The Relative Comment

soothing waves of relativity

How un-American is calling the President un-American?

with 4 comments

According to John Boehner, the currents Speaker of the US House of Representatives, President Obama, the current,  democratically elected President of the United States of America is “almost un-American.” Isn’t that amazing?

Here’s the actual quote.

This is a president who said I’m not going to be a divider, I’m going to be a uniter, and running on the politics of division and envy is – to me it’s almost un-American

One has to simply marvel at the use of the qualifier ‘almost’ in that sentence. Is there a chart somewhere in the possession of House Republicans that details individual Americanness? How many more unfavorable decisions does Obama need to finally be pushed over the line that denotes almost un-American from actually un-American? I wonder where slandering the President as un-American falls on that chart.

Frankly, this made be puke a little. Such disrespect for the President is commonplace on the campaign trail, from the loud-mouthed Tea Partiers and the crazy right-wing folks who think Obama is a secret Muslim looking to bring Sharia Law into the halls of Government. But to hear it from John Boehner is truly disappointing. He’s a good guy, I thought, who disagreed with Obama’s policies but did not sink into the gutter.

Boehner also said his goal is to  “work with the president.” Clearly.


Written by Christopher ZF

January 24, 2012 at 13:13

4 Responses

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  1. Pardon the distinction, but he’s not calling President Obama un-American. He’s calling the politics of division and envy un-American. And one can find enough Obama/administration rhetoric (as you probably could for most congressional Republicans) to support the assertion that he sometimes plays up the politics of division and envy:

    The question is whether the politics of division and envy is un-American. Unfortunately, I disagree with Boehner– turns out to appear to be very American. Bad faith abounds on all sides.


    January 24, 2012 at 14:00

    • You’re distinction is noted. But I think it serves the same function rhetorically.

      And I agree with your final point.

      The problem for me is not that anything here is surprising, improper, un-American, or any such nonsense. The problem is that, frankly, there is decorum and standards for being the President and being Speaker of the House. And Boehner is not upholding it. Say what you will about Obama, but he doesn’t lack decorum.
      Call me old fashioned.


      January 24, 2012 at 14:04

  2. Calling you old fashioned is certainly a compliment I will pay you. And you and I mutually insist on a level of decorum. But if you think Boehner’s statement serves the same function rhetorically as if he had called the President himself un-American (which, for my distinction, I still find a pretty reasonable assertion), then as long as the knive we’re using isn’t so sharp, I will contend that President Obama’s labeling of Republicans as “enemies” to be “punished,” “bomb-throwers” and “hostage-takers” (links above) bespeaks a very similar rhetorical lack of decorum as Boehner’s. This is particularly true of such violence-charged language in a post-Tuscon world (for which the President gave his finest speech).
    See, this is why politics is relatively boring. It’s almost entirely about imperfect people arguing about other imperfect people saying stupid things. You can only get pleasure from playing the “gotcha” game for so long before you realize that everbody loses because everybody says stupid things, as long as you care about the important things like consistency and integrity. Ideology– now, that is a lot more interesting as long as it is undertaken with humility. At least we can come up with something new there.


    January 24, 2012 at 15:01

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