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Obama's "enemies" comment: Holding the president to a higher bar

At a rally in Cincinnati Monday night, the likely next Speaker of the House, John Boehner, lambasted President Obama for using the word "enemies" to describe his opponents in an interview on Univision radio last week. "If Latinos sit out the election," the president said, "instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us' ... then I think it's going to be harder."

But conservatives aren't the only ones criticizing Obama for using the word. Democratic pollsters Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell are making comparisons to Nixon. Using the word enemies "diminishes the prestige of his office," Schoen and Caddell write. And most pundits believe, at the very least, that it wasn't the best choice of words for a president who campaigned on being post-partisan.

The president's defenders, meanwhile, argue that heated language is just a part of campaign season, or that Obama's hard-hitting efforts to get out the vote for his Democratic colleagues are not far off from some of the aggressive phraseology being used by those in the opposing party. As a result, Obama's words raise an interesting question: are the leadership standards we expect of chief executives any different from those we expect from leaders in positions of lesser power?

On the one hand, you could argue that no matter whether someone is the chief of staff for a junior state representative or the chief executive of a multinational corporation, what makes a good leader really isn't all that different. Corporations love to use the phrase "leaders at all levels," rating everyone from the chief executive down to the mailroom manager on the same so-called "leadership competencies."

And indeed, there are many qualities all leaders should share. They should inspire and empower others to do good work through their integrity, their intellect and their fairness. They should help to groom their successor or the next generation of leaders among the people who follow them. And they should be able to decisively make well-informed choices about the best way to guide their team, their employees or their country toward a better future.

Still, I'd argue there are criteria we expect from our most senior leaders that, while great to have, aren't always as important among the lower ranks. For one, there's the "vision" thing--many lower-level leaders aren't expected, and don't need, to create a vision of the future that will foster enthusiasm among the people who follow them. They're often implementing and executing upon a strategy or a blueprint that's been shaped by a leader above them.

But perhaps the most important leadership characteristic that the most senior leaders must have is the ability to bring together a chaotic set of competing priorities into a unifying agenda. Yes, all leaders have to negotiate spats between team members, or mediate occasional differences. But the closer to the top a leader gets, the more critical the ability to compromise on divergent goals, thanks to the exponentially broader set of responsibilities.

Of course, actually "unifying" anyone--or anything--in Washington is extremely difficult, if not impossible, these days. And Obama may have tried to flex this mediation muscle against a Republican party that was obstinate in opposing him at every turn. But despite that frustration, Obama's calling his opponents enemies did nothing to help the situation. Even if it may seem a double standard at times, we do hold the president to a higher bar--and we should.

By Jena McGregor

 |  November 2, 2010; 9:19 AM ET |  Category:  Bad leadership , Change management , Federal government leadership , Government leadership , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Posted by: itkonlyyou362 | November 6, 2010 9:14 PM

If Republicans spent half as much time reading books as they do complaining about elites or imaginary slights, they would know that the phrase “rewarding friends and punishing enemies” comes from The Republic, by Plato. (That’s the Greek philosopher, not Mickey’s dog.) It is a fundamental concept in Western political thought. I guess this just goes to prove that we are indeed a country of idiots.

Posted by: codexjust1 | November 3, 2010 4:34 PM

What about Obama's, "they can sit in the back" comment, where he was referring to Republicans? That one is much more damning.

Posted by: tina5 | November 3, 2010 4:15 PM

Obummer is too busy suing Arizona for the fed refusing to do their job. He will say or do anything to get the hispanic vote. The 9th circus court said people don't need to show proof of citizenship to vote. What a freakin' joke.

Posted by: azspots | November 3, 2010 3:53 PM

i think enemies is pretty harsh and scary. i was never a fan of the bush administration but hardly ever a enemy. if you consider yourself an enemy then i would highly recommend you head towards a therapist and get help/medication or some sort of guidance to fix your mental illness. if you cannot agree to disagree then you are mentally off and probably hardly any help to anyone in your life. i think this win for the republicans is a nice balance to see if things might get better, HOWEVER, they will now become accountable for the suspension and or distraction of things that need to be done rather than opposition to everything that comes out of the whitehouse. if you don't know this then you must of been asleep during the 2008 elections...and listen bubbas...we will continue having elections and your party can be straightened out once again as was done two years ago. so step lightly and pay attention to working for the entire country and not just your party's narrow interests.

Posted by: hemnebob | November 3, 2010 2:41 PM

First (1) take a statement out of context, (2) distort the meaning and make it mean what you want, (3) pass judgment, (4) then invite comments. It is interesting that Jena brings up the standard of conducts for others... What about the press? Shouldn't it be held to some standard of truthfulness?

Posted by: voiceofreason24 | November 3, 2010 1:38 PM

Let's not forget that Candidate Obama likened Federal agents to "terrorists" when speaking to La Raza in Tampa in July 2008. The agents' crimes, enforcing the laws passed by a Constitutional democratic process.

He will go as low as necessary to sway Latinos into the Democrats sway, the rule of law and public safety, economics and sentiment be dam*@d. Latinos wouyld be wise to look at how well African Americans have fared under Democrats (on the Federal, state, and local level). After an examination of the facts, Latinos need to decide whether they, like African Americans, want to face being a permanent underclass.

Posted by: hsr143 | November 3, 2010 12:02 PM

He's always acting/speaking in an un-Presidential manner. His language is either ugly or just plain foul with profanity. Remember: "I wish they would just plug the da-n hole." or "We need an investigation of BP so I can know whose a-s to kick."

Posted by: ReneesOpinion | November 3, 2010 11:46 AM

Good Lord. It was an off the cuff remark.

And I believe The Daily Show showed RNC Chair Michael Steele or someone similar making the exact same type of statement.

Focussing on insignificant stuff like this is ridiculous.

Posted by: TheHillman | November 3, 2010 10:55 AM

President Obama has contracted Vice President Biden's hoof in mouth disease. His Nixonian comment is telling though. This is a President who feels embattled. It is of his own doing.

Posted by: bobbo2 | November 3, 2010 7:06 AM

This comment has not diminished the presidency any more than the tons of goofy things he has said or done.

He's simply not up to the job.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | November 2, 2010 10:40 PM

With all of our positive attributes, we have to be the most childish nation on earth! The president has been called everything, from socialist to America's most infamous nickname for anyone who has a drop of black blood in their circulatory system. And yet, here we are at a "conflictatron", in hypocritical glory, debating whether the use of the word "enemies" is worthy of a president in public, after Nixon, after Iran-Contra, after a falsity for war, after illegal wire taps, after a republican party has devolved into a virulent pathology for insaitable corporate greed, etc., etc. All this, because a BLACK MAN became president-the ultimate affront to the delusion of white supremacy, in a universe all turned by a singularity!

I heard lady, a loan officer mind you, on NPR proclaiming she voted for Obama last time. But, HER LIFE hasn't gotten better in the last 21 months, so she's decided to vote straight republican! Right on girl! Now she's made an impulsive decision that gives her the mere satisfaction of blind hope. Now, she doesn't have to DO anything, except wait for her raffle ticket (her vote) to come in with a winning result for the future. How sad for a person of her station to demand so little of her own reasoning.

The politicians are not the problem. We are! And all politicians, unfortunately, operate according to this reality, be they good or bad.

"Some places there are still peoples and herds.."

Posted by: D-0f-G | November 2, 2010 7:08 PM

Stuarturban wrote:

"When Bush made that statement, he was actually talking about foreign countries, particularly those who we knew to be harboring terrorists."

Fair point. I'll ask you this instead: do you think putting those who would disagree with you at a public event in penned areas far away and out of sight of the media (while allowing demonstrators who support you to remain) is Presidential, or reflects respect for fellow Americans with differing viewpoints? Or is even in keeping with an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States?

This strikes me as way beyond suggesting that a particular ethnic group might have political enemies.

en.wikinews.org/wiki/Lawsuit_reveals_Bush_Administration_attempts_to_suppress_dissent

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 7:00 PM

President Obama is held at a different standard than the last 43 presidents...they atleast had four years to show what they could/could not do, it seems this president had to know how to work miracles right after he was sworn in.

Posted by: ackridgek | November 2, 2010 6:52 PM

Give me a break! Inadvisable word choice, yes. But using the word "enemies" is more restrained than the Bush/Cheney rhetoric of "you're either with us or you're against us", and their repeated statements/insinuations that lack of support for their policies was equivalent to aiding and abetting terrorists.

Posted by: tomoakley1 | November 2, 2010 6:51 PM

Not many history geniuses on this thread.

The phrase "Reward our Friends and Punish our Enemies" was first coined 110 years ago--not by Obama- but by Samuel Gompers, the founding President of the American Federation of Labor in response to a question about what working people should do at the polls to win our share of the American pie.

Obama did not make this up, he merely repeated a phrase that accurately decribes the prudent way for working people to vote and has become normal lexicon for those who have been blessed with the ability to read and understand history books not proffered by Glenn Beck.

Now that I have offered a codpiece to the professional heavy breathers, be sure to take your nerve medicine and a few cleansing breaths. There now. That's better.

Posted by: maupin1 | November 2, 2010 6:47 PM

Enemies? Well, Obama managed to do one thing right. He united he country. Even former campaign workers, like me, now loathe him and want him to know that we are voting *against him* and the Democrats. We wanted an end to free trade, for a President who would stay away from the cultural wars. Well, this fool appointed a collection of consummate Wall Street insiders as his advisors and a gun control nut like Holder as his AG. Obama has become the enemy and we are going make life a living hell unless he gets back to the basics he ran on and won the Presidency on. End free trade. Renegotiate NAFTA and all of those other trade treaties, Exit the WTO. Bring back trade tariffs and impose duties onto those cheap imported goods and services multinational corporations are flooding this country with, costing us ever more jobs. And, please, start a trade war! A mere 12% of our GDP is for exports and 3/4 of them are raw materials that we shouldn't be exporting in the first place! An all out trade war is the fastest and most efficient means imaginable for putting an end to the globalization schemes of the past three Administrations. We simply DO NOT need trade. If other country's want to trade, they can do so on *our terms*.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 2, 2010 6:44 PM

There is soooo much Right Wing vitriol that our country is split between us and them. The comment by the President is small potatoes compared to what I have received in emails and on tv denouncing him. Just today a woman was wearing a badge with an "O" with the word crap beneath it. These kinds of people are the enemies of a civilized democracy. They are angry about everything but yet it is their anger that is behind the nastiness and is the driving force in this election.
Yes, I agree that they are the enemies, the enemies of rational men.

Posted by: beachbum1938 | November 2, 2010 6:26 PM

Anyone who fails to see that the President has done an outstanding job in the past 18 months is clearly in denial or uninformed. We are light years better off then we were in January 2009. Those who try to diminish the President's accomplishments point to deficit spending. But those same individuals are silent or defensive when shown that the Iraq War cost lives plus a trillion dollars of real money. I say real money because those who slam the President for the stimulus package speak to the original estimate of 800 billion (still less than Iraq). But they don't mention all the companies who have paid back and continue to pay back what they received to prevent a full scale depression. They don't mention that much of the stimulus package wasz in the form of tax credits and reduced taxes. They do this while they scream for more tax relief inspite of the fact that we have a legacy of debt from the Bush administration. President Obama had no choice, just like every other country in the world but to stimulate the economy have it was brought to its knees via deregulation and misfeasance on Wall Street.

Jimmy Carter was one of the greatest Presidents we every had because he was an intelligent man and a compassionate man. He was mocked for the Iran hostage affair but in every other measure his Presidency was a good one. Years later many came to recognize his accomplishments. As for deficit spending that came during the Reagan years although his supporters would argue otherwise. Bottom line, President Obama told us that we would have to take on some additional debt to get ourselves out of a near-depression but that his long term plan would actually reduce deficits just like the Clinton administration had done.

The American people have been duped into believing that short-term deficit spending to get us out of this recession is a bad thing. Yet every economist says that we need deficit spending to keep the recovery going. They also say that long-term deficit spending needs to be brought down once the recovery is complete.

The American people have been duped by a spinning of fear. Anyone who cannot recoginze that President Obama is an intelligenct, compassionate, and fair man is clearly looking through a biased pair of sunglasses.

Posted by: garryh | November 2, 2010 6:18 PM

obama has been an embarrassment to the office of president. I don't trust him, believe him or even like him anymore.

Posted by: jimsr121 | November 2, 2010 5:55 PM

It's funny, at the time a friend of mine told me that having a black president would not improve race relations, it would make them worse. I have to say he was correct. From the Tea party rallies to people talking about him not enforcing laws to Republicans and especially your Republican god Rush Almighty openly wishing for Obama to fail, to millions of americans saying "he is NOT my President" to the growth of membership in the Klan and other malitia groups on the rise since the President has taken office. Don't worry Repubs, after tonight I am sure you will get your chance to supposedly "put this country on the right track." You will solve all our problems, you will bring down unemployment. Oh that's right.......i have not heard NONE of you come up with a way to do all these things. Other than the usual republican agenda; cut spending, tax breaks for the rich and have many of your friends and constituents be in the banking an financial industry. You guys have the audacity to get pissed about the economy when it was many of your loopholes and breaks given to banks and the financial industry that dragged us into this. So enjoy, because after these two years of dealing with your B.S. people will come out once again in great numbers to RE-ELECT President Obama! Oh......that would make your skin crawl wouldn't it......GOOD LUCK.......GO GET EM!

Posted by: ansieb | November 2, 2010 5:54 PM

Stuarturban wrote:

"As I have said from the beginning, I believe that 'enemies' is a word too strong for a president to use when talking about fellow Americans."

Chaos1 wrote:

"Fellow Americans" sounds real pretty, until you remember that it includes the likes of Timothy McVeigh and David Duke.

How did you feel about Bush saying "Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists?"

Sorry, but yes, you are being disingenuous. Your real complaint clearly is that truth is too powerful a tool to be fairly used against the Republicans.
=========
Fellow Americans includes all sorts of fantastic and horrible people. That still does not mean that those who disagree with us but mean others no harm are horrible or should be seen as enemies. I have a difficult time believing that everybody Obama wants Latinos to punish is a racist and/or a mass murderer.

