An Invitation Befitting a President of the United States?
Rory Cooper /
Two weeks ago, we alerted you to an event invitation on President Barack Obama’s ongoing campaign website, barackobama.com, which used startling language to describe the opposition. The message urged Americans to call their U.S. Senators on September 11 and “fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders.” It went on to call conservatives the heirs to Bin Laden. After we reported this, the posting was removed and the President’s campaign team chalked it up to an independent poster who had no affiliation to the website and was akin to a harmless comment on a blog.
Well, they’ve done it again, only this time the invitation comes directly from Jason Waskey, Maryland State Director of Organizing for America (OFA), and President Obama is headlining the event so it cannot be dismissed so easily. Yesterday, OFA members received an email inviting them to a health care rally with President Obama at the University of Maryland on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. In the invite, Waskey compares opponents of the President’s health care agenda to “swiftboaters” who are “spreading lies and stirring up fear.”
This type of language may be acceptable, even expected, during a political campaign, but as we pointed out two weeks ago, now is not that time. An invitation to see the President speak, any President, was at one point in America a treasured gift. Gold embossed stationary, or simply tickets with the presidential seal or a picture of the White House have been framed and hung on walls across America. Guests of all political persuasions ask the President to sign them if they’re lucky to be close enough. Even in an electronic age, invitations from the President should carry some weight or at least a healthy respect for the office. This invitation does not come close to meeting Presidential standards.
In his speech before Congress last week, President Obama said: “But what we have also seen in these last months is the same partisan spectacle that only hardens the disdain many Americans have toward their own government…Too many have used this as an opportunity to score short-term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long-term challenge.” Mr. President, you are correct, and this type of partisan campaign invitation is exactly what Americans disdain, and is exactly what makes bipartisan reform so hard to achieve.
When conservatives rightly point out that liberals have consistently defeated health care amendments that would protect against taxpayer funded abortions or against abuse by undocumented aliens, they are not lying, they are pointing out legislative facts. When conservatives rightly point out that tens of millions would lose their private coverage under your plans, even if not by government “force” or “requirement,” but merely by design, they are not “spreading fear,” but merely helping educate a very well-informed populace.
It is often said that nobody wants to see how the sausage is made. When the debate is whether to overhaul one sixth of our economy and put control over a vast amount of American income into the hands of the government, trust us, Americans want to see the details. By discussing the details on both sides, this is not “swiftboating” as the President’s Maryland State OFA Director calls it, but having a transparent debate.
As we said two weeks ago, the time has come for the President of the United States to embrace the office he holds, and end the perpetual campaign. Speaking to the American public via whitehouse.gov and via barackobama.com sends mixed messages that add credibility to the charge that the President only cares about the people who voted for him in November. A positive step towards a bipartisan debate, and as Obama said last week, “[a] recognition that we are all in this together” would be to shut down the barackobama.com website which seeks to alienate voices in this nation and divide Americans as either for him, or against him.