Skip to comments.Obama takes opportunity Palin missed (You might need a second bag on this one...)
Posted on 01/13/2011 10:02:06 AM PST by Qbert
In the span of a single news cycle, Republicans got a jarring reminder of two forces that could prevent them from retaking the presidency in next year.
At sunrise in the East on Wednesday, Sarah Palin demonstrated that she has little interest or capacity in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics. And at sundown in the West, Barack Obama reminded even his critics of his ability to rally disparate Americans around a message of reconciliation.
Palin was defiant, making the case in a taped speech she posted online why the nations heated political debate should continue unabated even after Saturdays tragedy in Tucson. And, seeming to follow her own advice, she swung back at her opponents, deeming the inflammatory notion that she was in any way responsible for the shootings a blood libel. (See: Shooting presents 2012 test)
Obama, speaking at a memorial service at the University of Arizona, summoned the country to honor the victims, and especially9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, by treating one another with more respect. I want America to be as good as Christina imagined it, he said.
Its difficult to imagine a starker contrast.
Many Republicans believe that its mostly the media that is obsessed with Palin, and that theres little chance she could win the partys nomination. (See: Republicans disappointed at Palin)
But if she does manage to, Wednesday illustrated why so many in the GOP fear that it would be disastrous.
The former Alaska governor has a knack for supplying rhetoric that will delight her supporters, send her critics howling and invariably create a frenzy of coverage. But her response suggests she is capable of hitting just that one note.
The production value from the heavily scripted speech to the American flag just behind her left shoulder of Palins address appeared presidential. With Obama set to speak later in the day, it almost had the feel of a State of the Union response from the opposition. And, in condemning violence, she displayed some flourishes that touched the countrys spirit. (See: Tragedy marks turning point for Palin)
Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next, she said in her first on-camera remarks since the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
But for much of the eight-minute talk she was defensive and showed little interest in doing anything other than channeling the understandable resentment of her ideological kinsmen over the blame-casting. And that wont appeal much to a political center that even while they may not think Palin is in any way responsible for Tucson preferred more conciliation even before the jarring attempted assassination of a member of Congress. (See: Palin grabs spotlight with video)
Even on the right, her talk was seen as a missed opportunity.
The strongest way to rise above would have been to talk about suffering, tragedy, hope, strength and recovery, said former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer. Instead, she followed the more conventional political route and made it about herself rather than the victims.
At a moment when even the famously combative Fox News chief Roger Ailes was saying take it down a notch, his most famous contract employee did just the opposite.
Her timing was especially maddening to some Republicans.
The furious response on the right to the notion that conservatives were somehow responsible for the tragedy had been articulated by respected voices such as George Will and Charles Krauthammer, each of whom wrote compelling columns. A CBS poll released Tuesday night validated their claims, showing that 57 percent of Americans didnt think that the countrys harsh political tone had played a role in the shooting. Most important though, there was mounting evidence that the gunman was a deeply disturbed young man who was not motivated by any traditional political cause. The left, it was becoming increasingly clear, had overreached before she reignited the issue.
Further, Palins pushback served to reinforce the message behind Obamas speech, providing the president with an opportunity to transcend both the immediate finger-pointing on the left at Palin and other conservatives and her angry denunciation and counterattack. (See: Obama: 'I believe we can be better')
What attracted so many centrist voters to then-candidate Obama in 2008 wasnt any of his policy prescriptions but rather his pledge to change the conversation in Washington. He hasnt done it yet and has, at times, not lived up to his own stated desire to bring down the temperature. But his fundamental political worldview is that most Americans prefer conciliation over confrontation.
And, speaking to a capacity basketball arena filled with leaders of both parties and those touched by the tragedy, he appealed to that spirit. (See: Mourning turns to cheers)
Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together, implored the president.
The speech was a vivid example of the promise of Obama and a reminder of why, even after so many missteps, he remains a formidable figure. (See: Obama challenges America)
It was supposed to be simply a chance to make a good speech, but it may be more than that, said GOP pollster Steve Lombardo after the address. It may be a time when we look back and say that he re-made himself tonight into the President we thought he could be.
