President Obama arrived in Phoenix at 3:15 pm local time, finding the chilly weather of Iowa giving way to sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60s.
He stepped off Air Force One at 3:28 pm and was greeted by Gov. Jan Brewer. She handed him a handwritten letter in an envelope and they spoke intensely for a few minutes. At one point, she pointed her finger at him.
Afterwards, your pooler spoke with the governor.
"He was a little disturbed about my book, Scorpions for Breakfast. I said to him that I have all the respect in the world for the office of the president. The book is what the book is. I asked him if he read the book. He said he read the excerpt. So."
Let's all be clear about one thing: when the words "I respect the office of the president" come out of your mouth, it's usually because you just said (or did, in this case) something you know crossed the line, something that proves, in fact, that you don't accord any respect whatsoever to the current president.
Not that I'm a big "respect the office!" guy, mind you. The president may be head of state, but s/he's also a public figure, and voluntarily so. People gonna say what they gonna say.
Nonetheless, this now makes two (out of only three total!) State of the Union addresses where "the office of the president" was pretty egregiously disrespected by having some Republican politician treat the POTUS as if he were of lesser station than them. Two things I cannot imagine having ever happened to any previous president, of either party.
We've talked about this before in the context of black resentment, but one thing we missed about this unprecedented abuse endured by President Obama is why these politicians engage in it. Surely people are turned off by this kind of thing, right?
Except "the right people" aren't turned off. In fact, they've been dying to have someone put this guy "in his place" and "give us our country back" for 3 years now. They just love it when one of their boys shouts "You lie!" during the State of the Union, or their house speaker refuses to return the president's calls and skips out on state dinners, or when their highest ranking party members refuse to admit that he's an American citizen.
This is, of course, why Gingrich has been enjoying such high support in the primaries at times despite being an otherwise loathed man in other years. Gingrich appeals to that teabagger desire to see this president treated with as much disrespect as possible. Finger wagging? That goes without saying! Calling him names to his face? He deserves it. Treating him like a child and talking down to him? Hey, Gingrich has a Ph.D.; that gives him the right, right? Throwing in a few personal jabs at Michelle and the kids? She started it, the fat cow getting the government to tell our kids what they can and can't eat.
But I respect the office of the president.