for dangerous pull out without meeting objectives in AfPak...

The National Security apparatus we've created to respond to an amorphous threat since 9/11 and a Democratic president and the authoritarianism inherent in many a Leftist heart...

No way. No more of that independent talk.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Wait, now they're demanding we show respect and reverence for the President?

MadisonMan said...

I'm seeing many articles this week touting the President's amazing achievements in 2010.

It's the end of the year. Time for journalists everywhere to write end-of-year synopses. What's a synopsis without a little spin?

Amazing achievement #1: No hurricanes hit the US. I think Obama is responsible.

I think althouse should get in on this. What's the best thread-win of the year? What's the longest comment thread of the year?

TosaGuy said...

I thought people earned respect, not had it blindly handed to them? Why should I respect a person whose minions call me and other veterans potential terrorists or himself calls me an enemy of the nation.

While lampooning our president has been national sport since the GW days, the crowd that now wants more respect to be shown spent their formative years dissing the prez and anyone else in power (or older than them) at a whole new level.

Titus said...

Althouse, do you get offended or upset if any long time commenters leave you and then say things about you on other blogs?

Just curious how that all works.

rcocean said...

This was originally aired in 1998. They just changed the Presidents name.

Dark Eden said...

The 2012 presidential campaign season has begun and the usual media outlets are shoring up President Obama. I'm seeing many articles this week touting the President's amazing achievements in 2010.
>>>

Yes, Obama has spent pretty much all of 2010 successfully doing things the American people have loudly said they don't want.

Pogo said...

A show of respect should be demanded.

Maybe some kind of salute.

Pogo said...

P.S. Titus is having another meltdown.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's the end of the year. Time for journalists everywhere to write end-of-year synopses. What's a synopsis without a little spin?

Well look at two of his 'major achievements'. START and repeal of DADT. The impact those two 'major achievements' have on the general electorare is somewhere between slim and none. In other words, no one really gives a flying jellybean fart.

What's that you say? I'm going to see a bigger paycheck next year? Well hell! Now that's change I can believe in.

Kirby Olson said...

A heil would be nice.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"... and the usual media outlets are shoring up President Obama ..."

You would do well, Ann, to remind your readers that NPR is not a "media outlet."

NPR is a government funded radio program ... dispensing only that which government employees wish disseminated.

They are not the media.

They are not independent.

It is the very definition of propoganda and it is un-American. NPR reeks of Hitler's Germany in the 1940s.

And Republican conservatives who control the United States House of Representatives could put a stop to it if they want to by ceasing the funding of NPR.

Will Republicans do the right thing?

That remains to be seen - but we'll be watching closely to see which Republicans aren't really Republicans. We'll be watching to see which Republicans support funding NPR - a Democrat Party infested government propoganda outfit.

TosaGuy said...

In a related note, the Washington Post ran an closing on the Pelosi speakership so over the top that it should be used in J-schools as an example of propaganda.

It wasn't open to public comment either.

Bender said...

This is a big f-ing deal about not showing enough respect for the President. The question is -- whose ass to kick about it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Should we leave the uncovering of private and behind-closed-doors habits to the historians?...

I think we need a poll. What 'behind-closed-doors habit' of President Obama's did NPR just recieve a tip about:

1) He's having an affair.
2) He's smoking pot.
3) He's converted to Islam.
4) ???

Richard Dolan said...

Pogo: "The President wants respect? He's already got a dog. That's plenty."

Really? How did you react to Sen-elect Webb's dissing of Pres Bush in 2008 at the President's reception for newly elected legislators?

There is a difference between citizens taking pot shots at their leaders (be it kings, presidents or any other); and the leader taking himself (they're all men, women do it differently) down from his pedestal. The first is an ancient and completely natural aspect of the ruler/subject relationship; the second is a balancing act (how to form a bond with the subjects without falling off the pedestal) that rulers were taught to do (until recently).

Obama's attempts at folksiness are an effort to cover up the disdain verging on contempt he feels for the 'clingers' and other lesser sorts (which includes pretty much all of RedState America). The folksiness doesn't work -- the weirdness of his g-dropping, 'just folks' act mostly backfires, think. It's part of what has gotten everyone other than the true believers to conclude that the O-man is in over his head.

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse, do you get offended or upset if any long time commenters leave you and then say things about you on other blogs?"

Sometimes I'm a little embarrassed for them.

Pogo said...

Richard, I don't think we disagree at all.

NPR is appealing for respect and reverence from the public and journalists, not Congressmen.

Titus said...

"Sometimes I'm a little embarrassed for them".

Thanks, for some reason I think it is envy but I could always be wrong. I have been wrong in the past and will be wrong in the future.

Titus said...

I'm not having a meltdown Pogo. It's Christmas! Yea!

No time for a meltdown.

Hugs,

Titus said...

Did you guys see the interview with Julian Assange?

I think I would probably do him. He's kind of sexy in a weird, fucked up, mysterious way.

I think the variety of hair colors is interesting.

Saint Croix said...

We put our Presidents on our money. We carve their faces out of rock. We put monuments and statues up. We name cities after them.

Could you imagine if we named a city after Bill Gates? People would freak.

Rialby said...

LOL. There were at least 2 television shows that openly called George W Bush both evil AND stupid. Not to mention movies, books, songs, albums, etc.

And now they care.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Titus I'm going to be consuming copious amounts of food and booze this weekend. Can you recommend a good stool softener?

Thanks in advance.

Rialby said...

IIB - affair

Titus said...

I would do the Iranian guy that interviewed him too if he didn't slit my throat.

But the act of doing someone with the thought of them slitting your throat does have it's thrills.

I will be going to my big sis's for Christmas. We are going to church at some Universalist Unitarian place in Mazomanie, Wisconsin that she belongs to. Their neighbors are fags. One of them is the Assistant Police Supt. to the guy that one-Mahoney-in Dane County. My sister loves them. When her fiance travels she goes over to their house. She's kind of a fag hag.

Titus said...

Don't drink too much Hoosier. It can ruin the next day.

Saint Croix said...

I don't know when it happened--probably with the advent of Marx--but classical liberalism has become so authoritarian it boggles the mind.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Don't drink too much Hoosier.

What the hell fun is that?

edutcher said...

Until LBJ, Presidents were criticized, but respected. The hippie dippy types changed that with their tantrum over being expected to grow up.

Conservatives will give a Demo a benefit of the doubt, but the Lefties go the Uncle Saul route from day 1.

The Lefties wanted it this way, that's how it is. Respect, like bipartisanship or civility, is a one way street for them.

I can't wait to see how they treat President Palin, Vice President Rice (we already have a good idea), President Christie, President Allen West...

Pogo said...

P.S. Titus is having another meltdown.

How can you tell?

Original Mike said...

"Could you imagine if we named a city after Bill Gates? People would freak."

Might depend on how much money we could get. Maybe Madison would want to sell naming rights.

Now Lambeau Field, that's different. When they were discussing selling the naming rights, I had this daydream of being rich enough to buy them. I would have remaned it, "It's Lambeau Field, Damn It!.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

"I'm seeing many articles this week touting the President's amazing achievements in 2010."

Fear not, with the information available at our fingertips today the people know and the people see.

Right now the people in vast numbers know that they don't like what they see, not by a long shot.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Until LBJ, Presidents were criticized, but respected.

Actually look at some of the political cartoons of the 18th and 19th century and how Presidents were depicted. Our current treatment of that 'august' position is considerably mild in comparison.

Saint Croix said...

Ma, Ma, where's my pa? Gone to the White House, ha ha ha.

Saint Croix said...

Grover Cleveland, 1884.

MayBee said...

I would be happy to, but the trade off has to be that the media promises not to sell us a candidate based on his private life and "behind-closed-doors" attributes.

If we don't get sold a candidate based on what an amazing family he has, then maybe we won't care if he's secretly cheating on his wife.

If the first lady wasn't held up to us as some sort of lifestyle role model, then maybe we wouldn't criticize her failings.

Saint Croix said...

"God damn your God damned old hellfired God damned soul to hell. God damn you and God damn your damned family's God damned hellfired God damned soul to hell and Good damnation God damn them and God damn you God damned friends to hell."

Peter Muggins expressing his opinion of President Lincoln in a letter to him.

Bruce Hayden said...

I would suggest that someone has to earn the respect of the people, and that the easiest way to get people to disrespect the office is for the President to disrespect it.

I would further suggest that, contrary to many of his predecessors, President Obama has rarely acted like he respected the office. Rather, he has always seemed smaller than the office he holds. And, part of his doing that is that he seems to take it for granted.

Nothing says disrespect more than ditching out of one of his very infrequent press conferences to attend a Christmas party at the insistence of his wife. That disrespected the press there, and the people watching. It gave the impression that his personal convenience (and maybe sexual satisfaction) was far more important than any of us were.

Of course, this is probably because for many, this is in such stark contrast with his predecessor, who almost seemed totally in awe of the job until the day he left office. He seemed seriously concerned about the dignity of the office. Obama does not.

edutcher said...

I was thinking more modern times, Hoosier, but, even in the old days, what the people thought and what the media said were two different things. There was a respect for the office and, therefore, who occupied it.

rcocean said...

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." - Theodore Roosevelt

Saint Croix said...

"... and to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship ... and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor, whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any."

Thomas Paine, in a letter to George Washington.

Saint Croix said...

"Filthy Story-Teller, Despot, Liar, Thief, Braggart, Buffoon, Usurper, Monster, Ignoramus Abe, Old Scoundrel, Perjurer, Robber, Swindler, Tyrant, Field-Butcher, Land-Pirate."

Harper's magazine, describing Abe Lincoln.

Saint Croix said...

"Garfield has shown that he is not possessed of the backbone of an angleworm."

Ulysses S. Grant, ex-President, giving his opinion of the new President, James Garfield.

rcocean said...

Thomas Paine was a dirty little atheist.

Per Theodore Roosevelt.

Saint Croix said...

"He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."

H.L. Mencken, writing on President Warren Harding.

Saint Croix said...

"Reader, suppose you were an idiot; and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself."

Mark Twain

The Drill SGT said...

Amazing achievement #1: No hurricanes hit the US. I think Obama is responsible.

well he did say, that electing him would allow the oceans to recede and the planet to heal :)

guess that means that the AGW futures are going to bottom out hehe?

Saint Croix said...

"The moral character of Jefferson was repulsive. Continually puling about liberty, equality, and the degrading curse of slavery, he brought his own children to the hammer, and made money of his debaucheries."

Alexander Hamilton

MayBee said...

And...

Does just the president deserve this reverence? What about senators? Congressmen? Candidates?* Can we treat these politicians any old way we want until Bam! They are POTUS and we have to respect them?

(*speaking of reverence for candidates, Josh Green is still attacking Iott as a nazi reenactor)

Saint Croix said...

Federal campaign of 1828, Andrew Jackson's mother was called a prostitute.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffin_Handbills

marklewin said...

I don't have the perspective to comment on the history of presidential criticism. However, I suspect there has been a progressive dishinibition with regard to political discourse more generally, catalyzed by the rise of the internet (plenty of studies support the disinhibitory effect of the internet on the content of people's communications). Kinda analagous to the differences between killing someone with your bare hands (face to face, person to person communication) vs. dropping bombs on your enemy from thousands of feet above the earth (internet communication, ie. twitter, facebook, blogs , etc.). Internet communication tends to be more graphic, confrontational, blunt, and less nuanced than face to face encounters.

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

"Shouldn't we have more respect and reverence for the President of the United States?"


Respect? Only if he (or eventually, she) earns it. Few have, none in over half a century or longer.

Reverence? FUCK no.

traditionalguy said...

American's respect courage and truth telling as the necessary leadership skills for our Executive Branch. The popular culture notion that we are children and the President over us is our Daddy sprung from the FDR days of financial disaster...like the disasters that Obama keeps steering us all into. Obama does King. He does not do courage and truth telling. Obama is history.

donttread2010 said...

No. We shouldn't, especially since the current 'occupant' appears to have only cursory respect for the office, and that's because he currently holds it.

Punting at news conferences to ex-presidents is a sure sign of indifference. So is openly referring to fellow citizens as 'enemies'. Or saying that politics is basically a 'game'. Or redefining the meaning of the word 'debate' during the 'health care' summit with republicans - debate, meaning 'I won' and I allowed you to waste my time presenting your ideas which I will allow to enter this ear canal and exit this one. Not one suggestion was taken seriously.

Why should anyone take this president seriously? His contempt is dripping.

MayBee said...

he popular culture notion that we are children and the President over us is our Daddy sprung from the FDR days of financial disaste

Daddy, lifestyle guru, family exemplar, fashion trendsetter, sports hero.
He is all these things to us.

peter hoh said...

simple answer. No.

Crimso said...

"Few have, none in over half a century or longer."

You are admirably consistent in the views you express here. Out of curiosity (OK, it's really a test), how about Lincoln?

Michael said...

Losers always want to soften the game: be more respectful, compromise, quit raising so much money, and so on. So, no we should not have more respect and reverence for the President of the U.S. But thanks for asking.

Christopher said...

"How about Lincoln?"

Racist warmonger and shredder of the Constitution, I suspect would be Cook's answer. I'd be pleasantly surprised if it were anything else.

But with regard to the topic at hand, I say exactly what I said since January 2008 - I'll give the coke-addled, jug-earned Kenyan cocksucker all the respect and deference the left gave that retarded rhesus monkey G.W. Bush.

AJ Lynch said...

I was in the car today for more than 3 hours and tuned into NPR a bit.

One segment was about the census and emphasis was on the ethnic breakdown...did whites % decrease, how about blask, how about Latina [I never know which term they will use ..Hispanic or the over-accented Latina], which areas are still very segregated? It was race race race color color color 100% of the show.

Next they spoke to the new president of Catholic University. The topic there was how the % of Muslim students had increased at Catholic U. The school has 7,000 students and the number of Muslims increased from 41 to 71!!! A whole 1% of the student body is now Muslim- Hey why don't we take this big big news story and make it a whole segment on NPR!!??

So I had to change the channel from NPR because it was race color race color race color almost 100% of the time and that ain't fasacinating to me.

Michael said...

AJ Lynch: After the government takes over the internet we will likely be compelled to watch a minute or two of indoctrination before we can open a link. Seems fair since the government owns like the ether.

AJ Lynch said...

The news media has made the presidency the answer to or the cause of every problem. Even local newscasts rarely go a day without mentioning if Bush took a crap today or Obama smoked again. Listen to your local TV or radio staion- local news anchors report way too much on national/ presidential issues at the expense of local/ state topics.

D. B. Light said...

Americans owe President Obama precisely as much respect as was shown President Bush. No more, no less.

AJ Lynch said...

Michael:
It's already happening in a way. Did you hear that Sebelius and HHS paid Google to send googlers who looked for "Obamacare" to a govt website first [at the top of Google's search results"]? That is outrageous IMO.

I may submit a FOIA request to see how much money the feds are pying Google for that.

Ankur said...

Slagging on politicians is a time honored tradition that we should aim to preserve for all eternity.

Eric said...

George W. Bush was ChimpyMcHitlerBurton over at NPR.

This. Filed under "leftists who are happy to dish it out but cry like children when it's their turn".

PZ said...

"Question Authority" was a popular catch phrase in the '60s, but one can still respect the office of "president" while not carnig for the present holder.

Kirby Olson said...

He needs a good tragedy.

We might like him better if we wept together.

Penny said...

"Slagging on politicians is a time honored tradition that we should aim to preserve for all eternity."

Agreed.

On the other hand, I would hope that all Americans can appreciate the extreme burden and personal sacrifices that any President assumes as our Proxy-in-Chief.

Looking out for the best interests of your own family is a full time, and extremely difficult job. Looking out for the best interests of ALL Americans? Let's just say that's exponentially more difficult.

Agree or disagree, surely we can respect the self-sacrifice of any President.

They step forward, and in so doing, the buck doesn't need to stop at your house or my house.

Color me grateful to each and every President of the United States.

Big Mike said...

Did NPR and that Princeton history enthuse about reverence for authority when George W. Bush was President?

Good thing I didn't have a mouthful of coffee when I read that.

Big Mike said...

Agree or disagree, surely we can respect the self-sacrifice of any President.

I don't respect any politician whose idea of self-sacrifice is endless rounds of golf.

Eric said...

Agree or disagree, surely we can respect the self-sacrifice of any President.

I don't see a lot of self sacrifice on Obama's part. When politicians talk about sacrifice it ends up mostly being about taxpayers like me doing the sacrificing.

Penny said...

Big Mike and Eric?

Do you work without any breaks from your day to day responsibilities?

Of course not. No one can do that and hope to live very long.

If you expect the President to give back his golf time for you, then you shouldn't be surprised if your family asks you not to watch Sunday football, for example.

AJ Lynch said...

With all due respect to our wonder boy president, it took him almost two years and a big defeat in the mid-term elections to figure out that his beloved tax hikes would hurt the economy.

And if DADT and the 911 responders bills were so f-ing important to Obama and the Dems, why did they wait like a bunch of cowards til the lame duck to sign the bills and then quickly sneak out of town?

Big Mike said...

@Penny, there's a reason why the US has its president live in the same building as his office. His responsibilities run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (little slap at Napolitano there).

I'd cut this particular president some slack if I thought he really was working very hard. But so far all I can see is that he delegated the creation of his stimulus bill to Congress (and so it wound up stimulating absolutely nothing), he delegated the creation of "Obamacare" to Congress (and it's a disaster), he has hardly met with congressional leaders from either party except for photo-ops, and so far his first couple years in office have been little more than junkets and golf games sandwiched between yet another speech on TV.

Big Mike said...

Oh, and Penny, I regularly give up Sunday football for my job or for my family. Both come before entertainment for me.

Paul said...

Whoa.... I thought dissent was the highest form of Patriotism? Remember when Pelosi said that? And they called Bush a Hitler? Called him a Chimp?

And NOW they want is to respect the Prez?

How times change! I bet next month Pelosi says respect for the President is the highest form of Patriotism!

AJ Lynch said...

Penny:
If you believe Obama sacrifices a lot of his leisure time to his work, I suggest you watch closely the next time Obama is asked a sports question. You will find he is far more animated and more informed about sports than he is about current political, economic and world events.

Revenant said...

Shouldn't we have more respect and reverence for the President of the United States?

No.

Mick said...

I am continually amazed at the Left's love of "authority", embracing the nanny state's regulations in the guise of the "common good". In the old days it was trust no one over 30, now they revere the government of old white men lead by their savior, the Usurper, a man who's murky past is deemed to be no one's business.
These pleas for "civility" and "respect" are laughable. Politicians on both sides are guilty of treason for allowing a non natural born Citizen to occupy the White House (his father was never a citizen). Now they seek to cover their crime, and they are helped by a fawning willfully blind, and intellectually dishonest media.
Scholars of Law (Althouse, Volokh, Turley, et al) also ignore this grave invasion into the lockbox of the Constitution, and will also be judged harshly by history when the crime breaks loose from the propaganda wall of silence and Alinskyan ridicule.
What is your definition of natural born Citizen professor? Have you been told to shut up?

Roux said...

The only reason they care is because it's the One. Do you really think they'd bring this up if Bush were POTUS? NO!