"Fear" of the President

I’ve been watching The West Wing the last few weeks and watched The American President this evening. One thing caught my eye. Everyone had this petrified look when talking to the President. They seem to be so nervous and afraid to say the wrong thing. It was like they were talking to Sadaam Hussein and he would have them knocked off if he didn’t like what they said. Is it really like that in Washington? Do people tremble when speaking to Willie? What can he do to them?

You do realize that the people who look “terrified” are actors and that they are on a thing called television, right? Just because you see something on television, doesn’t make it true. Just ask Jerry Springer.

I suspect that most of us, even those who fancy themselves sophisticated and way too cool to be awed by the pomp and trappings of the WHite House would find themselves rather awed, if they found themselves addressing the President in person.

People who’ve read my posts know how little I respect Bill CLinton. I may LIKE to think I’d be my usual sarcastic self if I ever got to sit across from Bill in the Oval Office. And yet…

Something tells me that, in the unlikely case that ever happened, I’d be MIGHTY intimidated by the man and the surroundings. I mean, it’s the WHite House! It’s the President, for Pete’s sake. You REALLY think you’d be coo las a cucumber under the circumstances? You may be giving yourself too much credit.

I KNOW Bill CLinton can’t do much to hurt me… but on his turf, I might well be reduced to a Ralph Kramden “hommina-hommina-hommina” stammer.

Umm… that’s why I axed the question in the first place dumbass. I was wondering if people really acted that way in front of the President. All I heard about from those who worked in teh White House was how perfect the sets of The West Wing were. They must have tons of consultants on the show with knowledge. I was simply curious if the portrayal was accurate too or if it were dramatic effect.

but thanks for your enlightenment. I thought those people on screen were actually in the box or behind my wall somewhere. now I know. Thank God for The Straight Dope.

Oblong, the fact that you found an answer to be unsatisfactory is no excuse to call the respondant a “dumbass.” Please do not do that again.

He shouldn’t have responded the way he did. He didn’t offer an answer to my question but took the opportunity to belittle me. Why didn’t you tell him to ‘take it to the pit’ or whatever it is you say to those who flame. If you can’t see that then you are a poor moderator and not doing your job. That’s why I called him a dumbass. I asked a simple question and he was being a smartass. I don’t mean to make a big thing out of it but I’ve seen far worse language at other people in here and don’t like being singled out by moderators who woke up on the wrong side of bed.


If you had said “I have been watching the news and people who are addressing the President appear daunted by him.” I would have answered your question, with “The President is the most powerful man on the planet, wouldn’t you be a little intimidated?”

The fact that you tried to determine the actions of real people based on how actors portray them, is like trying to find out what an orange tastes like by eating a plastic one. There may be a little truth and studying behind their roles, but they are still actors. Real people react to situations like this much differently than actors, as we don’t have scripts and directors helping us decide what to do. Some people may be awestruck by the President, some may not. It depends on the person in question. I doubt that Dan Rather worries about talking to the President, because Bill Clinton isn’t the first President he’s talked to. The first time he spoke to the President, I’m sure he was a little nervous.

If you don’t want to feel belittled, ask questions that don’t beg for it.

Because he didn’t flame you, Oblong. There was no profanity, no diatribes, no insults. He merely pointed out what a stupid question your general question was. What you meant to ask and what you ended up typing are apparently two different things.

And instead of handling it like an adult, and saying “Geez, you’re right. Let me rephrase that. What I meant was…” you decide to start name-calling and whining. And then when an essteemed moderator tells you about the error of you ways, you argue with him, too. What’s the deal with that?

Why don’t you try starting over, and then we can all call it even, okay?

PS- I wish this was in the Pit, then you’d have some real flames for reference, so you could tell the difference between hardcore flamage and an astute observation of fact.

Are you finished sucking up?

I never tried to determine the actions of real people based on a TV show. If I were as naive as it was very rudely implied, then there wouldn’t have been a question in the first place. But I’ll try it again to weed out any sarcastic (note I didn’t say dumbass)answers.

There is a TV show (The West Wing) and movie (The America President)that were both applauded for their realistic representations of The White House. In both of these portrayals, people were very nervous and intimidated when talking to the President. Is it really like that in The White House when people address POTUS? I know that television shows are fake and what you see on TV is not always the way it is. But I am curious if people are intimidated when in the presence of POTUS.

His original reply was very uncalled for and not in the spirit of what I thought this forum was about. I thought the level of maturity here was much higher.

As I stated previously, different people respond differently in any given situation. Some people are probably intimidated by the President, regardless of who fills the seat, or why they are addressing him. Some people may look intimidated because they are Presidential advisors and what they say to him may affect millions of people. That would scare me, and almost everyone else I know. And then there are people who aren’t phased in the least that they are talking to the most powerful man in the world. It all depends on the individual person.

Are you intimidated by policemen? I’ll bet I can find you a crack dealer who is. See my point?

If you can’t tell the difference between a flippant remark and a direct insult, than you possess too much ignorance to be eradicated by this website.

Consider this an official warning. You are not to insult your fellow members in General Questions. Do Not do this again. Your continued status as a guest of the site owners is in jeopardy right now.

The answer to your question “Is it really like that in Washington?” is “yes.”

This thread is closed.