Thursday, January 26, 2012


So the Arizona governor and POTUS had a little dust-up.

Well, good for them. I really don't care who started it or which one of them was the most petty. In the end it is probably good for the Republic for POTUS to hear a contrary view of anything. We have attached a quasi-royalty to our elected chief executive. The guy almost never hears in conversation that he's wrong about anything. That "Royalty" thing is probably a bad idea but nobody knows how to undo it. It's been getting worse at least since tricky Dick attempted to dress the Secret Service police in Belgian palace guard costumes.

Aside from the issue of it being healthy for somebody to sass the president a little bit, there is the post-mortem of how both Brewer and the White House staff handled it. Brewer takes the position that the president started it. OK, a perfect place for the White House to take the "high ground". The White House staff is dribbling information out about the encounter at approximately 5 words per half-day. They are quite proud of themselves for exercising sufficient restraint not to follow each five words with "nyah-nyah nyah-nyah."

As a contrast this kind of stuff happened almost every week to President Clinton in the last half of his first term. The White House would simply say that the president had a frank exchange of views with whomever and that the subject of the conversation or private between the president and whomever. Almost all the presidents antagonists responded in kind. In other words, neither side in the Clinton years went on to try to win the argument or appear to be the good guy in the public discussion afterward. That is how veteran, seasoned politicians deal with the occasional public eruption.

Brewer may very well have handled her part of the argument honorably. Her postevent interviews quickly became a good deal less skillful. Fortunately for her, she did not look bad for long. Obama's White House staff has, predictably, dribbled out the White House position by millimeters and then served up the obvious for dessert: POTUS would be happy to meet with Gov. Brewer in the future. As if he'd like to kiss off Arizona's electoral votes otherwise.

Both sides engaged in a healthy thing (a little tiff between leaders). Unfortunately, by their conduct afterwards they turned the healthy thing into Ashton and Demi.


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