2:11pm January 27, 2012

The 10 Worst Moments of Disrespect Towards President Obama


It starts from the Superiority Syndrome: People acting as if they’re more important than a U.S. President — when they clearly are not.  To fingers in the face.  To people questioning his already established and proven citizenship.

The incidents of disrespect towards President Obama continue.

When people criticize Administration policy, that’s just politics.  But several incidents directed at this President appear to find new lows.  Of course, people can disagree with the President. But, why can’t people respect the Office of the Presidency?

The very public nature of disrespect towards President Obama is noteworthy.  Did Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have to conduct business with the President in front of reporters?  Wasn’t there a better time and place? Would a visiting leader from a foreign country be greeted with a finger in his face by a Governor? If not, why would it happen to the leader of our own country? Could a hockey goalie have executed a quiet no-show for a White House invitation honoring his team? See Facebook for the answer on that one.

It wasn’t the end of the world when Speaker John Boehner refused the President’s date to speak to a joint session on jobs in September 2011.  And yes, the White House picked that date to steal attention from a GOP debate.  But like so many moments of disrespect towards the 44th President: No one can find another example in American history where a U.S. President requested a date to address Congress and was refused. Can anyone find another incident like the Brewer one?  That the list below can even be compiled is telling.

1. The birther fiasco (2009-2011). No evidence. No proof. No documentation.  But the story traveled on for years. Yes, Hawaii is part of the United States of America.

2. “You lie” (Sept. 2009). That any individual — no less a member of Congress watching a U.S. President during a joint session on live national television — is so lacking in self control that this moment was made possible is incredible — even in an age of incivility. Remember this happened only nine months into Obama’s presidency and is another “we can’t remember that ever happening ever before” moment. Close your eyes and pretend Rep. Maxine Waters was Wilson doing this to President Bush and image the reaction.

3. Signs of the Tea Party (July 2010) and Naked Racism (April 2011).  Anyone remember California GOP official Marilyn Davenport’s racist e-mail? Did she ever resign for that?  I remember all the criticism of the NAACP – particularly from Black Republicans — for their “Tea Party resolution” of 2010.  Where was that indignation regarding what can be viewed in this video? Click here.

4. Donald “unchecked ego” Trump inflames birther fiasco, media assists (April 2011). The mouth of Donald Trump is a powerful thing when joined with a 24-hour cable news cycle desperate for viewers.  That news organizations invited Trump on the air unchallenged with zero proof of what he was saying speaks volumes on the state of journalism.  That Trump was completely comfortable demanding that a U.S. President “show him his papers” displays a superiority complex that exists among those who can’t accept someone they view as “lesser” in a position of power over them.

4. Deadbeat dad and probable one-termer thinks his presence before the President actually matters and needs to tell everyone (Sept 2011).  The disrespect isn’t that probable one term Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) wouldn’t attend the President’s Sept. 8 speech. The disrespect is that Rep. Walsh actually believed that everyone knowing he wasn’t attending was important.  That he needed to announce he would not attend on national television, as if anyone cared, was yet another delusional superiority episode.  That proudly showing public disrespect towards the President is a winning strategy in some political circles reveals a lot.

5. Newt Gingrich’s “Kenyan anti-colonial behavior” comment (Sept 2010). Even Washington Post columnist and conservative thinker George Will slammed this attempt to define the President as “foreign.” Never mind the facts: President Obama wasn’t reared by his father in Kenya with whom he spent only a month of his 50 years on this earth. The strategy to define the President as a “foreign” or “alien” being was started by Sarah Palin in 2008.

6. One of the underlying premises of disrespect towards the President is that he can be ordered around and dictated to like he’s Tipi the laundry boy.  The presumption that a U.S. President can be ordered around is a new phenomenon that appears to have gotten underway around January 2009.  From big mouth Congressmen to millionaires with nothing to do, you name it — they all inherently believe they can order President Obama around.  At least Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an actual leader of something. Regardless, read this and ask yourself if you think this would have happened to Presidents Bush, Reagan or Clinton.

7. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer puts her finger in the President’s face (January 2012). The photo speaks for itself.  Of course there are strong political disagreements between President Obama and Gov. Brewer.  But is it just possible there was a better time and place for this conversation?  Brewer said she felt “a little threatened” by President Obama. Please.

8. GOP House, prompted by Tea Party — refuses to raise debt ceiling (Aug 2011). Sounds like this was just hardball politics right? Let’s review the facts: The debt ceiling had been raised 69 times since 1962 without incident.  Seven times during Bush II and 18 times during Reagan.  Suddenly, with President Obama, a shiny new precedent is set with regard to raising the debt ceiling.  Another never before seen incident is born.

9. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Publicly Announces His Top Political Priority (Dec 2010). McConnell wants the President out of office?  No news there, but, wait, there’s more to it. “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term,” Sen. McConnell told the Heritage Foundation.  Of course the Senate Republican Leader doesn’t want the President to be re-elected.  But what’s with the public announcement? In July 2010 McConnell acknowledged his single most important political goal: President Obama being a one-term President. Again: In public and on national television.

10. Speaker Boehner refuses speech date request (September 2011). No it is not the end of the world.  Of course, the White House intentionally wanted to step on a GOP debate that same night. But, this is yet another first in American history. Once again, no one can find another instance where a President of the United States requested a date to address Congress and was refused.

About the Author

Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, speaker, strategist, comms expert and political analyst. She created Crewof42.com, a blog that covers the work of Black members of Congress, in 2009. She's been a former staffer for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and Director of Communications for Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and has had a very diverse career in politics and media. Ms. Burke appears regularly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne and has been seen on MSNBC. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. E-mail anytime: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @Crewof42. Instagram: LVB325. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and have complete editorial independence from any Politic365 partners, sponsors, or advertisers.



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  2. DM

    This is the website you come to if you want to read garbage and manufactured propaganda.

  3. Dan Phillips

    The President is not a king.You can say anything you want except threaten him with bodily harm.Since Obama is a stupid jackass that was elected by uninformed people because Obama lied over and over and over again, he deserves to be called a liar and a stupid jackass that has no clue on how to run a lemonade stand,let alone the U.S.A.

    • Fred Smith

      You are a Stupid “Jack Ass and obviously a bigot” to make asinine comments with no basis reflects your bigotry and racist views. You are also a liar!!! “The facts do not substantiate your views
      You probably failed to run your own lemonade stand but you damn sure would not fit anywhere but “Fox” News” And Haters Review!! Get a life and learn to face the truth its not in you!!

    • blizlady

      Thank you Fred Smith. Dan Smith is just showing his bigotry and racism against President Obama who will go down in history as being one of the country’s greatest presidents. Those that hate and disrespect President Obama are racists.

    • Brian William

      Hahahaha, nice try, troll. The “uninformed people” who elected President Obama represent by far the largest number of people to vote for any presidential candidate in the 239 year history of our nation. The second highest number of votes ever for a presidential candidate? President Obama again, as he whooped that other guy.

      As for the rest of your post, I recall in the early 90′s newsgroup days there was a guy who was fond of responding to uneducated, unsubstantiated claims by saying, “Or so you assert…” That’s exactly what I’d say to you. Lauren backs up every one of her 10 points with concrete evidence of disrespect toward the president. Dan, care to refute her evidence rather than just demonstrate your own disrespect?

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  5. Joe Citizen

    Is anyone surprised that the first black President of the United States is under constant attack from..wait for it…an entire faction? If this isn’t “racism” it sure is a hell of a coincidence that he’s considered such an awful President. Stock market is over 18,000, Unemployment is back below crisis levels, affordable healthcare is within reach, new immigrants willing to work and bring new brain trust to America are on their way in, etc, etc. History won’t be kind to the haters….

    • 1LTLos

      If he is so “American” then why does he not abide by the Constitution of the United States and conduct himself as per the three branches of government? Do your homework – I dare you to invest in this stock market right now. No one is working full time – who are you kidding? Obamacare is not affordable or possible. WOW new brain trust found in uneducated diseased, unwanted uninvited and illegal aliens? Kind of classifies where your IQ might stand or sit rather. History will not be kind to the idiots who voted for an incompetent TWO TIMES.

  6. Mike wright

    Look, I will not be drawn into brainless, blind accusations of who is a bigot or who sees only color. America shall fall someday because we simply can not get along. The thing is, one knows in their own heart who has hate issues. Now, acts of disrespect. You are right. There should be no acts of disrespect toward our president. However, it is not very respectful to close a blind eye on our fighting men begging for help to save their lives in Bengazi. It is not very respectful to put down Christianity defending Islam. Nor is it very respectful to fight tooth and nail to get millions of illegals into our country no matter our own joblessness, troubled health care, and the list goes on and on. One may even ask if the presidents view of immigration would be the same if it were England at our southern border. I could go on for ever about questionable things the president has or has not done, but that is not the discussion. The point that is being made is one of respect or the lack thereof. Respect madam, must be earned. Clearly, your main star here has done somethings that rate impeachment, let alone respect. Now, it is your turn. Feel free to call me all the foul things you can think of, but lease remember one thing. Respect is earned and the president needs to earn some.

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