Alternate title: “In Which I Reconcile with Stacy McCain.” Be warned: this post has a bit of a rambling style. I told you: I’ve been reading a lot of Ace lately.
Anyway: leave it to KP to recognize the weakness of Obama’s speech last night. Allahpundit, Ed Morrissey, Rich Lowry, Gabe and Drew at Ace’s, Baldilocks, John Nolte, and about a million other conservatives said last night that they thought Obama had somehow denounced the leftists’ “Blame Palin” campaign of lies. Like me (and Ace, and Stacy McCain, and Rush Limbaugh, and Tammy Bruce, and a seemingly small handful of others), Ms. Powers begs to differ:
He did add to his prepared remarks that incivility did not cause this tragedy, but he stopped short of a full rebuke of the complete irresponsibility of those who have been stoking anger at conservatives who—as far as we know—had nothing to do with this.
When the president did lay blame, it was on Americans in general. Among the many odd assertions he made: suggesting that “what a tragedy like this requires” is that “we align our values with our actions.” We were told to “expand our moral imaginations.”
A mentally ill gunman opened fire at a Safeway. A lack of “aligning” or “imagination” really wasn’t the problem. Obama chided Americans to “be better,” as if we somehow caused this shooting to happen.
As I argued earlier, if we’re going to give Obama credit for denouncing the lies, he should first earn our praise by, you know, actually denouncing the lies. Because — and now I’m speaking to all you conservatives who thought Obama was extra tough on the left — I don’t think the left interpreted his words the way you think he did. For example: the New York Times ran an editorial today basically saying, Obama said we should all be civil, and good thing he said that, because that Sarah Palin sure isn’t civil, is she?
Here is the icing on the cake. Remember that the Big Indication that Obama was supposedly denouncing the leftists? Yeah, it was that ad-libbed line that you see in brackets below:
And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy [– it did not –] but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.
Now, I have been shouting to anyone who will listen that this was very far from a rebuke. But I was assured that these three words had a huge impact on the left, because it was a direct slap to their faces.
Here’s where the Rorschach inkblot comes in, I guess. Because what are we to make of the fact that the New York Times simply left those words out of their editorial?
I heard some conservatives saying it was to hide the rebuke from readers’ view. Yeah, maybe — if you’re inclined to see it as a big rebuke.
Me, I will point out that their quote was lazily taken from the prepared text. (Remember: the Big Three Words were an ad lib.) And I think that, rather than being devious, the editors just . . . hadn’t noticed the ad lib.
See, the point of the conservatives was to say: Wow! When he said “it did not” he sure stuck it to the New York Times!! And I think that those three words had such a huge impact on the New York Times that they . . . forgot he said them.
Which is not to say that they weren’t devious after the omission was noticed. When Ace and a few others went nuts, they snuck the three words back in. (Without a word of acknowledgement, as you do with a significant and embarrassing correction, when you’re a major newspaper and you think we’re all too dumb to notice.)
But the point is: those three words meant nothing to them.
As Ace says:
Those on the right who liked the speech are praising Obama for making these statements which, if you read them carefully enough, seem to caution the left about tearing itself into a red frenzy over this.
Those of us who like the speech less don’t like it because the speech was elliptical enough, vague enough, ambiguous enough that the New York Times could miss the point if they tried hard enough, which in fact they did.
Look, I already said this. When you say a “simple lack of civility” didn’t cause the shooting, the Boehlerts say: right! Evil right-wing rhetoric did! And Obama left that interpretation wide open.
This is why KP says Obama’s so-called rebuke was anything but.
If you’re going to denounce something, denounce it. And if you just can’t do it because, hey, you can’t offend your base, then fine, whatever . . . but why should conservatives give you credit for a Sister Souljah moment that never happened?
That is what continues to frustrate me no end about this speech — and it takes a leftist like KP to articulate it?
Thankfully, there is a small handful of us who are so pissed about the last few days that we are banding together, and saying hell no, we’re not moderating our rhetoric. If anything, this episode has made me far more strident — because I know that’s the opposite of what the liars want.
And somehow, I don’t feel like acceding to the liars’ demands. I’m funny that way.
Stacy McCain and I actually bonded over this on Twitter. (Yeah, I’m on Twitter! Follow me here.) I observed to him that, like him, there was no way I was going to engage in a “new tone” — and I noted that the lying leftists have managed to achieve a certain UNITY!!! among some of us conservatives that I never thought I’d see. I said: “There is something about having a common enemy that draws people together.” McCain responded:
rsmccain @Patterico Good time as any to let bygones be bygones. Now let’s kick some liberals to the curb.
I agreed. And as far as I am concerned, the bygones are indeed bygones. Because what Stacy said is about how I feel at this point. It’s time to stick these lying Krugmans and Koses in a trash can, head down, with their faces ground into the rotting fish heads and their feet flailing in the air, and take them out to the curb — because, after the last few days, it’s looking like trash day, and I hear the truck coming down the street.
No, no: don’t put them in the recyclables container. I want them gone from our public discourse for good.
As a caller observed to Rush Limbaugh today, “civility” is basically the left’s code word for “censorship.” If those are the terms of civility, I’ll pass.
Again: nothing unites like a common enemy. Hell, I’m even enjoying listening to Mark Levin again!
But, you know, I can find common ground with a lefty like KP — as long as she’s willing to agree with me about what a weasel Obama was last night.