Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, right, embraces Georgia Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue during a campaign event. on Oct. 29, 2014, in Augusta, Ga.
David Goldman/AP

GOP overinvests in ‘arrogance’ talking point

Benjy Sarlin reported overnight on developments in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race, including a curious new complaint from Republican candidate David Perdue about President Obama.
At a rally alongside Romney, Perdue attacked the president for encouraging voters to support his Democratic opponent, Michelle Nunn.
“The arrogance of this guy, coming into Georgia on our radio station in Atlanta and saying you got to elect Michelle Nunn because I need her in Washington to continue my policies to do good for America,” Perdue told a crowd of several dozen supporters, referring to a recent interview by the president. “Not on my watch.”
Wait, now it’s “arrogant” for a president to campaign in support of a candidate he supports? Since when?
The president hopes Nunn wins, and he made an appearance in local media to encourage voters to support her. In what sense is this a display of “arrogance”? If Perdue wins and runs for re-election in 2020, and President Ted Cruz encourages Georgians to vote for him, would that be “arrogant,” too, or does this only apply to Obama?
It seems like this comes up far more often than it should. We talked recently, for example, about the Republican line of criticism that Obama uses first-person pronouns more than they’d like. The complaints turned out to be baseless, at least if one compares this president to his modern predecessors, but it was all part of the GOP line about Obama’s alleged “arrogance.”
Poking around the Media Matters’ archive this morning, I found all kinds of instances in which prominent Republican figures in media – Limbaugh, Krauthammer, Hannity, et al – have repeatedly hammered the president with this complaint.
I suppose at a certain level, we could say that just about everyone who seeks or holds the presidency must think very highly of himself or herself. Meek people burdened by self-doubt wouldn’t run for national office in the first place. It takes an enormous amount of confidence for any individual to see global challenges and decide he or she is the best person in America to address them.
But the Republican preoccupation with Obama’s alleged conceit seems new. I just don’t remember other recent presidents facing quite so many complaints about their “arrogance.”