Krauthammer, one of the presidents sharpest critics, suggested the speech saw Obama find his role as head of state.
I wouldnt underestimate how this is going to affect the perception of president, Krauthammer said on Fox News after the memorial service, comparing what Obama did in Tucson to President Bill Clintons speech following the Oklahoma City bombing and President Reagans address in the wake of the Challenger explosion.
What few Republicans wanted to say for attribution but what was manifestly clear was that Palin had made Obama look even bigger than he was.
Her argument for conflict-oriented politics lent itself as the near-ideal foil for his plea for civility. It was a clear contrast and, for Republicans, a dispiriting one.
Never mind the victims- what about the most important question: How does this help Obama?...
Martin is an idiot, and I doubt her wrote this crap. It was probably written for him!
Within thirty minutes of the shootings, the Left was attacking conservatism. They had this prepped.
OMG conservatives are “grievance based” ???
This is a neat trick if we let liberals pull it off. They are tearing society apart, and they will claim common sense conservatives are the disruptive ones!
This makes me sick PING!
“OMG conservatives are grievance based ???”
I know- what a joke.
Within an hour of the shooting, the libel media starts implying that Palin had inspired the shooter- then she defends herself in a brief segment of her speech, and now “all” Conservatives are “grievance based”?
One inconvenient fact for Pollutico and the rest: we’re 40% of the population, and we’re not buying your spoon fed nonsense.
Ofcourse the Leftist did. They opined for months before this tagedy that Zero needed a OKC moment.
The scenerio was set up with Palin et al as the perps and Zero as the great Miracle worker.
This is a major barfer! They deranged left are using this for political gain nothing more. They could give a sheesh about the victims. Like the commies all is for the party—the individual be damned.
One might be a coincidence, two is suspect, but all three indicates this or something similar to it was planned.
Add to that the orchestrated news stories of the “VIOLENT TEA PARTY” and the coordinated attack against Sarah Palin, and coincidence just doesn't explain it.
Is this guy serious? Obama is a small man before, during and after his campaign speech last night. Obama lacks character, there is nothing real about him.
Sarah Palin’s speech was great because it was heartfelt, genuine and true to her character. Liberals will never understand the difference.
Discourse is good = pro liberty
Unity = code for taking away rights.
Guess which one was Presidential?
This guy is a rabid Palin hater. Remember the rumor about the Diva Palin blowing off interviews to Hannity and Levin? Guess what hack rolled that out without any proof.
Not 1% of America has any clue as to what Obama siad at Fort Hood and not 1% will have any idea what he said yesterday a year form now.
On the other hand a heftier percentage will recognize the words blood libel, just as they do "death panels', which btw are not owned by and religion, race or creed.
It is critical to understand that the agenda of international communism is fundamental to the progressive movement in the US. The essential principle is deceit. The inability of conservatism to acknowledge the profound evil of the left makes it impossible to respond appropriately. The only conservative who gets it and is able and willing to encounter the malicious left is Sarah Palin.
Krauthammer and Will are just jealous that they are no longer the leading conservative pundits for anyone outside the Beltway, having been replaced by the likes of Limbaugh (both Rush and David), Mark Levin, Mark Stein, Glenn Beck, Jonah Goldberg, and yes, Sarah Palin.
“Is this guy serious? Obama is a small man before, during and after his campaign speech last night. Obama lacks character, there is nothing real about him.”
The sad thing is, yes- I think he 100% believes this. I wouldn’t doubt if suffers from the same psychological “magical thinking” that the rest of his libel media buddies are afflicted with: if he writes the words and declares what the rest of the public “believes”, therefore it is. They’re completely confounded when the reality smacks them in the face.
Anyone with half a brain knows BHO and the rest of the Dems are going to be back to demagoguing Conservatives within a few days, and all of these words will ring hollow, just like the soul-less man himself.