Throughout his tenure, there have been several facets in which President Obama has been demonstrably weak on leadership, with the debt debate coming to the forefront in recent months. Now however, lost in that news cycle has been another failure of leadership for the President – his own request to tone down violent rhetoric in this country. For it was mere months ago that Obama stood in front of a crowd in Tucson that had anxiously sought leadership amidst the chaos of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting; a teachable moment that had The Guardian gushing about how the President had delivered “calm amid the toxic rhetoric.”
That moment of calm has long since dissipated. Where once the President had denounced discourse that places “the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do,” we hear Republicans blamed for holding the American people hostage to their economic policies. Where once we were urged to talk “with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds,” we now hear tea party members being denounced as terrorists.
Make no mistake, this ratcheting up of terrorism and hostage-taking discourse directly coincides with recent events in Norway. The instant that Oslo terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, was labeled as a ‘right-wing Christian,’ liberals finally had their moment to seize upon – not just a chance to mislabel conservatives as extreme ideologues but a chance to label them as violent ideologues. This message has been a coordinated and vicious attack amongst the media, the Democrats, and most assuredly, the President.
Prior to the Norwegian massacre, references to the tea party as extreme were prevalent, but making the leap in logic to terrorism had been scant. After the Norwegian massacre however, liberals defining the tea party as hostage-taking terrorists have become far more frequent. In the last few days it has become practically commonplace.
This past Friday Politico ran an op-ed titled, “The Tea Party’s Terrorist Tactics,” which featured an illustration of an individual with a dollar sign-shaped bomb strapped to their chest, and argued that the party had progressed from hostage-taking to “the intentional infliction of harm on innocent Americans to achieve a political objective – terrorism.”
Joe Klein penned a piece for Time in which he accused Republicans of being beholden to ‘tea party robots,’ and worse, that their perceived unwillingness to compromise is something that would have made Osama bin Laden proud. The exact quote being that were he alive, bin Laden “could not have come up with a more clever strategy for strangling our nation.”
Rush Limbaugh ran a montage on his radio show to demonstrate that these attacks on the tea party aren’t limited to the ever-biased media, but have been coordinated with their liberal leaders in government. That montage features Democrats echoing the same sentiment ad nauseam, with over 16 different politicians referring to the tea party or Republicans as holding the American people hostage.
Former Democratic Congressman, Martin Frost, also in the Politico, cuts right to the chase with an op-ed titled, “The Tea Party Taliban.” Frost argues that “like the Taliban” the Tea Party sees “compromise as an unacceptable alternative.” He claims that the party’s quest for political purity gives them “much in common with the Taliban.”
In lockstep with the sentiments of his colleagues, the President himself delivered a weekly address in which he denounced the Republican solution to solve the debt crisis as a plan that “would hold our economy captive to Washington politics.”
It is enough to make one wonder, where did our healing President go? Where is the man that calmed during a time of toxic rhetoric? Where is the man who urged Americans to talk in a way that helped rather than harmed?
That man is a myth. He simply does not exist.
We will never hear the President denounce such vile language from his side of the aisle. In fact, we consistently hear the drone of silence from a supposed leader, where such silence equates to consent.
The better question is – Where has our leadership gone?