When Bush made that statement, he was actually talking about foreign countries, particularly those who we knew to be harboring terrorists. I was definitely more okay with that statement than with my President calling those Americans on the other side of political issues "enemies." :)

As for your last statement, it is ridiculous. You are again justifying Obama's rhetoric by saying "but it's true!" We can all disagree while still being civil, and I will say again that I believe that the POTUS should not be calling fellow Americans "enemies", whether they are his own or a group that he wants to single out as a monolith because of their ethnic background. The POTUS should be above that sort of petty commentary, particularly if he or she is going to be lauded as a great orator. That is my motivation for commenting today. It is not because Obama speaks the truth when he calls on Latinos to punish their enemies. Thanks for trying to interpret my motivation for me, though. That is an often-used trick that Obama employs as well when he is setting up demons or "rejecting the false choice..." between one ridiculous alternative and another. :) You can see evidence of him interpreting motive in the quotes that I posted earlier at your request. The biggest problem with his "enemies" comment is that it is part of a pattern where, instead of respecting those who disagree with them, he vilifies them as ignorant, not thinking straight out of fear, clinging to guns and religion, or in some other way not being of the same value as are his followers, or not having the capacity to understand what is best for them as much as he does.

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 5:42 PM

Obama was responding to Republican commercials telling Hispanic voters not to vote. One more time, a political Party urged a portion of the electorate NOT TO VOTE. There is only one word for that decidedly un-American act if you are among the ethnic group that ad targeted, and that word is "enemy." Of course Bohner's comments were designed to divert the press from his party's role in telling Hispanics not to vote, and of course the press lets him get away with it.

Posted by: grantmh | November 2, 2010 5:37 PM

unemployment goes back to 4% tomorrow morning...right???

Posted by: TBONE86 | November 2, 2010 5:29 PM

Obama is the "enemy" of the US by not enforcing the laws and opening our borders to the full illegal population. I am outraged that he has the balls to call those of us who expect everyone to obey the laws of this country "ememies". He doesn't deserve to be President of this great country. He is no better than George Bush. Just a different kind of awful.

Posted by: m9tuck | November 2, 2010 5:23 PM

Listening to the President's eloquent rhetoric and generalist statements, for the past two plus years, it is frequently difficult to discern his honest intent, or indeed the truth in his statements. I do believe that he envisions any dissenting American as an enemy. This no doubt stems from his radical background as a community organizer, where everyone must be considered either a friend or an enemy.

Posted by: leberk | November 2, 2010 5:17 PM

You've got to be kidding. President Obama has been MORE than presidential,and well above standard with all the outragegeous and disrespectful actions AND death threats directed toward him,I would say YES, he has enemies.Heck Bush and Cheney have both flipped the bird and told a senator to go do something very difficult to themselves. Obama has been too nice to these "con"servatives.

Posted by: Bajiquan | November 2, 2010 5:08 PM

O'Bastrd has earned the right to have "enemies." Leave it alone. He should hang for treason.

Posted by: phuzzyballz | November 2, 2010 5:05 PM


I don't think the word "enemy" is too strong to describe what are truly FIANCIAL TERRORISTS within...

I think Obama is starting to get it. I hope he does something about their evil reign over this land before it is much too late--

Posted by: misssymoto | November 2, 2010 4:57 PM

Arizona is now facing Federal law suits for SB1070 as well as its Employer Sanctions law. The AZ election board is being sued by the Feds for asking for valid IDs to register. The DOJ filed suit against the AZ Community College system for questioning some I-9 information (the state is overrun with fake IDs). The EPA is fining the state close to a billion dollars because it found dust in the desert (if you can imagine that).

No, when Obama said punish your enemies, he knew exactly what he was saying.

Posted by: FutureView2010 | November 2, 2010 4:56 PM

If we held the president to a higher level of accountability then George W Bush would be at the Hague for war crimes or at the very least indicted and awaiting trial in the United States for having lied and led our country into a war that resulted in thousands of devoted American's deaths.
Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | November 2, 2010 3:39 PM

More LIBERAL IGNORANCE. If this we’re the case then he would be standing right next to Obama but you being the poorly educated rube you are just cannot figure that out. LOL you maybe one of the stup1dest people to post today. Or have you failed to notice Obama is the one who escalated the attacks inside Pakistan and has even ordered several inside Yemen. Go back to Facebook or which ever teeny website you frequent.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 4:54 PM


THE BANKS.

Those are your real enemies, Obama. By putting Geithner, Summers, and other archtiects of the "Looting of America" on your cabinet, frankly, you didn't stand a chance.

I would suggest you approach breaking them up with the same zeal as they are approaching breaking YOU UP.

Pay Attention, America!!

Former Assistant Secretary of Housing under George H.W. Bush Catherine Austin Fitts blows the whistle on how the financial terrorists have deliberately imploded the US economy and transferred gargantuan amounts of wealth offshore as a means of sacrificing the American middle class. Fitts documents how trillions of dollars went missing from government coffers in the 90’s and how she was personally targeted for exposing the fraud.

Fitts explains how every dollar of debt issued to service every war, building project, and government program since the American Revolution up to around 2 years ago – around $12 trillion – has been doubled again in just the last 18 months alone with the bank bailouts. “We’re literally witnessing the leveraged buyout of a country and that’s why I call it a financial coup d’état, and that’s what the bailout is for,” states Fitts.


Posted by: misssymoto | November 2, 2010 4:53 PM

Stuarturban wrote:
"As I have said from the beginning, I believe that 'enemies' is a word too strong for a president to use when talking about fellow Americans."
"Fellow Americans" sounds real pretty, until you remember that it includes the likes of Timothy McVeigh and David Duke.
How did you feel about Bush saying "Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists?"
Sorry, but yes, you are being disingenuous. Your real complaint clearly is that truth is too powerful a tool to be fairly used against the Republicans.
POSTED BY: CHAOS1 | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 4:40 PM


Try educating yourself LIB he was talking to the nations around the world not to YOU. But you being the dimw1t you are actually thought he was referring to American’s LOL Do some research don’t just take what you ignorant friends spoon feed you and run with it. It only makes you look foolish.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 4:49 PM

He could have chosen a different term.
But his audience heard, understood and probably agreed with him in overwhelming numbers.
Latinos can't possibly view republicans with highly visible leaders candidates like Sharon Angle as freinds.
Whats the oppostire of freinds.?
POSTED BY: RPP1 | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 4:06 PM
Considering the DEMS have nothing to offer them other than servitude any Latino who voted DEM gets what he deserves. Or do you think allowing 20 million illegal’s to enter with out going through the same steps the Latino’s who are citizens went through is a slap in their face. Oh and don’t think for a minute that this will not significantly affect the wages the lower income earners get then you are in for a rude awaking. If you vote DEM you vote to become a slave. Stand on your own two feet as you did in your country……

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 4:44 PM

Stuarturban wrote:

"As I have said from the beginning, I believe that 'enemies' is a word too strong for a president to use when talking about fellow Americans."

"Fellow Americans" sounds real pretty, until you remember that it includes the likes of Timothy McVeigh and David Duke.

How did you feel about Bush saying "Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists?"

Sorry, but yes, you are being disingenuous. Your real complaint clearly is that truth is too powerful a tool to be fairly used against the Republicans.

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 4:40 PM

He used "enemies" in a bit of over-enthusiastic speechifying and, when confronted with it, he took it back and said he should have said "opponents". The matter now becomes much ado about nothing. All but the Obama-haters will now let it drop.

Posted by: BTinSF | November 2, 2010 4:37 PM

I don't approve, but other presidents have said such things before:
"Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists"
-- George W. Bush
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpPABLW6F_A
While President Obama was speaking metaphorically, President Bush was accusing his political adversaries of aiding and abetting Al Qaeda.
Admittedly that's a pretty low bar, but after hearing some of the things that have been said about President Obama, I don't see where conservatives have any room to complain.
POSTED BY: ANCIENT_MARINER | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 4:18 PM

Really????? You seem to be slightly confused. This comment was made right after 9-11 and at that time everyone was in agreement. His comment was direct to other nations. Nations like Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia etc. ALL of which have joined in the fight against terrorists. Next time take a min to get your facts together before posting such non sense.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 4:33 PM

I don't approve, but other presidents have said such things before:

"Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists"
-- George W. Bush

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpPABLW6F_A

While President Obama was speaking metaphorically, President Bush was accusing his political adversaries of aiding and abetting Al Qaeda.

Admittedly that's a pretty low bar, but after hearing some of the things that have been said about President Obama, I don't see where conservatives have any room to complain.

Posted by: ancient_mariner | November 2, 2010 4:18 PM

This is the noise that John Stewart was talking about.

Posted by: vagator | November 2, 2010 4:16 PM

Here I thought political correctness was ridiculed by neocons! There are very few Latinos who are offended at the notion of Republicans being their enemy, because they are as should anyone who tells you not to vote.

Posted by: polysciprof | November 2, 2010 4:16 PM

He could have chosen a different term.
But his audience heard, understood and probably agreed with him in overwhelming numbers.
Latinos can't possibly view republicans with highly visible candidates like Sharon Angle as "friends."
Whats the opposite of friends.?

Posted by: rpp1 | November 2, 2010 4:07 PM

He could have chosen a different term.
But his audience heard, understood and probably agreed with him in overwhelming numbers.
Latinos can't possibly view republicans with highly visible leaders candidates like Sharon Angle as freinds.
Whats the oppostire of freinds.?

Posted by: rpp1 | November 2, 2010 4:06 PM

He could have chosen a different term.
But his audience heard, understood and probably agreed with him in overwhelming numbers.
Latinos can't possibly view republicans with highly visible leaders candidates like Sharon Angle as freinds.
Whats the oppostire of freinds.?

Posted by: rpp1 | November 2, 2010 4:06 PM

No wonder he uses a teleprompter ! The most quoted word for the 2012 elections - " enemies " !

Posted by: shovandas | November 2, 2010 4:05 PM

If, and that is a big if, we believe in a peaceful and just social order, all public officials must be held to a "higher standard". That is, unless the elected official happens to be a Republican or a Tea Bagger. In that case, anything goes and this attitude is supported and endorsed by the media in a most hypocritical manner. The (mainstream?) press gleefully relishes each opportunity to make a mountain out of a mole hill as demonstrated by Jena McMcGregor and her nonsensical article.

Posted by: dikaslogos | November 2, 2010 3:56 PM

Chaos writes:
Do you really honestly believe that it is wrong for Obama (and Obama alone) to point to the differences between the Democratic and Republican candidates in the weeks leading up to an election? Do you really honestly think he should stand up there and say "Folks, it really doesn't matter who you vote for, so just flip a coin?" No, you don't, so enough with the disingenuous posturing.
==
No, but it is not disingenuous posturing. You have built a straw man. I am saying that the President should be diplomatic about it. As I have said from the beginning, I believe that "enemies" is a word too strong for a president to use when talking about fellow Americans.
=============

Chaos writes:
The funny thing in all this is that you say you don't believe Obama's policies are good for the country (with the implied subtext that you think that Republican policies -- the ones you seem to think Obama shouldn't talk about -- are), but I haven't seen a word from you yet about why. All I see is you getting the vapors about the suggestion that Hispanic voters might have political enemies. Bottom line is, it's you -- and the Republicans -- who are putting petty distractions above questions of substance. It may be enough to win them some elections, but after you win you've got to lead. And I don't see the slightest indication that the Republicans have it in them. So don't go counting your 2012 chickens just yet.
================
I haven't been arguing policy because this discussion is about whether we should hold the President to a higher standard of leadership than other leaders. One of the arguments I have made, in fact, is that many people seem to be basing their opinions of this on whether they agree with the substance of the President's statement, while the discussion is supposed to be about the style on this one. How strongly I believe in certain policy should not make me compromise my rules on whether I believe we should discuss the substantive issue diplomatically, or at least with respect for the other side.

As for whether style matters, I believe that it does. Business is scared of Obama's policies because of his anti-business rhetoric. How is the economy and the job situation going? In the early days of the oil spill, rather than cooperate with BP to respond quickly and effectively, this administration made sure to point out that they had their boots on the throat of BP, with Napolitano even interrupting the head of the Coast Guard because he slipped and called BP the administrations "partners." Napolitano stepped to the microphone to quickly note that "they are not our partners." How did the cleanup work out, especially in those early days? The executive branch has to execute, sometimes with people who are not their greatest friends. This will always be true, and people will grit their teeth while getting the job done. If everyone is so vile as to be an enemy, I don't know how you execute everything. Welcome to November 2010.

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 3:55 PM

Leadership? Obama wouldn't recognize leadership if he tripped over it. He held no leadership positions prior to being elected so how would we expect him to be a leader? Under pressure, he reverts to what he knows best - partisan, Chicago-style personal attacks. I wouldn't follow Obama across a street.

Posted by: delusional1 | November 2, 2010 3:43 PM

Stuarturban writes:

"Haha. Fair enough, Chaos. I choose not to create demons to fight, but instead to find common ground and convince others to work together."

In that case, I think you're going to find very little common ground with the current crop of Republican candidates, Tea Party or otherwise.

Do you really honestly believe that it is wrong for Obama (and Obama alone) to point to the differences between the Democratic and Republican candidates in the weeks leading up to an election? Do you really honestly think he should stand up there and say "Folks, it really doesn't matter who you vote for, so just flip a coin?" No, you don't, so enough with the disingenuous posturing.

The funny thing in all this is that you say you don't believe Obama's policies are good for the country (with the implied subtext that you think that Republican policies -- the ones you seem to think Obama shouldn't talk about -- are), but I haven't seen a word from you yet about why. All I see is you getting the vapors about the suggestion that Hispanic voters might have political enemies. Bottom line is, it's you -- and the Republicans -- who are putting petty distractions above questions of substance. It may be enough to win them some elections, but after you win you've got to lead. And I don't see the slightest indication that the Republicans have it in them. So don't go counting your 2012 chickens just yet.

