Our First Thin-Skinned President

Any criticism must be lies - even if it's true.

We've often praised the "dead white males" who wrote our Constitution; we're daily reminded of how intelligent and far-sighted they were.  Back when they gave us a divided government, they wisely realized that the various branches of government could conspire to cheat the citizens.

This has indeed occurred - the executive branch rolls over for earmarks which benefit the legislators and the legislative branch doesn't look too closely at all the funny procurement contracts executed by the executive branch.

One of the reasons the Founders wrote freedom of the speech into the Constitution was because they considered suppressing opposing views to be tyranny, but there was another reason - they wanted evil deeds of government officials to come to light.  Although it was left to Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis to say "Sunlight is the best disinfectant," the benefits of transparency in government were evident enough to the Founders that they praised the institution of a free press.

"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed.  The agitation it produces must be submitted to.  It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." [emphasis added]

- Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823.

Since early in our history, Americans have relied on newspapers to keep us informed of the sins of our leaders so that we can vote them out of office.  As Mr. Jefferson said, that's the only security we have.

It's even more important to be informed of the realities of new candidates for office so that we can avoid electing inappropriate leaders.

The Silent Media

One of the striking points about the recent Presidential election is how little hard news was given us about Mr. Obama's history, beliefs, actions, opinions, or even his origin.  After the election, people observed that we'd elected a man we knew nothing about.

Why was this?  Because our media, our newspapers, our TV stations went into "never was heard a discouraging word" mode with respect to their coverage of Candidate Obama.

Unfortunately for the President, a politician becomes accustomed to favorable press and finds it hard to deal with criticism of any kind.  Those Americans who cared to pay attention got to see how an unscripted question from Joe the Plumber threw Mr. Obama off stride.  Unfortunately for us, we find that he's no better at dealing with criticism as President than as a candidate.

In an article "Public Wary of Deficit, Economic Intervention," the Wall Street Journal reports:

After a fairly smooth opening, President Barack Obama faces new concerns among the American public about the budget deficit and government intervention in the economy as he works to enact ambitious health and energy legislation, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. [emphasis added]

The Journal explained why Mr. Obama's approval ratings are slipping:

The results come after weeks of Republican hammering of Mr. Obama for spending too much and taking on too many issues, arguments that appear to be resonating with some voters.

As one would expect, Mr. Obama had something to say about the mounting criticism:

"If you have an argument made frequently enough -- whether it's true or not -- it has some impact," he said Tuesday.  "If you want to attack a Democratic president, how are you going to attack him? Well, you're going to talk about how he wants more government and he wants to socialize medicine and he's going to be oppressive towards business.  I mean, that's pretty standard fare." [emphasis added]

We've updated our favorite "deficit graph" with this newer version which looks a little further into the future.  However much we may disagree with Mr. Obama, we have to admire his chutzpah in saying "whether it's true or not" about Republican charges that he's spending too much money.

How can he say "whether it's true or not" when he's brought about the biggest deficits in our history?  It's clear that Mr. Obama is not accustomed to criticism.

We at Scragged hope that enough of the media wake up and start fulfilling their constitutional duty to view with alarm.  He needs a lot more practice to learn how to handle criticism without telling such whoppers.  "Whether it's true or not" indeed.

Feh!  May he drown in his red ink along with the rest of us.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments
Obama was right on, words, repeated often enough, have an effect whether they are true or not. He's using that to his advantage by saying over and over again that the attacks are baseless.
June 23, 2009 8:40 PM
I, for one, am ready and willing to march on Washington. Sign me up when ready.
July 24, 2009 8:27 AM
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