stevenson column sig 2

Local opinion columnists

President’s informality shows lack of respect

By From page A11 | May 23, 2014

You like news quizzes, don’t you? Here’s one for you: Who said this, and who was he talking about?: “. . . and I know that (his) attitude is if he doesn’t think he can do a good job on this and if he thinks he’s let our veterans down, then I’m sure he is not going to be interested in continuing to serve . . .”

No, it wasn’t President Woodrow Wilson talking about Gen. Blackjack Pershing; it wasn’t President Harry Truman talking about Gen. Douglas MacArthur, or President Abraham Lincoln expressing his dismay with Gen. George McClellan.

Trick question, obviously: It was President Barack Obama referring to “Rick” Shinseki who has been in charge of the Department of Veterans Affairs for a while now.

Did I misspeak? Or rather miswrite? Maybe, to follow the verbal protocol that most any American over 15 years old would know, I, at least, should have written that it was Obama talking about Gen. Eric Shinseki. I may have gotten it wrong all these years, but when you’re speaking publicly about anyone who has a title, rank or honorific, that’s how he or she should be referred to.

That sounds so petty, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, and I can almost guarantee that any veteran, enlisted man, or officer, or for that matter almost any sergeant, lieutenant, police officer, doctor, professor, nurse – the list goes on – would be struck by Barry’s use of General Shinseki’s nickname. I say “Barry” because that was the name he liked when he was a student. Later, he switched to his given name, Barack, but, if you meet him, you can call him Barry.

Of course, this was not the first time the president was either rude or ignorant when talking about someone who wore, or still wears, the uniform of our country.

One particular gaffe sticks with me, because it showed a total lack of familiarity with the military. Lest you think I’m making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill, see if it grates on your sensibilities as it does mine.

Most Americans know that frontline soldiers have a medic with them, or at least nearby, to, well, save lives. A medic’s counterpart in the Navy, probably the Coast Guard, although I’m not sure about the Marine Corps, is known as a corpsman. Corpsman is, as you know, pronounced “core-man.” Unless you’re the president of the United States, that is, in which case you would say – argghhh! – “corpse -man,” as in dead body.

I am not talking about the president’s occasional unfamiliarity with things military as a subtle way to raise suspicions about his place of birth. As you know, when he first became president, there were some who insisted that he was not really an American citizen. They were known as “birthers,” but they didn’t really convince a critical mass of their fellow citizens to climb on the conspiracy bandwagon, and so the claim died.

Let me take this a step further. In many areas of American society, we work for, deal with, are friends with, someone who has earned a rank of title. In most cases, the “titled” individual would encourage the use of his or her given name when in private, or away from the office. But it’s a custom, a tradition, protocol – what have you – to use the rank, title, honorific, etc., in public. That would be an indication of respect for what the rank or title stands for. So to refer to a retired four-star general who served as Army chief of staff as “Rick” either indicates ignorance or disrespect.

That leaves us still looking for an explanation for Obama’s “informality.” I guess if you’re the president, the rules aren’t made for you.

Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at [email protected]

Bud Stevenson

Bud Stevenson


Discussion | 21 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Please read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy before commenting.

  • CD BrooksMay 23, 2014 - 6:43 am

    Mr. Stevenson, I believe the lack of respect politically speaking, got off to a really poor start when our Congress put a target on the president's back and chose to degrade him from day one. That began a world-wide battle of front page news between parties and has not let up. We have witnessed public displays unbecoming of any professional person in this country and the proverbial snowball effect. It is tragic that we have been forced to witness this and the ultimate influence upon our children. I would love to see proper respect and good manners returned to their once glorious practice across the board.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PornacMay 23, 2014 - 7:04 am

    Where's a medic when you need one.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jason KnowlesMay 23, 2014 - 7:35 am

    Are you f**king kidding me? Birth certificates, calling him a Muslim socialist, disparaging remarks about his ancestry and family members, the list goes on and on, and your worried about how he addresses a subordinate? How shall we address thee, Bud? I have a few suggestions...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensMay 23, 2014 - 9:51 am

