Respecting the President

As I read various comments or blog posts online I see a number of conservatives who refer to our current president as “Barry.” This is used in the same vein as many liberals used “Dubya” or any of their other derogatory names for the previous president (many of which are not going to be posted here). I do not support such informal and derogatory nicknames for the President Obama and I did not support such terms for President Bush. What Pres. Obama gets called is far milder than what Pres. Bush was (and is) called.

Regardless of what you think of a particular president, the office deserves respect. Even if you do not respect the individual, you should respect the office. Pres. Obama should be referred to as Mr. President (when talking to him, should you ever have that honor) or President Obama (or Pres. Barack Obama); he can also be referred to as “The President”. On Twitter I can understand referring to Pres. Obama as BHO (which, while sometimes used to point out his middle name – Hussein – to try to link him with a certain former Iraqi dictator, is preferable to BO). However, that particular abbreviation should only be used on Twitter (or some similarly character-restricted medium) if your tweet is longer than the character limit and that is the best way to reduce the number of characters.

I know many people will disagree with me but I believe that people in important positions deserve respect and should be addressed respectfully regardless of your personal opinion of them. Besides, I find it difficult to take someone seriously when they refer to our president as “Barry.” Here is an example of what I am talking about from a comment on a news story on a major news site. [Not that comments to online news stories are a good representation of the public, at least I certainly hope they are not representative, but they can serve as an illustration of my point].

“[A person] will run against the Barrack Hussein WH — they will sign of the school system to the teacher unions for the future obligation of their pension and health benefits — what that BHO care .. his kids are in a private school!”

That quote is taken completely out of context so it does not make a lot of sense (it does not make a lot of sense in context either). First, the commenter referred to Pres. Obama as “Barrack [sic] Hussein,” which is an obvious appeal to anti-Muslim sentiment (or, at least the logical fallacy of guilt by association [in this case with Saddam Hussein]). Secondly, the commenter referred to Pres. Obama as “BHO”, which is not necessarily disrespectful but neither is it respectful. I know people will quibble with my point but I believe that the office of President of the United States of America is deserving of more respect, regardless of your feeling about a particular president.

We can criticize and make a caricaturization of a president but the office of president should still be respected. Much of this boils down to basic civility, a quality I fear too many in our country lack. A person only weakens an argument by reverting to name-calling or otherwise disrespectful attitudes towards others.

Obama a Fiscal Conservative?

Ruben Navarrette Jr. has an editorial on CNN that says many of the things I was thinking during Obama’s speech last night. Here’s the link.

Basically, Obama in talking about economics said many things that sounded like people should work hard and take responsibility for their lives and economic well-being. Much of what he said sounded very fiscally conservative even if he was meaning to imply that the government should take care of people. As Navarrette said, it was a little confusing exactly what he was saying. Then again, that’s what Obama’s whole campaign has been like. I’m not saying it’s wrong or bad it’s just that with that part of the speech Obama sounded very moderate, or even conservative, which his voting history and past statements don’t support.

Obama’s DNC Speech

The more I listen to Obama, the less I like his views on policy. He sounds great when he doesn’t talk about policy but once he starts talking about ideas that will make America strong or help out the middle class, he just sounds naive. In his DNC nomination acceptance speech he criticized Pres. Bush for just talking tough without doing anything. This was shortly after he criticized Pres. Bush for – get this – starting the war in Iraq. Yeah, that’s just tough talk with nothing to back it up. I think he meant to criticize the U.N. but slipped and said Pres. Bush instead (sorry, that was my own jab at the U.N.). You may disagree with one or both wars that started during Pres. Bush’s administration but you can’t say he just talks tough and does nothing to back it up. Pres. Bush gave teeth to the U.N.’s resolutions – he tried to uphold the integrity of the U.N. by actually enforcing their resolutions. There were a few other times that what Obama said was just plain disingenuous.

I like Obama. I think he’s honest and would be a good president. I just disagree strongly with many of his policies (as an aside, I have to say though that Obama is far better candidate than John Kerry was). Obama voted against the ban on partial-birth abortions. He’s only recently even started talking about “looking into” nuclear energy, when the technology is ready to go. Nuclear is the way to go now, especially if we couple it with electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars. Electric cars would then be powered by all the new nuclear power plants we could build – cheap energy! Obama also wants to just pull all the troops out of Iraq (even though tonight he talked about pulling out of Iraq “responsibly”). Just pulling out is not responsible. The Iraqi government and current U.S. administration both want U.S. troops to leave but only when milestones are made and maintained.

Obama’s whole platform is one of bringing change to Washington yet he picks someone as a VP who’s been in Washington for a long time. That undermines his message. While I’m rambling I just have to say I love Obama’s sob stories about all the poor suffering people in America. Yes, there are a lot of poor suffering people in America but every time he did that I couldn’t help but to think about “injury attorneys” ads and tort lawyers. Pathos gets people excited and riled up but excessive use of it usually signifies a lack of anything substantive. As I said in a different post, just ignore what candidates say during campaigns because it’s just advertising. Obama’s a good and exciting speaker but much of what he says is just fluff. There was so much fluff that Obama could start a pillow manufacturing company and provide pillows for every man, woman, and child in America.