26 September 2013

Outrageous Obama Incivility

President Obama with Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer

As the new fiscal year looms without a budget passed, and the debt ceiling debate on the horizon, the Obama Administration ought to be building ad hoc coaltions to prevent the United States going off the fiscal cliff.  Yet when President Obama's Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer went on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper", the White House pressed a bombastic bric-a-brac against Republicans.

Having an Obama  senior spokesman call Republican opponents "suicide bombers" is beyond the pale of civil political discourse coming  from the White House.  These verbal bomb throwing  through the auspices of the Oval Office neither builds Congressional coalitions vital for governing (as opposed to campaigning) and this infelicitous  and incindiary analogy shows a shocking lack of civility.  In the same day, Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dredged up birther barbs to mock Republicans for wanting to defund Obamacare.

After the near assassination of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ 8th) in January, 2011, President Obama made a grandiose speech at the Together We Thrive rally  in Tucson which memorialized the fallen in  the atrocity where President Obama proclaimed:

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized -– at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do -– it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.  

President Obama then rightfully noted that a "more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation."  So how do Dan Pfeiffer's inflamatory remarks against ideological opponents fit into this call for civility?

Perhaps President Obama gave himself a waiver on civility.  After all, President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign persisted on an unsubstantiated insuniation that Republican Presidential Nominee Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) was a felon for alleged misrepresentations when he was at Bain Capital.  Political campaigns ain't beanbag, so rough and tumble rhetoric is not out of the ordinary, particularly for a politician who can not win without smearing his opponent.  But governing is different than campaigning.

While Pfeiffer's smear of his opponents as suicide bombers is outrageous and unwise, it is not the only example of inflamatory accusations that have the imprimatur of Obama's Oval Office. Democrat Congressional leaders such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 8th) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have been wont to refer to uncooperative Conservative Republican legislators as "Arsonists".  Senior Obama White House Advisor Dan Pfeiffer echoed this arsonist accusation and kidnappers comparison against Republicans.  Or progressive radio host Thom Hartman who compared Senator Ted Cruz's  (R-TX) filibuster to "Taliban-styled suicide bombings".   Kind of sounds like the Obama White House talking points were passed out.

These slanderous characterizations from the Obama White House give Democrats surrogates in the Lamestream Media license to copy scurrilous phrases.  This was quickly spread by  MSNBC's Chris Matthews did when the former Democrat staffer turned broadcaster asked  Representative Scott Perry (R-PA 4th) why the Republicans want to hold the country "hostage".

The Obama Administration seems intent to demonize and try to delegitimize their opponents, ala Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. But Pfeiffer, Pelosi and Reid are not alone in voicing vitrolic language against idelogical opponents.  Senator John McCain referred to Senator Cruz and Senator Rand Paul as "wacko birds", while Congressman Peter King  critiqued Senator Cruze as a crazy, fraudster and suicidal.  While these invectives abrogate Reagan's Eleventh Amendment, they are not as vial as a voice of the President of the United States in a time of real Islamist jihadi terrorism comparing Republicans to suicide bombers. 

It sounds like the White House communication staff need to take a crash course at the National Institute for Civil Discourse.   After all, the NICD launched a website "YourWordsCount.org" which reminds readers of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's word of wisdom: "Civility costs nothing and buys everything."   But that would also mean that they would be reminded of dear leader Obama's quote:

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

So much for shaping the future in an uplifting way.

In the aftermath of the Tucson shooting, the elite Liberal media were quick to lambast Tea Party Conservatives, particularly former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, for  dangerous symbolism on  pamplets which "targeted" politcally vulnerable  Democrat districts like Giffords' with crosshairs.  Ironically, the Democrat Congressional Camapign Committee used bullseyes for their targeted districts.    But as Chris Plante would put it: "If it wasn't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all."

From a partisan political perspective, the Obama Administration's beyond the pale references to Republicans clearly demonstrates that the Obama White House does not want to deal and is pushing to peg Republicans with any blame for a government shutdown.  They may be calculating their strategy premised on the 1995-1996 government shutdowns which allegedly hurt Republicans (even though that was not demonstrated at the ballot box).   But according to the latest Pew Poll, both Democrats and Republicans would be blamed for a government shutdown.

In the scheme of things, political blame is inconsequential compared to the quantum corsening of civil discourse that has been displayed by White House operatives Dan Pfeiffer and Press Spokesman Jay Carney. Such uncivil exchanges are unworthy of authority in this Constitutional Republic.

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