Even for a man of nearly limitless hypocrisy, it is a remarkable juxtaposition.
During his remarks at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication on Saturday, the president said this:
[King] would want us to know we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other’s love for this country with the knowledge that in this democracy, government is no distant object but is rather an expression of our common commitments to one another. He would call on us to assume the best in each other rather than the worst, and challenge one another in ways that ultimately heal rather than wound.
These words were spoken by a man who says, on a regular basis, Republicans refuse to “put country ahead of party” (a not-so-subtle way of questioning their love of this country). In a speech earlier this year, he accused Republicans of wanting the elderly, autistic and Down syndrome children to fend for themselves. And this week, the president described the Republican economic plan as boiling down to this: “Let’s have dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance.”
For Obama to sermonize on Saturday about civility and speak words that heal rather than wound while spending the rest of the week leveling charges that are indecent and meant to wound rather than heal demonstrates a level of cynicism, or self-delusion, that is almost hard to comprehend, even for one who has witnessed the Obama Act for several years now.
In either case, it doesn’t reflect well on Obama. He turns out to be both an incompetent president and a ruthless politician. It’s a troublesome combination. When all is said and done, my guess is he’ll lose the election. But whether or not this happens, the president is in the process of losing something even more valuable: his honor.