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Welcome to the Punk Presidency

Regardless of policy differences, surely everyone in America wished that Obama, perhaps with prodding from those around him, would change upon assuming the presidency's awesome responsibilities.

Nope. Three days after his inauguration, Obama arrogantly told Republican leaders who had come to discuss his mislabeled "stimulus" plan, "I won. ... I will trump you on that." Well, sir, every legislator in that room also won an election. Also note that it wasn't "we won" or "my party won." It was all about him and he was in their face with it. It was Dick Nixon's "I am the president" with a punk exclamation point.

Now at least one cabinet member and the president's press secretary have gotten into the act. How else does one interpret Eric Holder's description of America as "a nation of cowards" on race as anything other than a punkish attempt to force any "discussion" of race to meet his and his administration's terms?

Most recently, the nation was treated to the reaction of White House spokesman Robert Gibbs to CNBC reporter Rick Santelli's "shout heard ‘round the world" (CNBC's term).

On February 19, Santelli roundly criticized the administration's mortgage modification plan, expressed legitimate concern that it is "promoting bad behavior," and ridiculed the general idea that we can spend our way out of our current economic troubles.

Gibbs was in full punk mode -- a commenter at my blog pronounced it "Gibberish" -- as he snidely told the assembled press that Santelli, whose career as a trader and then financial reporter goes back to 1979, "doesn't know what he's talking about." Gibbs also assumed that Santelli, apparently like members of Congress who voted for the mislabeled "stimulus" package without bothering to read it, hadn't bothered to peruse the administration's proposal, suggesting that he should "download it, hit print, and begin to read it."

You stay classy, Bob. Rick Santelli has more than likely forgotten more than you'll ever know about economic moral hazards.

Fortunately, Santelli pushed back hard Friday night on Larry Kudlow's program, even tearing up what he said was a copy of the plan. Kudlow appropriately expressed alarm about the brazen attempt at press intimidation by our punk president's spokesman.

Oh, and speaking of intimidation, last week we also saw some of Barack Obama's old friends spring into action. In Baltimore, ACORN members broke into and occupied a foreclosed home, saying, "This is our house now." Do you think it's just a wee bit likely that they took Obama's expressed solidarity with lawbreakers at Republic Window as permission to take their "protests" to the next level?

If enough actions such as ACORN's occur and go unpunished, investors, businesspeople, and entrepreneurs will begin to conclude that the rule of law is disappearing. If that happens, there may be no limit to how far the markets and the economy might sink.

The president and his people had better start demonstrating something resembling adult maturity, and very soon. America can ill afford its current punk presidency.