Purdum — referencing the TV show "The West Wing" — informs us that "the White House is a pretty awesome place." So it would really be immensely nervy if someone were to say something contemptuous to the President of the United States in the White House.
[T]he alleged dis words are so personal, so passionate, so disaffected-high-school-sweetheart in tone — “I cannot even stand to look at you” — that it’s hard to imagine any grown man saying them to another — much less to the president.Know what's true of many things that are hard to imagine? The way they don't happen.
It boggles the mind to think what, if anything, Obama could have said in reply....Imagine if Boehner said X to Obama, then what would Obama say? As long as we're sojourning in Imagination Land, why aren't we imagining what Obama might have said to Boehner that would have caused Boehner to say "I cannot even stand to look at you." But Purdum's World of Imagination doesn't include concocting a context for things that weren't said that would make things that Republicans say seem any more justified. He's more about crushing comebacks that Obama could make if any GOP person had the nerve — especially in the awesome setting of the White House — to dis Barack Obama.
Purdum came up with — as a riposte to "I cannot even stand to look at you" — "Funny, I can’t even see you!" Oh, that's good, Todd. That's good. A lesser politico-journolist might have had Obama stick his fingers in his ears and say "La la, I can't hear you." But you stayed on-track with the vision trope and came up with I can’t even see you.
Purdum concedes the unlikelihood that Dick Durbin's account of the story is true:
It’s worth noting that the only face-to-face meeting between Obama and House GOP leaders was on Oct. 10, and Durbin [who reported that the remark was made] was not present.So why are you doing this, Todd? What good are you attempting to do, for yourself or anyone else? His last paragraph is a fascinating puzzle:
But given the bitter state of relations between Obama and the House Republicans, it’s easy enough to imagine that more than one of them went into their meeting in the Roosevelt Room feeling like the distraught Aunt Em in “The Wizard of Oz,” who told the Toto-taking Miss Gulch: “For 23 years, I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you. And now, well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it!"This notion of morality, impressed deeply onto the brain of Purdum in childhood — the lesson of Auntie Em — somehow is not enough to stop him from writing this column about a statement that was never made. Or is it that Todd's no Auntie Em? He doesn't repress his unkind thoughts, and one of them is that he thinks Republicans — if they fail to say the mean thing that he'd like to skewer them for saying — surely must have thought those mean things and the only reason they didn't say them was because they're a bunch of ludicrously over-virtuous Auntie Ems.
Even in Washington — especially in Washington — it may be best to let some thoughts rest — unexpressed.
I was going to say what kind of grown man has "The Wizard of Oz" as his go-to reference, but damned if Instapundit didn't just whip out a "Wizard of Oz" quote. We're all Friends of Dorothy now.