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 3:39 PM

If we held the president to a higher level of accountability then George W Bush would be at the Hague for war crimes or at the very least indicted and awaiting trial in the United States for having lied and led our country into a war that resulted in thousands of devoted American's deaths. So spare me the whine about higher level. Second, if Boehner and McConnell are not the president's enemies then we don't know what the word 'enemy' means. Of course they are his enemies and further, they are enemies of the average American. Is there not a tacit covenant between the government and the governed that citizen's well-being and lives are not dismissed for the special interestes of the wealth and powerful? That tacit covenant has been shredded by the Republicans. Is it not obvious who supports them? The very companies and Wall Street are pouring millions and millions and millions of dollars into GOP coffers. They are not doing that to insure that the average American is protected. They are doing that so the average American's son or daughter volunteers to fight and die in Iraq and Afghanistan so their rich children don't have to; they are doing that so they can continue to buy golden insurance policies while denying basic medical protections for a multitude of Americans. Enemies indeed. Wake up.

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | November 2, 2010 3:39 PM

ABSOLUTELY the President should divorce himself from these petty, small people uttering garbage at every turn.. He should just walk away and watch as the justice department perp-walks them to a van and on to a plane to Leavenworth!

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | November 2, 2010 3:38 PM

Haha. Fair enough, Chaos. I choose not to create demons to fight, but instead to find common ground and convince others to work together. That is why it makes me uncomfortable that, of all leaders, the President would opt for the former multiple times in most appearances and speeches that he makes. This is the one elected official in our country who sits without a peer and who is uniquely positioned as the leader of all Americans. That is why I believe he or she should be above petty politics (not above all politics necessarily, but the petty stuff certainly) and above bitter partisanship. I don't believe that Obama's policies are good for the country, but I also don't think that he is intentionally trying to screw me over or destroy the country. I don't understand why such an intelligent man and brilliant leader as the President can't see that the other side is not so evil. If he does see that and is just engaging in the heated rhetoric of politics, then I can't understand why:
a) He doesn't see that it is part of why his poll numbers are dropping, making the rest of his party lose huge in the elections today, and
b) Why he spoke so highly of bipartisanship, unity, civility and seeing another's point of view in the campaign. It seems now that he was being disingenuous on the campaign trail, because it appears that the high road is the way to go when you are on top, but when it comes down to it, calling people names and ascribing nefarious motives to their actions because I believe my subjective judgment to be fact is just fine.

I know that Obama wanted to get us beyond the politics of old, but the whole "the-president-being-diplomatic" thing is one of the few things I would like to have kept. Oh, well. With the President's example in hand, I had better get started coming up with names to call people with whom I have disagreements. :)

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 3:02 PM

Of course, whoever comments is not going to be objective because we all have our political positions pretty well mapped out.

But isn't it racist to hold Mr. Obama to a lesser standard than every other president?

Posted by: dknight12345 | November 2, 2010 3:00 PM

Oh put a sock in it. Obama's comment was innocuous. This is a ludicrous manufactured flap.

Posted by: Jihm | November 2, 2010 2:49 PM

Stuarturban writes:

"Chaos1, it looks like my response overlapped you writing another one. I found some quotes from his Oct. 31st speech. Sincerely, thanks for the link. It did make the research easier. I bear no ill will toward you. I am simply trying to make my point in which I believe strongly, even though I do not consider those who differ with me to be ignorant, evil, ill-intentioned or enemies. You sound as if you are an intelligent person who sees things differently from myself, and honestly, I am completely okay with that. :)"

And I in turn thank you for posting extended excerpts from Obama's speeches that are straightforward, truthful, and accurately represent the situation that exists in the country today.

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 2:41 PM

Chaos, here is my favorite, from an Oct. 31st speech in Illinois. I had no idea that the Republicans really were so evil, but I guess they must be.

"They want to cut taxes, mostly for millionaires and billionaires. They want to cut the rules for special interests. They want to cut middle-class families loose to fend for themselves.

So if you’re out of work -- tough luck, you’re on your own. If you don't have health insurance or your insurance company drops you when you get sick -- too bad, you’re on your own. You’re a young person trying to make it to college, but you don't have a lot of money -- too bad, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you’re on your own."

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 2:40 PM

What a bunch of history flunkers on this topic.

"Punish our Friends and Reward our Enemies" is the axiom--not of Barack Obama--but of Samuel Gompers reflecting what workers needed to do at the ballot box to secure our fair share of the wealth of this nation. Obama merely quoted a phrase not unknown among the thinking class.

So now that I have issued a codpiece for the heavy breathers, perhaps y'all can take your pills and a couple of deep breaths.

PS--My favorite sign at the Sanity Rally:

Guy holding a stuffed, mounted coyote with a sign hanging around its neck which read:
"I'm not a coyote, I'm you"
LMFAO

Posted by: maupin1 | November 2, 2010 2:34 PM

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who suggested in an interview that his party's top goal in the new Congress would be ensuring President Obama is not reelected in 2012.

The Republicans are working harder to overturn our President than Al Qaeda.

Posted by: vigor | November 2, 2010 2:33 PM

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who suggested in an interview that his party's top goal in the new Congress would be ensuring President Obama is not reelected in 2012.

Our worst enemies are within.

Mr. McConnell is why America is still fighting 10% unemployment that HIS party left us with.

Posted by: vigor | November 2, 2010 2:32 PM

Chaos1, it looks like my response overlapped you writing another one. I found some quotes from his Oct. 31st speech. Sincerely, thanks for the link. It did make the research easier. I bear no ill will toward you. I am simply trying to make my point in which I believe strongly, even though I do not consider those who differ with me to be ignorant, evil, ill-intentioned or enemies. You sound as if you are an intelligent person who sees things differently from myself, and honestly, I am completely okay with that. :)

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 2:31 PM

Stuarturban writes:

"The question asked for this discussion is whether the President should be held to a higher standard than others when it comes to leadership. The primary justification I see for keeping the standard low for the President so far are that:
a) The comment writer agrees with him, or
b) Somebody else called the President a name first!

I still believe that the President of the United States should be above all of this, no matter which party he is from or what is slung at him."

----

I'm sure it is with the most honorable of intentions that you claim to be shocked that the President would respond with the truth when his enemies (yes, I said it, and they are there) are telling lies about him.

You, for example. I am still waiting for you to provide a shred of support for your statement "Seriously, read his campaign speeches and watch the rhetoric of demons and enemies overflow," even after I gave you a link to the text of dozens of his recent speeches.

Your turn.

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 2:25 PM

Chaos1 wrote:
I have read them, and what you're saying bears not the slightest resemblance to the truth. But be my guest, provide some quotes. I'll even help you with your research (assuming the Post allows me to include the link):
www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-and-remark

======
Chaos, I found something in the very first speech (Oct. 31st, from Cleveland), where the President says that the Republicans know they made a mess of things and are now intentionally letting the economy be destroyed for Americans:

"But the Republican leaders in Washington, they had a different calculation. Their basic theory was, you know what, the economy is so bad, we made such a mess of things, that rather than cooperate, we’ll be better off just saying no to everything. We’ll be better off not even trying to fix the economy. And people will get angry and they will get frustrated and maybe two years from now they will have forgotten that we were the ones who caused the mess in the first place.

In other words, their basic political strategy has been to count on you having amnesia. (Laughter.) They’re betting all of you forgot how we got here."

Rich vs. Poor:
"Now, remember I said it is a choice this election. The other side, their main economic idea -- this is their main idea -- is to provide $700 billion worth of tax cuts to the top 2 percent of earners --

AUDIENCE: Nooo --

THE PRESIDENT: -- the 2 percent of wealthiest Americans, an average of $100,000 for millionaires and billionaires. Now, look, I want people to succeed. I think it’s wonderful if folks get rich. I want everybody to have a chance to get rich. You do, too -- this guy is raising his hand. (Applause.) I think that’s great. That’s part of the American Dream. But the way they want to pay for these tax cuts is to cut education by 20 percent and to borrow the rest from other countries. "

A chance where he could have just mentioned saving money, but he chose mention those terrible "big banks":
"And that’s why we committed tens of billions of dollars that had been going in unwarranted subsidies to big banks and we steered that money to where it needed to be going -- to students right here at Cleveland State and all across the country -- (applause) -- increasing access to Pell Grants, increasing college scholarships. (Applause.) "

An implication that insurance companies just jack up rates to screw us over (insurance companies versus us):
" That's why we made sure insurance companies couldn’t jack up your premiums for no reason, or deny you coverage just because you’re sick."

Don't forget that the other side is out for themselves, unlike me, the President:
"But you know, that’s the mentality that we’re fighting against, Cleveland. That’s the kind of politics that we’ve got to change. It’s a politics that always puts scoring points ahead of solving problems."

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 2:20 PM

The question asked for this discussion is whether the President should be held to a higher standard than others when it comes to leadership. The primary justification I see for keeping the standard low for the President so far are that:
a) The comment writer agrees with him, or
b) Somebody else called the President a name first!

I still believe that the President of the United States should be above all of this, no matter which party he is from or what is slung at him. I also believe that a President absolutely ought not call out to a specific ethnic group while implying that the other party is the enemy of that ethnic group.

"There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America. There's the United States of America." That was a statement of leadership, and that is why people loved Obama. His numbers go down everyday because his leadership has deteriorated in office while he has become just another politician, as is evidenced by his reaching out to particular ethnic gorups to vote as a monolith and people defending him by saying that he should be able to call the name-callers names. A leader rises above these things, and Obama is not exhibiting the leadership qualities that he did as a candidate.

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 2:07 PM

Stuarturban wrote:
"Portraying the other side is nefarious in their intentions, rather than seeing them as fellow Americans who have a different view of how our common goals can be achieved, is a wonderful way to divide people."

Chaos1 wrote:
This is the best and most concise statement of the Fox/Tea Party philosophy that I have yet seen in print. Unintentional I'm sure, but nevertheless.

=======

StuartUrban writes:
I agree when it comes to the leadership of these organizations. I would also point out, though, that that is the tack of our President as well. Seriously, read his campaign speeches and watch the rhetoric of demons and enemies overflow.

----------------

I have read them, and what you're saying bears not the slightest resemblance to the truth. But be my guest, provide some quotes. I'll even help you with your research (assuming the Post allows me to include the link):

www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-and-remarks

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 2:06 PM

Schoen is hardly a “Democratic Pollster”, except in name only.

President Obama should not be expected not to speak frankly about a situation that is likened unto a “war” with the Republicans and the Tea Party. These people have shown great hate for this president. Hate equates with “enemy” and these enemies have always called Obama “dangerous”. These weak pundits would prefer Obama fight back with both hands tied behind his back. He reached out to the Republicans in the beginning and they rejected him and followed Limbaugh and the Tea Party’s agenda of obstructing any and everything that would improve the US economy. That is not a friend, it’s an enemy. Honesty requires that the President call it what it is. From the very day Obama was elected it’s been “campaign season” for the Republicans. Even now, they admit that they will oppose him because they don’t want to see him re-elected. This is what Sen. McConnell has indicated. George Bush rarely compromised and made deals with Democrats, his attitude was that of “Dirty Harry”.

The most effective example Obama can show as a leader is to not compromise with those who don’t want compromise. The Republicans don’t want unity and it’s time for writers and journalist to realize that and stop wasting time with the nonsense about “unifier” and “bipartisanship”. Write such to the Republicans. Calling Republicans “enemies” is exactly how Obama and his supporters must see the situation going forward. It is long timeout for the humble lamb approach to those who will cry out to the President “YOU LIE”. This has been and remains the Republicans’ attitude.

T. West
CART/AfriSynergy

Posted by: westthea | November 2, 2010 1:53 PM

This is amazing and just the sort of thing Jon Stewart spoke about over the weekend. With all of the names called and disrespect shown to this president, with Bach saying that some people in congress are enemies of America, with Palin, a potential president, God help us all, calling journalist bastards... you choose to magnify this issue against the president. What about all the disrespect shown him and the office of the presidency since 2008. I did not hear you go after Limbaugh when he implied the president looks satanic nor did I hear anything from you about Newt implying the president was somehow working for his Dads ideology and he was channeling his anger against the colonizer. Whats going on is really amazing to me and I am ashamed and disappointed. There are more important things to discuss such as all of the legislation brought about through the work of this administration. they have done a great job. We need to grow up. This president did not create the problems. We are such a selfish people who seek immediate gratification. We want to say he is not connecting because he is working and not bragging everyday. He has done his best to be bi-partisan but the GOP is not interested. We did not get in this shape overnight but suddenly we expect the president to solve issues that have been institutionalized over ages. We are about to elect the people who brought us down. What a pity we are so blind. I think that we elected president Obama so we could say..."see what we did? we are not racist". At the same time this president is held to a different standard. We are so use to the black basketball player or criminal that his every gesture or regard must mean something.
Grow up America!

Posted by: sharinginck | November 2, 2010 1:50 PM

WOW he said a bad word. What about the GOP & the Tea Party using the racist slurs that they have. He is correct they are the enemies and you IDIOTS are TOO STUPID to realize what's going on. DONKEYS

Posted by: access11 | November 2, 2010 1:47 PM

Stuarturban wrote:
"Portraying the other side is nefarious in their intentions, rather than seeing them as fellow Americans who have a different view of how our common goals can be achieved, is a wonderful way to divide people."

Chaos1 wrote:
This is the best and most concise statement of the Fox/Tea Party philosophy that I have yet seen in print. Unintentional I'm sure, but nevertheless.

=======
StuartUrban writes:
I agree when it comes to the leadership of these organizations. I would also point out, though, that that is the tack of our President as well. Seriously, read his campaign speeches and watch the rhetoric of demons and enemies overflow. Using this as background for the main question asked for this discussion, I strongly believe that a President Of the United States should not be portraying his political opponents, fellow Americans with a different idea of what works, as enemies, demons, evil characters or anything of the sort. When people point out that Rush, Sean and the Tea Party are using heated rhetoric, I believe that you should look at the fact that Obama is the President of the United States. He is not an entertainer, nor is he running for some small office with a niche constituency. He is supposed to represent all Americans, even while he is campaigning. I really don't recall hearing this kind of unpresidential rhetoric from other presidents, Republican or Democrat, or at as a staple in nearly every single speech he gives. I really hope that he pulls a Clinton after the midterms and starts recognizing that those of us who are not for his agenda are not all ignorant, uninformed, stupid or evil.

