“Why aren’t these people thanking me”
“It’s not about me”
The former are the thoughts of President Obama, while the latter thought paraphrases the first words in Rick Warren’s mega-best-seller, The Purpose Driven Life. The thought behind those words is that the key to a leading a Christian-based life lies in our ability to focus more on others rather than ourselves. It is a beautifully counter-intuitive message; Want to guarantee your eternal salvation? OK, first stop thinking about yourself.
I thought of those words when I heard President Obama’s comments in Miami regarding Americans protesting the current and coming levels of taxation [loyal blog readers will recall the blog’s previous visit to the Arsht Center]. This from an AP article:
President Barack Obama said Thursday he’s amused by the anti-tax tea party protests that have been taking place around Tax Day.
Obama told a fundraiser in Miami that he’s cut taxes, contrary to the claims of protesters.
“You would think they’d be saying thank you,” he said.
Why the connection with the Warren quote? Just a little wishful thinking on my part. After all, which thought would you prefer to be running through the head of the President of the United States?
It is odd that a man whose main source of income during the majority of his adult life has always depended — like some politically-correct latter day version of Blanche DuBois — “on the kindness of strangers” [i.e. Americans who own businesses or those who work for companies which try and earn a profit] would choose this topic to express his sense of entitlement. Let’s just hope these comments don’t mean that the President is getting in touch with his inner plantation landlord.
In my opinion, a degree of humility and good politics would seemingly dictate that the president be especially deferential in this area [taxing Americans who work]. That he felt emboldened enough to chide us [working Americans] is very telling either about the man’s ego or his political philosophy. The political equivalent would be for Clinton to joke about draft dodgers or Bush II to joke about nepotism.
My only explanation is that the concept of humility is as foreign to this president as the concept of working for a living outside of government. I’m not against the concept of thanking the president, but when it comes to taxes and this ‘Cesar,’ rendering thanks unto a leech [taxfully speaking] strikes me as too 1984-ish.
Update: Tom Bevan from Real Clear Politics points out that Obama may not be so amused about tax protesters come November:
Maybe President Obama should stop doing fundraisers. Or maybe he should at least keep them closed to the media. Because it seems when President Obama is in front of a group of friendly Democrats, he just can’t help himself from playing the Comic-in-Chief and ridiculing his opponents. It’s good for a laugh from the partisan crowd, sure, but it often comes across to average folks (and, of course, to the opposition) as petty and/or unpresidential.
Obama may have fun mocking the Tea Party activists today,but if the political winds keep blowing the way they have recently (Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts) he probably won’t be nearly as ‘amused’ in November when they go from turning out at Tax Day protests to turning out at the polls.