In endorsing Barack Obama’s bid for the White House in 2008, Christopher Buckley cited the Democrat’s temperament (among other things):
As for Senator Obama: He has exhibited throughout a “first-class temperament,” pace Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s famous comment about FDR. . . . But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves.
You think a guy with a presidential temperament would have the strength of character to ignore the criticism that all presidents, even FDR, endure. But, this one so heralded by so many, “strayed from his prepared remarks at a Labor Day rally Monday to accused his opponents of talking about him ‘like a dog’“:
“Some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in Washington for a very long time and they’re not always happy with me. They talk about me like a dog. That’s not in my prepared remarks, but it’s true,” he told the union crowd.
Once again, he rails against powerful interests, this time while talking to one such interest (you know, that union crowd).
It would behoove him, as Glenn Reynolds* put it, to “act Presidential. Not so much because it’s dignified. But because it’s smart.” We want our leaders to look above the fray, showing they can, to paraphrase an expression from one of the incumbent’s partisan predecessors, can stand the heat in the kitchen.
*He had a great roundup of blogosphere reaction to the president’s most recent whine.