Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Obama bus tour includes heated exchange

Barack Obama is probably wishing he could head to Martha's Vineyard and get on with his vacation after a heated run-in with a constituent yesterday during his bus tour in Iowa.

While working a rope line, the president was asked by a bystander why his vice president called tea partiers "terrorists," according to Fox Nation.

The president denied Biden had done so. This August 1, 2011, article in Politico noted:
Vice President Joe Biden joined House Democrats in lashing tea party Republicans Monday, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over raising the nation’s debt limit, according to several sources in the room.
Apparently Democrat Mike Doyle (D-Pa) has begun the dialogue, as reported by Politico:
“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money."
In the exchange with tea party members in Iowa, the president denied Biden had called them terrorists. He was also overheard again blaming President George W. Bush while he back-peddled in the confrontation, and then was heard to say:
“Now, in fairness, since I’ve been called a socialist who wasn’t born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a health care bill, I’m all for lowering the rhetoric."
With all due respect, a leader does not turn the discussion onto himself. It was not about him ... it was about a group of people wrongly described by the second-in-command as "terrorists" ... and they rightly called him on it.

It was not a shining moment for the president. I'm torn as to whether he should have been confronted while on a glad-handing tour but, at the same time, when would everyday people on the opposite side of the aisle have access to ask questions or tell him how they feel? After all, the glad-handing is a campaign event and one could argue that would be the time to approach him.

A true leader may have understood that he is the leader of all the people, not just those who share his political views, and in these volatile times, he could have defended salt-of-the-earth Americans and said they absolutely were not terrorists. Remember ... after Gabby Giffords was shot in Arizona, the Dems begged that the rhetoric be toned down. Once again, that apparently means only for those on the right side of the aisle, not the left.

No comments: