Coping With Obama-Induced Irritation Syndrome (OIIS): A Guide for the Perplexed

In Portland, Maine, on April 1, 2010, he was at it again, this time characterizing opponents of ObamaCare as “hollering,” and purveying “fear mongering” through “overheated rhetoric:”

“There’s been a lot of fear-mongering, a lot of overheated rhetoric.  You turned on the news, you’d see that those same folks who were hollering about it before it passed, they’re still hollering, about how the world will end because we passed this bill.”

Another of his favorite put-downs is to say, “But that's not what’s happening.  Instead, they are trotting out the exact same ideas that got us into this mess in the first place.”

“Trotting out,” is condescending.  When Obama presents his arguments and his data, he’s being logical. If anyone has counter-arguments or countervailing data, they’re “trotting out” irresponsible drivel.

He seems unable to hold a town hall meeting outside zip codes such as 90210 (Beverly Hills) or 10027 (Columbia University and the Upper West Side of Manhattan) or 02138 (Harvard) or  without insulting his audience, as he did in Fairless Hills, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, answering a questioner with ten children, clearly more than Obama found acceptable:

He said, “I notice some folks clapped, but I know some of these big guys, they’re all still driving their big SUVs.  You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything.  You’re one of them?  Well, now, here’s my point.  If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting eight miles a gallon — (laughter) — you may have a big family, but it’s probably not that big.  How many you have?  Ten kids, you say?  Ten kids?  (Laughter.)  Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then.”

As veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler wrote of Obama's response on his blog,, in April of this year:

Obama has no idea why the person who called him out – or why anyone, for that matter – has purchased an SUV.... But he assumes they are up to some kind of egregious mischief. We get this little lecture on fuel economy from the president who thinks nothing of trucking a convoy of heavy-duty vehicles 15 miles to go golfing every other weekend, flying to Hawaii every year on vacation, or jetting to New York City date night with his wife – who BTW flew separately last December to Hawaii for the family vacation and took a four day jaunt to Spain.Obama has carved out a nice chunk of change for himself, but the community organizer’s hatred of success and wealth abides within him. There’s real contempt in the first two lines of the statement, with phrases like “their big SUVs.” This is a person who, while pursuing his own success, continues to resent you for yours.

With miniaturized technology such as cell phones that can record video, a politician is virtually never entirely off-the-record.  He may think he’s talking to a roomful of like-minded, wealthy, Marin County devotees, but then, wouldn’t you know it, one of them has a video feature on his phone, and the candidate’s intolerance, coupled with his condescension for millions of his fellow Americans whom he neither knows nor understands, goes viral:

When you add it all up, it’s clear that Obama deploys mockery, derision, humiliation, ridicule, contempt, scorn and downright nastiness when he’s outside the comfort zone of people he knows and likes.  His forays into the heartland seem to evoke either anxiety or hostility that he tries to mask with what he thinks is humor but that comes across to others as a screeching fingernail across the blackboards of our souls.  He’s not the smooth, cool guy his PR machine imagines he is: he’s a snob, and a nasty snob at that. He seems to be utterly unaware of how he comes off: unconscious of the intolerance, the disrespect, and the profound ignorance of how people unlike himself and his cronies live, think and feel.

It's interesting to compare Obama's snide condescension with the firm, effective way that Ronald Reagan expressed his exasperation  in New Hampshire in 1980 -- and he was exasperated.  Watch how skillfully he deployed just the right degree of anger as he dealt with the moderator of the debate that was about to begin:

By contrast, when Obama finds himself feeling anger, he strikes back, but not in a comfortable-in-his-own skin Reaganesque way.  Because some members of every audience will giggle or laugh, if only out of nervousness, Obama hears the laughter and interprets it as a green light to continue badgering, belittling and demeaning the person whom he believes has challenged him, or is just a man with ten children, a version of family apparently unfamiliar to this president.

Obama's behavior bears some resemblance to locker room towel-snapping where young men compete to put one another down. In those circumstances, though, it’s a group free-for-all on a level playing field.  When Obama deploys his ridicule and arrogance, however, the playing field is far from level: citizens normally feel the need to express respect at least for the office of the president, and invariably for the incumbent in office.  In return, this president often behaves like an ill-mannered Ivy League frat boy making fun of a townie.  It’s an odious thing to behold, and may be one of the reasons you find yourself irritated by his behavior.

Cumulatively, the continuous repetition of condescending remarks such as these becomes annoying to some, and downright infuriating to others. The “public” -- of whom Obama is so dismissive -- pays attention to his superciliousness, and remembers what they've seen and heard from him.

To quote from Lincoln, the current president would be well-advised to find a way to speak more respectfully to “the better angels of our nature” than to betray his contempt for the millions of citizens who aren’t like him and his friends.

At least half of our politically-divided country will continue to disagree with President Obama’s policies.  But is it necessary, or politically wise, for him to aggravate policy differences with his repeated demonstrations of disdain for those whom he is in office to serve?

What irritates you, I believe, irritates many people.  Even without the credentials of which the president is so proud, everyone can recognize a snob, and resent the obnoxious disdain that is never far from the surface.  My advice?  When you see the Seal of the President of the United States on your TV screen,

reach for your remote and switch to a channel that doesn't broadcast presidential addresses or press conferences. If they all do, then turn off the TV altogether.  Life is stressful enough without being irritated by this condescending man.

---Belladonna Rogers

Do you have questions?  Belladonna Rogers has answers.  Send your questions about politics, personal matters, or any other matter that’s on your mind and Belladonna will answer the most interesting ones.  The names and email addresses of all advice-seekers will remain anonymous.  Send your questions to: [email protected]