While giving the commencement speech at the University of Michigan back in May, President Barack Obama discussed the state of political discourse in the country:
Obama was direct in urging both sides in the political debate to tone it down. “Throwing around phrases like ‘socialists’ and ‘Soviet-style takeover,’ ‘fascists’ and ‘right-wing nut’ — that may grab headlines,” he said. But it also “closes the door to the possibility of compromise. It undermines democratic deliberation,” he said.
Passionate rhetoric isn’t new, he acknowledged. Politics in America, he said, “has never been for the thin-skinned or the faint of heart. … If you enter the arena, you should expect to get roughed up.”
Political discourse could be improved, but this is how it has always been in our country, and it has been much worse at various times, such as the Election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and the Civil War.
But if President Obama was serious about raising the level of discourse, he probably shouldn’t say things like this:
Fox News pushes “a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world,” Obama said.
“But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.”
Fox has yet to respond to the president. But during the administration offensive against the network last year, network spokesman Michael Clemente slammed the White House for continuing “to declare war on a news organization instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about.”
If Obama wants to condemn destructive behavior, why not start with Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), who is running blatantly false ads against his opponent. Why not look at look in the mirror as well since he proving to be part of the problem?