They say what’s up with him

31 12 2012

Presidents are assholes.

Too strong? Misleading, perhaps.

Allow me to clarify: asshole has come to mean something akin to douche or dick—I’ve used in that way when I’ve lamented my own assholish behavior—but there’s an older meaning, closer to prick, which might be captured by the phrase “arrogant asshole”, i.e., someone who thinks he’s all that, the one who’s better than everyone else.

I like President Obama, like seeing the pictures of him with his kids (or with anyone’s kids) or constituents, and there have been moments of his presidency in which I pumped my fist and hissed yes!

But I still think he’s an asshole.

How could he be anything but? He’s the most powerful person in the most powerful country in the world, performing an impossible job, with the only opportunities to be someone other than president tucked into those moments likes cracks in the wall of presidential responsibility. He has to be on, or ready to be on, at all times. He is never not the president.

Who else but an asshole could be president?

To believe that this is a job you could do, and do well, requires a scary level of self-confidence, the kind of calm self-regard that may—may—allow you to second-guess yourself, but only if it confirms your actions or moves you forward. You don’t look back, you don’t wonder what if; you make up your mind, and you do.

Because you’re the fucking president of the fucking Yoo-nited States, and if you can’t do it it can’t be done.

Remember when George W. Bush was asked about his mistakes, and he couldn’t really think of one? Or Bill Clinton’s refusal to admit his fling with Monica Lewinsky and his churlish apology for both the behavior and the lies? They were both so obviously and ridiculously wrong to any normal person—who doesn’t make mistakes? who does that hound dog think he’s fooling?—but normal people do not become president.

I saw a clip the other day of a Barbara Walters interview with the President and Michelle Obama, and there was some bit that Michelle was funnier. The president said, yes, Michelle is funny, but “I’m funnier than people think.”

Asshole. You’re the fucking president of the fucking Yoo-nited States, and you can’t let this one slide?

The president is rather famously competitive—the first lady noted elsewhere in the interview that she doesn’t like to play Scrabble with him because he’s “a little irritating when he wins”—so it’s hardly surprising that he’s going to want to be in it no matter what, but, jeez, man, let it go.

Except, of course, that presidents really can’t let things go. You run for president because you believe that you can catch the things the others let go, and we, the American people, vote for you because we expect you to catch those things and, occasionally, to sling it back out and past everyone else. You expect to win, and we expect you to win.

Is this a fault of the people who run for president, or of the people who vote for him? Both, probably, but even more to the point is the fact that the job is impossible. It is impossible to be president, and yet someone is, nonetheless.

You’d have to be some kind of arrogant asshole to believe you could do the impossible.

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3 responses

1 01 2013
emilylhauser

I love this, possibly because I agree with every word, which is an excellent reason to love anything. (Also because it made me laugh).

I remember reading somewhere that you have to be at least a little bit of a (clinical) psychopath to be President, and I can believe it.

3 01 2013
absurdbeats

Hello, Miz Emily! Nice to see you here! Yes, I do read you every day, and I click on your Daily Beast posts, even if I do so only silently.

1 05 2013
‘Cause I told you once, you son of a bitch | AbsurdBeats

[…] been mulling this ever since the presidents-are-assholes post (which, honestly, was the wrong word to use. I was thinking arrogant asshole when I wrote […]

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