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Giving New Meaning to the Bully Pulpit

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First there was the congressman who disrupted the State of the Union address, yelling at the President of the United States, "You lie!"

Then there was the governor aggressively jabbing a finger at the President of the United States in a public meeting.

Now, last week, an accredited reporter interrupted the President of the United States during a speech at the White House.

I haven't mentioned any political party involved because... it doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter because, whatever the party, it was the President of the United States.

Americans have always honored the office, regardless of whether or not they liked the occupant. There are Republicans who still hate Franklin Roosevelt. To this day, many Democrats will never forgive Richard Nixon.

And yet, there is no record of any congressman ever interrupting Franklin Roosevelt or Richard Nixon -- or any President of the United States -- during the State of the Union address to yell, "You lie!"

Governors didn't jab their fingers at the hated Franklin Roosevelt or the despised Richard Nixon. Reporters didn't interrupt President Roosevelt or President Nixon mid-speech. It doesn't happen to our presidents.

To be clear, that's "Our presidents." Our.

All the excuses in the world won't excuse this. Trying to claim that Democrats "did this" to George Bush is a lie -- they didn't.

The Far Right publisher tried to excuse his bullying reporter, comparing him to ABC's Sam Donaldson -- and then said the reporter might get a raise. One problem: it was a lie, there is no record of Mr. Donaldson ever once interrupting a president's speech. Never.

We've hated presidents. Screamed challenging questions to them. Protested them virulently. But people in positions of responsibility have always treated the President of the United States with respect. Because they understand that the office represents our country before the world.

Until now. Until the Republican Party didn't get its way. The whining Far-Right, ultra radical Republican Party. The party that claims it hates government -- but what it hates is all other government except Republican Rule. Any officials not Republican? They're illegitimate.

This is not hyperbole.

It is no random accident that the bullying congressman, bullying governor and bullying reporter were all Republican. It's a continuing pattern by the radical Far Right to portray any government but its own illegitimate.

Little did Teddy Roosevelt know that when he coined the phrase, "bully pulpit," his party would make that literal.

It's the action of bullies. We hate it in the school yard. But the Far Right embraces it when it serves their purposes. Just like the radical Far Right embraces the Bible when it serves their purposes, but dismisses feeding the poor, helping the needy, and caring for their fellow men.

This is not hyperbole.

In the last 36 years, there have only been two presidents from the Democratic Party. The first, Bill Clinton, was impeached by Republicans who tried to remove him from office without an election. The second, Barack Obama, has had the "legitimacy" of his election questioned by much of the Far Right, dismissed as not even an American.

The presumptive Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, had a supporter insist to his face that the President of the United States should be "tried for treason"... and didn't say a single word to contradict her.

It's the definition of bullies. It's the definition of hypocrites.

The only change is that this bullying and hypocrisy has gotten worse the past four years.

Republicans today feel they have the right to bully the President of the United States. That it's okay for responsible Republicans to yell "You lie!" during the State of the Union Address, jab their fingers at the president and interrupt the president's speech. That it's acceptable for the official Republican Party of Montana to present the White House as an outhouse riddled with bullets.

It's not okay. It never was. But too many Republicans today feel they can show a rudeness towards the American President that we've never seen before. It's not because they don't like his policies. Half of all Americans have always hated their president's policies. Half of Americans hated Richard Nixon, Franklin Roosevelt, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton even more. So, there has to be a deeper reason. There has to be a reason the Far Right thinks it's okay today for a U.S. Congressman to yell at the president during the State of the Union address, "You lie!" That it's fine for a governor to contemptuously jab at the president. That it's acceptable for a credentialed reporter to interrupt the president's speech. It's never been acceptable before. But today, some of the radical Far Right consider it okay to abuse the president in ways unlike any other president ever. Barack Obama is different. Why? What in the world is so different about Barack Obama?

Oh.

No, not all Republicans feel it's acceptable to treat the U.S. President with contempt as backroom help because Barack Obama is black. No doubt there are many excuses why today is different. But to deny that it's done and is widespread is to ignore reality. After all, for many of the radical Far Right, it's normal to treat a black man with contempt and superiority because it's how some have always treated a black man.

But the thing is -- the reason doesn't matter. Whatever excuse people convince themselves for unprecedented disdain towards the office of President of United States is just that -- an excuse. Trying to justify the unjustifiable.

The president can take it. It's the country that's hurt.

Now it's time for the Official Hypocrisy Test ™:

For anyone defending these actions against the president -- how would you react if the president was a Republican? Anything less than, "I'd be outraged," is a lie.

When it comes to the office, the President of the United States is our president. And anyone who says, "He's not my president," is either lying, not a citizen, disingenuous or stupid.

Bully for you.