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Under-inflated Tires: Let's Respect Alternate Points Of View

Rich Lowry, who has been discovering fatal character flaws in Barack Obama at a rate of approximately one per week, uncovers another in his latest column: Obama is intolerant of intellectual difference:

It's almost as if they take pride in being ignorant," Barack Obama mused the other day, blasting Republicans for ridiculing his exhortation to the nation to make sure its tires are properly inflated.

Ah, behold the open-mindedness and cross-partisan understanding. Remember two years ago, when Obama was only a media darling and not yet The Anointed One?

Back then, his appeal was the extraordinary sensitivity he had for the views of others. His best-selling campaign book, "The Audacity of Hope," was carefully unaudacious in its on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand weighing of the issues of the day, giving the impression that nothing pained him so much as not being able to agree with the other side, though he thoroughly understood and respected its arguments.

That iteration of Obama was tossed under the bus long ago (no word on whether the tires were adequately inflated). It's been replaced by an Obama who - between pauses gazing regally into the middle-distance during his orations - betrays a dismissive contempt for all differences of opinion.

Okay, let's review here. First, somebody asked Obama what individual Americans could do to cope with high gas prices. Obama replied that making sure your tires are inflated helps. Republicans began ridiculing Obama and (untruthfully) saying that his entire energy plan consisted of urging people to inflate their tires. Obama replied that they were ignorant.

Exactly what "differences of opinion" is Obama intolerant of here? Does anybody think that making sure your tires are inflated can't help you get better mileage? Have Republicans already set up pseudo-think tanks with oil industry-funded scholars casting doubt on the value of inflated tires, and demanding that opponents respect their opinion and teach the controversy?

--Jonathan Chait