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 1:45 PM

Jena said: "We've heard far worse during campaign season than someone calling his opponents "enemies,"
----------------------------------------
Really? Please quote something a PRESIDENT said about AMERICAN citizens that was "far worse".

Or, are you simply lying? Let us know...

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 2, 2010 1:40 PM

Maintaining an "enemies list" worked real well for Nixon.

Wish Obama would act as if he were the President of the United States instead of the Head Speaker of the Democratic Party. But I doubt that will ever happen...

Posted by: JWMeritt | November 2, 2010 1:38 PM

This is much to do about nothing. Funny when the Republican Tea Corporation Party spokeperson made a comment similiar to the word enemies than it get brushed under the rug but as soon as it comes from a Democrat mouth than its talked about for days, weeks and even months. Make no mistake the President does have enemies on the other side. These people have made it clear they dislike the President and would do whatever it takes to discredit him.

For instance, the Tea Party leader Sarah Palin, yelled and screamed that the President was a socialist and leading this country like Hilter lead Germany. Looking at what has happened with the corporations funding the Republican campaigns bids and trying to lead this country to a one party system smells of socialism. Pretty much telling the US citizens who we will vote for.

This is the beginning of Nazism!

Posted by: sun52shine | November 2, 2010 1:37 PM

President Obama was right to refer to people who lie and use tactics to suppress and stop Mexicans from voting as "enemies". They are enemies of justice. They are the ones who have called him a Marxist, Communist and other terms that are traditionally considered enemies to the US. Sarah Palin and other Tea Party and Republicans call Obama all sorts of terms, "dangerous", etc. while depicting him as Hitler. No, Obama's hands should not be tied. These people are haters and many are thugs, as we saw with the case in Kentucky where Rand Paul's supporters were slamming and stomping on a female protester. Mr. Obama, you can apologize but not for us because you should be tough with these people. If they come to the fight with an M16 then the President must as well.

T. West
CART/AfriSynergy

Posted by: westthea | November 2, 2010 1:34 PM

Maintaining an "enemies list" worked real well for Nixon...

Posted by: JWMeritt | November 2, 2010 1:32 PM

The was another President that spoke this way, in fact his staff maintained an "enimies list". It seems we have come full circle and we have another Nixon in the White House. He's even bombing Cambodia, er a Pakistan!

Posted by: pondering | November 2, 2010 1:26 PM

The current President of the United States has governed like a Ward leader from Chicago....He's president of all Americans. He doesn't have the experience or understanding for the job...just as we told you 2 yrs ago.

