Rhetoritician, Heal Thyself
posted at 10:33 pm on February 4, 2010 by Dafydd ab Hugh
Another example of neoconservative Michael Medved fawning over an Obamic oration that simply isn’t worth the… well, we’ll get into that.
On his radio show today, Medved referred to a speech, which Obama gave today at the National Prayer Breakfast, as “great;” Medved enthusiastically compared it to Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Medved was evidently so impressed by the subject of the speech that he failed to note the superficiality and hypocrisy of its execution.
The subject was civility, about which Barack H. Obama is a subject-matter expert — for the same reason that Jack the Ripper was a subject-matter expert on human anatomy. Indeed, the president’s violent assaults on civility are legion. In today’s talk — the same one where he referred (twice!) to a Navy Corpsman as a “corpse-man” — he inexplicably neglects covering a number of points:
- Bearing false witness against one’s rhetorical opponents; for example, the president accusing Republicans of saying “that they can insure every American for free, which is what was claimed the other day, at no cost” — when they, or rather Rep. Tom Price (R-GA, 100%), actually said “he has a health-care proposal that expands health insurance coverage to ‘all Americans… without raising taxes by a penny.’”
- Making rude and offensive gestures out of view of the target of such mockery; for example, when the president extends his middle finger, visible only to his own supporters, while pretending to rub his cheek during a debate.
Insulting one’s debate partners with crude, adolescent epithets; for example, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY, 100%) calling Sen. Scott Brown a “far-right tea-bagger Republican,” which is not only demeaning but drips with homoerotic inuendo. Are Democrats really saying we should despise Brown because Schumer thinks the senator from Massachusetts is homosexual? (Which, by the way, he most certainly is not.)
That would be a switch.
In fact, whenever Obama in his civility speech drifts away from vague platitudes —
And this erosion of civility in the public square sows division and distrust among our citizens. It poisons the well of public opinion. It leaves each side little room to negotiate with the other. It makes politics an all-or-nothing sport, where one side is either always right or always wrong when, in reality, neither side has a monopoly on truth.
— into more concrete paeans to civility and condemnations of incivility, the good guys always seem to be liberal, while the black-hats are invariably conservatives:
That begins with stepping out of our comfort zones in an effort to bridge divisions. We see that in many conservative pastors who are helping lead the way to fix our broken immigration system. It’s not what would be expected from them, and yet they recognize, in those immigrant families, the face of God. We see that in the evangelical leaders who are rallying their congregations to protect our planet.…
We may disagree about the best way to reform our health care system, but surely we can agree that no one ought to go broke when they get sick in the richest nation on Earth. We can take different approaches to ending inequality, but surely we can agree on the need to lift our children out of ignorance; to lift our neighbors from poverty. We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are[.]
All right, we get it: Obama loves conservatives who support comprehensive immigration reform and Globaloney, and he despises any conservative who opposes universal health care, the government school system, and welfare for all. And he reserves especial hatred for anyone who “target[s] gays and lesbians for who they are.” We take judicial notice that liberals by and large believe that any initiative which defines marriage as between one man and one woman falls into that “targeting” category.
Even his one feeble nod to lessons the Left must learn is innocuous, demonstrating their big-heartedness rather than small-mindedness:
We see it in the increasing recognition among progressives that government can’t solve all of our problems, and that talking about values like responsible fatherhood and healthy marriage are integral to any anti-poverty agenda.
Yes, it would be nice if progressives recognized the former and talked about the latter. Soon, perhaps?
But where in the president’s speech is any reference to the real-world examples where the incivility is entirely on the other shoe? Can we all agree that SEIU thugs shouldn’t physically assault black conservatives at peaceful protests? Not until Obama and the Left recognize that it actually happens.
We can all take different approaches to environmental protection, but surely we can all agree that when climatologists who are global-warming alarmists conspire to sabotage the careers of their counterparts who reject global-warming theory, such shenanigans are at the very least uncivil.
Well, no; to most of the Left, the CRU’s only mistake was getting caught by a hacker. As to fabricating evidence and suppressing inconvenient truths, the entire liberal spectrum relies upon the “fake but accurate” defense of Rathergate vintage.
Barack Obama seems remarkably averse to self examination. He is the most “do as I say, not as I do” president in my lifetime. Heck, he’s the most “do as I say, not as I do” president of Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-WV, 79%) lifetime; and that takes us all the way back to John Quincy Adams!
The president is equally incapable of beholding the beam in the eyes of his allies in House and Senate, in the leftstream media, and on blogs like Daily Kos, Firedoglake, and the Hufflepuffington Post. (See, I’m keeping with the Biblical tone of the prayer breakfast.) When he says, “in reality, neither side has a monopoly on truth,” he means neither the progressive nor the moderate Democratic side; he certainly does not extend such magnanimity to the GOP — which indeed has a monopoly on mendacity in Barack Obama’s world.
I understand (but reject) Michael Medved’s urge to give the POTUS (and his TOTUS) the benefit of the doubt; but Medved and other former liberals really need to understand that at a certain point, all “doubt” is blown away by the hurricane of rank, uncivil partisanship that surrounds the current administration. At that point, it’s far more urgent to extend the benefit of clarity.
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…