Former President Bill Clinton, while speaking at an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund recently, said this:
[W]ords have consequences as much as actions do, and what we advocate, commensurate with our position and responsibility, we have to take responsibility for.
Mr. Clinton makes an excellent larger point about our Political Heroes in general and President Obama in particular, though this was certainly not his intention. I think it a bit disingenuous of him to conflate anti-Government rhetoric (generically) with the Oklahoma City bombing in particular…but he’s on to something here with his overall concerns. And, while Clinton was quick to pat the Tea Parties on the back for exercising their first amendment rights by rallying and protesting against “big Government,” he was also quietly suggesting they should play nicer whenever and wherever they do it. And it is here that Mr. Clinton and I go our separate ways:
“What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold – but that the words we use really do matter, because there’s this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike,” he said.
This is like saying we should not allow violent video games or questionable content on tv because a few people might take it the wrong way and do something terrible…that “law of good intentions fraught with unintended consequences” thing. The theory works both ways here, and that is what Clinton is missing. Let’s remember how strongly the American people had stood up against the health care bill…its content AND the process by which it was passed and signed. The resistance was not displayed by Tea Partiers alone; a great many Americans were against the bill. HCR proved to be a showcase for politicians being politically tone deaf to the demands of their constituents and going forward against the will of the people all the same…with total impunity.
And this brings me to President Obama and his cocky, mocking bravado now that he’s of the opinion he can do whatever the bloody hell he wants and assuming there’s nothing any of us can actually do about it:
I’ve been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes, taxes. You would think they would be saying thank you. That’s what you’d think.
Amused, Mr. President? Laughing at the people you work for because they don’t like what you’re doing? That is not a good example of Executive Branch Leadership. Rather than choosing that path of “Leadership” by embarking on an ongoing engagement with those of us opposed to his Health Care debacle in an effort to reassure us of its righteousness, Obama has chosen instead to taunt us:
President Barack Obama dared Republicans to try to repeal his new health care law, telling them Thursday to “Go for it” and see how well they do with voters in November.
During one of his early victory laps in Iowa, Obama further mocks and taunts those he means to lead with this little gem:
Three years ago, we made a promise. That promise has been kept. Of course — of course, over the last year, there’s been a lot of misinformation spread about health care reform. There’s been plenty of fear-mongering, plenty of overheated rhetoric. You turn on the news, you’ll see the same folks are still shouting about there’s going to be an end of the world because this bill passed. (Laughter.) I’m not exaggerating. Leaders of the Republican Party, they called the passage of this bill “Armageddon.” (Laughter.) Armageddon. “End of freedom as we know it.”
So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there any — (laughter) — asteroids falling or — (applause) — some cracks opening up in the Earth. (Laughter.) It turned out it was a nice day. (Laughter.) Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall. People still have their doctors.
Nice display of adulthood there Mr. President. Lots of people take being laughed at and mocked and taunted and made fun of, after losing something that meant a great deal to them, rather badly sir. Your end zone celebrations, and pre-fight trash talking hype, do not enhance the tone of American dialog and actually serves to foment the anger and rage you routinely lament (and blame voices on the right for having brought to the surface).
And Obama’s use of the phrase “there’s been a lot of misinformation spread” is becoming the basis for every defense of every bill he means to inflict on us. Consider his approach to addressing the issue of Financial refom – by kicking the lap dog he’s just finished housebreaking:
U.S. President Barack Obama accused opposition Republicans on Saturday of spreading misinformation about a Democratic bill that aims to tighten oversight of Wall Street banks and their practices.
Obama’s words, as President Clinton pointed out regarding resistance to this Administration’s antics and childishness, are not helping. As President of the United States, and commensurate with his OWN position and responsibility, he must take responsibility for his own words and actions. As Clinton said:
“One of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have.”
Obama would be well-advised to look back on both Bush AND Clinton and remember he can help…or he can make things worse. That lack of Leaderhip experience shows through more and more with each passing moment with this young President.