Posted by: twann9852 | November 2, 2010 1:14 PM

~~~

To be honest with you, I would rather have a Ward Leader leading me, than to have a bunch of Nazi Fascist Brown Shirts.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | November 2, 2010 1:21 PM

Only a 12 year old could have written this. He attacks people for calling others names and then proceeds to call people names. LOL
LIBERALS the world’s stup1dest mammal……

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 1:08 PM
===============
So when you Republic Party chumps call Dems communists, that's just fine, right? When you call the president an illegal alien, hunky dory, right? But when a Dem calls your sick, degenerate, greed-addicted party his political enemy, ooooohhh, gee, you guys start crying like little five year olds. "He called me a name!" Oooooh, you poor little victim, you poor little baby. Wahhhhhh!

Posted by: mongolovesheriff | November 2, 2010 1:15 PM

The current President of the United States has governed like a Ward leader from Chicago....He's president of all Americans. He doesn't have the experience or understanding for the job...just as we told you 2 yrs ago.

Posted by: twann9852 | November 2, 2010 1:14 PM

Well, Republicans like Boehner, Mitchell, Rove, Limbaugh, Palin, the Conservative Supreme Court, Conservative Chamber of Commerce, and the Extreme Right-Wingers do feel "hatred" for President Obama, as well as Hispanics, and Blacks in the country. each for a different reason, but in many ways related.

Additionally, the current Republican establishment and Right-Wing media has also initiated, engaged in and has displayed some rather antagonistic attacks, deceptive, hostile, and incessantly manipulative behaviors over the course of the last 2 years to show us all how they feel about President Obama and to also cause his presidency to come crashing down.

I would not necessarily define a political party, the Right-Wing media, or an individual who conducts and engages themselves in such hostile behaviors as the opponent, but instead as the "enemy".

Let me repeat, the current Conservative Republican establishment's and Right-Wing Media are enemies of the President and he is their only target.

I see no other way to define this level of "brutal" attacks and hostile behaviors that they have shown towards this President of the United States.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | November 2, 2010 1:09 PM

WHAT GARABAGE. OBUMA SET THE STAGE WHEN HE TOLD THE REPUBS. TO REMEMBER THAT HE WON. IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE TWO IDIOTS, REID AND PELOSI, VERY LITTLE OF HIS LEGISLATION WOULD HAVE PASSED. NOW, BECAUSE THE PEOPLE REALIZE WHAT THEY HAVE ELECTED THEY, IN FACT, HAVE BECOME HIS ENEMIES. IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE IF OBUMA TRIES TO DEMONSTRATE ANY GLIMPSE OF COOPERATION. IF WE RECALL, MOST OF WHAT THE REPUBS TRIED TO INTRODUCE WAS REJECTED BY REID AND PELOSI. NOW, OF COURSE, IT IS CONVENIENT TO BLAME THE REPUBS. ALL OF THE LEGISLATION PASSED IN THE PAST TWO YEARS IS ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE DEMS. LONG LIVE COOPERATION.

Posted by: MALBENNET | November 2, 2010 1:09 PM

Is calling Republic Party freaks your political enemies really bad? Why? The Republic Party crooks are anti-American enemies from within because they think the our Constitution is just "a piece of paper" and they are bound and determined to destroy our middle class lifestyle out of some twisted, petty class envy. They also want a state religion, which would violate our American freedoms. And how about starting wars using lies so oil companies can grab a country's oil, like they did in Iraq? Is that traitorous or what?
Gee, Republic Party freaks like Lush and Fawn call Dems "marxists, socialists, communists, traitors, terrorist-lovers etc" but heck, that's okay, right you Republic Party suckers? Hey, when "Dick" (heehee) Chaney tells a Democratic senator on the floor of the Senate to "go f--- yourself," hey that's okay, right you freaks? And when Failin Palin says only Republic Party chumps are "real Americans," hey that's cool too, right you slow-witted suckers? And when Dumya calls a reporter a "major league as----e", oh that's just wonderful. And when Dumya makes jokes about GI corpses, oooooohhhhh, that's just groovy. You pathetic hypocrites.


Only a 12 year old could have written this. He attacks people for calling others names and then proceeds to call people names. LOL

LIBERALS the world’s stup1dest mammal……

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 1:08 PM

Jena McGregor wrote: "But despite that frustration, Obama's calling his opponents enemies did nothing to help the situation."
At least try to be honest, Jena. He didn't call his opponents enemies. He talked about enemies of the interest of Latinos.
Standards are sorely lacking at the Post these days. Even in an opinion piece, is it too much to ask that the facts cited actually be facts?
It would be funny, if it weren't so sad, to see Jena using an outright lie to attack the character of another.
POSTED BY: CHAOS1 | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 11:51 AM
There is no INTEREST OF LATINO’S. There is ONLY INTREST OF AMERICANS.

Is that really to hard to figure out……

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 1:05 PM

Is calling Republic Party freaks your political enemies really bad? Why? The Republic Party crooks are anti-American enemies from within because they think the our Constitution is just "a piece of paper" and they are bound and determined to destroy our middle class lifestyle out of some twisted, petty class envy. They also want a state religion, which would violate our American freedoms. And how about starting wars using lies so oil companies can grab a country's oil, like they did in Iraq? Is that traitorous or what?

Gee, Republic Party freaks like Lush and Fawn call Dems "marxists, socialists, communists, traitors, terrorist-lovers etc" but heck, that's okay, right you Republic Party suckers? Hey, when "Dick" (heehee) Chaney tells a Democratic senator on the floor of the Senate to "go f--- yourself," hey that's okay, right you freaks? And when Failin Palin says only Republic Party chumps are "real Americans," hey that's cool too, right you slow-witted suckers? And when Dumya calls a reporter a "major league as----e", oh that's just wonderful. And when Dumya makes jokes about GI corpses, oooooohhhhh, that's just groovy. You pathetic hypocrites.


Posted by: mongolovesheriff | November 2, 2010 12:59 PM

Let us be vivid here. If you have a friend you don't want see him suffer. The Latino have suffered a lot especially at the time of the Arizona controversial Law. They rallied around the entire country, they got sleepless night, were frustrated and full of fear all the time. Can one tell me how the Latinos can call them friends with all they went through and still do not know what comes next if the opposition grab the power!

Posted by: fridamulindayahoocouk | November 2, 2010 12:54 PM

Also you can drop the FOX non sense unless that’s all you can do to handle the onslaught occurring as we speak. It couldn’t be that the PEOPLE have had it. It has to be some idi0t that hosts a TV show. And you wonder what happened to the DEM part. It was over run with id10t’s like this.
Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 11:37 AM
This onslaught that you're so quick to tag as a revolt against BO is more a reaction to the crap that both parties have plopped on the table. From Hell No You Can't to You Lie to the creeps who have wrestled away the conservative mantle on the far right...what you're seeing is your countrymen puking back the s**t they've been forced to swallow from the loudest and most obnoxious reactionary quarters of the electorate. It's based in ideological purity and ignorance of which you seem to have more than your fair share of both. You don't deserve democracy. You can't handle it.
POSTED BY: JKEITHSR | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 12:08 PM
Really????? I guess you suffer from ADHD. Or just prefer to forget about the 8 years of non stop BS from the LEFT. If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen….. The divisiveness of the left has simply spread to the right and you can’t handle it. More than likely it’s not good for the country but that’s beside the point. And the Nicolson quote only makes you look foolish.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 12:51 PM

When someone says: "The HIGHEST PRIORITY (above the economy, healthcare, education, transportation, and everything else) is to make Obama a one-term president", then what else are you supposed to think!?!!? Sounds exactly like what an enemy would say.

Posted by: DROSE1 | November 2, 2010 12:50 PM

So much for bringing change to Washington. Obama campaigned on "hope" and "change" and so far has delivered nothing! Correct me if I am wrong, but Obama said he would work across the aisle and bring people together. I understand he cannot do this alone, but when you call the people on the other side of the aisle your enemies, how can you realistically expect them to work with you. YOU Mr. Obama are the reason the Democrats are going to lose big this election day.

Posted by: maslager | November 2, 2010 12:49 PM

Stuarturban wrote:

"Portraying the other side is nefarious in their intentions, rather than seeing them as fellow Americans who have a different view of how our common goals can be achieved, is a wonderful way to divide people."

This is the best and most concise statement of the Fox/Tea Party philosophy that I have yet seen in print. Unintentional I'm sure, but nevertheless.

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 12:45 PM

He campaigned as a 'uniter' but obviously only used that statement to get votes. You don't and can't unite with your enemies. Too bad he sees those of us who hoped we were wrong when we voted for McCain and believed that may be he would do a good job for us anyway now feel that we were right. This man is a Socialist demagog!

Posted by: dbothroydearthlinknet | November 2, 2010 12:43 PM

Obama had it exactly right. The Republicans and the teabagger swine are the enemies of working Americans, intent on shipping our production and jobs to Asia and impoverish us, just so that the fat cats can stuff their faces and pockets. There's no need to travel halfway across the globe in search for enemies - they're right here, the despicable Republican and teabagger fascist traitors. I would tax these miserable rats until they whine.
POSTED BY: RICHARDHODE | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 12:19 PM
All anyone needs to do if they want to see what Obama and the LIB/DEMS have in store for America just look to the EU.

The same EU in which the young dumb (I deserve) LIBERALS are destroying the cities because they believe they are ENTITLED.

The only way to save America is to round up and execute all LIBERALS.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 12:42 PM

Stuarturban wrote:

"Portraying the other side is nefarious in their intentions, rather than seeing them as fellow Americans who have a different view of how our common goals can be achieved, is a wonderful way to divide people."

This is the best and most concise statement of the Fox/Tea Party philosophy that I have yet seen in print. Unintentional I'm sure, but nevertheless.

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 12:41 PM

I think we have to give this one to the President who has shown himself to be more than a little generous when it comes to speaking about and trying to engage his "so called opponents/enemies." Those of us who understand "exactly" what he was getting at understand his getting a bit carried away with the campagin lingo.

John Boehner has shown himself to be a very telling "opponent/ememy" when it comes do the "right thing" in terms of this Nation's well being, For John Boehner is Party first, Nation a good second.

Posted by: rannrann | November 2, 2010 12:40 PM

If one carefully reviews comments made nationwide and notes that many posters refuse to admit that Obama is an American, and I have seen comments saying the only reason he is supported is that he has "nig blood," I would say it's fair to say he has enemies. I don't think that, say, Winston Churchill, would have agreed that he shouldn't mention that there are enemies out there.

Posted by: geneven | November 2, 2010 12:37 PM

If this President, who has portrayed himself as a high-minded visionary who believes in hope, change and unity, has been reduced to reacting to and commenting on the political landscape (as pointed out by mblace), maybe, as he said recently in an interview, he wasn't serious in the first place.

I still believe that a President should be above this use of the language of enemies and friends. We are all Americans who share common goals. Portraying the other side is nefarious in their intentions, rather than seeing them as fellow Americans who have a different view of how our common goals can be achieved, is a wonderful way to divide people. Any President should be a leader and a uniter, not a political pundit making observations on the political landscape.

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 12:24 PM

Stuarturban wrote:

"Ha! I made a material typo in my last comment. :)

Chaos1 and Hebe1, the way that Obama worded the statement implies that he and Latinos are on the same page, so I don't think it is a great stretch to say that Obama was implying at least animosity toward Latinos' enemies ..."

Your bigger slip was to effectively concede that Obabma was right, by implicitly admitting that Latinos do in fact have enemies.

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 12:21 PM

Obama had it exactly right. The Republicans and the teabagger swine are the enemies of working Americans, intent on shipping our production and jobs to Asia and impoverish us, just so that the fat cats can stuff their faces and pockets. There's no need to travel halfway across the globe in search for enemies - they're right here, the despicable Republican and teabagger fascist traitors. I would tax these miserable rats until they whine.

Posted by: RichardHode | November 2, 2010 12:19 PM

Obama is a man known for precise use of words and in this case I believe the use of the word "enemies" clearly reflects a level of frustration with a process (as reader Hardrain points out) in which the opposition has defined themselves not as people willing to compromise in the best interest and needs of our country, but to "defeat" the President and all he is trying to do. There's a fine line between terms like "enemies", "adversaries" and "opponents", and the meanings of these terms are typically shaded by the thoughts and actions of both participants in any contest. If nothing else, the President's inopportune (but probably correct) use of the word accurately reflects the political environment we now see in our nation. Tocqueville observed in "On Democracy in America" that in a democracy, the "people get the government they deserve". We have defined the political landscape - how can we be surprised at what we now reap?

Posted by: mblace | November 2, 2010 12:16 PM

Also you can drop the FOX non sense unless that’s all you can do to handle the onslaught occurring as we speak. It couldn’t be that the PEOPLE have had it. It has to be some idi0t that hosts a TV show. And you wonder what happened to the DEM part. It was over run with id10t’s like this.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 11:37 AM

This onslaught that you're so quick to tag as a revolt against BO is more a reaction to the crap that both parties have plopped on the table. From Hell No You Can't to You Lie to the creeps who have wrestled away the conservative mantle on the far right...what you're seeing is your countrymen puking back the s**t they've been forced to swallow from the loudest and most obnoxious reactionary quarters of the electorate. It's based in ideological purity and ignorance of which you seem to have more than your fair share of both. You don't deserve democracy. You can't handle it.

Posted by: jkeithsr | November 2, 2010 12:08 PM

Ha! I made a material typo in my last comment. :)

Chaos1 and Hebe1, the way that Obama worded the statement implies that he and Latinos are on the same page, so I don't think it is a great stretch to say that Obama was implying at least animosity toward Latinos' enemies, if not a shared perception of them as enemies. You are attacking the Post reporter for a nit that is irrelevant.
Obama singled out an ethnic group, treated them as a monolith and told them to remember that they have enemies who are fellow Americans that need to be punished. That is pretty nasty from someone who is supposed to be a UNITER, regardless of the nuance of whether he believes the people he defines as enemies of Latinos are his enemies as well.

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 12:06 PM

Chaos1 and Hebe1, the way that Obama worded the statement implies that he and Latinos are on the same page, so I don't think it is a great stretch to say that Obama was implying at least animosity toward Latinos' enemies, if not a shared perception of them as enemies. You are attacking the Post reporter for a nit that is irrelevant.

Obama singled out an ethnic group, treated them as a monolith and told them to remember that they have enemies who are fellow Americans that need to be punished. That is pretty nasty from someone who is supposed to be a divider, regardless of the nuance of whether he believes the people he defines as enemies of Latinos are his enemies as well.

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 12:04 PM

Even a teleprompter-reading monkey knows not to call Americans enemies...

Posted by: mgrantham2 | November 2, 2010 12:02 PM

"If Latinos sit out the election," the president said, "instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us' ... then I think it's going to be harder."
There are many Latinos who are voting Republican in today's elections. They do not want to be lumped with illegal immigrants. They want to be recognized as legal Citizens of the United States of America. It is not the Republican Party that is lumping them with illegals -- it is the press and the present administration.

Posted by: cousinpolly1948 | November 2, 2010 11:59 AM

"If Latinos sit out the election," the president said, "instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us' ... then I think it's going to be harder."

Obama didn't say "his enemies". He said the Latinos need to adopt the mindset of punish enemies and reward friends.

If he had said "his enemies", then absolutely that would be unprofessional. But he didn't.

As it is, I just see him as trying to hype up the Latinos to vote. The term enemies is much more negative than one would desire, but if Latinos are feeling persecuted, then the term is more appropriate and understandable.

Posted by: hebe1 | November 2, 2010 11:57 AM

Jena McGregor wrote: "But despite that frustration, Obama's calling his opponents enemies did nothing to help the situation."

At least try to be honest, Jena. He didn't call his opponents enemies. He talked about enemies of the interest of Latinos.

Standards are sorely lacking at the Post these days. Even in an opinion piece, is it too much to ask that the facts cited actually be facts?

It would be funny, if it weren't so sad, to see Jena using an outright lie to attack the character of another.

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 11:51 AM

The President should be held to a higher standard, and his comment was incredibly inappropriate, particularly for someone who campaigned on civility, unity and post-partisan politics. The President is the President of all of the people in the United States, not just of "friends" against "enemies." Additionally, why is our President, who also ran as a post-racial candidate, appealing to Latinos to define for them their friends and enemies? Latinos are not a monolith, nor do they need someone telling them for whom they should vote. His message should have been that all people need to get out and vote to make their voices heard, regardless of who they vote for or what color is the voter's skin.

Obama is my President, and I want him to succeed in keeping America great, but the fact that he has turned out to be so bitterly partisan after the message he delivered in his campaign makes me sad. In nearly every speech, he attempts to create demons we should work "against", rather than sticking to the common goals that we share because we share so much in common. I don't want to see fellow Americans as "ignorant" or as "enemies," particularly because I believe that most people attempting to deliver a message have benevolent intentions, even though we may disagree greatly on how to achieve those goals. The President of the United States is supposed to be the one politician who reminds us of this, rather than resorting to partisan rhetoric and creating divisions and demons at every turn (check out how often he refers to Wall Street vs. Main Street, wealthy vs. working-class, special interests vs. people, insurance companies vs. people, Latinos' enemies vs. Latinos' friends).

