Monday, November 09, 2009
Two Profiles in Class [Rory Cooper]
This past weekend, Americans were treated to two completely different profiles in class. First there was former president George W. Bush. On Friday night, George and Laura Bush traveled by car to Fort Hood to meet with the devastated families of last week’s tragedy. They specifically asked the base commander not to alert the press, and spent hours simply doing what they could to comfort the grief-stricken families.
The story was eventually uncovered, as these moments tend to be, but clearly President Bush did not see this as a personal opportunity, nor did he want to upstage the current president. The former president saw his interactions with wounded soldiers and their families as private moments.
Twenty-four hours later, President Obama was not at Fort Hood, but rather on Capitol Hill lobbying a private meeting of Democrats, who must not have known his position on health care. Obama told the lawmakers, according to Democratic congressman Earl Blumenauer in the New York Times: “Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care? All it will do is confuse and dispirit [Democratic voters] and it will encourage the extremists.”
Let’s dissect that statement. First, President Obama incorrectly states that conservatives are “anti-government,” which simply is untrue. Conservatives are in favor of the government’s performing its duties efficiently and effectively. Conservatives are not in favor of the government’s running a new national health-care entitlement that will surely fail. (The House passed a bill that costs $2.4 trillion, raises taxes by $700 billion, and massively expands a bankrupt Medicaid program — all while the nation’s unemployment rate stands above 10 percent.)
More disturbing is President Obama’s labeling his opposition as “extremists” and falling just short of using the profane “teabag” epithet that is popular among dismissive liberals. This is simply beneath the office he holds. When tens of thousands of multigenerational families descended onto Capitol Hill last week, they were protesting runaway federal spending and government control. They understood that while reform of our health-care system is necessary, the answer is not to compound the problem while ignoring uninsured Americans. These are not extreme views.
President Obama won a short-lived victory this weekend on health care, but he clearly misread the tea leaves if he believes that conservative Democrats will get more support in their home districts for supporting this disastrous plan. These electoral matters are not helped by the president’s demonization of a respectful and vigilant opposition to this government intrusion into their lives.
While President Bush was at Fort Hood consoling the victims of real radical extremism, President Obama was in Washington calling American families who don’t support his health-care plan “extremists.” A more enlightening profile of the two men could not be found.