Saturday, May 8, 2010

Watch What Obama Does, Not What He Says

From Cal Thomas at RealClearPolitics:

President Barack Obama has returned to a theme he used effectively during the 2008 campaign: Politics is too divisive; name-calling isn't helpful; labeling people doesn't solve problems.

In his address to University of Michigan graduates Saturday, Obama said, "We've got politicians calling each other all sorts of unflattering names. Pundits and talking heads shout at each other. The media tends to play up every hint of conflict, because it makes for a sexier story - which means anyone interested in getting coverage feels compelled to make the most outrageous comments."

All true. In our 2008 book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America," Democrat Bob Beckel and I say the same thing. The difference is we - in appearances and in our USA Today column - actually try to find solutions to problems.

Part of the reason for the intense dislike of this president by some on the right is their belief that he used a longing among the public for civil discourse to get elected, but then abandoned that laudable goal in pursuit of arguably the most radical left agenda in U.S. history.

The words of the late John Mitchell, Richard Nixon's disgraced attorney general, seem appropriate. In the midst of the Watergate scandal, Mitchell advised the press, "Watch what we do, not what we say."

The same standard should be applied to the Obama team. The president talks a great game about civility, the corrosive language of politics and the self-absorbed media that promotes conflict. But Obama's policies, behavior and the people in his administration suggest he isn't serious. Many in his administration are radical leftists.

Don't take my word. Perform a Google search by typing "Obama's radical czars." Read their backgrounds. Van Jones, Obama's former "green czar," was an admitted communist. Mark Lloyd, the president's "diversity czar" at the Federal Communications Commission, admires Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez.

One of the president's earliest political mentors was the late Frank Marshall Davis. Is it uncivil to point that out and to ask what influence Davis' activism has on the president's policies?

If this president were really committed to easing the tension and poisoned rhetoric in our politics, he could start by fulfilling a promise to reduce the number of abortions in America. He has said he wants to do so, but has done nothing yet to make it happen. To many conservatives - especially social conservatives - abortion remains the most important issue.

On this one issue, the president would have the full support of the pro-life community. He would do himself much good, while simultaneously diffusing one of the most contentious issues since the Vietnam War.

Doing so would mean he is serious in what he says. Perhaps it's better to listen less, and instead take John Mitchell's advice and watch what he does.

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