Posted by: stuarturban | November 2, 2010 11:48 AM

Jena McGregor writes: "But conservatives aren't the only ones criticizing Obama for using the word. Democratic pollsters Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell are making comparisons to Nixon."

Pretending to be a Democrat to give supposed credence to your attack on a Democrat is one of the oldest tricks in the political book. But I would point out that Doug Schoen boasts an approving quote from Sean Hannity on his own web page, and Wikipedia says this of Pat Caddell: "In 1988, Caddell left the Democratic Party after an acrimonious lawsuit with a Democratic consulting firm. Republicans would often cite Caddell's tirades against the Democratic Party on the floor of the House and the Senate." 1988! But perhaps Jena McGregor hasn't yet gotten the memo. This is either dishonest writing or the author hasn't done her homework.

Posted by: chaos1 | November 2, 2010 11:41 AM

Enemies is too kind a word for those who would hand America to the Koch brothers. Traitors is more like it.

Posted by: alarico | November 2, 2010 11:40 AM

Yes because it’s about Obama not the US.
LIBERALS the world’s stup1dest mammal.
Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 11:18 AM
Take off your tin foil hat and change the channel. It's about your inability to know what's good for you because you're either blinded by your bigotry, greed, or ignorance or a combination of all three. Unless of course you're NOT a lower or middle economic class American. In which case, you're excused. Bully for you.
POSTED BY: JKEITHSR | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 11:25 AM
So you agree. It’s about what YOU want not what’s best for the US. Tell us something we don’t know.

Also you can drop the FOX non sense unless that’s all you can do to handle the onslaught occurring as we speak. It couldn’t be that the PEOPLE have had it. It has to be some idi0t that hosts a TV show. And you wonder what happened to the DEM part. It was over run with id10t’s like this.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 11:37 AM

I support Obama and his policies. I also acknowledge that Obama was wrong to call the Republicants "enemies." Not just because we hold the president to a higher standard, but because ANY politician who says such things is in the wrong. No American should consider other Americans their enemies.

By the way, sorry to blow the minds of all the wingnuts who think those of us who support Obama think he can do no wrong. Just because you think that way about your leadership doesn't mean we view the world that way. I know you don't do the "gray area" thing so well.

Oh also, as you well know, Obama has already acknowledged his poor choice of words and corrected himself. Republicants continue to press this as an issue because . . . why? Get over it!

Bottom line: Republicants put out ads encouraging people not to exercise their constitutional right to vote, an attempt to undermine one of the basic tenets of our country's system of governance, and then those same Republicants criticize the president not for his responsive message -- promoting voter turnout -- but for poor (and already corrected) word choice in speaking out against their despicable practice. How sad and petty of them . . . and telling, too.

Posted by: tomguy1 | November 2, 2010 11:36 AM

Oh, for the love of Pete - he misspoke. Shall we go over ever transcript of every speech every politician made in this incredibly long election cycle? Palin and company have said much, much worse. They infer that those of us who don't agree with them are less than patriotic - that makes US the enemy.

The real enemy is ignorance.

Posted by: borntorun45 | November 2, 2010 11:34 AM

You know the saying. You can take a brother out of the ghetto but you can't take the ghetto out of the brother.
Obama is a street rat who survived off of affirmative action.
POSTED BY: ASKGEES | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 10:53 AM
------
That is the ignorant bigotry that has become the hallmark of the GOP/RebubliKlan Party.
Obama was wrong to refer to political opponents as the enemy. The enemy are thge ignorant bigoted klansmen like ASKGEES
POSTED BY: RCC_2000 | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 11:04 AM


LOL yes that chest bump was very stately. LOL. Obama has lower the standard and brought shame to the White House. I bet in your tiny little LIBERAL mind you believe the term White House is racist. People like you should be shipped to Afghanistan and used as human shields. Oh and just an FYI. The last remaining KLANSMEN Senator Robert Byrd (D) passed away. Try keeping up LIB T@RD......

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 11:28 AM

He can call Republicans enemies, but can't call the Muslim killer at Fort Hood a terrorist??? Hmmmmmmmm

What happened to "civility" and bridging the divide??? I hope we "clean house" today because Nancy P & friends certainly haven't!!!

Posted by: Birdmom78 | November 2, 2010 11:27 AM

Yes because it’s about Obama not the US.
LIBERALS the world’s stup1dest mammal.
Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 11:18 AM

Take off your tin foil hat and change the channel. It's about your inability to know what's good for you because you're either blinded by your bigotry, greed, or ignorance or a combination of all three. Unless of course you're NOT a lower or middle economic class American. In which case, you're excused. Bully for you.

Posted by: jkeithsr | November 2, 2010 11:25 AM

Why would Obama have to use the word "enemies" when he had no opposition?? - he jammed every far left policy down the country's throat because he had the democratic majority in the house and the senate. DEMS - news flash - you have no one to blame but yourselves!!! The republicans and independents didn't and couldn't stop any of your policies. Our president resorts to calling for "punish the enemy" and then wants republicans and tea party candidates to cooperate with him and his leftist policies - really?? Come on lefties...you get a life and join the rest of the country somewhere in the center!

Posted by: mariaestavez | November 2, 2010 11:24 AM

The truth be known when he starts talking an dos'nt use tongue an cheek. That is why he is being defeated.

Posted by: JWTX | November 2, 2010 11:23 AM

The truth be known when he starts talking an dos'nt use tongue an cheek. That is why he is being defeated.

Posted by: JWTX | November 2, 2010 11:21 AM

The repubs made no secret that they wanted to defeat BO at every turn. Before he even got started. Anyone who wants to defeat me is my enemy. I just didn't know so many of my enemies were also idiots. But thank your lucky stars everday that there were enough of your enemies to keep you from electing Mac 'n Barbie.
POSTED BY: JKEITHSR | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 11:03 AM


Yes because it’s about Obama not the US.

LIBERALS the world’s stup1dest mammal.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 11:18 AM

Obama's remark of calling his opponents "the enemy" was just a Freudian slip of the tongue. It was his unconscious mind speaking out for him, based on his realistic perception that from his first day as president, the Republicans didn't like him, and wanted him to fail.

I think Obama's perception is correct. The truth is that the Republicans behave like they are an enemy to him and to all Democrats in Congress. The Republicans would rather see the whole country fail, than to see Obama have the smallest fraction of success. The Republicans did the same thing to Clinton. They tried to make Clinton's life absolutely miserable, when he was in office. The only difference was that Clinton, was a more astute politician, and back then, he was better liked by the general public than Obama. I think Obama should anticipate and prepare himself these next two years for more uphill battles with his enemy--the Republicans. If Obama is smart, he will become less idealistic, and he will learn that negotiation is better than being defeated in battle.

Posted by: fridaolay | November 2, 2010 11:17 AM

Unfortunatele our President is in his true belief a product of racism, and he plays the racist card all the time. He always talk about his black background etc. refer to everyone who disagrees with him at enemies.
Never has he mentioned his white mother or grandparents who supposedly raised him and paid for his education. How terrible in considerate and a bad child is he, never to recognize his true background.
He was elected by many white voters also because he indicated he would be President of all Americans, and he has shown he is only the President of the African-americans and the UNIONS.
A true community organizer though and through, and he shows it by never showing up and being Presidential, what is that Union dressing always in shirt sleeve and no tie etc. Playing to the mobs he is always.
A sad time for the US indeed with this President!

Posted by: tanamerah1 | November 2, 2010 11:17 AM

OK. This article is clearly linked to the Repub hate sites.
The Repubs have treated the President worse than anyone would treat a dog.
He extended a hand repeatedly, to his own detriment. He put Repub proposals into legislation that they then refused to vote for.
The Democrats worked with Bush for the good of the country.
Repubs don't care about the country, just their own agenda of greed (and more wars).
Obama's right to refer to them as enemies.
But Repubs are not Obama's enemy. They are enemies of the United States and they always have been. Repubs and their TV channel, Fox, are guilty of treason.
I wish that they could stop lying and be part of the solution.
~
POSTED BY: DICKEYFULLER | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 11:11 AM


Did you actually attend school???? You may be one of the most ignorant people to post in a long time. Thanks to the DEMS and their social welfare programs the US is nearly bankrupt. Thanks to the DEMS we have gone trough 200 years of BS regarding slavery. All because they refused to give up their slaves. The DEMS as of TODAY 11-2-10 have fought giving women in the US equal rights. The list goes on and on and on. Yet you being the piece of putty you are just take what they tell you at face value. You are lazy, ignorant and uneducated. A perfect LIBERAL.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 11:16 AM

~

OK. This article is clearly linked to the Repub hate sites.

The Repubs have treated the President worse than anyone would treat a dog.

He extended a hand repeatedly, to his own detriment. He put Repub proposals into legislation that they then refused to vote for.

The Democrats worked with Bush for the good of the country.

Repubs don't care about the country, just their own agenda of greed (and more wars).

Obama's right to refer to them as enemies.

But Repubs are not Obama's enemy. They are enemies of the United States and they always have been. Repubs and their TV channel, Fox, are guilty of treason.

I wish that they could stop lying and be part of the solution.

~

Posted by: DickeyFuller | November 2, 2010 11:11 AM

You know the saying. You can take a brother out of the ghetto but you can't take the ghetto out of the brother.

Obama is a street rat who survived off of affirmative action.
POSTED BY: ASKGEES | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 10:53 AM

------

That is the ignorant bigotry that has become the hallmark of the GOP/RebubliKlan Party.

Obama was wrong to refer to political opponents as the enemy. The enemy are thge ignorant bigoted klansmen like ASKGEES

Posted by: rcc_2000 | November 2, 2010 11:04 AM

The repubs made no secret that they wanted to defeat BO at every turn. Before he even got started. Anyone who wants to defeat me is my enemy. I just didn't know so many of my enemies were also idiots. But thank your lucky stars everday that there were enough of your enemies to keep you from electing Mac 'n Barbie.

Posted by: jkeithsr | November 2, 2010 11:03 AM

Obama has demeaned and cheapened his office through his shennanigans of the past few months. Attacking news outlets, Speaker Boehner and everyone who does not agree with his are the actions of a Chicago Apparatchnik, not the leader of the free world. HIs behavior, far from firing up his base has infuriated Republicans and Independents who will turn out in droves to deliver a huge no confidence vote to our clueless President. Keep raising your chin oh annointed one as your dreams of an FDR redux administration return the realm of fairy tales. Didn't Bill Clinton say somehting like that???

Posted by: jkk1943 | November 2, 2010 11:00 AM

A President of the United States Should be a President of the United States and not the President of the left most 35% of the country. And if the President feels entitled to label the other 65% by the word enemy, then he is the enemy of that 65%.

Posted by: ivanstux | November 2, 2010 10:56 AM

ႊ့There is no enemies for Obama but he is a worst enemy for the nation.

Posted by: BellaLiberty | November 2, 2010 10:55 AM

You know the saying. You can take a brother out of the ghetto but you can't take the ghetto out of the brother.

Obama is a street rat who survived off of affirmative action.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 10:53 AM

The president was being impolitic, but he was telling the truth. Teabaggers are the enemies of the Constitutional government and traitors to their country.
POSTED BY: BIGBROTHER1 | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 10:41 AM


Too bad you have the intellect of a 12 year old. People like you turn into people like Chesser the LIB MUSLIM CONVERT. Starting in Jan. people like you will be rooted out and dealt with. You might want to pack up and take your family else where before it’s too late.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 10:48 AM

It is completely dishonest for this column to say that Obama was referring to "his" enemies. Read the quote. He clearly referred to latino voters and whether they would vote against their enemies.

POSTED BY: HAWKEYES1 | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 10:24 AM

________________________________

It doesn't matter! The whole point is that Obama was calling a portion of the American people "enemies", It was a classic Freudian slipped, and it revealed the true venom and bitterness of Obama's heart.

Posted by: liberalsareblind | November 2, 2010 10:47 AM

I've got a question for the Obama apologists and defenders. How can any President expect and receive cooperation from a co-equal branch of government when he goes around calling them enemies and telling them they can sit in the back of the car?

Bottom line is showing as much class as you'd expect from a Chicago street thug with no leadership ability.

Posted by: honestcitizen2 | November 2, 2010 10:46 AM

Oh dear God, WaPo, will you please: a) stop showing your republican/tea party bias and b) behave like JOURNALISTS are supposed to, and perhaps be a little more even-handed?

The only good thing about WaPo is Hax, and on some days she's way off base, too.

Posted by: heresmare | November 2, 2010 10:46 AM

The worst thing you can say about Obama's remarks is that they were stupid, since everything a president says is going to be distorted and magnified by the opposition's looking glass.

But as has been pointed out by others, the "enemies" he was referring to were those of his AUDIENCE, not his own enemies. And if it's considered unkosher to refer to the proponents of the Arizona immigration law as the enemies of Latinos, then maybe we should just all retire to Mr. Rogers' neighborhood and exchange hugs and kisses with people who want to question the citizenship of a Latino every time they step out the door.

And considering the venomous and often racist speech directed Obama's way by his opponents, it's more than laughable that any of them would take offense at what he had to say about them. They're having their fun now, but the world doesn't stop turning with one offyear election.

Posted by: andym108 | November 2, 2010 10:45 AM

LIBERALS.

He told me to do it......
They did it first.......
I know I am but what are you.......

They are spoiled uneducated little down syndrome babies.......

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 10:42 AM

I find it interesting that a reasonably intelligent man would even ask such a question given the sentiment in this country towards "bosses". When BP spilled oil into the gulf, the entire country as well as the President were calling for his resignation. When the robo-signing story broke, people were screaming about who should be fired. Each and every time a private sector company makes an error in their business processes, the American people are calling for the ax to fall on CEO's of companies which they have absolutely no say in. Yet, the President of the United States, a man who has every speech and every word of each speech catered to the exact audience he wishes to reach, can call the Republican party an "enemy" to Hispanics and this is acceptable to that same group who always screams for the firing of someone they know nothing about? This is telling of the status of this nation as a whole. It is not simply the economy which is tormenting Americans, it is the mistrust for their neighbors because of perceived slights and other falsities passed on to us by the powers of both parties. When this man's first term is finished, we will most likely have to choose between him again, or Sarah "Mummalard Extreme" Palin. I can't wait to see how stupid and ignorant to reality this country will have become by then. What's worse is...at that point, we will be walking into four more years of divisive and misinformed politics which is based more on political self interest than anything else, but marketed to the American people as good deeds for us...just as it has been for the past ten years at minimum.

People ought worry less about the one word Obama uttered as compared to the meaning behind the word. Politicians do not stray from their speeches, and they always say what the audience wants to hear rather than what they actually mean. Yet, the President openly refers to the Republican party as "enemies" of Hispanics?

I pray it doesn't come to this...but the powerful on both sides of the political spectrum have brandished their blades...and blood may flow very soon as we have not seen since the Kennedy Dynasty.

Posted by: TheFreeMan | November 2, 2010 10:41 AM

The president was being impolitic, but he was telling the truth. Teabaggers are the enemies of the Constitutional government and traitors to their country.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | November 2, 2010 10:41 AM

Hmmm, I remember in 2006 and 2008 several GOPers using the word "terrorists" to describe their political adversaries.

I do think it is sad commentary on the state of the nation, how the two parties with the instigation by the media (see Jon Stewart's rally speech) have turned us from a We the people, to Us versus Them.

Sadder still is the same kind of "do-nothing" party that led to Civil War a 150 years ago.

Posted by: wayoffbaseguy | November 2, 2010 10:39 AM

Obama is the most divisive president in the last 60 plus years. He has done more to hurt the US than good for the US. He is an immature narcissist ego manic with virtually no experience. Quite possible the worst man ever elected as POTUS. He resembles Chavez more than any DEMOCRAT.

Live by the sword, die by the sword. One and done…………

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2010 10:38 AM

What do you expect from an undereducated affirmative action beneficiary who has made a career out of manipulating the emotions of minorities?

Posted by: j751 | November 2, 2010 10:36 AM

Well, Cheney got away with telling a Senator to go $%$$ themselves and everyone applauded him for it.

In a normal political environment, I would say that yes, the President is held to higher standards. But the President has been compared to Hitler and called a Marxist Muslim illegal alien from Kenya. I would consider the President's use of the word "enemy" as polite considering what he's being called by his detractors.

Posted by: ClandestineBlaze | November 2, 2010 10:33 AM

It's funny when you think about it. Many of President Obama's detractors, and far right "enemies", yes I said it, were Bush and Chenney's boot licking flunkies. How many times did any of you comment on the cowboysque tone, and language which (President) Bush used regularly. Remember his sic joke at the white house dinner regarding weapons of mass destruction being found. What about Chenney's language in the Senate Chamber against Patrick Leahy? Hell, not only that, the guy just out-right shot somebody. What about the two of them making derogatory comments about a reporter without realizing their mic was on. Most of you never spoke up once. Now you have the audacity to hinge onto President Obama's every word. You people need to get a LIFE!

Posted by: RealWashingtonian1 | November 2, 2010 10:29 AM

