This is the sort of thing that reminds those who need reminding that Obama is not, after all, a different kind of politician. He’s a familiar kind. All too familiar.
RENO, Nev. (AP) – So much for hugging in church. A day after Barack Obama and John McCain exchanged an embrace during a faith forum at a California megachurch, Obama called the U.S. economy a disaster thanks to “John McCain’s president, George W. Bush,” and chided his Republican rival’s campaign team for trying to make him look unpatriotic and weak.
Whose president, senator? The phrase “John McCain’s president” is odious, implying, as it does, illegitimacy of the presidency itself, i.e. Bush is only McCain’s president, not president of the United States. One of the hallmarks Bush’s style has been a notable reverence for the office of the presidency itself, one that was all too lacking in the previous administration. Even the most rabid Bush-haters would probably not argue that Bush will leave the presidency itself diminished; indeed, they usually argue that he has aggrandized the office in undesirable ways.
Senator Obama bristles that his opponents have questioned his patriotism (they have not, with the possible exception of Clinton staffers who engaged in machinations to portray him as insufficiently American) but the phrase “John McCain’s president” is not a phrase that one would expect to hear in the mouth of somebody who cares about American institutions and how they have helped to secure our liberty, i.e. a patriot. We’re still a republic, and the president is still everybody’s president. Even if we sometimes blush at that fact.
If you don’t think the phrase is loaded, take a look at your usual Democrat web sites and see how they’re taking it.
I’m not usually big on demanding apologies or retractions or the like, but Obama really should repent of using that phrase, which corrodes the awesome trust with which he is asking voters to vest him.
It goes without says that the Associated Press did not find this formulation remarkable, and it went unchallenged.