David Axelrod, senior Obama 2012 strategist, awaits certain rebuke by President Barack Obama today after he violated the guidelines for civil dialogue laid down by the President in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting in January 2011 by referring to Republicans as terrorists.
At the ceremony for the victims and survivors in Tucson, President Obama made a new commitment to the nation (emphasis added):
But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized — at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do — it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.
Axelrod explicitly violated that new presidential directive when he stated on CNN’s State of the Union this morning that Republicans were part of a “reign of terror”:
I think a lot of Republicans in Congress want to cooperate, know better, but they’re in the thralls of this reign of terror from the far right that has dragged the party to the right. In your own polling and other polling, you see the Republican Party has really moved out of the mainstream.
The reference to terrorists is clearly at odds with President Obama’s policy on civility. It also violates a commitment that President Obama made earlier this month not to question his opponents’ patriotism, as reported by Politico:
“I’m a firm believer that whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, that you’re a patriot, you care about this country, you love this country,” Obama said at an intimate fundraiser in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “And so I’m not somebody who, when we’re in a political contest, suggests somehow that one side or the other has a monopoly on love of country.”
Given that terrorists are at war with the United States, Axelrod’s comment is clearly meant to suggest that Republicans–and the “reign of terror” that allegedly dominates them–are behaving in anti-American ways.
There is no word yet from the White House, or from Obama 2012 headquarters in Chicago, on what Axelrod’s fate will be–whether a public rebuke from the president, or temporary suspension from his campaign duties.
Failure to respond to Axelrod’s clear and flagrant violation of President Obama’s policy on civility would be unthinkable, as it might suggest that the President actually endorsed Axelrod’s views, and that his commitment to civility in the wake of a terrible national tragedy had been insincere, cynical, and opportunistic.