It's amazing that Barack Obama still has some fooled into believing he's a model of post-partisanship. Sure, he's as friendly and congenial as they come, as long as you agree with him -- 100 percent.
When on-script, he is mostly measured, reasonable-sounding and -- being a good reader -- occasionally eloquent. But when he ventures off-script, he often sounds less sophisticated, petty and even mean-spirited. In those moments, there's no hiding the inner man.
We see his inner man on renegade YouTube clips of his speeches to completely friendly audiences where he wasn't expecting to be heard outside the venue, as with his ridiculing of small-town Americans as bitter clingers. His unmasked face often reveals a marked contemptuousness for those who don't share his worldview.
He not only doesn't practice bipartisanship but also refuses even to debate the issues, treating dissenters as ill-motivated, disingenuous obstructionists.
I was reminded of this as I played a video posted on RealClearPolitics in which Obama -- candid, un-coached and bereft of his usual trappings of urbanity -- launched into opponents of Obamacare.
He gently scolded the Democratic dissenters as "an opinionated bunch" who can "be their own worst enemies" but who at least "think for themselves." "I like that in ya," he said with dripping, head-patting condescension -- as if it's a deviation from adherence to absolute truth if you disagree with him on any particular. And that tone was for his "friends." As for Republicans, he said, "the other side, they just sometimes kind of do what they're told."
Does an open-minded person treat dissenters in his own party as benignly misguided rubes who must wake up to his superior judgment and defer? Does an exemplar of bipartisanship automatically paint the opposition party as mindless sheep marching to someone else's orders -- in the manner, by the way, that he expects everyone to march in lock step to his orders?
Does a fair-minded statesman who claims to listen to all voices forever treat people according to the "what have you done for me lately" standard?
If not, then why has he been trying to emasculate the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which, to its shame, even supported TARP and Obama's "stimulus package"? Well, those weren't enough. You are only spared Obama's wrath if you support his every policy.
As R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the chamber, said, "When you're on their side, it's all OK, but if you're not, they rain hell down on you."
So when the chamber dared oppose his cap-and-trade boondoggle and his socialized medicine scheme, Obama dispatched his surrogates to do an end run around the chamber to meet with corporate executives directly in an effort to undermine the chamber's clout. Even The Washington Post reported that "the White House is moving aggressively to remove the (chamber) from its traditional role as the chief representative for big business."
Then, with its trademarked audacity, the White House played the victim, blaming the chamber for forcing the administration to deal with the corporate executives. It said, "Does the chamber really represent the business community the way they used to? It seems as though their members are disengaging. ... They have to be responsible for their own membership, not us." That's like your best friend blaming you for his affair with your wife because you weren't making her happy.
Obama also personally vilified the chamber, saying it was spending millions on a "false" ad "to kill" his proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
This should convince you Obama is directly behind these vicious tactics. Indeed, this has always been his MO. When he was a senator, he refused to meet with representatives of the National Black Chamber of Commerce while fraudulently claiming to the public that he was.
This deceitful behavior prompted the group's president, Harry Alford, to pen an op-ed titled "Did Barack Obama Lie?" Alford wrote: "Senator, you don't have to meet with us. But don't say you do, when you don't. We don't need the lies or the jive."
According to Alford, Obama refused to meet with all black chambers of commerce. Instead, he chose to demonize the pro-business group, saying that when he talks to them, he tells them, "You know what would be a good economic development plan for our community would be if we make sure folks weren't throwing their garbage out of their cars." Nice.
I wonder how aware Obama and his handlers are that the only thing keeping his dangerous and unpopular policy agenda alive is the enormous disconnect between the public's perception of him personally and the nature of his proposals. If Obama keeps showing his true colors -- an unwillingness to brook any dissent and a nastiness toward any who won't submit -- the breaking of the trance will be complete, and voters will throw his congressional supporting cast out on their ears in 2010.