‘I cannot even stand to look at you’

RespectThe No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin, says that a House Republican leader told off President Barack Obama during a negotiation meeting, and that they are so disrespectful it’s practically impossible to have a conversation with them.

“In a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you,’” Durbin wrote in a post on his Facebook page over the weekend.

Calling a government shutdown strategy from Republicans “disastrous,” Durbin did not specify which leader made the comment, what the context was or how the president responded.

“What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?” Durbin wrote.

SOURCE:  Dick Durbin: GOP leader told President Obama ‘I cannot even stand to look at you’ – Tal Kopan – POLITICO.com.

It looks like our country has now devolved into gutter politics. That is where an opponent is treated with utter hate and anger. It used to be that when other politicians were addressing the president they did so with respect for the office.  That is the reason that presidents are usually address as “Mr. President” instead of their name.  We might not particularly like the person in the office but we treated him with respect.  To hear this sort of thing happening is a direct insult to our very institution of democracy.

When someone says that they can’t even stand to look at you, how would you respond? As for me my first inclination would be to shout a profanity back at them. But I hope I would be controlled enough simply to walk away from the vitriolity.  I don’t know which GOP leader said the words but I can imagine who it was.  How can anything approaching a respectable conversation occur when it start with those words?

President Obama always seems to be pretty cool under fire so I’m sure he didn’t respond like-for-like as I probably would have. When he came into office in 2009 he seemed to almost bend over backwards to get a conversation going with the Republicans but after so many failed attempts he finally wised up and quit compromising when nothing was returned. Since as a result of gerrymandering it is unlikely that Democrats will get control of the House so I expect this sort of ugly politics will continue throughout this second term.

I just wonder how much could actually been accomplished in improving ACA and reducing our deficits if both sides learned to treat each other with R-E-S-P-E-C-T   as an old song used to say.

Never in my life has one of our political parties devolved into such a sorry state…..


  1. Although tempting to use this as an excuse to criticize the other party, it’s instructive to point out that the White House has actually denied this incident ever took place, and Dick Durbin refuses to provide any specifics whatsoever. Sounds like he got a bit out ahead of himself trying to be outraged by something that no one (and I mean no one) else heard take place. I’m not personally too worked up over this one…


    1. Hi Erik. Yeah I have heard all the stuff going around it too. Given that it is Washington I’m not sure that it is true but is just too much of a hot potato to bring to the surface. So therefore it was downplayed. Why would Durbin post it if he didn’t believe it to be true. I kind of thing it was probably a spur of the moment thing that he later realized should not have been said even if it was true.

      The Repubs are staying out of it and that seems to give some validity to its truthfulness. Why aren’t they not saying that it is another place where the other party lies! But as you say I am not too worked up over it but instead treat it as just another example of the gutter politics that is evolving in that place.


  2. Same old same old……. This (supposed) incident brings to mind stories of Abe Lincoln as a prime target of verbal abuse in his time in office. “Big Ape” and “Bumbling Baboon” come to mind as epithets thrown at him, though by journalists rather than other politicos (I think). What is at issue here is that we THINK we have progressed as models of the human species, but in spite our gains in technology, far too many of us are still tribal and fearful cave people in our hearts and minds.


    1. That is a good one Steve.

      We just saw the movie Lincoln last week and much of it was in the light of your thoughts. From my rather extensive studies of him, Lincoln himself seemed to thrive on all the insults thrown at him. It just gave him an excuse to tell another story… 🙂

      I agree with you that I think fear drives much of the vitriolity in many people. They are just fearful of “losing control of ‘their’ country” with all the minorities coming on the scene. To one degree or another most of us celebrate our country’s diversity but there are those who dreadfully fear it. If they weren’t causing so much trouble I think I would actually feel sorry for them.


  3. Those at the meeting on both sides say it did not happen. I suspect that someone muttered it under his breath rather than saying it to Obama and perhaps only Durbin heard it or thought he heard it. And Durbin saw it as an opportunity to make Republicans look bad. As an Independent I find both sides tiresome. By the way, how did race enter this conversation? Don’t see the connection. I can find many reasons not to like Obama, but race is not one of them. Enjoy your blog as always,, even if I don’t always agree with you.


    1. Thanks for the comments JudyC. Durbin is just not one to enter into this gutter stuff so if he made it up I would be very surprised. He is just not that type of person. I kind of think the comment was just deemed too toxic to bring up and all are avoiding it. That would be a first wouldn’t it (ha).

      I don’t know where you got the race comment from this post? I don’t see it myself. Maybe it was in the “losing control” statement but that phenomena envelopes much more than just race. But that does not mean that race is never one of the issues that many have with our current president. All of the stuff about him being a Muslim and a Kenyan at that still floating around today is about him “not being one of us” and that is definitely about race. I know nothing of your background or history but I can tell you I have been very much exposed to racism in my days and it definitely still exists just below the surface with many people in this country. It is not something I like to talk about as it is a very ugly side of humanity.

      Thanks for the comments. Yeah, you are right there are other reasons not to like Obama or any other president for that matter. If only we could find someone “perfect” to run our country. 🙂


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