Obama vs. Boehner speech spat: Another sign of presidential disrespect?

The spat between the White House and House Speaker John Boehner is now settled: the President will address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8, jousting with opening night of the NFL season instead of the previously-scheduled Republican presidential debate the night prior.

On one level, the tiff is just another example of the kind of Washington bickering that has become standard fare of late. But there’s one aspect of this story that may have legs — if it provides the president’s supporters with yet another piece of evidence that he is not being treated with the deference due (and typically given) the President of the United States. (The president’s request to appear before a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7 was turned down for what may have been the first time in history.)

Last month, the Progressive National Baptist Convention – a religious denomination that began in support of Martin Luther King Jr’s civil rights agenda – issued a resolution decrying the “disrespect” President Obama has encountered since taking office.

The resolution cited South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson shouting “you lie” during the president’s healthcare speech before Congress (in reaction to Obama saying that illegal immigrants wouldn’t be covered under his plan) and Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn saying in an interview that he didn’t want to “be associated” with Obama because it was “like touching a tar baby … you know, you are stuck, and you are part of the problem.” “Conventional wisdom suggests if comments like these were targeted to past holders of this nation’s highest office of another/preferred hue,” the resolution reads, “serious repercussive actions would have immediately followed those making said comments.”In addition, progressive firebrand Al Sharpton called the Speaker’s refusal part of a “game of disrespect” on his show on MSNBC.

Will Speaker Boehner’s pushback — answering the president’s request to address Congress on Sept 7 by instead insisting he appear on Sept. 8 — be seen as yet another example?

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In another case of life imitating art, this whole story reminded Decoder of a recent Onion headline: Obama Turns 50 Despite Republican Opposition.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Diane Clare on 09/02/2011 - 04:18 pm.

    It happened before, back in 1986.
    “if it provides the president’s supporters with yet another piece of evidence that he is not being treated with the deference due (and typically given) the President of the United States.” hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
    I agree the President of USA deserves respect and deference to a point, but he’s not a king, and members of the House of Representatives do not work for the President. This country is in worse condition then we think, if any US citizen thinks the House or it’s members answers to the President.

  2. Submitted by Marcia Brekke on 09/03/2011 - 07:55 am.

    How about “if the President answers to the House”?
    Does that work for ya? Apparently so, if the House is Republican and the president is a Democrat!

  3. Submitted by Norman Larson on 09/03/2011 - 10:37 am.

    it’s = it is; the possessive is its

    Diana wrote, “This country is in worse condition then we think, if any US citizen thinks the House or it’s members answers to the President.”

    P.S. — then is not the same as than.

  4. Submitted by Diane Clare on 09/04/2011 - 08:17 am.

    Maybe I’m too idealistic, the President, the House of Representatives, and the Senate should answer only to their constituents, all their constituents. And to hell with political parties and their playbooks.
    Thank you to Hannah for trying, but it might be too late for correct English and grammar lessons for me.

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