During the second presidential debate, I found myself, on more than one occasion on my feet, yelling at the TV. I have seen quite a few political debates become heated, but the blatant impudence Mitt Romney showcased was incredible. The GOP thinks that the President was the one that was out of line, but if we currently had a republican president and his opponent interrogated him like an amateurish trial lawyer, wouldn’t they be outraged? Mitt Romney’s oldest son Tagg, said on a North Carolina talk radio show that he wanted to “rush down to the debate stage and take a swing at him [Obama].” He was just joking of course, but wouldn’t this be considered a class D felony if it were any other president? Is President Obama the least respected president in U.S. history?
The way that Governor Romney was grilling President Obama reminded me of the interview that the President gave to Bill O’Reilly. Bill O’Reilly is an outspoken, controversial figure, but watching his exchange with Obama was a little like looking through a one-way mirror at a police station. The President was asked several times if he denied that he wanted to apportion wealth; then O’Reilly pressed him about moving to the center to raise his approval. I’ve never seen an interviewer interrupt a president so many times. I’ve never seen an interviewer ask a question repeatedly, only to have the answer met with a suspicious narrowing of the eyes.
It seemed that Bill O’Reilly simply opened the pathway for others to belittle the President. Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona said in her memoir that when she met with President Obama about security at the Arizona/Mexico border, the President was “patronizing and condescending.” Obama maintained that the description in the book was incorrect. When Obama got off Air Force One in Phoenix, Jan Brewer was waiting, and that’s when the infamous photo was shot of Brewer waving a finger in Obama’s face as if she were scolding her dog for urinating on the carpet.
The whole thing is comparable to a boy watching his father abuse his mother. As the child grows, he thinks that it’s acceptable to treat his mother the same way. No president has ever been so slighted when trying to reach certain bipartisan agreements, and no president has ever had to release his birth certificate. It’s almost as if President Obama is being antagonized by people betting on how long it will take to make him lose his temper.
Nearly all of the rules in the 21 page rule-book applying to the town hall debate were broken, not only by Governor Romney, but also by the moderator and President Obama. Directly posing questions to the President were not allowed, yet Romney asked if Obama had looked at his pension, asked four times how much he cut permits and licenses on federal land, and asked about his use of the phrase “act of terror” in the Rose Garden. I have never heard an opponent tell the leader of the free world: “let me give you some advice,” or, “You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.”
I will admit that, in 2008, I was not the biggest fan of President Obama; I found his campaign overly glitzy and felt that, in America’s current situation, there was no feasible way he could deliver on all of his promises. I have changed and certainly so has the President. Now, with a head full of gray hair, Obama is not the starry-eyed Illinois Senator that we knew four years ago. I believe in him more now than I did in 2008 because he is leveling with the American people, and I believe that if reelected, Obama will fight back and hopefully take no prisoners. He is a President for the people and for that, at least, he should have earned our respect.