June 15, 2012

Obama calls Romney "Mr. Romney" now, instead of "Gov. Romney" — an "intentional slight"?

Dan Amira thinks so.

Man, you should have been in Wisconsin for the debates between Gov. Scott Walker and Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett repeatedly addressed the governor as "Scott."

49 comments:

Ron said...

this should also get the "civility bullshit" tag!

Amartel said...

If Obama is giving a speech, then he's reading off the teleprompter.

If Obama is reading off the teleprompter, then somebody typed it in there.

If somebody typed it in there, it's purposeful.

If previous telepromptered presidential verbalizations used the term "Governor" instead of "Mr.," (and they did), then it's a purposeful slight.

You stay classy, President Burgundy.

Seeing Red said...

Of course it's a slight. I hated it when the dems did it to 41, thought it was tacky. Lowering the bar again.

CWJ said...

Short answer, Yes. Why anyone would think this is a good idea, I have only one idea.

Obama's base, like the most base elements of the Democrat party, delight in insulting their opponents rather than debating their ideas.

Quite literally childish, and very sad.

sydney said...

That's OK. I never say President Obama, either. I always say Mr. Obama.

edutcher said...

Standard ploy.

Jimmy Carter did it with Gerry Ford.

Flop sweat - and that's nothing compared to Barry blowing his cool after getting called by the Daily Caller today.

They're scared.

Real scared.

David said...

So what's so special about the president that he should be "Mr. President?" The president is supposed to be serving us, not being served. When did the whole Mr. President thing start? Was Washington "Mr. President?" Jefferson? Jackson? Lincoln?

Maybe we ought to scrap this obsequious charade and just call politicians Mr. (or Mrs.) whatever their name is.

First naming, like Barrett did, would still be out of bounds.

PatHMV said...

As others on the net have noted, I'm all for Mr. Romney. He is not currently the governor. Governor is not a title of royalty. It's one thing to use it in ordinary conversation, if one was fond of that governor (I worked for our state's governor, and will likely call him governor the rest of his life), but for others, and in formal speech, I think it's inappropriate in our democratic and republican society.

Paddy O said...

What state is Romney governor of?

I have longed thought that using a title after, and often well after, a person no longer holds a post is a bit silly.

We don't use titles of nobility in America and far too often getting a political post for a season is made into the equivalent of nobility.

Paddy O said...

PatHMV and I were thinking the same thing at the same time... that means we must be right!

David said...

Oh well never mind. It turns out that Washington himself created and encouraged the term "Mr. President" as the mode of address. If it's good enough for Washington, I withdraw my objection.

Paddy O said...

In fact I think former politicians should have a degrading title for ten years after leaving political office. Scum of the Earth Romney, Festering Pimple Clinton.

It'd give them some needed humility.

machine said...

Mr. Romney wants the GOP to forget about all of the positions he took as Governor, the President of the United States is just addressing him as he wishes...

CWJ said...

@PatHMV & Paddy O,

Just out of curiosity, have either of you two publicly objected to this honorific prior to today?

And if so, can you point me to the Democrat to whose honorific you objected?

Andy R. said...

I'm with Mark Steyn on this:

The primary debates were all “Governor”, “Senator” and “Mr. Speaker”, even though there wasn’t a single governor, senator, or speaker on the stage. What’s the point of a republic if a guy can serve one term in the House of Representatives in the early Seventies and be addressed as “Congressman” until he keels over half-a-century later? Turning offices into titles of nobility is, to my mind, even more unrepublican than having a bunch of marquesses and viscounts queening it up because “Senator”, “Governor” et al. are titles that by definition are in the gift of the people and, when the people are no longer willing to bestow said title or the office-holder declines to submit himself to their adjudication, the use thereof should cease.

Paddy O said...

CWJ, I don't know that this has come up before on this blog.

I have objected to it before at home and such, but it'd be kind of creepy to find there are videos or transcripts of that.

As far as the Democrat thing, I figure both PatHMV and I have shown a decided slant hereabouts. And I tried to be nonpartisan with my examples. Which are, honestly, hard to think up in terms of national politics.

Obama was a Senator, Bush was a governor, Kerry was a Senator, Palin was a governor at the time. Dole was a Senator. GHWB was a President. Bill Clinton was a governor, HR Clinton wasn't anything, and I would have objected if someone said First Lady Clinton when she was running, as, no doubt GWB would have.

Anyhoo, the whole Tea Party thing is about taking the whole lot of 'em down a notch, lest they all start having us curtsy for them too someday.

If there's one bedrock of my political ideals its a refusal to curtsy.

CWJ said...

@Andy R

I note your agreement with Mark Steyn on this. And I'm not saying that there is no case to be made for citizen politicians to be addressed by their former status once they've left office.

BUT this is NOT the current political etiquette regardless of how we might personally feel about it. So when President Obama says this are you saying it is NOT an intentional slight?

rhhardin said...

Since when do we have titles of nobility.

Bertram Wooster said...

Washington, if I remember rightly, was Mr. President. He was also addressed as Your Excellency. There were those who advocated for Your Majesty.

In the first couple of presidencies, what to call them was a point of contention with the answer depending on whether you favored a strong or weak central government.

It's safe to assume that every reference to Mr. Romney by the acting president is deliberate.

CWJ said...

@Paddy O

Thanks for your reply, but we're not talking about haw WE feel about honorifics. We're talking about whether or not President Obama intended to slight his putative opponent by referring to him as Mr. Romney.

We may feel comfortable referring to the English Queen as Liz, but if the Duke of Whatever did, it would be a scandal.

My reference to Democrats was based upon what appeared (to me) a sudden interest in casting aside the niceties once President Obama decided to do so.

Valentine Smith said...

There's nothing noble about being an elected official. They're supposed to be trusted servants.

The Drill SGT said...

I hope The Won is content with Mr Obama in January :)

Michael K said...

After watching Obama slyly give Hillary the finger during a debate, nothing he does surprises me.

Sue D'Nhym said...

If it is an intentional slight, it is quite the stupid one.

How better to emphasize that Romney is not of the political class but rather of the business class than to strip him of his government titles and bestow on him the title of the common businessman?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

After Sarah Palin left office, I got annoyed at the level of disrespect being shown to her by new/commentators not using the title "Governor". I was all ready to gripe about it, then thought maybe I should check and see what the proper etiquette is.

Turns out, former governors are not supposed to keep the title. Senators do.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The Drill SGT said...

I hope The Won is content with Mr Obama in January :)

The correct title would be Senator Obama, as presidents go back to their former title after they leave office, but senators keep theirs.

Carol said...

I know this doesn't fit any particular theory, but lately I've heard reporters call the president Mr. Obama, which seems really odd and disrespectful of the office. Last time was on a radio ABC News spot.

Is this some new journalistic convention during campaigns?

Indigo Red said...

Traditional American political protocol is to say Governor X, President X, etc. at the first use of the name. Thereafter, Mr, Mrs, etc. is acceptable.

What is not acceptable in public is calling the officer by their first name as was done in the WI recall election and by VP Biden when speaking to a conference with US Mayors, "My dad never wore a blue collar, Barack makes me sound like I just climbed out of a mine in Scranton, Pennsylvania carrying a lunch bucket."

Personally, I always say "Obama," never President or Mr. Obama. I'm particularly perturbed by Barbara Boxer insisting upon being called Senator because she earned the title, but in emails, she addresses me by my first name.

Cedarford said...

A deliberate slight.
While I too believe that private citizens can call former President Clinton "Bill" if they want and his family can call HW Bush "pappy" if they want or Obama's kids call him "Stinky" if Michelle lets them.....
In Elections there should be some etiquette of titles.
Meaning Senator Obama should not be calling Senator Clinton, "Hillary" in debates, nor President Obama calling Governor Romney "Mitt" or "Mr Romney"...

Not if he doesn't expect to be caled "Barry" or "Mr Obama" in turn - because it doesn't look like Romney and his people will stand for being a punching bag and not fighting back in kind ...unlike "Hillary" or "John".

Andy R. said...

Today, at National Review, Michael Walsh referred to President Obama as "Emperor Hussein"

CWJ said...

Lord almighty, Andy R,

Stay on point, the subject of the post was how the President of the US referred to his putative opponent. Not how some Joe-bob at National Review referred to President Obama. They are not in any way the same. Keep up will you!

CWJ said...

@Andy R,

BTW, playing the Freder, 36, harrogate card, you've still not answered my original question.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

Today, at National Review, Michael Walsh referred to President Obama as "Emperor Hussein"

And that's only the beginning - if we're lucky.

After having mention of his middle name declared off limits as being racist in '08, it's been in the public domain since the Inauguration.

As they say in Brooklyn, if ya can't stand the heat, get out of Hell's Kitchen.

Methadras said...

Of course it is. It's a typical sandy vagina dig.

Methadras said...

Andy R. said...

I'm with Mark Steyn on this:

The primary debates were all “Governor”, “Senator” and “Mr. Speaker”, even though there wasn’t a single governor, senator, or speaker on the stage. What’s the point of a republic if a guy can serve one term in the House of Representatives in the early Seventies and be addressed as “Congressman” until he keels over half-a-century later? Turning offices into titles of nobility is, to my mind, even more unrepublican than having a bunch of marquesses and viscounts queening it up because “Senator”, “Governor” et al. are titles that by definition are in the gift of the people and, when the people are no longer willing to bestow said title or the office-holder declines to submit himself to their adjudication, the use thereof should cease.


Steyn and you in this case are wrong. You are using Steyn is a justification for your bag men to continue to be rude. Steyn is using it as personal need to stop addressing people with titles as if they were nobility. In either case, the honorific is bestowed as an honor. That title was earned by the vote of your citizens and therefore is intended to remain so even after you leave office as a moniker of that privilege.

But you are a typical shallow thinker, so I'm sure that meaning is lost on you anyway.

Palladian said...

I despise titles of any sort.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Sablan said...

I'm sure he thinks Romney is nice enough.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Today, at National Review, Michael Walsh referred to President Obama as "Emperor Hussein""

Truth to power!

Revenant said...

Romney isn't a governor. He's a private citizen. Hence, "mister".

It is certainly true that some people like to refer to ex-officeholders by the title of their ex-office. But honestly, that's kind of obnoxious.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Mr. Romney wants the GOP to forget about all of the positions he took as Governor, the President of the United States is just addressing him as he wishes..."

-- As governor, Romney oversaw a general improvement in the economy and lowering of the unemployment rate to full employment. I somehow doubt that it is Romney who wants people to forget that.

Bruce Hayden said...

I had this vision of everyone addressing Davey Crockett at the Alamo as Mr. Congressman, or Congressman Crockett. And, then thought of poor William Howard Taft, who held the post of Chief Justice, after holding that of President. If you use the higher title, would you have addressed him as Mr. President, Justice Taft, or even Chief Justice Taft, when he was on the Supreme Court? Or, maybe if "Justice" replaces "Mr.", then "Chief Justice President Taft"?

The reality though is that we have the societal norm, the minimum, and the maximum, amount of deference, courtesy, and respect. The proper thing to do is to not use most honorifics once the person has left elective office, but rather, to use Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr. (unless attorneys), etc. and the last name. I would suggest that this norm comes from our past, where titles of nobility were disdained. Maximum uses the former elected title, and the minimum, uses the given name alone.

Most of the time when you see someone use a given name, instead of their last name, in such situations, I think it is intended as disrespect. Thus, when Barry (and nicknames are even lower than given names here) intentionally is disrespecting Gov. Romney, when he uses Mr. instead of Gov., and is doing so intentionally, to decrease the import of what Mitt says, while maximizing the import of what he says, esp. after being introduced as Mr. President (and, heaven forbid, the playing of Hail to the Chief, arriving in AF1, etc.)

The problem is that this sort of thing often backfires. Many, if not most, know that the intentional use of a given name, when not on a first name basis, and, esp. when talking about someone, is intentional disrespect. And, extending this, failure to use the "maximum" form of allowable salutation borders on this (ok, I don't count it against people when they don't use "Doctor" with attorneys). You are pretty much assured of losing my vote if you call your opponent by his first name, but maybe not if you call him "Mr." or her "Ms."

roesch/voltaire said...

Not really when you consider the distance that Romney takes from admitting he was Gov of a liberal state that make the blue print for Obama Care.

ignatzk said...

I'm surprised Mr. Obama didn't rub his face with his middle finger while he said it.

Alex said...

Hatman only cares if society will recognize his right to be transgendered at taxpayer expense.

leslyn said...

Has everyone absolutely missed the fact that it has been the convention of the MSM for many years to refer to the POTUS interchangeably as "Mr. (last name) and "President (last name)"?

If the President, who gets called "Mr. Obama" all the time, wants to refer to no-longer-governor Romney as "Mr. Romney," then he is at least giving Romney the same courtesy title as he has himself.

And you should all stop getting your panties in a bundle.

Paddy O said...

"Thanks for your reply, but we're not talking about haw WE feel about honorifics."

This is a blog comment section. You don't get to mandate what it is WE are talking about.

Of course, it was a slight. But, I think the slight should be universal. If you spend time around Althouse comments sections, you'll find that riffing off the topic is actually part of the conversation style.

WE actually are, in this thread, talking not only about the slight but ALSO about honorifics as permanent titles for former office holders. Whether that's something that YOU want to talk about is something that YOU can decide for yourself, though I would suggest that YOU don't jump to assumptions about PEOPLE'S overall political biases without having a better sense of what they have said in a multitude of other threads.

It makes you look a little silly.

damikesc said...

BUT this is NOT the current political etiquette regardless of how we might personally feel about it. So when President Obama says this are you saying it is NOT an intentional slight?

Has Obama ever called Clinton Mr. Clinton? When he takes money from him, is it Mr. Corzine or is it still Gov. Corzine?

It'd be OK if he was consistent.

But he isn't.

He's just a petulant whining child. Screw him.

Not really when you consider the distance that Romney takes from admitting he was Gov of a liberal state that make the blue print for Obama Care.

Who's the fool? The guy who originally came up with a bad idea or the guy who championed copying the bad idea?

Bob R said...

I'm with a lot of people here. Get rid of the titles after they leave office. Kevin Williams said it well. They're public servants, so we should treat them like servants. Call them by their last name only after they are out of office. If it's a politician you like, thing of Bertie saying, "Jeeves." One you don't like, think of Mr. Burns saying, "Smithers."