The Ridiculous Double Standard of “Respect for the Oval Office”
President Obama’s critics insistently remind us how different he is from Ronald Reagan — heck, how different he is from every Republican President.
Especially in terms of respect. Which, according to critics, President Obama never had. Not for the Oval Office. And not for the “office” of the President.
Every once in a while, those critics — who, by the way, don’t seem to be motivated by anything at all other than a full understanding of the accurate historical record — will recycle the whole anti-Obama, “respect for the Oval Office” meme. For example, they’ll get up in arms about photos of President Obama with his foot on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office:
Their argument — if you could call it that — boils down to this: “That Guy Has No Respect for the Oval Office, and Therefore Should Not Be President.”
But see, they’re not being “anti-Obama” or anything; it’s the principle with these folks. They say that such a photo “proves” their point — that NO PRESIDENT OTHER THAN OBAMA would do so. EVER.
That ANYONE who would disrespect the Oval Office and the Resolute Desk in such a way is not fit to serve as President. For them, it’s not about…say…race (perish the thought); it’s about facts.
So this, apparently, is of no importance to them:
Of course they’re not being hypocrites. Of course they’re not using a smoke screen invented to mask the real, odious reasons for their “disapproval” of President Obama; it’s the principle, see? Just like the whole coat-and-tie-in-the-Oval-Office issue. It’s the principle. And where does that principle come from? Why, from Ronald Reagan, that’s who.
The Ultimate Respect-for-the-Oval Office President.
Who would never do something like this in that sacred space:
You know, something like this:
The docents at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library museum tell visitors, while standing at the door to the museum’s replica of the Oval Office, that President Reagan had such respect for the office of president, and the Oval Office specifically, that he never entered that room in the White House “without wearing a coat and tie.”
I’ve heard some of the docents there even hint at a comparison with… “some other presidents” who “don’t always have the same respect.”
It’s about respect, see. For the Oval Office. And for the office of President.
The folks complaining about President Obama’s feet on the desk also use Reagan’s perfect example of complete respect for the office when they get upset about a photo of President Obama in that room wearing a tie but not a coat:
Or wearing a coat, but not a tie:
The worst, though, is when President Obama pulls a full-Anti-Reagan, and wears neither a coat nor a tie:
Apparently, like the photos above of Republican presidents with their feet up on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, this photo of President Reagan in the Oval Office, sans coat and tie — which he absolutely never ever did, out of respect for the Oval Office — doesn’t matter to those who are upset at President Obama — on principle, remember, and not because of any, say…of his physical characteristics — for doing the same:
Which is worse, in terms of “respect”: President Obama in the Oval Office with no tie and no coat, or President Reagan in the Oval Office wearing a track suit?
And let’s all agree that if President Obama practiced his golf swing, on camera (or, say, expressed anything close to joy), in the Oval Office, it would become another exhibit in the Right Wing No-Respect Indictment:
And here’s President Reagan, during the 1988 presidential campaign, wearing an Anti-Michael Dukakis (the Democratic nominee) Mask — overemphasizing Dukakis’ ethnic features — in the Oval Office:
Here’s my example of a president demonstrating, on camera, his utter lack of respect for the office of the presidency and the Oval Office:
President George W. Bush pretends to look — “unsuccessfully” — for Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Oval Office, during a slide show he narrated at the 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner.
“Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere,” Bush joked, mocking our military personnel who lost their lives searching for something he knew in advance they wouldn’t find. Laughing hysterically — during his re-election year — at those who lost their lives on all sides of a war that he started with information he knew to be false.
“Nope, no weapons over there … maybe under here?”
You know what else wasn’t there? Any respect at all.
That goes both ways.