Hawaii Comes to the Oval Office? Don't Treat Us Like We're Stupid

By Betsy NewmarkHigh School Government and History Teacher/Blogger

A lot has been made in the blogosphere about the hypocrisy of Obama keeping the temperature in the Oval Office high in contrast to his promise to make us a people who doesn't offend the world by insisting on keeping our homes at 72 degrees.

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Ed Morrissey had some fun with Obama's hypocrisy:

Many people in America, especially where I live, would like to heat their homes to a comfort level where sweaters and coats become unnecessary. However, Obama and the Democrats want to impose ruinous taxes and penalties on energy production and fuel that produces carbon dioxide - a naturally-occurring element -- and make that choice economically unbearable for us. In fact, candidate Obama spoke directly to that end in May of this year:

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.

"That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added.

Well, apparently some of us can, and those lucky few do call themselves "leaders". The rest of us call them hypocrites as we fetch another sweater.

David Axelrodtried to treat all of us as if we're supremely stupid as he sought to explain the picture of Obama without his suit jacket.

"He's from Hawaii, O.K.?" said Mr. Obama's senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. "He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there."

Oh, please. How long has it been since he lived in Hawaii? He hasn't lived in Hawaii since the early 1980s. Since then he's been going to college in New York City, lived in Chicago, gone to law school in Massachusetts, returned to Chicago. He's so tough in snow situations that he can publicly ridicule his daughters' schools and the District of Columbia for their inability to cope with a little ice storm.

People move around the country all the time and get acclimatized to the new climates quite quickly. I've lived in Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Washington, Los Angeles, and Raleigh. As everyone else does, I have gotten used to the climates of my new environments. I'm no longer as used to a cold climate like I was when I lived in Chicago.

Obama may or may not like to keep the temperature in his office hot. What I bet he really does like is what a lot of men prefer -- taking off their suit jackets when they're at work. Most people would think nothing of a guy working in his shirt and tie in his own office.

However, there is a history concerning how men dress in the Oval Office. It started with Ronald Reagan who, apparently, had a rule about not taking off his suit jacket out of respect for the Oval Office. Then came Bill Clinton and we know about his behavior in the Oval Office. So Republicans started dusting off Reagan's dress requirements for the Oval Office to contrast with the pictures of Clinton in his sweaty jogging shorts or the mental images of him in there with Monica. When Bush came in, he reinstated the Reagan rules for how to dress in the Oval Office.

Now Obama is president and he and his advisers had a meeting in their shirt sleeves. It's different from Reagan and the Bushes, but is it really all that disrespectful for men to take off their suit jackets? It doesn't bother me one bit. If Axelrod were the public relations genius that he is supposed to be, he would have answered questions about the picture of Obamaand his advisers without their suit jackets, he would have replied that they took off their coats to get to work to help the American people. Instead he told this whopper about Obama still being acclimatized to the climates of his childhood.

I would wager that most people don't give a hoot that Obama takes off his suit jacket when he's at work. Probably younger people, who are his biggest fans, wouldn't even notice anything about the picture of men in shirts and ties in the Oval Office. Just don't treat us like we're stupid, guys; that gets you into more trouble because it exposes your hypocrisy in demanding that everyone else lower their thermostats.

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