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Obama takes opportunity Palin missed (You might need a second bag on this one...)
Politico ^ | 1/13/2011 | Jonathan Martin

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 nation’s heated political debate should continue unabated even after Saturday’s 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.

It’s difficult to imagine a starker contrast.

Many Republicans believe that it’s mostly the media that is obsessed with Palin, and that there’s little chance she could win the party’s 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 Palin’s 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 country’s 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 won’t 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 didn’t think that the country’s 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, Palin’s pushback served to reinforce the message behind Obama’s 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 wasn’t any of his policy prescriptions but rather his pledge to change the conversation in Washington. He hasn’t 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 president’s sharpest critics, suggested the speech saw Obama find his role as head of state.

“I wouldn’t 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 Clinton’s speech following the Oklahoma City bombing and President Reagan’s 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.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: az; freepressforpalin; martin4dnc; martin4obama; obama; pali; palin; politico4dnc; politico4obama; politico4romney; politicofauxnews; politicoflack; politicoprrep; scapegoating
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"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."

Never mind the victims- what about the most important question: How does this help Obama?...

1 posted on 01/13/2011 10:02:10 AM PST by Qbert
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To: Qbert

Martin is an idiot, and I doubt her wrote this crap. It was probably written for him!

2 posted on 01/13/2011 10:06:30 AM PST by ABQHispConservative (Fire all the damn rino!)
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To: Qbert

Within thirty minutes of the shootings, the Left was attacking conservatism. They had this prepped.

3 posted on 01/13/2011 10:09:03 AM PST by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto.)
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To: Qbert

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!

4 posted on 01/13/2011 10:11:35 AM PST by Williams (It's the policies, stupid.)
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To: FlashBack; athelass; Tina Grazier; exit82; backwoods-engineer; APatientMan; TheConservativeParty; ..

This makes me sick PING!

5 posted on 01/13/2011 10:14:54 AM PST by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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To: Williams

“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.

6 posted on 01/13/2011 10:19:12 AM PST by Qbert
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To: combat_boots

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.

On Hardball no less:

7 posted on 01/13/2011 10:19:39 AM PST by Marty62 (Marty 60)
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

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.

8 posted on 01/13/2011 10:22:06 AM PST by lone star annie
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To: combat_boots
The three issues the dems now have for the 2012 election, gun control, internet control, hate radio control, were all worked into the news prior to the shooting.

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.

9 posted on 01/13/2011 10:22:10 AM PST by IMR 4350
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To: Qbert
A two bagger? I crawled inside a large hefty bag for this piece of work. O.M.G. They inhabit an entirely different reality.
10 posted on 01/13/2011 10:24:20 AM PST by Jay Thomas (If not for my faith in Christ, I would despair.)
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To: Qbert

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.

11 posted on 01/13/2011 10:24:51 AM PST by upsdriver (to undo the damage the "intellectual elites" have done. . . . . Sarah Palin for President!)
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To: Qbert

Discourse is good = pro liberty

Unity = code for taking away rights.

Guess which one was Presidential?

12 posted on 01/13/2011 10:24:58 AM PST by rintense (The GOP elite & friends can pound sand.)
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To: Qbert
Congratulations to Charles Krauthammer for being the newest useful tool for Left Wing websites.
13 posted on 01/13/2011 10:25:12 AM PST by Rational Thought
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To: Qbert
*Sigh*..Wow,Obama sure can speak truth to power!
14 posted on 01/13/2011 10:28:29 AM PST by 4yearlurker (I can't afford anymore hope and change!!!!)
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To: Qbert
Jonathan Martin

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.

15 posted on 01/13/2011 10:28:42 AM PST by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: Qbert
Obamas speech at the dem pep rally will have no lastinf effect at all except in the minds of the beltway punditocracy.

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.

16 posted on 01/13/2011 10:31:19 AM PST by jwalsh07
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner
Methinks Jonathan Martin needs some kneepads. This is not reporting anymore it has degraded into hero worshiping.
17 posted on 01/13/2011 10:37:41 AM PST by McGruff
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To: IMR 4350

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.

18 posted on 01/13/2011 10:41:39 AM PST by Louis Foxwell (For love of Sarah, our country and the American Way of Life.)
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To: Rational Thought

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.

19 posted on 01/13/2011 10:45:36 AM PST by Hugin ("A man'll usually tell you his bad intentions if you listen and let yourself hear it"--- Open Range)
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To: upsdriver

“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.

20 posted on 01/13/2011 10:46:16 AM PST by Qbert
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