Boehner is Obama's professional enemy. It is totally appropriate to call it what it is. My dictionary defines enemy as, "one that is antagonistic to another". Seems spot one to me. Having called Obama a communist, socialist, and non-citizen seems like an antagonist to me. I am hopeful Obama will be a bit more aggressive in the next two years and give as good as he gets. Standing by and serving as a punching bag for every right wing nutcase does not enhance the office of the president.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | November 2, 2010 10:24 AM

It is completely dishonest for this column to say that Obama was referring to "his" enemies. Read the quote. He clearly referred to latino voters and whether they would vote against their enemies.

Posted by: hawkeyes1 | November 2, 2010 10:24 AM

I was never a Bush supporter, but if W uttered the word "enemies" about the opposition, the Post and the associated Left would have exploded. Eugene Robinson, Richard Cohen, and Chris Matthews would be writing about extremism and racism on the Right. (Even though W should not be confused with someone on the Right). Yet Obama utters these words, and we have these articles written by liberals who wring their hands and say "oooh, we must analyze this..it's not very presidential to say this, is it??" Laughable.

Posted by: cmterpsnskins | November 2, 2010 10:21 AM

Strange words from the self-appointed "post partisan" President. Or are they really? In the last several week, particularly when it was clear that the Dems will lose big, Obameh has come off more like a petulant teenager than an elected official, in his case, the President of ALL Americans. And this is the man we entrusted to keep us safe from our real enemies?

Posted by: CubsFan | November 2, 2010 10:14 AM

Given our president's background and political leanings, it does not surprise me that he calls those against him his "enemies". He has little experience and apparently no tolerance for those who believe other than he does. Hopefully he will mature in the days ahead.

Posted by: busterdog1 | November 2, 2010 10:13 AM

I see the republican party as my enemy, yet I do not see myself as a democrat. I see myself as an American veteran. Mr. Boehner: God hates people who hate people - something for you to ponder.

Posted by: CalmTruth | November 2, 2010 10:12 AM

Some like Tim Kaine say the comment should be "discounted" as it was uttered in the campaigns last ten days.Well, how about words said on a comedy show? Or, State of the Union? I think I've heard enough from this President that I rarely do anything but discount his words. Unfortunately, his actions can not be discounted as they have done serious harm, and if left unchecked will do irreparable harm.

Posted by: pauldia | November 2, 2010 10:11 AM

Are there any adults in this White House? Someone needs to tell this guy he's the President of the United States, not the Community Organizer in Chief.

The beauty of all of this is you have Eugene Robinson telling the world that today is happening because of racism. If it is, whose racism is it?

Posted by: bflat879 | November 2, 2010 10:10 AM

Obama an extremist.

He believes anyone who opposes him is an enemy. He SAID it. That's extremism.

Socialists like Marx, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were all mass murderers who spoke of any political opponents as "enemies of the state".

Does the Socialist Obama really believe he represents America anymore?

Posted by: bob59 | November 2, 2010 10:09 AM


It's very unfortunate that the president calls Americans who oppose his political policies "enemies".

Such divisive language coming from the head of any government can never foster unity of purpose.

Posted by: chicago77 | November 2, 2010 10:02 AM

Please give examples of the "aggressive phraseology" being used by opponents. And yes, the President should be held to a higher standard than other pols, he's supposed to be everyone's President. He has ridiculed many groups who disagree with him. Where is his famous "you can disagree without being disagreeable?" He has never practiced what he preaches. He has never sought compromise with Republicans. He hasn't even sought compromise with moderates of his own party. Nancy strong armed many Dems who are now loosing their seats. I think that is evidence of their "my way or the highway" approach to compromise.
And by the way, what does all the BS about leadership in your article have to do with the subject of aggressive phraseology?

Posted by: kalojohn | November 2, 2010 9:54 AM

It is okay for a sitting congressman to call the president of the United States a liar on national TV n the floor of the House of Representatives but it is not okay for the president to call such people enemies?

I am not sure what the media's issues with the president are but I would not call the Washington Post, NPR or the NYTIMES, friends of the president, though I think that in general for those news organizations, its simply a matter of having a good rollicking war story to print every single day, which is another major factor in the continuing decline of this nation. Enemies indeed but of whom? The president or the nation?.

Posted by: robertmerry | November 2, 2010 9:51 AM

Every night on TV they call him a terrorist, Nazi, fascist, communist, and worse. Enemies is mild.

Posted by: fmjk | November 2, 2010 9:45 AM

Ummm, Patrick Caddell is a Fox rightwing hack, has been for years!! I know, I know, he's always been introduced as a Dem. but Fox very successfully lies and misleads as easily as it breathes ... btw, Doug Schoen is a neo-con!

The Republicans are 'enemies' because they have so much power. They enjoy unquestioning support from the same media that continually bashes and demeans Democrats.
There is billions to be made by the media by fomenting for eternal war between the two pathetic excuses for political parties that dominate this nation isn't there.

Posted by: mimosa1 | November 2, 2010 9:44 AM

Ok for one Obama dosn't act like a President should. He has no composure an quick to be angry an call the American Citizens names; an equate us to Afghans, an Muslims. Presidents in the past have never uttered ignorance as he has. That is why his demise is happening. The old saying you can catch more Bee's with Honey. Man you don't turn on your own people big mistake. You ignored our plights now you paying the price of defeat!

Posted by: JWTX | November 2, 2010 9:41 AM

The crackpots have had absolutely no respect for the office of the President and have called him every name they can think of. Now their taking offense bacause he has called some of them enemies. What the hell is he suppose to call them. How about dumbasses, and yes, they are too dumb to know the good he has done, they'd rather take their marching orders from unemployed cokehead like Glenn Beck. My family came her 300 years ago to get away from the crazy bastards in Europe, looks like they caught up with us. May be time to move on.

POSTED BY: DAVED1 | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 9:31 AM

________________________________

That's funny. I certainly seem to remember liberals calling President Bush every name in the book when he was in power, and it most certainly seemed like liberals had no respect for the office of the president when Bush was in power either.

Posted by: liberalsareblind | November 2, 2010 9:40 AM

...The president said, "instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us'...

Last I checked, the US has one President who is supposed to represent the interests of all the citizens. I don't believe anyone can be an effective President by pitting one group of constituents against another. Its especially disheartening to hear from one who campaigned on a post-partisan agenda, which most of the electorate took to mean better working relations with the opposition, but which our President and his Congressional leaders apparently meant as "we'll just impose our will, because elections have consequences and we won"

Perhaps tomorrow he will better appreciate what it means to have lost and election.

Posted by: bruce18 | November 2, 2010 9:35 AM

Apparantely the intelligence level of Americans continues to spiral downhill, and seems to be picking up speed- at least based on the overtly biased and pathetic comments by most posters. It is also clear how biased each one is, whether for OR against Obama.

A "true" leader would not have used such inflammatory speech, and Obama has been rightly called out for such low-balling tactics. Every President who has lowered himself to this level has been called out AND should be called out. Sadly with one word, Obama has invoked mistrust. With one word, he invoked hatred. With one word, he divided a nation unlike two years ago when he united a nation. But now, Obama is nothing more than a petulant 2-year old throwing a tantrum because he is being punished for not listening to his entire constituency...all US citizens who have earned the right and privilege to vote whether through birth or through legally obtaining citizenship. Obama, and those who blindly support him and refuse to chastize him when he is wrong, have only one enemy....themselves. Dividing a nation is an unworthy virtue of anyone who wishes to call themselves a "true leader" of a democratic country. Perhaps Obama was not the right man and the right time; at least his words and have action in recent months scream otherwise. We as a nation have the right to cringe and mourn the loss of integrity and poise.

And for the record...economic policies rarely work swiftly. Change is slow and times it takes several years for the policies to show the effects. Want to blame someone for the current fiscal crises? Try blaming Clinton. As much as I may hate to admit it, the economy was beginning to sour well before Bush's 2nd term.

Posted by: devilsadvocate3 | November 2, 2010 9:34 AM

Exactly how does Mr. Obama intend to "punish his enemies" after his party is in the minority after today's election? He better start having conferences with Jimmy Carter to find out how he can occupy his free time after 2012 because he is also going to be a one term president.

Posted by: 1republican | November 2, 2010 9:34 AM

then how about:

"they have to get in the back of the bus"

"they are complaining we are using a socialist mop to clean up their mess" (not that he ISN'T using a socialist mop BTW)

Poop hit the fan when the dems took Congress but "Go back to the failed policies that got us into this mess" with no pushback from the ComPost BTW

"typical white person"

"57 states"

"Constitution is a flawed document"

"I want a single payer system" vs "This is not a single payer system"

"I want to redistribute wealth" vs "I am not a Marxist"

Better question would be where the hell has the fourth estate been during the last 3 years? Too damned busy running 100s of "maccaca" essays and downplaying Obama's deep, clearly evident Marxist leanings and history.
Father was soviet style Marxist

Mother had similar leanings

Step-father somewhat less but Marxist nonetheless

Grams and gramps uberlefties

"gravitated to marxist professors in college"

Marxists mentors all during life

Majority of his unappointed czars have covert and overt Marxist connections.

How the heck could you come to any other conclusion?

Posted by: theduck6 | November 2, 2010 9:32 AM

The crackpots have had absolutely no respect for the office of the President and have called him every name they can think of. Now their taking offense bacause he has called some of them enemies. What the hell is he suppose to call them. How about dumbasses, and yes, they are too dumb to know the good he has done, they'd rather take their marching orders from unemployed cokehead like Glenn Beck. My family came her 300 years ago to get away from the crazy bastards in Europe, looks like they caught up with us. May be time to move on.

Posted by: daved1 | November 2, 2010 9:31 AM

Obama is a product of being mentored at an early age by people such as Frank Marshall Davis and then at an older age by people such as Rev. Wright, all of whom considered the U.S. as an enemy. I wonder if he used that term when he was working as a community organizer. He didn't just come up with using that word now.

Posted by: mafox1 | November 2, 2010 9:30 AM

The Republicans have shown so little class with their comments for the last 2 years (from the day that President Obama took office) that you comments about "a Higher Bar" are ridiculous. However, this has been the narrative for the last 20 years. The Republicans behave terribly, a Democrat fights back, and those who don't know better cave in. It is the same sort of thing that plays out in school yards and athletic events everyday. A child/player fights dirty on the field, when someone has finally had enough and returns the favor, he/she is singled out as the bad person and gets in trouble leaving the instigator to smile and walk away without consequences. The media has fallen down once again in it's duties to referee "the game" and the American People are the ones that suffer! With the surge in Republican sentiment, the next 2 years will be a do nothing Congress while the economy continues to recover from the effects of 2 Tax Cuts, 2 wars, Financial Meltdown (all of which happened on a Primarily Republican Watch) and yet, it is President Obama and the Democrats who are scapegoated (Pelosi and Reid did handle some thing in a less than Stellar manner). We will see the light at the end of the tunnel, but not march forward with Energy Reform and other Agenda items which need attention. Republicans will do little to change the dialogue/outcome of the next 2 years, but will claim that they pulled us back from the brink. Unless checked by the media and sensible Americans, it will be believed by some Independents and Conservatives and will will fall back into the policies that got us where we were in the Fall of 2008. Shame on the American People and the Media for buying into that misinformation !

Posted by: JSKEVV | November 2, 2010 9:28 AM

For the madashellvoter - yes, I was around during those days and made my views known then as well. I don't care for this talk regardless of which politician is uttering it. I'm a lifelong Democrat and was no supporter of George Bush.

This President told us he'd be different. He was not going to be partisan. He would govern from the center. This was to be a new era in politics. The bar was set higher.

Well, he failed and so did a Democrat led Congress. They didn't only fail, they both hit a new low. I didn't think that possible.

I heard the interview. The comment was not taken out of context. He did not misspeak. He meant what he said. I listen to Obama's speeches. I watch the news - and it's not Fox News. This is a President who is not capable of being anything but a rabblerouser. I had hoped he would rise to the occasion but he hasn't.

He's been hoisted by his own petard.

My only wish is that Hilary had received the nomination and not Obama. Hilary at least was qualified and experienced to lead the nation.


Posted by: jrsnotary | November 2, 2010 9:22 AM

We saw what we were in for the moment his wife said, "I'm finally proud of this country". This man was never President material. He had to talk with the president of Mexico to figure out what we should do with our borders, he has bowed to tyrants in control of other countries, he is suing the state of Arizona, yet this morning 3 Americans were killed. He doesn't give a hoot about the American People, it's his agenda and if you don't like it tough, your an enemy! Well, I rather be an enemy to an idiot than a friend to an ignorant, lying individual!

Posted by: bailey50 | November 2, 2010 9:20 AM

"Why didn’t we ..."

Because it was not the right thing to do.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | November 2, 2010 9:15 AM

Sadly, he meant it and now after the brew-ha-ha he's trying to walk it back. Too late. He sees anyone who disagrees with him as an enemy and if he had the power, he would have them disappear. IMO he is nothing more than a street thug.

Obama despises us and perceives his supporters as useful tools, nothing more. I'm most astonished at the black community's continued support. He has done even less for them, their unemployment numbers are significantly higher than the average, with young blacks unemployment over 25%.

Posted by: kavalair | November 2, 2010 9:13 AM

First, Pres. Obama's comments were not consistent with his campaign rhetoric and promises. That is the main reason I object to the use of not only this term but also the voters are afraid. The President of the United States should be held to a higher standard and vocabulary, As well he/she need not be interjecting fear or hatred into the conversation. Second, his use of these words, and others, seem to be clumsy as if he were searching for the politically correct words needed to stimulate his followers. At this point he should have some consistent message on just about everything. Unfortunately, his political organizer career seems to not be of benefit when he tries to find language acceptable to folks from less enthusiastic interests.

Posted by: fcrucian | November 2, 2010 9:12 AM

" Even if it may seem a double standard at times, we do hold the president to a higher bar--and we should."

Exactly right. And if the President identifies enemy action, he (or she) should take appropriate action.

Do you want another President Carter?

I read today that the Republicans have plans for their enemies - like Walmart.


Gooses or ganders?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | November 2, 2010 9:10 AM

WOW - way to get a controversy. People are commenting without really understanding and reading the comment in its entirety.

Posted by: rlj1 | November 2, 2010 9:05 AM

Wow, Obama wants to make enemies out of peoples families? I can no longer respect my parents or siblings because we have different political views? Is this a precedent we want to start? Isn't the President supposed to be for all the people regardless? This President has apologized to our enemies and makes enemies out of anyone who has a different view than he does. I guess he feels that anyone who didn't go to HArvard Law is stupid. This is very sad.

Posted by: bobilly2 | November 2, 2010 9:01 AM

How do I get on Obama's enemies list? It would make my father proud.

Posted by: richard36 | November 2, 2010 9:00 AM

So now anyone who is not in favor of his comprehensive immigration reform is an enemy! We already know that AZ is on his hit list, with the feds suing the state. From the looks of things, the Department of Justice is going to have to hire more lawyers, since more states are considering laws similar to that of AZ. Just what we need - more lawyers in this administration - NOT!!!!

Posted by: Utahreb | November 2, 2010 8:57 AM

If we truly hold the president to a higher bar, why did we allow an imbecile to become president through voter fraud in Florida followed by a fraudulent designation by a supreme court of extreme right-wingers?
If we hold the president to a higher bar, why didn’t we impeach the stupid, Texas Moron for lying to congress and the American people?
Why didn’t we impeach the Texas Idiot for sending the country into a spiral of economic downfall?

Posted by: analyst72 | November 2, 2010 8:55 AM

Jrsnotary; your words are inspiring, uplifting and I’ve been waiting 10 years to hear them.
But it’s taken you a long time and a democratic president for you to write these words down.
Funny, I didn’t hear a peep out of you when the Republicans were in power with the presidency, house, and senate. Men like Dick Cheney, Tome Delay, Dick Army, lambasting the democrats (yes, there Americans also) at every corner but that’s OK. Whatever happened to civility?
You are SO TRANSPARIENT IT”S PATHITIC!

Posted by: madashellvoter | November 2, 2010 8:49 AM

If Obama has "enemies", then we must presume he has an "Enemies List". You know how everything gets written down at the WH.

Posted by: fairfaxvaguy | November 2, 2010 8:49 AM

He said what he meant and meant what he said.

Now today, election day, we will have our say.

Worst president... ever.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | November 2, 2010 8:48 AM

I don't care what people or politicians call the President.

I care what words the President uses to describe American citizens.

American citizens are not enemies of the state. We are human beings. For the President of the United States of America to describe CITIZENS as "the enemy" is absolutely appalling.

If politicians want to hurl insults at each other, that is one thing. I am repulsed by such language and don't condone it. It speaks volumes about that individuals character (or lack thereof.)

But let's be perfectly clear. The President was using the word enemy to describe his fellow Americans.

A person who does not approve of Obama's policies is not an enemy of the state. He or she is simply disagreeing with a policy - something I THOUGHT we were still free to do in this country.

Evidently we are now supposed to be lined up and shot, as one individual has suggested here. And that is not the first time I have heard or read such words coming from the party in complete and total power.

