This afternoon during the statement in which he announced the sacking of the interim head of the IRS whose tenure apparently may already have been approaching its expected end anyway, the president said, among other things:
I’ll do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again
Now, there is a possibility, I suppose, that he’s lying.
However, imagining the possibility that he really will do everything in his power “to make sure nothing like this happens again”, I have a suggestion of something that he can do immediately that is absolutely within his power and wouldn’t even take that much work: Prepare and then deliver the following statement from the Oval Office:
Greetings, my fellow Americans. I come before you to start a new chapter in American politics. I realize that I told you that I’d start a new chapter in American politics almost five years ago when I won the presidency. I said then, as I had throughout that campaign, that my administration would usher in a new type of politics in America. Many of you first heard about that dream four years earlier when I delivered a speech to the Democratic National Convention extolling the virtue of Red States and Blue States coming together as one Nation working together to solve our problems and live in harmony.
Indeed, many of you were enthralled with the concept of a young and charismatic politician who did not pit Americans against each other, and throngs of you from both sides of the political aisle came together to make history by electing me as president in 2008. You believed in that new chapter of American politics I sold you at that time. Perhaps I did too.
I am going to be frank with you in my assessment of my own record since then. Simply put, I have let you down.
I let you down during my first term, for example, by suggesting those who opposed my $800,000,000,000 increase in government spending were “rooting for failure“, and in an effort to convince you that the government was a better judge of your health-care decisions than even your doctor, insinuating that some of them perform unnecessary surgeries simply for their own monetary gain, among many other instances.
I often highlighted not simply the differences of opinions—fair game in the rough-and-tumble sport of politics and vital in the arena of competing ideas—but impugned the motivations of my opponents. It wasn’t simply that Fox News, for example, showed an opposing view, my thin-skinned response was that they were “entirely devoted to attacking my administration“. I had no qualms with singling out individual citizens who were expressing their First Amendment rights to disagree with my policies publicly if it would provide a face to demonize rather than forthrightly and honestly defend my positions.
On topic after topic, in forum after forum, it was belittling those who disagree with me as bitter clingers, and that my supporters should “punish our enemies“. Heck, just last year, my campaign produced a commercial that—no kidding—said my opponent was “not one of us“. Okay, sincerely, as an aside, I’m surprised at the lack of irony Americans displayed when I, of all people, was allowed to get away with that one…but that’s a story for my memoirs and I digress.
Point being, I have fostered, as much as or possibly likely more than anybody an atmosphere of demonizing your political opponents to the degree that we cannot even get along and agree to disagree anymore. Let’s set aside my cynicism in having suggested that I am the non-cynical one in all of this and simply recognize my role in the degradation of our political culture.
Now, let me be clear that I state unequivocally I never explicitly directed nor even winked-and-nodded to anybody who works for me nor any part of the government to single out my political opponents for IRS scrutiny. But as I reflect on the employees of the Federal Government, I cannot help but recognize the role that my leadership must have had on them.
In no way do I excuse this despicable and illegal conduct and I stand behind my comments and my commitment to follow the trails to those who did this and punish them accordingly.
That said, I certainly deserve part of the blame here.
Therefore, starting now, I will institute a new form of public dialog. From this day forward, I vow to never again attack my political adversaries’ motives but rather honestly and straightforwardly challenge them on their positions and policies. We will disagree, and the arguments will be pointed and heated at times, but they will not—at least from me—ever be personal again.
Let me start by acknowledging unequivocally that my opponents do not want poor people to starve and die naked and emaciated in the streets. They do not want poisoned air and water, and that they want a clean environment for their children just as much as anybody does. My opponents don’t hate gays, Muslims, nor foreigners. They don’t want you to go without teachers, policemen, firemen, libraries, or White House tours.
Just like me, they want to help people stay healthy and have access to health-care…they just want to approach it a different way.
Just like me, they want our children and families and friends to be safe from random acts of violence…they just have a different idea of how to achieve that.
Just like me, they want a revitalized economy and more people working fulfilling careers…they just don’t agree with how we get there.
Just like me, they want a strong and respected America that leads the world…we just differ on what that means and what it looks like.
Now, to my supporters, don’t worry…I’m not disarming unilaterally. I am not in any way abandoning the foundational ideas of a strong and effective centralized government playing an active role in our citizens’ lives in an attempt to make our Nation great and strong. But going forward, I will respect my opponents’ motives and respect that they also hope for the best for America and want our Nation to be strong and prosperous.
I cannot promise that my taking this new approach will ensure no underlings in the IRS or other parts of the government will never again act as recklessly and criminally. But I can guarantee you that as of this moment, this evening, right now…they will never be able to imagine for a moment that I, President Barack Obama would even for a second condone such actions. I regret that it is incredibly likely that up until now, they may very well have.
Thank you, and good night.
My partner says it’s also “in his power” to just resign.
I suppose I’d give both possibilities about equal chance.
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)
UPDATE: My apologies (mine, ColoradoPatriot, not the hypothetical president)…no end of troubles with WordPress last night. I didn’t realize till this morning that comments had been turned off, now since rectified.