I wrote a piece for POLITICO this morning, the gist of which is that Obama as president needs to rise above his fellow Democrats who are indicting free speech and the Tea Party as the culprits of the mass killings in Tucson. You can read it here.
Here are a couple of quotes to give you the gist of it.
The suggestion that the words of tea party adherents are to blame for unconscionable violence is ironically as divisive and provocative as the rhetoric being criticized. Culpability seems to have been assigned even before it is clear whether anything much more than a deranged man’s paranoid psychosis is the cause.
We cannot fail to speak our minds passionately because some unstable person may take the rhetoric to an illogical extreme. Strong political language is a normal part of the American public discourse, and the president has engaged in plenty of it himself.
As president of the entire country, Obama must speak for all of us. He must reject – or at least not join – the diatribes that now are blaming the shootings on people who are loudly and often acerbically giving voice to their genuine frustration during a time of economic despair.
If Obama is the least bit serious about his post-Election Day vow to push the reset button on his drive for bipartisanship, he must unite the country by showing that he is the president — not the partisan pol he was during the campaign.
The president does not need to frame the tea party as an extremist hive of haters. He’ll have plenty of people to do that for him.