The president is president of all of us. Not just the Democratic Party. Even during a campaign.
It’s one thing to lambaste your opponents and their ideas. But the president of the United States should not be describing the other Party as un-American. It’s worse than sordid, divisive politics. It’s an ignominious, even somewhat frightening thing for a president to do, and it demonstrates a real ignorance on the part of Obama about the Constitutional role of his position.
Let’s look at what he said last night at a fundraiser in San Jose, California.
Some of you here may be folks who actually used to be Republicans but are puzzled by what’s happened to that party. I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately?
You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change. It’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay. That’s not reflective of who we are . . .
This is a choice about the fundamental direction of our country — 2008 was an important election; 2012 is a more important election.
The key phrase above is “That’s not reflective of who we are.” As he has before – most notably in describing the budget by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) that was adopted by the House – Obama is suggesting that his opposition is un-American.
He’s vilifying an entire Party with a couple of extreme examples – it did not sound like more than a few in the audience were applauding or booing at the moments he mentions, and the reactions were likely more about the general issues raised than a particular gay soldier or condemning anyone to death.
It’s pure demagoguery, from the avatar of hope and change. And in the manner of a demagogue, he pretends his meaning is the opposite of what it is. As he divides us, he claims he’s only trying to bring us together.
We’ve had differences in the past, but at some level we’ve always believed, you know what, that we’re not defined by our differences. We’re bound together.
How different this man is from the one he pretended to be in 2008. Even to those who opposed him then, he seemed like he might be able to lead and inspire
Instead, he now suggests that demonization of Republicans is going anchor his 2012 reelection quest, making sure we are “defined by our differences.”
We’re going to have a stark choice in this election. But I have to make sure that our side is as passionate and as motivated and is working just as hard as the folks on the other side because this is a contest of value.
This is a choice about who we are and what we stand for and whoever wins this next election is going to set the template for this country for a long time to come.
It will indeed be a “stark choice” between this extremely liberal president and whoever opposes him. And it will be a “contest of value,” to be sure.
But whoever wins, “who we are” as a country will continue to be about both conservativism and liberalism. It will be about democracy and freedom, about the spirited debate over ideas and, yes, values.
Whichever side prevails, the values of the losers remain part of the “template.”
How dangerous for a president to think his values are America’s.