Obama is not God. His viewpoint and positions on policy do not emanate from a burning bush. Really. Those who disagree with him are not enemies.

I will give Obama the respect due his office when he shows similar respect to me as a citizen of this country. I've been waiting for two years and have yet to see it.

So I will wait no longer, and press the button with the "R" beside it.

Someone has to restore balance in government, and if Obama won't do it, regular citizens will. If that makes me an enemy of the state so be it.

Posted by: jrsnotary | November 2, 2010 8:35 AM

Might have been a slip of the tongue or an ad lib out of frustration; or it could have been a deliberate attempt to rally his troops in order to stave off the rout which is likely.

Whatever the reason it was horribly ill advised and, yes, not appropriate for a President to use a term often reserved for a militar context.

As one who voted for Obama in the belief he represented the only chance for reconciliation and a common sense approach to governance in 2008 I would like to believe this remark was out of utter frustration; but, I must truly believe calling Republicans "enemies" is an indication that Mr. Obama deep down is just as much the old fashioned special intererst politician he avowed not to be. And if he did, in fact, believe in a transformational Presidency, he quickly lost that vision once in power.

The election post mortems are going to analyze why the Democrats took such a drubbing until the cows come home but IMHO a prime cause of the decline in believability and popularity is that, yes, Barack Obama and his party did, in fact willingly choose to play the same old poltical game once they had gained power in 2008; he talked a good game of bi-partisanship but his and his party leadership's agenda boiled down to core liberal principles and programs and in rewarding allies on the left at every opportunity. To top it off he staffed his Administration with some of the same old hacks and advisors who have helped to push this nation to the brink over the past twenty years. Did the Republicans practice effective resistance? Yes, but for his part Mr. Obama assumed office as if his 3% margin of victory was a Reagan like landside and the leadership of Pelosi and Reid assumed their oprating margins in both houses of Congrss allowed them to push the other side around without some compromise. Neither was the case and a great deal of the backlash to the President and some of his programs comes from moderates, like me. who believe we were misled by promises of a new beginning and a different way of doing the nation's business. Once in office neither was true.

Barack Obama owed his election in large part to the moderate middle and moderate Republican revulsion at the Bush Administration and its abuses of power and the public trust. It now appears Mr. Obama is about to suffer the same conseaquences and for the same reason. So much for change and a transformational Presidency at a time when we direly need both.

Posted by: bobfbell | November 2, 2010 8:27 AM

Might have been a slip of the tongue or an ad lib out of frustration; or it could have been a deliberate attempt to rally his troops in order to stave off the rout which is likely.

Whatever the reason it was horribly ill advised and, yes, not appropriate for a President to use a term often reserved for a militar context.

As one who voted for Obama in the belief he represented the only chance for reconciliation and a common sense approach to governance in 2008 I would like to believe this remark was out of utter frustration; but, I must truly believe calling Republicans "enemies" is an indication that Mr. Obama deep down is just as much the old fashioned special intererst politician he avowed not to be. And if he did, in fact, believe in a transformational Presidency, he quickly lost that vision once in power.

The election post mortems are going to analyze why the Democrats took such a drubbing until the cows come home but IMHO a prime cause of the decline in believability and popularity is that, yes, Barack Obama and his party did, in fact willingly choose to play the same old poltical game once they had gained power in 2008; he talked a good game of bi-partisanship but his and his party leadership's agenda boiled down to core liberal principles and programs and in rewarding allies on the left at every opportunity. To top it off he staffed his Administration with some of the same old hacks and advisors who have helped to push this nation to the brink over the past twenty years. Did the Republicans practice effective resistance? Yes, but for his part Mr. Obama assumed office as if his 3% margin of victory was a Reagan like landside and the leadership of Pelosi and Reid assumed their oprating margins in both houses of Congrss allowed them to push the other side around without some compromise. Neither was the case and a great deal of the backlash to the President and some of his programs comes from moderates, like me. who believe we were misled by promises of a new beginning and a different way of doing the nation's business. Once in office neither was true.

Barack Obama owed his election in large part to the moderate middle and moderate Republican revulsion at the Bush Administration and its abuses of power and the public trust. It now appears Mr. Obama is about to suffer the same conseaquences and for the same reason. So much for change and a transformational Presidency at a time when we direly need both.

Posted by: bobfbell | November 2, 2010 8:27 AM

This is a very one sided article. After all the things the Republicans have called him, enemies is benign. They have called him a Nazi, Marxist, racist and these are the nicer things. They have called for his failure in office. They have dedicated themselves to making him fail. Notice they aren't dedicated to helping the country, just to make him fail. Enemies was too nice a word for this crew.

POSTED BY: GUYACHS | NOVEMBER 2, 2010 8:18 AM

____________________________________________________________

That's interesting. That sounds exactly like what liberals tried to do with President Bush.

Posted by: liberalsareblind | November 2, 2010 8:22 AM

This is a very one sided article. After all the things the Republicans have called him, enemies is benign. They have called him a Nazi, Marxist, racist and these are the nicer things. They have called for his failure in office. They have dedicated themselves to making him fail. Notice they aren't dedicated to helping the country, just to make him fail. Enemies was too nice a word for this crew.

Posted by: guyachs | November 2, 2010 8:18 AM

Ms. McGregor- the President of the United States should never refer to citizens that oppose his policy as enemies PERIOD. You seem to attempt to justify his use of this term but then you flip and then flop again. You sound confused. For guidance in the future regarding this issue just read the first sentence of my post over and over until it sinks in.

I read a post from someone who is proud of the President calling patriots 'enemies'. You sir/ma'am are the very sort of people who divide us as a nation. Islamic jihadists are this nation's enemies not conservatives and not liberals!

Posted by: woolfeeeee | November 2, 2010 8:13 AM

I am extremely proud of Obama for calling all of you the enemies of America that you are.. I have followed politics since Ike was prez and The GOP has always been worthless to America... they have voted against every major current piece of legislation such as Social Security..

Posted by: RPLCO | November 2, 2010 8:02 AM

Obama wants to govern as though he is the ultimate ruler. He doesn't recognize that this government is of, for, and by the people. Perhaps he should read the document that was so eloquently crafted by our founding father. Today he will find out what the electorate thinks of him and his iron fist of governing. If today's overwhelming Republican victory doesn't knck down his ego, then nothing will.

Posted by: PittAlum | November 2, 2010 7:55 AM

The "enemies' comment from Obama was a classic Freudian slip. For a brief second, Obama revealed his true rotten and bitter nature. Like most liberals, Obama can't stand anyone who dares to think differently than he does. The "enemies" comment from Obama also revealed that Obama is a very weak and insecure man who can't stand the thought that there are people throughout America who oppose everything he stands for.

Posted by: liberalsareblind | November 2, 2010 7:53 AM

The worst part of this in my opinion is the President's refusal to apologize. Instead, he goes on a radio show yesterday and says "I didn't say enemies, what I said was....".

Sorry Mr. President, yes you did. People make mistakes although you don't think you do. Be a man for once instead of an egotistical, elitist jerk. Step up, admit you misspoke, show some humility (if you can) and start bringing this country together like you promised.

Posted by: gorams1 | November 2, 2010 7:21 AM

Sometimes the truth slips out like this!

Couple that with his intention to have a private Army that answers only to him and that honest Charlie Rangel has proposed for him completes the picture: We, The People are his enemies!

Posted by: TexRancher | November 2, 2010 7:13 AM

The current crop of republicans are an enemy to this nation. Their just say no attitude indicates that they value their party more than they do the nation and that makes them traitors to the republic; and so, naturally they are enemies as much as any home-grown terrorist is an enemy. I applaud the president for speaking the truth and not hiding behind political correctness. He wouldn't go as far as I, but these traitors should be held responsible for their actions and be put on trial for their nefarious conduct and when convicted, they should be executed.

Posted by: democratus | November 2, 2010 7:11 AM

Stupid article. Apparently we hold Obama to a "higher bar" but no one blinked when the Bush/Cheney regime had its hit list of enemies. Of course the GOP Fascists weren't held accoutable for anything: their outirght lies, deceptions, corruption,under-the-table borrowing, hidden spending, erosion of civil liberties, or war-criminal activities.

Get off Obama's back.

Posted by: EdSantaFe | November 2, 2010 7:08 AM

No President should ever refer to ANY American citizen or group of citizens as "the enemy". Whatever our politics, values, or beliefs, we are ALL Americans and all perspectives, beliefs, and opinions have merit. This President seems to think he is only President of the very far left - the rest of the population is the enemy of the state. I find that attitude absolutely appalling.

How did we all feel about Nixon's enemies list? Remember how disgusted we all were by Nixon's behavior? And rightfully so?

This President is worse. By far. I wanted him to be a post racial President. I wanted him to govern from the center. I didn't agree with his politics but didn't consider myself his "enemy". Certainly not an enemy of the state.

It seems this President declared war on American citizens. If we don't agree with everything he says, we're stupid. Racist. Fearful. Ignorant.

He and fellow Democrats feel free to use the most disgusting pejoratives to describe Americans with whom they do not agree. Maligning innocent, decent people of faith, (but only the Christian faith is fair game - if you intelligently discuss Islamic terrorists you're a "racist")

Citizens cannot freely and intelligently discuss any subject or issue without fear of being branded as a racist, bigot, "teabagger", business owners are now "capitalist pigs" - and who set the tone for national discourse?

President Obama. The President sets the tone for the nation. It is an ugly, base, vulgar tone and this tone has been taken up by Congress - many members feel quite comfortable saying the nastiest things, publicly, about American citizens.

I was a lifelong Democrat, but this President has pushed me firmly to the right, and I will remain there.

I reject Obama, his language, his incessant lecturing, puerile attitude, his little temper tantrums, his posturing, and his constant campaigning.

He does not act Presidential, he does not act as President of the United State, but President of the Divided States. And he's dividing us - purposefully. I am horrified by what has happened in the past two years - and it is not the economy - but what this President is doing to American citizens. Putting us at odds with each other to further an agenda that very few agree with.

He disgraces the office with his behavior. I'm done. Finished. With him and the DNC.

No doubt someone will now respond that I am obviously a crazy right-winger, Jesus freak, tea bagging, Glenn Beck watching toothless redneck.

I'm not. I'm educated, informed, intelligent, and a new member of the Republican Party. And I have all my teeth.


Posted by: jrsnotary | November 2, 2010 6:26 AM


And this question is for the Reverend: I am intrigued that you call BO an "intellectual."

Could you provide some examples that support your opinion? Yes, he went to good schools, but we haven't seen his grades; he was Law Review editor, but there are no articles; he reads from a teleprompter -- I think that is literacy rather than brilliance; and his actions and words to date demonstrate a stunning lack of insight, wisdom, depth, experience and gravitas. He has written a couple of self-indulgent, navel-gazing autobiographies, undoubtedly with the help of a ghost-writing team. But I would be interested in understanding your viewpoint of his intelligence.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | November 2, 2010 5:43 AM


This is for the couple of people taking the Rush Limbaugh quote out of context. Yes, I know -- it serves your purpose to give only part of his statement -- but that is dishonest.

He said, *if obama is a socialist*, I want him to fail: "So I shamelessly say, no, I want him to fail, if his agenda is a far-left collectivism, some people say socialism ... why would I want socialism to succeed?"

I would venture to say the vast majority of Americans want BO's socialism to fail.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | November 2, 2010 5:28 AM

Mitch McConnell: "Our goal is to make Obama a one-term president." Rush Limbaugh: "I hope he fails." These are Obama's enemies all right. And they haven't a single constructive suggestion or policy idea to offer the country. These folks are screamers and destroyers, not thinkers or creators. Infantile. It's pathetic.

Posted by: nicojake | November 2, 2010 5:08 AM

Lastword posted:

'We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us'

So what is new? This is straight out of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals".......

________________
You are so right - I am not surprised.
Obama said what he meant -- and he had the intended audience.
Just as outlined by Alinsky.

Posted by: pjcafe | November 2, 2010 4:57 AM

he slipped and let the Chicago pol knuckles show for a bit. that's who he is.
BTW, he slandered John McCain in Spanish-speaking radio in the 2008 general.
apparently the p.r. handlers in charge of this "president" are unaware that Spanish-speaking appearances are monitored as well as English.
dude, we speak Spanish. we know what you said.
scary stuff. hate speech, really.
fail.

Posted by: FloridaChick | November 2, 2010 4:30 AM

After what the rebaggers have said he should have used Cheney's phrase. Repubs dont mention how vice-presidential that was.

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | November 2, 2010 4:18 AM

'We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us'

So what is new? This is straight out of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals"

Obama was trying to evoke anger. It is the way radicals operate. Why would we expect anything else from Obama when he is talking to have-nots.

I am surprised that anyone is surprised.

Posted by: lastword | November 2, 2010 4:15 AM

Generally I find Jena's articles to be low on substance and heavy in innuendo. This article is different. Obama definitely touched a nerve with the electorate by calling his opponents "enemies". Jena is right in her summation, albeit feebly proposed, that this is not presidential behaviour.

Posted by: mckenna7 | November 2, 2010 4:07 AM

As I compose this comment only two other comments have been posted (both negative) which your piece seemed to resonate with. In my case, your piece (which is superficially a good piece of writing) demonstrates not only a lack of fairness to this President but argues fallaciously.

Very important training in my field of work (Pastoral Ministry, Theology, etc.) is called exegesis. It is a highly technical, historical-critical approach to interpreting a text. Conversely, what you have demonstrated in this piece is called eisexegesis. In the former, scholars are trained to "read OUT of the text" what is actually in it; in the latter, the untrained invariably "read INTO the text" something that is not actually IN the text.

You have taken one word (enemies) from its context and given it a significance it actually does not have coming from this President. For example, as an honorable leader should, he is directing those he leads how to graciously respond to implacable and irrational opposition who can only be understood as his enemies (e.g., Rush L. said soon after the election and inauguration that he wanted to see this President fail) by telling them "instead of saying...'Were gonna punish our enemies..." This is entirely counter to your seriously flawed commentary in this piece.

This President is unquestionably a brilliant intellectual. Do you remember John Kerry clobbering George W. Bush in their debate? If we really wanted the best qualified to lead us, why didn't Kerry win? Primarily because intellectual substance and impressive command of complex public policy issues does not equate to political savvy in our culture and political system. Political savvy is demonstrated in America by winning by any means necessary (within our rules). Unfortunately, we citizens see precious little authentic debate of real solutions to our collective problems and public policy issues. What we see far too much of are prevaricating demagogues who excel at ad hominem attacks.

Some of us citizens who are Independent of party affiliation really miss the great intellectuals of the more conservative party like William F. Buckley, Jr. After all, we are rational enough to understand that these parties give us a false choice BETWEEN social conscientiousness on the one hand and fiscal responsibility on the other. It is not either/or but both/and; we need some combination of both.

We may never get the kind of solutions we crave and require while gridlock and the political savvy of the modern conservative type is what is really there for us to read OUT of Washington as opposed to reading INTO Washington things that are really not even there.

My question for you and the media is: where is our next great conservative intellectual?

Posted by: REVDLMCGEE | November 2, 2010 3:35 AM

The people of the free world is this so-called leader of the United States enemies.On March 21st 2010 The progessives showed that they think they are the boss and will have nothing to do with the voice of the people by shoving their Healthcare down our throats. Showing them the door will let them know who is in charge!

Posted by: rmart2817 | November 2, 2010 2:27 AM

The Republican "leadership" in Congress, Boehner and McConnell (and self-styled Tea Party guru DeMint) forfeited any claim to the opposition, loyal or otherwise, by brazenly declaring to block, kill or stonewall any Obama initiative, all before he even took the oath of office. That's not opposition, that's animus. DeMint vowed last year to bring the President to his own Waterloo.

Now McConnell has announced that the number one priority for the GOP is to make sure that Obama is a one-term President. Not jobs, not financial reform, not deficit, not infrastructure, not bringing home troops on their 4th/5th/6th tour of duty. No. Destroying Obama and winning the next election - that's their idea of leadership for the country.

Enemies. Not the most politic word for the President to use, just the true one.

Posted by: hardrain | November 2, 2010 2:17 AM

Opponents is a much better term to use for the "loyal opposition" when necessary. It was a stupid term to use even for someone with a lower and more partisan position than that of the president.

Posted by: robert17 | November 2, 2010 1:01 AM

Obama said what he said and it will become a part of his sorry legacy. Why should anyone be surprised. The American people voted for Jimmy Carter's second term and they got what they wanted.

I see no difference between Carter's "malaise" speech and Obama saying the other day that the American people were simply too stupid to understand all the good he was doing for them.

Obama's greatest wish would be to govern like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Just take what you want from the public and the corporations.

If Obama could force his "enemies" to report to re-education camps you know he would have it done.

Posted by: brucejfern | November 2, 2010 12:33 AM

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