The Tyrant Lands in Arizona

Some conservative criticisms of Barack Obama are products of interpretations of facts that others may not share, but are very much rooted in reality (e.g., his handling of the banks or of the auto industry). Others, well, require more pixie dust for sustenance.

In the latter category is the claim that Obama possesses this odd split personality whereby he cowers trembling before foreign dictators, or “union bosses,” or Nancy Pelosi–but is a strutting, bullying martinet in the presence of those Republicans who have tried so consistently to help him redeem his pledge to heal the land of partisan polarization.

This not being the most intuitively plausible meme, it needs all the support news events can supply. And that’s why conservatives gabbers are giving a lot of attention today to the President’s alleged rudeness to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on a Phoenix tarmac yesterday.

This “story” has a nice double-shot quality for Obama-haters, since the President’s “tense” moment with Brewer was supposedly about his displeasure with comments she made in a book wherein she accused him of “condescending” and “patronizing” behavior in an earlier meeting. So the Tyrant was angry at being called out for his characteristic nastiness.

In case anyone missed the underlying narrative of bully-at-home, wimp-abroad, the Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last spelled it out for us:

If only he’d be so assertive with America’s enemies. But then again, I suppose, an “enemy” is really in the eye of the beholder.

Yeah, that would seem to be the case.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.