Commenting on a link Glenn Reynolds provided to an Examiner post requesting that the President and Speaker Pelosi apologize for smearing the Tea Party movement, his reader Marc Greendorfer offered:
I can’t recall a single instance during his eight years where President Bush derided American citizens who took to the streets to protest his administration. In fact, I think that President Bush always acknowledged the right of citizens to disagree with him and he was always respectful of that dissent. If Obama’s mocking of dissent is the change he promised I don’t think I like it.
This mocking of dissent is entirely at odds with Obama’s campaign portrayal of himself as a post-partisan figure able to transcend political divisions. In a post last month, I suggested he could make that rhetoric a reality if he “acknowledge[d] the sincerity of the Tea Party protesters and fault[ed] those who would question it.”
A leader confident in his ideas would welcome a debate on his policy proposals. He would not need deride his critics because he would know that an airing of various opinions would not weaken his arguments justifying those proposals.
Whey has the President (and his supporters) been so thin-skinned on this? Do they fear their proposals won’t stand up to public scrutiny?
Look, let’s have a debate on this. Let the President defend his big government approach to the economic crisis and let a leading economist supporting the Tea Parties respond to his points. Then, maybe have another member of his (the President’s) team respond to that.
If the President truly wishes to be the unifying image that his campaign promised, an idea he still promotes in his rhetoric, he would acknowledge the sincerity of the Tea Party protesters’ concerns and address them point by point, without mockery or derision. Not only would that speech be a gracious gesture, he could also use it to promote his policies, to show why they’re in the national interest.
And he would fulfill his campaign pledge to serve as a transcendant, unifying figure.