But I digress. Hugh Hewitt declared it to be a "snooze-fest" which it was. There were a total of thirteen questions in fifty-seven minutes, and the more pointed questions did not come until the end of the presser.
But, Mr. Hewitt took note of an observation Andrew McCarthy made after the press conference, and we believe he hit the nail on the head:
Instead, I want to address the very beginning of the President's answer: "Okay. No, I — I think it’s a — I think it’s a legitimate question."
Obama does this a lot — instinctively, and in response to questions or comments directed to him that contain any hint of criticism. He has been so immune from media scrutiny, and his supporters have been so thuggish in shouting down critics (recall, for example, the efforts to stop Stanley Kurtz's appearance on Milt Rosenberg's radio show in Chicago), that a disturbing presumption has taken hold — at least in Obama's own mind. Namely, questions that imply even mild dissent from or disfavor of Obama are not legitimate unless he personally decides they are within the ambit of proper inquiry. The questioner has to get over the legitimacy hurdle before he or she gets an answer — so better be careful about your topic and your tone.
This is of a piece with his ACORN days, when the community-organizer was not above resort to what those extortionists glibly call "direct action." Obama can appear civil, gracious and, as he insists, "pragmatic," but the prospect of intimidation is always in the air. This is not a pretty picture after only two months, and it doesn't get better from here.
That observation is quite keen. We have seen him get flustered with questions in the past. Remember when he visited the White House press corps after the inauguration?
President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press corps Thursday night, but got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question.
Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a deputy defense secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face.
"Ahh, see," he said, "I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here."
Pressed further by the Politico reporter about his Pentagon nominee, William J. Lynn III, Obama turned more serious, putting his hand on the reporter's shoulder and staring him in the eye.
"Alright, come on" he said, with obvious irritation in his voice. "We will be having a press conference at which time you can feel free to [ask] questions. Right now, I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself to you guys - that's all I was trying to do."
He was clearly attempting to intimidate the Politico reporter. But that was not the first time he became irritated with the press. Remember the campaign trail?
As Sen. Hillary Clinton was preparing to campaign here today, Sen. Barack Obama was meeting with voters at a diner and apparently pretty hungry.
"Why can't I just eat my waffle?" he said, when asked a foreign policy question by a reporter at the Glider Diner.
He dislikes criticism. He enjoys the tingling press people who do nothing but fawn over him. This is not the behavior of a grown man and the leader of the free world. This is the attitude and behavior of a narcissistic, petulant child. Mr. McCarthy is quite correct: this is not a pretty picture. It begs a simple question, and one that is thoroughly merited given how the presser started last night. Remember that?
All right. With that, let me take some questions. And I've got a list here.
So here is the question: How long before his list of reporters that he will take questions from has only those absolutely loyal to him, and will not utter one word of criticism? To some that might seem presumptive. Others might find me to be incredulous, even haughty. But given how he reacts to any bit of critique that is not positive towards him, I believe the question is more than warranted.