Presidential Artlessness

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

An observation from Elizabeth Scalia:

Instead of denying the veterans — who are very old, unlikely to be making a second trip and who have damn well earned the right to see their memorial — Obama should have personally greeted them there, respectfully toured the memorial with them, listened to a few stories and then made some remarks about how everything the veterans have fought for is now “under attack and being threatened” by politicking, and extremism and we must always fight for all Americans, rhetoric, rhetoric blah, blah”, and the president should have posed for pictures with the vets and promised that “any vet could always come to their memorials, whether the government is shut down or not, because we owe them that much.”

The press would have eaten it up, and Obama — particularly if he had been able to discipline himself (questionable) to speaking respectfully of the opposition, and not calling them his “enemies”, or “terrorists” — would have absolutely defused this story, and made himself look masterful in the process. Instead of creating a bad-optics story out of stubbornness and spite, he’d have completely owned the story, to his advantage.

That would have been quite the legacy-campaign speech. And I do wish my president would quit being so insulting to those who disagree with him. Things are a mess and there should be room in Washington for respectful – albeit passionate – disagreement. Ted Cruz actually demonstrated some of that during his non-filibuster filibuster. Could that be contagious? 

Meanwhile the president described some Republicans as “extremists” this morning . . .