President Barack Obama will give an introduction to an anti-bullying documentary produced, appropriately enough, by the Cartoon Network. Directed toward eight to twelve-year-olds, the cartoon features Obama saying “It’s wrong, it’s disruptive and we can all prevent it . . . we’ve all got more work to do. Everyone has to take action against bullying.”
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has a long record of both bullying and standing behind bullies. Witness the comments of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at the time of Obama’s feud with British petroleum: “Our job is basically to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum to carry out the responsibilities that they have, both under the law and contractually to move forward and to stop this spill.” And this from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “We will keep our, as Secretary Salazar said, our boot on the throat of BP to ensure that they’re doing all that they — all that is necessary, while we do all that is humanly possible to deal with this incident.” Or this, from White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, who told Democrats, “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.”
President Obama is clearly comfortable with bullies. As we pointed out this week, it appears that comic bully Louis C.K. has visited the White House; so will Trig Palin birther Andrew Sullivan. President Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, used to send dead fish to political opponents. Obama’s administration consistently leverages those who disagree with him, including, most recently, the state of Texas for cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood – and, of course, the Catholic Church. During the budget crisis of 2011, Obama warned that if an agreement was no reached, both Social Security recipients and the military could stop receiving their checks. “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said during the 2008 campaign. He’s certainly lived up to his word.
So now this president is being given airtime to talk about bullying. That’s all well and good – bullying should be stopped. But he can start by looking in the mirror.