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Brewer and Obama go toe-to-toe. So?

January 26, 2012 |  7:15 am

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer with President Obama
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, meet Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.  

You two have something in common -- a visible dislike of President Obama.

On Wednesday, Brewer met Obama on the tarmac in Phoenix as he got off Air Force One, and the two had a brief but animated conversation, including at one point some finger-pointing by the governor.  Pool reporters said Obama walked away mid-sentence.

From Times reporter Christi Parsons' story

Brewer told pool reporter Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico that the president seemed upset about her book, "Scorpions for Breakfast," in which she criticizes Obama for opposing her [immigration] law….

A White House official offered this take on the encounter: "The governor handed the president a letter and said she was inviting him to meet with her. The president said he'd be glad to meet with her again, but did note that after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book."

The Arizona dustup came two days after goalie Thomas declined to join his Stanley Cup champion teammates who met with the president at the White House for one of those sports photo-ops.

In a posting on his Facebook page the next day, the Bruins star explained his absence:

I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT

OK, I think it's safe to say that neither Brewer nor Thomas will be invited to a state dinner soon.

But were their actions over the top? Were they disrespectful to the president? Was what they did exactly what's wrong with the country?

Not really. All they did was act like, well, Americans.

We don't have a king. We have a president. We respect the office -- but we are free to disagree with its occupant.

Don't like his policies? Then don't show up for a silly photo-op.

Don't like his policies? Then tell him so, in a civil but forceful way, to his face.

And if he doesn't like what you're saying? Then he can tell you so, in a civil but forceful way, to your face -- and even walk away.

Honestly, we'll know we're in trouble as a country when people can't do what Thomas -- and Brewer and Obama -- did this week.

And frankly, I like that a lot better than hearing John A. Boehner introduce Obama before the State of the Union address with the traditional House speaker's line -- "Members of the Congress, I have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States" -- when that same House speaker has already bashed the president’s proposals as "pathetic"  and then, after the address, labels it "just another campaign speech." 

Yes, our leaders need to work together. And sure, it wouldn't hurt for everyone to step back and just take a deep breath now and again.

But presidents are people, and there's no harm in letting them -- and those who disagree with them -- act like it more often.


McManus: Obama's common touch

Jan Brewer 'confident' Supreme Court will uphold immigration law 

Huntington lands treasure trove of Lincoln letters, Civil War telegrams 

--Paul Whitefield

Photo: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and President Obama in an animated exchange at the airport in Phoenix on Wednesday. Credit: Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated Press

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