by Nathan Shapiro
Speaking about President Obama’s agenda in 2010, the Republican House leader John Boehner told a crowd, “We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.” This has been the Republican’s general attitude towards Obama for his entire presidency. It is this context that makes what Hubert Humphrey said to a fellow liberal so enlightening. “I don’t know who your president is, Joe, but my president is Dwight Eisenhower, and if I can be helpful to my president in a manner consistent with my conscience, I will be.”
Not since eleven states seceded from the Union because they did not like the new president has a major party had less respect for the presidency and the institution of the presidency. Respect for the presidency has been at its height since Franklin Roosevelt, and Humphrey’s statement reflects that sentiment.
Yet something is different about the Obama presidency. His ideological advisories don’t just disagree with him, they fail to recognize him has the legitimate leader of the United States. If Obama makes a proposal, the Republicans are automatically against it. In President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address he proposed new tort reform laws. This has been a cause pushed by Republicans for years but despised by Democrats. However, since the proposal came from Barack Obama’s lips, the GOP would not consider pursuing tort reform. One cannot help but wonder what would happen if Obama announced one day that he was pro-life. Would all Republicans become pro-choice? At this point I would not put it past them.