After the Shellacking, the Return of the "Arrogant Obama" Meme
But this week he got a heavier dose of it than usual, with the Weekly Standard, the Daily Caller, and Ben Shapiro all devoting long essays to the theme of Obama's self-regard, accompanied by rightblogger mega-dittos.
It seems a weird charge to make right after Obama's party suffered heavy losses in an election, and while he was out of the country on diplomatic missions. Why now?
Back when Obama was running for President, some people suggested that the use of the term "arrogant" in reference to him was a substitute for the racially loaded "uppity." The standard conservative response was usually twofold: first, that they were unaware that "uppity" was a problem for black people, and second, that liberals were prejudiced and/or abridging conservatives' free speech rights by bringing it up.
The point was swiftly mooted, and with the 2008 election buried under mountains of conservative anguish. But the dream never died. So in between their post-election accusations of fascism, obsequiousness toward foreigners, etc., rightbloggers kept working the vein: "Obama's arrogance hits new heights, with no limit in sight," "Obama's Insufferable Arrogance Caused Olympic Fail," "Obama's Christmas Tree Decked With Mao Balls, Arrogance and a Drag Queen?"
The same went for his wife: "Michelle Obama -- As Arrogant as Barack," "Arrogant delusional the First Frump Michelle Hussein Obama," "Arrogant Michelle Obama Bashes America at USC," etc.
In one of our favorite examples, Flopping Aces compared Obama's ego to Fidel Castro's. "We have all observed the President's overuse and joy of using the "I" word," they wrote. "Fidel's early days were filled with the 'I' word and the steady crack of rifle fire." (Not only that: Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln, and Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy.)
The accusations only increased as Obama struggled through the first half of his term, though some rightbloggers began working on more clinical-sounding synonyms for what they considered Obama's presumption.
"Obama's outsized ego," headlined Jonah Goldberg last October. When the President's seal fell off his podium one time, Obama joked, "That's all right, all of you know who I am." Aha, said Goldberg: "Even though the incident made headlines for no discernible journalistic reason" -- liberal bias, no doubt -- "it was noteworthy as a succinct example of Obama's arrogance problem." How so? "Rather than make a self-deprecating joke, he opted instead to make a self-inflating one, as if to say that the title mattered less than the man." Well, few jokes bear up well under heavy analysis.
Look at the guy! He even Photoshops arrogant!
Goldberg also shared the good news that "it's apparently not racist to call Obama arrogant anymore," because one MSM columnist referred to Obama's "considerable ego" and another to his "arrogance." That, said Goldberg, meant that "what was once taboo has become undeniable." Q.E.D.
The election campaign, disastrous for the Democrats, gave the meme a third wind. "Obama the arrogant race baiter sees the job of Republicans when they take the majority to bow to him," claimed Ken Taylor at RedState, "and as Democrats have walk in lock step with his Marxist agenda."
In a column called "Obama the Snob," former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson noted Obama's comments at a Democratic fund-raiser (not, as you might have gathered from the coverage, in an address to the nation,), suggesting that voters were "scared" by the state of the economy and "facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time," were "some of the most arrogant words ever uttered by an American president." (And Gerson worked for George Bush!) The remarks proved to Cal Thomas that "Obama's egoism dominates his politics," in that he "sees no merit in any position but his own... This is the hubris of statists."
Obama acknowledged his "shellacking" after the election, but to rightbloggers this was only further proof of his arrogance. "OK, I can't say that press conference was brimming with humility," said Rich Lowry of National Review. "When Your Ego Is So Large That You Can't Admit Defeat," scoffed Sons of Liberty. "This ego maniac probably doesn't even know that elected officials are in Washington to represent their voters interests," said Weasel Zippers, "not to push his far-left Socialist agenda."
As Obama prepared for his post-election Asian trip -- memorable for its trade talks and wild rightblogger speculation about its cost ("All so the Arrogant One can see the Festival of Lights?" thundered Zipline Conservative), and to which many rightbloggers unaccountably referred as a "vacation" -- Fox News and New York Post chief and bipartisan observer Rupert Murdoch let it be known that he'd heard New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg call Obama the most arrogant man he'd ever met.
The alleged comment was denied by Bloomberg himself: "I don't remember the conversation that way... I happen to think he's a very smart guy... I do not think he's arrogant," he said. But what difference does that make? "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently believes President Obama ranks up there on the arrogant quotient," said Glenn Beck's The Blaze. "Wonder what The Won [Obama] said to cheese His Nannyship [Bloomberg] off," went Don Surber's coded message. "Who knew there was someone who could top Michael Bloomberg?" laughed Commentary's Jennifer Rubin.
Last week three high-profile conservatives found new and impressively elaborate ways to call Obama a snot.