I thank everyone who emailed me. I love hearing from readers. When someone reacts to points that I make, I know that my work is provoking thought. Not a single email expressed agreement with my praise for Obama, but all of the emails carried respectful tones, a fact that speaks well for the character of my readership.
I believe that discussion which clarifies also educates. I have no illusions about convincing people of my way of thinking. To me, maximum benefit lies in seeking first to understand and then be understood, a principle which Stephen Covey includes as the fifth of the “seven habits of highly effective people.”
In the Friday post, after reproducing a portion of the speech in which Obama addressed the leftwing vitriol that arose in response to the Giffords shooting, I wrote:
I heard the words, but suspected nefarious motivation. Then I reconsidered. I imagined the same words coming from someone else. My different reaction told me that I had touched my own bias. When my reaction then softened, the bias subsided.
One reader responds:
I respect your opinion, but honestly, I believe everything about this man and the team he assembled is calculated. My opinion: It’s clear to this administration that they’ve lost the Independent vote. The nefarious motivation I see from this speech is a calculated move from hence forward from the progressive-in-chief to conduct more neutral, apolitical, touchy-feely speeches to recapture this specific group of constituents.
I agree with this reader’s analysis of Obama’s tactics, but find it curious to describe the motivation as “nefarious.” Consider that there were indisputably times when George W. Bush made “calculated move[s]” in speeches “to recapture [a] specific group of constituents.” Ronald Reagan delivered “calculated” oratories to capture the imagination of conservatives.
So then, to assign nefariousness to Obama’s motivation but deem the identical motivation noble when used by other presidents would be inconsistent. Obama wants to be reelected. Does this surprise anyone?
Another readers writes:
I also have to wonder if this speech was also intended to make people forget the violence advocated by the left…
A possibility. But there’s another side to the equation on which this reader’s suggestion is based. One may reasonably maintain that with his speech, Obama sought to distract people from leftwing violence. But to deny that the speech urged the left to stop its venomous rhetoric would be to reject an equally valid perspective. To illustrate the point, reflect on how global warming alarmists cherry-pick data in order to advance their alarmism. Generally stated, selectively acknowledging only friendly facts paints a partial portrait of reality.
Some of my readers are people who fled the Castro regime. One such gentleman writes:
Obama weeps over a few deaths in Arizona, to the applause of the entire public, while he plots the cold-blooded murder of an entire culture’s hard earned lifestyle… in private!
Fidel did the same in Cuba. I saw many of his phony speeches growing up.
Barry learned in basketball, fake a goal shot with the right hand and score with the left one!!
All great con artists know how to give a bit of bait to catch their prey!!
All of Barry’s moves are meant to score for the left, they are all great investments!!!
Bread is $4 a loaf in Southampton, NY.
Wait until BHO’s second term!!!
Solid points, well-said. The reader’s assessment brings to mind the final four sentences of last Friday’s post in which I qualified my praise for Obama’s speech:
From the hideous Tucson incident has emerged the best indication so far that Barack Obama may at least be thinking about changing his über-partisan posturing.
I remain leery, but feel a bit more optimism in my soul.
Perhaps we can move forward with eyes wide open, but more cheer in our hearts. We can retain our healthy skepticism, but acknowledge progress when progress is what we see.
My former Cuban, now-American reader offers sound advice. Americans must remain aware that Obama relentlessly tries to “fake a goal shot with the right hand and score with the left one.”
Finally, one reader meticulously analyzed Obama’s speech and decided that the President was using a tragic occasion for “laying the groundwork” to achieve ideological objectives. I admire the reader’s dedication to exposing Obama’s sneakiness. I simply disagree with the level of sneakiness that the reader saw in this case. One need not search for code in Obama’s language since this President has come right out and told us, indeed continues to tell us, precisely what he intended and still intends to do.
Obama’s tyrannical regime speaks for itself–the forced, unwanted legislation; the ideologically-motivated executive orders; the business-murdering, general welfare-destroying regulatory nightmares of the EPA, CMS, FCC (1, 2, 3), HHS, FDA, etc. But it would be wise to maintain a balanced perspective. On occasion, when even the most radical President ever does or says something good, if conservatives and right-side-of-the-road libertarians fail to acknowledge the goodness, then is the Right and righter than the Left?