Dear President Obama: 'Hay is for horses'

Aaaaay!I'm on lots of political email lists, including one soliciting cash for President Obama's reelection campaign.

The messages most often come in the name of Jim Messina, the Boise High grad who is Obama's campaign manager. Michelle Obama writes a lot, too. Less frequently -- I guess when they want to really pull out the stops -- the notes come signed "Barack," an informality I find off-putting.

Today's email from the president is flat-out rude.

The subject line is "Hey," a greeting my 8th-grade English teacher drilled out of me as simply impolite. "Hay is for horses," she'd say. I've tried to teach my kids not to use "hey," outside of clearly informal settings. For a president to greet anyone he doesn't know with "Hey," isn't OK, in my view, especially given his aim -- he wants money. If you give by midnight tonight, you'll be entered in a drawing to celebrate with the president. I suppose the campaign thinks that justifies such chumminess.

My guess is most of the recipients have never met the president. And I can't imagine the winner of the birthday invite greeting Obama with "Hey" at the party.

I understand Obama wants people to consider him a buddy, but such sloppiness with the English language is beneath the office and sets a bad example. End of rant.

But is he presidential?

I'd appreciate hearing what readers think. Here's the text of the email, absent the "Hey":

Dan --

My upcoming birthday next week could be the last one I celebrate as President of the United States, but that's not up to me -- it's up to you.

This July deadline is our most urgent yet, coming after two consecutive months of being significantly outraised by Romney and the Republicans.

And if you pitch in $3 or whatever you can before midnight tonight, you and a guest will be automatically entered to join me at my birthday get-together next month:

Thanks. Hope I'll see you soon.

- Barack

You can follow Idaho Statesman Politics on Twitter.


Come on man

Dan, you are getting older and more pretentious. Language, and in particular greetings, are fluid. What may have given heartburn to your 8th grade teacher 40 year ago is now accepted. I don't find the term hey as insulting as you. It has ascended to be a common greeting, not unlike "hi", since the Andy Griffith Show. Must be a very slow news day.

We get it. You're a commoner.

Andy Griffith portrayed a small town mayor who didn't need an education beyond high school to be successful and beloved by his Mayberry constituents. When the President of the United States (a graduate of Harvard Law, no less) tries to sound folksy, it comes across as phoney. His campaign is obviously pandering to the lowest common denominator, in which case they should target their fund-raising emails to people like you who lack the sophistication to feel insulted.


Well Gollee, No reason to be so nasty--it is about the use of "hey". But even we unsophisticates--as you call me--know that Andy was the sheriff not mayor!

Hey, Demonpass

Thanks for calling that mistake to my attention. I admit I'm not at all sophisticated about television shows or movie stars, but I watched enough of Sheriff Andy when my children were young - the original shows, not the reruns - that maybe I should have remembered what role he played. I will stand by the rest of my comment over your objections to my candidness.

Andy Griffith

was fiction...

Andy Taylor

and Mayberry were fictional.

And I'm sure you had the same criticism of the whole Palin

thingy? (Cause we know that was not about anything remotely intellectual, and was all about the XX and that mama bear stuff). Or Romney's gaffes about grits and such? Admit it, you're just looking for something to criticize Obama on and this small thing fits your bill.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Sounds as though you really think the e-mail comes from Obama

This looks like some bad campaign staff writing to me. I's too informal and the use of "Hey" is inappropriate. Perhaps his "social media" campaign coordinator should receive your input.

Hey Dan,

pretty sensitive aren't you? It does get a little irritating however, especially watching some of the local tv media types greeting each other in that manner. The prez is just trying to be one of us common folks, is my guess.
So far, the political phone calls, especially out of Burley, have turned me against all of this early campaigning.
P.S. Your delete button solves all of those irritating e-mails!

we need good examples

"but such sloppiness with the English language is beneath the office and sets a bad example."


Hey, good point! (:

That email looks like a Statesman writer put it together.

I think the Statesman writers should be meeting reasonable standards of English, hoping to encourage their readers to write "presidential emails".

Dare to hope.

I got the same email

I got the same email, and I admit the "hey" did throw me a bit when I saw it. It is more casual than I would expect coming from a political campaign. I don't know though that I felt it was rude. I was thinking along the same lines as becourteous that it is just bad campaign staff writing.

There has been,

admittedly, a general degradation of the principles of verbal and written communication over time.
I am constantly amazed how the assumed vanguards, defenders, and professional practitioners of the written word, of which the media are a part, are able to mangle a perfectly designed form of communication on a daily basis.
Take a bow, IS.

A problem with language

is what set you off. My, my, my. Have you paid attention to the actual politics of either party over the last 20-30 years. My last worry is their informal use of the English language. It's the content, if any, that worries me.

The message

is in the context.

Dan, I think

you are looking for reasons to be unhappy.

Flat out rude?

Really, Mr. Popkey? While perhaps not as formal as you would like to see from the country's Commander in Chief, I hardly think this subject line can be considered rude. "Hey" is a common greeting employed in this country, and the fact that you had a needless and ridiculous bias instilled in you by a teacher long, long ago does not make the word inappropriate. It certainly doesn't warrant a blog post. Methinks you are letting a completely unrelated bias against our president drive this post.

Perhaps you're right about my nostalgia for my teacher

And others make good points here.

Nevertheless, when someone, particularly the president, makes a personal appeal for a campaign contribution, they should take pains to be polite about it. What's next? Yo! AAAAAY!

As for being worth a blog post: That's precisely what the blog allows -- tidbits that otherwise wouldn't make the print edition.

Dan Popkey

I'm with you----

language is the key element of any society.
As goes language, so goes civilization.
Stick to your gubs.

I know it's a typo but,

considering your message,it's pretty self-defeating.

You've never

seen Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run"?
I highly recommend it.


Hey is a very common greeting, especially in the south. I use it often, but always with people I am familiar with. I also say howdy to both known and unknown persons, which might throw some of them "foreigners" off a bit. Hey does seem a bit casual and out of context coming from the President, but it may also be a greeting he uses often. Now, if you are just trying to run a little anti-Obama something or other to please certain readers, than I am glad that his informality is all you could find to really complain about. Hey

Just figured out

the hidden message that Barack sent to you Dan. His birthday is coming up, he wants a birthday card from you and he wants you to Pop(the key word) for a birthday party at Chuckie Cheeze. Pink Panther included.

Need I point out that Fonzie did not say 'heyyyyyyyy'

but 'aaaayyyyyyyyyy'...

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

And he dated TRIPLETS.

I say back off from Arthur Fonzerelli.

Mrs. C's unconditional love for the Fonz says EVERYTHING.


You fry wants with that?