Obama says Dem. Rep. John Conyers “demeaned him.” Conyers isn’t backing down.

From The Hill:

According to the lawmaker, the president picked up the phone several weeks ago to find out why Conyers was “demeaning” him.

Conyers, doesn’t seem to be backing down, having just said the following:

“Calling in generals and admirals to discuss troop strength is like me taking my youngest to McDonald’s to ask if he likes french fries,” Conyers said.

Many on the left have argued that military leaders routinely respond to crises by calling for more troops.

“I’ve been saying I don’t agree with him on Afghanistan, I think he screwed up on healthcare reform, on Guantánamo and kicking Greg off,” Conyers said, referring to the departure of former White House counsel Greg Craig.

This is interesting, as it suggests Conyers hardly started out as “an Obama hater.”

Conyers was the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to endorse Obama over then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.

I think the President handled this poorly. I’m not entirely sure that anyone should have called Conyers at all about “demeaning” the President, let alone the President himself. That call, and the language involved (“demeaning me” – I’ve not heard that exact construction before, it sounds a bit like “you’re being mean to me”), suggest that President Obama has a thin skin, that he cares too much about what others say and think of him. It also reinforces something Joe and I have been noting for a while – that the way to get noticed by the Obama administration is to challenge them publicly. “You lie!” comes to mind – which was immediately followed by an effort to “fix” the bill to address Joe Wilson’s concerns.

What doesn’t work, apparently, is working with them behind the scenes. Conyers would never have spoken out publicly without first having tried to work things out privately. It’s the way things work in Washington. It’s the way Joe and I approach the advocacy work we do, especially on gay rights issues. First you attempt to fix the issue privately, then when you’re left no option, you go public. The fact that John Conyers, an early Obama supporter, felt the need to go public, repeatedly, and in a rather harsh manner, suggests that relations between the Obama administration and the Hill are deteriorating, and that efforts to repair them privately have been for nought.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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