    Knowles--those are all valid issues. Barack's SSAN is not valid and when entered into E-Verify it comes out invalid too. His birth certificate has been deemed to be a forgery and the original has not been surrendered to a panel of documentation experts for a scientific examination either! Everything about Obama is not bona fide. Nobody at Columbia remembers him. He claims to be a Constitutional scholar but has published no papers or books on the subject. His law client list and Illiois State voting record can't be revealed. He has lied and denied everything. Much is being hidden and his promoters are orchestrating the greatest fraud ever perpetrated in all of recorded human history.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895May 23, 2014 - 8:42 am

    The Commander in Chief can call a general whatever he wants.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Demons - Imagine DragonsMay 23, 2014 - 8:50 am


    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Demons by Fatboy Slim [Official Video]May 23, 2014 - 8:52 am


    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Spirits in the nightMay 23, 2014 - 9:04 am


    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy0ABjAP0TIMay 23, 2014 - 9:45 am

    Pink Floyd-The Gunner's Dream (Lyrics)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The Who Wont Get Fooled Again lyricsMay 23, 2014 - 9:52 am


    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Today Friday on InfowarsMay 23, 2014 - 8:47 am

    On this Friday, May 23 edition of the Alex Jones Show, Alex examines the latest absurdity connected to TSA Gestapo zones in America's airports and looks into the latest effort to take down Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty. He talks about warnings of another recession as the economy continues its slump years after the banker engineered subprime collapse. On today's worldwide broadcast Alex talks with the president and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, Twila Brase. Ms. Brase talks with Alex about the threat of biometrics and the unmitigated failure of Obamacare. Her organization has helped 34 states say no to the Obamacare exchanges and has drawn national awareness to data ownership rights and to the genetic privacy violations regarding newborn screening.wwwinfowarscom

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Google...May 23, 2014 - 9:08 am

    The Recession Is Coming: Economist Warns It’s Beyond Control: “I Don’t See What Will Save It At This Point” by Mac Slavo | SHTF Plan | May 23, 2014....

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • http://www.newswithviews.com/Spingola/deanna113.htmMay 23, 2014 - 9:15 am

    Google....BARACK OBAMA, FORMER CIA AGENT Deanna Spingola March 21, 2010 NewsWithViews.com............According to Dr. Manning, Obama (born in 1961) enrolled at the very pricey Occidental College in Los Angeles, California in 1979 and was recruited there in 1980 by the CIA which has made it a practice since its inception to recruit college students. He was, by his own admission, a “C” student, a dope smoker and a member of the Marxist Club at Occidental, a co-educational liberal arts college. In 1981, Obama allegedly transferred from Occidental to Columbia University. It is atypical for a student to begin their education in one four-year school and then transfer to another school. Columbia University requires that incoming students pass certain academic requirements which Obama apparently lacked. However, Columbia had a foreign student program and the CIA has major connections and influence with Columbia and the nation’s other educational facilities...... Submitted for your consideration.... also remember Obama's birth family mom, grandparents, true father Frank Davis... were all CIA assets..... Obama is a creature of the CIA, and works for the Illuminati on the left....

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • http://copycateffect.blogspot.com/2008/11/jonestown-harvey-milk-and-george.htmlMay 23, 2014 - 9:29 am

    In general google....feinstein harvey milk Satanism......See....Twilight Language: Jonestown, Harvey Milk, and George Moscone ..... and when the CIA is involved in all the Helter Skelter mind control stuff... freaky things happen, that are set up to trigger an issues in Dialectics.... Feinstein is a harbinger of the Dialectic... look at the Illuminati goals of controlling healthcare and taking away our guns for self defense ......Diane is an Illuminati tool...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895May 23, 2014 - 8:48 am

    And when the president uses a first name it DOES show something important, if not respect. It shows familiarity. It depends on the situation and what the president is trying to communicate.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BalancerMay 23, 2014 - 11:15 am

    Familiarity breeds contempt.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895May 23, 2014 - 11:26 pm

    Remember "Brownie?"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensMay 23, 2014 - 9:36 am

    The rats and their political party are unhappy because the facts show Bathhouse Barry and his government of traitors treat welfare recipients along with illegal aliens better then they treat Veterans and military retirees! Too bad, rats! Res ipsa loquitor!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PornacMay 23, 2014 - 12:15 pm

    Corporal Bud!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SlimmsMay 23, 2014 - 9:28 pm

    It's so funny how you stand in your glass house and throw stones while you refer to the President (also a "title" I believe) as "Obama." Get outta here with that BS.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895May 23, 2014 - 11:24 pm


    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2015 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.