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Works and Days

What If?—Mr. President

November 8th, 2009 - 10:49 pm

Not in good form

Based on a few of President Obama’s statements, this was not a particularly good week for the administration. In a disturbing pattern, we are beginning to learn far more about Obama in his impromptu moments, in periods of national crisis, or in off-the-record reported bantering, than in his set teleprompted speeches. Consider some of the things the President said the past week—and then imagine what he might have said.

A little more spirit, a little less cool

In his reaction to the horror at Fort Hood, Obama, in detached fashion, urged Americans not to rush to judgment about the motives of the killer Major Nidal Malik Hasan—despite immediate reports that Hasan had screamed out “Allahu Akabar,” as well as been known to post on the Internet inflammatory anti-American, and radical Islamic messages. Each day more incriminating information is released about a clear past record of inflammatory hate speech directed at the U.S. military.

What if the President had said something quite different?—something a little bit more angry like, “All Americans have had it with these mass murderers, whether formal terrorist plotters or individual assassins. I promise you we will find out what motivates a Major Hasan—and do my best to ensure that there are no more Major Hasans in our future.”

We are not asking Obama to rush to judgment before the facts are in (e.g., in the manner of the Professor Gates mess, in which he, in Pavlovian fashion, immediately condemned the Cambridge police as acting “stupidly” through stereotyped racial profiling)—only that he express some sort of visceral outrage at this serial killing of innocent Americans.

Dumb analogies

President Obama also reportedly gave a pep talk to Democratic legislators on the eve of last Saturday night’s successful passage of the House version of his government medical plan. According to Rep. Robert Andrews, D-NJ, Obama at this juncture referenced the Fort Hood massacres. His “remarks put in perspective that the hardships soldiers endure for the country are ‘what sacrifice really is,’ as opposed to ‘casting a vote that might lose an election for you.’” (This from a politician who voted “present” for political reasons as a matter of habit, and compiled the most partisan voting record in the U.S. Senate.)

And according to Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, President Obama also quipped, “Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care? All it will do is confuse and dispirit.” … “and it will encourage the extremists.”

Surely the President has learned that “tea-bag” has become a derogatory sexual slur, used by those on the Left to deride any who attend the so-called Tea-parties—the vast majority of whom are neither “extremists” nor  intrinsically “anti-government people.”

Instead of all this, what if the President of the United States had not called for a Saturday night vote on health care, in which he used the outrage over the Fort Hood horror to win back wavering votes, while slurring his enemies. What if instead he had said something like, “Let’s have the debate and vote take place in prime afternoon time, to encourage the American people to follow the proceedings. And let us conduct the entire process without calling each other names.

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