Like a President
Before I get started discussing President Obama’s announcement regarding action on gun control, I want to address this cowardly and pernicious little ad the NRA folks thought was actually acceptable discourse:
Did you catch that? “Are the president’s children more important than yours?” Hm. Maybe they are under more of a risk because, for one thing: THEIR FATHER IS PRESIDENT. They have armed guards at their school. They have Secret Service protection. This is because there are people who would genuinely want to hurt or kill their father, and would even hurt or kill them, even though they are children. Barack Obama has faced an unusual threat level during his presidency. But no one should be unaware that this is something he knew about upon taking the job:
Because we all know that is part of the risk. So why is the NRA going to play dumb about why some children get more armed security—could it be because they need it, situationally? Because we really should not accept a cultural paradigm where everyone needs Secret Service, okay? Can we acknowledge that the president’s family really does?
But the attitude that leads to such a question regarding President Obama’s “elitism” is a failure to acknowledge that President Obama is, for all intents and purposes, one of our elite. He is the twice-popularly-elected POTUS. Whether his executive job is paying the nation’s debts or responding to public outcry over gun violence, there are things the people who elected him expect him to do, and the Constitution affords him some authority, actually—to do that stuff. And it is not an impeachable offense for him to try and do his job. And that is the staggering thing: some people are going to roll up in front of a camera after two elections and talk about my president like he isn’t one. Or say he shouldn’t have the authority to do his job.
Seriously. He is the president even if some people don’t like it. Even if their feelings are really hurt. Even if they want to say the I-word all day long. Because we know you can get impeached and not even be removed from office, for one thing. And for another—when did being president become a high crime or a misdemeanor? You know, when they outlaw being president, only outlaws will want to be president—or did I just give away the operating plan of the GOP?
Hm. He has to do his job. I would dearly like to see his opposite numbers in Congress do their actual jobs, too. Wouldn’t that be something?
But let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that that job probably shouldn’t include drafting articles of impeachment until they have a real thing to impeach him for? Because for one thing, here is the White House response to a petition that kind of asks Obama to go ahead and impeach himself:
Believe it are not, petitions like the one you signed are one of the reasons we think We the People is such a valuable tool. There are few resources that do more to help us engage directly with people about the issues that matter to them—especially people who disagree with us.So let us use this opportunity to set the record straight:
President Obama didn’t declare a war in Libya—and the limited military mission he did order was in keeping with decades of historic precedent.
The Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act—and they upheld the law.
The President has deep respect and appreciation for the Constitution—he studied it in law school, he taught students about its principles as a professor, and as a lawmaker and now as President, he’s carried out its precepts.
And let’s be clear, many of those who have been called “czars” have in fact been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as prescribed by federal law, and others hold policy jobs that have existed in Administrations stretching back decades.
So the short answer is that we won’t be calling for the President’s impeachment—and given the fact that you made your appeal to the White House itself, we doubt you were holding your breath waiting for our support.
Here’s the important thing, though. Even though this request isn’t going to happen, we want you to walk away from this process with knowledge that we’re doing our best to listen—even to our harshest critics.
The key is that we can disagree without being disagreeable. That’s the kind of public dialogue Americans deserve.
President Obama has said time and time again that neither party has a monopoly on good ideas. And he’s repeatedly asked that all Americans—those who agree with him, as well as those who don’t—do their part to get involved with their democracy.
That’s why the White House has created a host of new tools and channels to help concerned citizens hear from us, and more importantly, to help President Obama hear directly from you. And the fact you signed this petition means you’ve already found at least one of them.
Tell us what you think about this response and We the People.
What a classy answer. I don’t aspire to the presidency myself, but what I would tell people who wanted me to go and get impeached, or resign, for having czars, executive orders/actions, or opinions, all of which are legal parts of the job—if I were president—wouldn’t be so nice.
I’m just saying, he is the president. You know. Barack Hussein Obama. Who will have his Inauguration next Monday on the day we observe Martin Luther King Jr Day. And which means you will pry my president’s ability to do his job out of my disembodied Obotic bloggy handlike servitors because I voted for change and I still think we have one coming. And I really could give a good goddamn whose nose is rubbed in it. But if it’s the NRA’s—that’s A-OK with me.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)