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Partisan Rhetoric

February 17, 2011

One of my fundamental beliefs is that all things can and should be worked out in peaceful and respectful dialogue.  Has that always happened, sadly, no, but not for lack of trying.  There have been many failures, but I still, perhaps stubbornly, hold it to be sacred.

While there will continue to be intense partisan rhetoric in the coming weeks over the budget, there was an excellent letter to the editor in today’s Wall Street Journal that touches upon this very issue:

Michael Medved offers sound advice to conservatives to stop accusing President Obama of deliberately weakening America (“Obama Isn’t Trying to ‘Weaken America’,” op-ed, Feb. 14). Most conservatives believe that Mr. Obama is attempting to fundamentally transform America and that, in the process, his policies have weakened the American economy and its standing in the world.  But benefit of the doubt says that these are side-effects, not objectives.  Although conservatives ought to avoid the malicious intent charge, it is worth remembering that the left used that charge quite effectively to attack President George W. Bush.

President Obama’s primary domestic priority, as stated repeatedly during his campaign, is to make America a fairer country with less income disparity and more help for the disadvantaged—not necessarily a European welfare state, but a major step in that direction. His primary foreign policy is to make America more of a team player, rather than taking action and demanding that others follow suit. Shortly after his inauguration, President Obama told an audience in France that, “In America there is a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world.”

President Obama is not an economist, businessman or foreign policy expert. He was a lawyer, community organizer and politician. Chances are that he sincerely believes that his vision of a socially just America will produce a better, if not stronger, nation; and, if the economy suffers a little in the process, that is a price worth paying. There’s no malicious intent there, just a community organizer’s view of government’s role in the private sector. Conservatives can show that Mr. Obama’s policies are hurting the country without questioning his intent or impugning his integrity.

Chris Morgan

Charleston, S.C.

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