COMMENTARY | While stumping for re-election dollars at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco, President Obama’s speech was disturbed by a singing protest. The members of the protest choir, who collectively paid $35,800 to gain access to the event, passed around photos and signs reading “Free Bradley Manning,” the soldier accused of leaking materials to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Afterward, press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Obama thought the choral remonstration was “funny.” Oddly, President Obama was not as amused when a certain Texas reporter interrupted his preordained commentary.
This was not the first time Obama was met with voices of disapproval. Two years ago, Obama was dubbed a modern day Messiah. Thousands flocked to see him and hear him speak. Today, he has trouble selling tickets and filling even the smallest free venues, and you hear more stories of angry hecklers than fainting fans.
At a Democrat fundraiser in New York, Obama was heckled almost immediately and his speech was interrupted again multiple times after. Demonstrators protested his slack AIDS funding and the stalled repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy he promised to lift. Just as he did with the reporter from Texas, Obama’s face flashed with irritation.
As President Obama charged up the crowd at a Massachusetts rally for Gov. Deval Patrick, hecklers again interrupted his remarks with chants and held up signs reading “Keep the Promise” and “Fight Global Aids.” In response, the president told them that his administration had done more than Republicans about AIDS. Perhaps the ire of the hecklers was inspired by the fact that, while they weren’t fans of George Bush, the former president had tripled direct humanitarian aid to Africa and vowed to double that to nearly $9 billion by 2010. Obama, on the other hand, added only $366 million to the program, well below the $1 billion per year he promised he would add during his presidential campaign.
You see, this is the trouble with being a messiah. The adoration of your worshipers can indeed be a fleeting and fickle thing. One day they are fainting and tossing palm fronds in your path, enraptured by their faith that you will pay their mortgages, put gas in their cars and stay the very rising of the mighty seas. But the moment they realize you aren’t living up to their expectations, they turn on you, yank you from your donkey and start sizing you up for a cross.
Rebecca Kaplan, “Singing Protesters Interrupt Obama Fundraiser in San Francisco”, National Journal
“Testy Obama Scolds Texas Reporter: ‘Let me finish'”, Breitbart TV
Karen Farkas, “Tri-C students recruited to fill the seats for Obama’s appearance”, Cleveland.com
Claire Hoffman, “Is Obama a (or the) Messiah?”, The Washington Post
Gail Sheehy, “Obama’s Fire Sale”, The Daily Beast
Carol E. Lee “Obama Heckled in Manhattan”, Politico
Dan Lothian, “Obama Heckled as He Stumps for Pal in Massachusetts”, CNN Political Ticker