In an April 21 column, The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger wrote that President Obama is "sounding more like Travis Bickle ('You talkin' to me?') than the president of the United States." He further wrote that "Obama.2011" has been "testy, petulant, impatient, arrogant and increasingly a divider."
From Henninger' column:
If it is true, as Michelle Obama said in February, that her husband isn't smoking anymore, maybe he'd better start mellowing out with the cigs again before it costs him the presidency.
The Barack Obama we've been seeing lately is a different personality than the one that made a miracle run to the White House in 2008.
Obama.2008 was engaging, patient, open, optimistic and a self-identified conciliator.
Obama.2011 has been something else -- testy, petulant, impatient, arrogant and increasingly a divider.
This Monday, after wrapping up a White House interview with a Dallas TV reporter, the station reported that Mr. Obama said: "Let me finish my answers the next time we do an interview, alright?"
This self-referencing, snappish tone tracks with the president's "open mic" comments last week at a Chicago fund-raiser. Dismissing the GOP as "nickel and diming" him on budget negotiations, he asked, "You think we're stupid?" White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president wasn't embarrassed. But he should be. Not because his comments were caught, but because suddenly he's sounding more like Travis Bickle ("You talkin' to me?") than the president of the United States.
The Obama migration from the high road to the low road is evident even in nonpolitical settings. Here he is last weekend talking about the White House phone system: "You know the Oval Office always thought I was going to have like real cool phones and stuff. I'm like 'come on guys, I'm the president of the United States.' Where's the fancy buttons and stuff, and the big screen comes up? It doesn't happen."
I'm like? Real cool phones and stuff? Would Franklin Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy ever have affected whatever their generational equivalent was of "Where's the fancy buttons and stuff?"