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."
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