Spaniel? Terrier? St. Bernard?

President Obama tried to go on the offensive today, delivering a hard-hitting campaign speech in Milwaukee. He was accompanied by a couple of Cabinet officers and welcomed several local organized labor officials to the Labor Day event. Senator Herb Kohl, who is not up for re-election this year, was there. But it seems noteworthy that Obama did not note the presence of a single Democratic House or Senate candidate who is on the ballot in November. He mentioned Russ Feingold, who is fighting for his political life, but Feingold regrettably was unable to appear onstage with Obama, as he had to be “in his hometown of Janesville to participate in their Labor Day parade.” We will see many more Democrats dodge platforms with Obama over the next 60 days.
That is not the point of this post, however. Obama’s speech was a tough attack on Republicans, including this unscripted bit:

OBAMA: That’s been at the heart of what we have been doing over these last 20 months, building our economy on a new foundation, so that our middle class doesn’t just survive this crisis. I want it to thrive.
I want it to be stronger than it was before. And — and, over the last two years, that’s meant taking on some powerful interests, some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in Washington for a very long time. And they’re not always happy with me.
OBAMA: They talk about me like a dog.
OBAMA: That’s not in my prepared remarks. It’s just — but it’s true.

“They talk about me like a dog”? What does that mean? I ask the question seriously. Given that Obama came out with the observation spontaneously–one of the few moments when he is off-teleprompter–it may hold a clue to his psyche. Obama’s political opponents attack him, just like he attacks them (only generally more truthfully). So where does the “dog” come in? It suggests that Obama sees disagreement with him as somehow illegitimate and dehumanizing. Beyond that, it is opaque to me. Maybe our readers can explain the reference.


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