Sweetie, How Dare You Criticize Obama?

Calling your beloved "sweetie" is a term of endearment. A greasy guy draped in gold chains driving a red sports car calling a woman on the street "sweetie" is disrespectful and just creepy.Calling a reporter on the campaign trail "sweetie" could definitely be misogyny -- as would be the first and only reaction of the left -- but in Barack Obama's case is more aptly filed under another sign of his disturbing pattern of arrogance.

Got that, cookie?

"Hold on one second, sweetie. We'll do a press avail, thanks," he said to reporter Peggy Agar of Detroit's WXYZ-TV while touring a Chrysler plant last week. Agar had asked the senator what he'd do to help American autoworkers -- you know, normal campaign-trail queries.

"I felt more offended that he didn't answer the question," Agar later said when asked if she was offended by Obama calling her "sweetie."

Obama left a message on her answering machine saying he was "duly chastened" and giving the excuse that it's "a bad habit of mine. I do it sometimes with all kinds of people."

The stamp of forgiveness from Whoopi Goldberg and other talking heads was swift. If John McCain had called a reporter "sweetie," though, he'd be castigated as a dirty old man hurling sexist remarks. The earlier allegations of indiscretion with the female lobbyist would be resurrected, and Cindy McCain would be sentenced to another arduous term on "The View" as the co-hosts assailed the senator for disrespecting a woman so. Mac's penance would be long and painful.

By all accounts, Obama is liberal with "sweetie" on the campaign trail, yet usually in the context of interacting with his loyal flock. Though journalists get called a lot worse, it's not exactly appropriate for a candidate to bark the word at a reporter.

But it's just a "bad habit" of his. Remember that, all you honeybunnies and cupcakes! Absolve the anointed one!

To properly assess Sweetiegate, you have to go back and fill in the blanks. Obama was not addressing Agar with any measure of affection; rather, he was annoyed that she was interrupting his grandstanding with a question and thus waved her off.

ABC News highlighted an earlier use of "sweetie" by Obama on the campaign trail, telling a woman, "Sweetie, if I start with a picture I will never get out of here," and "Sweetie, if I start doing autographs I just won't be -... I am really late."

Sweetie, don't you know what a star I am? Don't you know I can't be bothered, honeykins?

To see how this fits with Obama's pattern of arrogance, we need only look at another news story last week when Bush made some important remarks to the Knesset:

"There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men (like Hamas, bin Laden and Ahmadinejad) and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Why, of course he must be just trying to deviously slam the anointed one! Never mind that Bush was speaking to an assembly that included Holocaust survivors and children of survivors. Obama jumped on Bush for soiling Israel's 60th anniversary with a "false political attack" and engaging in "the politics of fear" with an "appalling attack."

When the president never even said your name, thou doth protest too much, Obama.

Aghast! John McCain's campaign also recently pointed out that Hamas endorsed Obama's candidacy. Surely it's lowest-blow smear at the divine candidate himself!

Ahmed Yousef, chief political adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, did say in an interview, "We like Mr. Obama. We hope he will win the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance." What is wrong with stepping back and asking ourselves why a terrorist organization thinks he's the cat's meow?

The signs go on and on. How dare that Hillary continue to impede his rise to political superstardom! And showing that the arrogance is a team effort, consider Michelle Obama not being proud of her country until they duly rallied around her husband.

Arrogance continued in what was hailed as Obama's landmark speech on race in America. It was nothing of the sort: It was a man who, when called to answer for his own lengthy relationship with an anti-American and bigoted pastor, turned the subject around to Racist White Granny, promptly throwing his grandmother under the bus to spin the conversation away from his own actions (or lack of, as the case was).

Oh, the audacity of the pundits for questioning his Rev. Wright chumminess!

The best presidents are characterized by humility, not by a sense of self-importance, grandiloquent speeches or rock-star status. Think Abraham Lincoln, who couldn't imagine why he'd been picked as president and didn't proceed with his duties as if it was a popularity contest. Our greatest president was humble, reserved, committed, and freed the slaves.

Obama's arrogance alone is cause for concern in foreign relations, but this pervasive taking offense at what is perceived to be the slightest questioning of his qualifications and foreign-policy naivete is what could really cause a slip at such a sensitive juncture in history.

Talking with Iran? How dare anyone question it! Incursion into Pakistan? How dare you point out his ignorance of the delicate political balance there! Naming the president of Russia? Thank God Hillary's still around to piggyback one's answers on.

And that's before he lets loose and calls Angela Merkel "dollface."

Bridget Johnson (www.bridgetjohnson.org) is a columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News.