Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

"You wouldn't have wanted to be in the room."

Valerie Jarrett – Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison – on Morning Joe this morning was asked about the incident that saw Airforce One (or more accurately: “the 747 that is called Airforce One when the President is on board”) flying low and slow over lower Manhattan with a fighter trailing it.  “The president was furious,” she said.  “You wouldn’t have wanted to be in the room.”

Yes, we would have.

I think Valerie was very happy to take that question, and I think she said exactly the right thing.  Americans want a strong leader, and the image of our pleasant and polite President being “furious” enough that we wouldn’t have wanted to be there is one that makes us feel secure.  A president is a parental figure – he or she provides safety and security and along with the tolerance and understanding we crave.  There is nothing more fear-inspiring than not being able to picture your parent or leader standing up to the things that scare you.

While the parental analogy can be easily stretched too far, we all know the Shouting Parent who has no control and gets no respect from their children.  “He/she is always shouting, it’s just how they communicate” so their kids discount all of the smoke and noise (and usually the content as well) and keep on doing what they were doing.  Then there is the quite and confident parent whose kids snap to attention when the command goes out.  They know that there is a mom/dad inside there that they don’t want to be in the room with.

We’re glad to have a picture in our heads of an Angry Obama.  We don’t want it pointed at us, but we like the idea that Bad People will try to avoid having it pointed at them, too.  

Thanks for the image, Ms. Jarrett.


  1. nrafter530

    His words;

    “News that we were all in a panic have been grossly overdramatized. It really wasn’t THAT big of a deal”

  2. I’ve been meaning to make a comment about the president as paternal figure for awhile now. I believe that is why some people can’t accept the idea of Obama as the president. Especially the more conservative ones who oppose him. They want a strong father figure as president. They have a more authoritarian view of their leaders. It is difficult for them to look at a black person as a father figure. This confuses them. Hence the antagonism they feel without understanding its cause. It isn’t even a matter of racism. More a matter of how they look at the world.

  3. vcalzone

    We all know this will and could never happen again, right? Is there a single person on here who would not join in gladly risking their life to stop someone trying to take a plane?

    Even an attack at a bus stop or something like that. People watch now, they get paranoid. Within seconds of that plane even being close, how many calls did NYPD get?

    I know “never again” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s freaking true. It will NOT happen again. Not easily. Which is why I fear that an attack in western Europe is most likely to happen if we see anything.

    Incidentally, that’s one thing Bush’s insanity actually created some good with. We’re all scared shitless now, but we’re still all on alert, aren’t we?

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