There are days I wish President Barack Obama could have met my Aunt Doll — not to be confused with Aunt Cindy, my mother’s only sister, who was a churchgoing, nonswearing, nondrinking woman.Dollie Cheney was the daughter and surviving heir of my great-grandfather Major Cheney and a sister to my father’s mother. She was actually my great-aunt, but all family members called her Aunt Doll.Yeah, I wish the president could have known her, because she could have taught him a few things about how to handle his constant critics in the Congress, the ones who vowed on the day he was sworn in that they would work to make him a one-termer. Although they didn’t reach that goal, that hasn’t prevented Republican leaders from trying to make Obama fail.Aunt Doll, whose major income came from leasing gravel-rich land to a major cement mixing company, was a strong, independent, no-nonsense woman who definitely knew how to handle a critic.Much of her colorful language, however, would not be suitable for a head of state or for publication in a family newspaper. But some of her lines would come in handy for a Mitch McConnell or John Boehner or any other member of Congress constantly putting up roadblocks to impede any proposal from the president.For example, when anyone questioned a fact or implied that she didn’t know what she was talking about, Aunt Doll, an avid newspaper reader, would say, “Hell, I went by the schoolhouse even if I didn’t stop.” In full disclosure, you should know that this was a woman who had her indulgences. When casually dressed, she often wore an apron with two pockets: in one was always a round box of Garrett snuff; in the other was often a half-pint of Jim Beam bourbon whiskey.For that person who was disrespectful or needlessly argumentative, like so many members of Congress, she’d bite her upper lip and tell him, “Now don’t get so drunk that you can’t smell my whiskey.”In other words, if he wanted to act a fool, she was prepared to act a bigger fool.When she heard of someone bragging about how much money they had, Aunt Doll might say, “She couldn’t buy a mosquito and head rag.” And for those who boasted about what they could do, she would spit in her coffee can and reply, “I’d rather see it than hear about it.”She really couldn’t stand an impertinent or obnoxious individual. Her words for that sort of person?“Just a little bit of his gravy runs all over my plate.”There are those in the House of Representatives whose slightest amount of gravy is way too much for my taste.A statement of my aunt’s that was most often repeated by others was one reserved for those who were particularly irritating.“He makes my [behind] want to take a dip of snuff,” she would say, except she didn’t use the word “behind.”That’s not something Obama could say about his irritating detractors in Congress. He’s too respectful for that.Of course, there are those who feel that the president is too respectful toward his congressional adversaries, who often show him none at all. That’s what upsets me the most about this do-nothing Congress, whose GOP members exhibit little esteem for the office of president and especially the man who currently holds it.Some members are gloating over the president’s falling poll numbers, apparently pleased with their part in encumbering his policies, while being oblivious to their own unpopularity.As the president’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said, compared with Congress’ rating in the polls (around 9 percent), Obama’s numbers are “sky high.”Aunt Doll could have come up with an even better retort. Sadly, she never knew Barack Obama, and too bad he never met her. She died in 1974 at age 87.
Bob Ray Sanders’ column appears Sundays and Wednesdays. 817-390-7775 Twitter: @BobRaySanders