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Obama Bemoans "Poisonous Political Climate"

President Obama is concerned about the heated rhetoric that accompanies much of the debate about his policies. In a commencement address in Ann Arbor, Michigan today the President asked the electorate to turn down the volume in a debate he not only started but also fueled with his own irresponsible rhetoric.

By Peter Slevin

Saturday, May 1, 2010; 5:45 PM

ANN ARBOR, MICH. -- Reflecting on 15 months as the leader of a polarized nation, President Obama delivered a spirited defense of government on Saturday in a direct rebuttal to Republicans and "tea party" followers who question his politics and his priorities.

Obama called for tolerance and the pursuit of diversity of thought in a "poisonous political climate" and criticized people at both ends of the political spectrum for "throwing around" words such as "socialist," "fascist" and "Soviet-style takeover" -- and said a similar attitude is "starting to creep into the center of our discourse."

"This kind of vilification and over-the-top rhetoric closes the door to the possibility of compromise. It undermines democratic deliberation," Obama told a crowd of 92,000 at the University of Michigan's commencement. "It prevents learning -- since after all, why should we listen to a fascist' or 'socialist' or 'right-wing nut' or a 'left-wing nut'?"

What a heaping pile of chutzpah from the Skip Gates defending, Cambridge police insulting, pitchfork threatening, middle America despising, race hustling President. A frequent commenter asked today about the apparent intense loathing of President Obama and the attribution to him personally of so much that voters find wrong. The answer in short is statements like the one above. There was no "democratic deliberation" in the passage of ObamaCare. Republicans were excluded from deliberations on the most important piece of social legislation passed in a half century. There was no "democratic deliberation" on the Stimulus Legislation, the largest single Keynesian spending experiment in half a century. There was never the possibility of compromise on these legislative behemoths yet the President deigns to lecture us on etiquette while he defecates on our policy positions. This president doesn't get it. He never did. He doesn't get it in a way that Marie Antoinette didn't get it, which is why he complains when the middle class becomes inflamed as he steals their lunch and then expects them to simply eat the elitist cake he offers instead.


From the same article some very good push back from the Tea Party:

In response, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Obama of hypocrisy, while Judson Phillips, a founder of Tea Party Nation, said Obama's own followers should heed his words.

"We're seeing a lot of incivility from the other side, people referring to us as tea-baggers and racists, people who lie about us," Phillips said. "I'd be interested in the president telling those people to be civil."

The President can't and won't tell his base to be civil because they represent all of what is left between him and the loss of the House and perhaps the Senate in 2010.


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Comments (25)

And we, the people, bemoan ... (Below threshold)

And we, the people, bemoan the fact that he is POTUS.

Obama Bemoans "Poisonous... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Obama Bemoans "Poisonous Political Climate"

Good point. We look forward to his resignation. Once Soros signs off, of course.

Poor President Thin Skin. ... (Below threshold)

Poor President Thin Skin. Axelrod was right. And Barry still has a glass jaw.

Hey Barry! As Truman said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

But then what did you expect from a guy with all that 'vast executive experience'.

This may sound cliche but..... (Below threshold)

This may sound cliche but...what a pussy.

"Republicans were excluded"... (Below threshold)
Just John:

"Republicans were excluded"?
Boehner just took credit for eliminating recission and keeping children eligible into thier 20s.

I have watched politics sin... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

I have watched politics since the 60's and cannot remember any politician, let alone president, being so tone deaf. He doesn't even try to hide his contempt for reasonable thinking Americans. I hope he campaigns for every Democrat running for re-election because we will sweep the House and the Senate if he keeps this up.

Where was he for the past 9... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Where was he for the past 9 1/2 years? Oh yeah leading the "poisionous climate" most of the time.

Translation:" Sit Down, Shu... (Below threshold)
LeBron Steinman:

Translation:" Sit Down, Shut up and let me rule."

Imagine George Bush's react... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Imagine George Bush's reaction.

I say no more.

Charles Bolden did exactly ... (Below threshold)

Charles Bolden did exactly last Wednesday at NASA JSC what Obama said today.

Charles Bolden was PLEADING to us to support his decision because Obama is his boss.

Really turned me off.

criticized people at bot... (Below threshold)

criticized people at both ends of the political spectrum

This is a central Democratic tactic. Keep telling everyone and sundry just how awful the Republicans are, hammer home just how evil they've been, and when you start catching the backlash from your own commentary, tell everyone that it's the fault of both sides.

It's especially good with corruption. Every time any Democrat makes an accusation towards the GOP, jump in with both feet, screaming to the rooftops how awful they are (whether or not the even actually takes place). Then, later, when one or another Democrat gets caught actually doing something wrong, mention that "both sides do it..."

Compare, for example, the "Cheney/Halliburton" accusations that are still around to this day - even though Cheney had no solid connection to Halliburton when he took office, the Democrats whined every time Halliburton made the news. Compare to the current deal with the Obama Assistant Secretary of Energy, Cathy Zoi, who has a huge investment in a company that makes "smart power meters." Of course part of her government-mandated agenda is to... convince people to buy them. Seems kinda conflict-y, doesn't it?

The Jug-Eared Douche does i... (Below threshold)

The Jug-Eared Douche does indeed sound like a real puss. Oh, well - I already guessed the Wookiee actually had the nads in that family.

> ... It prevents learni... (Below threshold)

> ... It prevents learning -- since after all, why should we listen to a fascist' or 'socialist

Ok, I'll take that line as a denial that he is a socialist. (never actually heard him deny it before). Fine. Now I'd like to ask him what he thinks a socialist is and why he doesn't qualify as one!

Gee, maybe he's right. Mayb... (Below threshold)

Gee, maybe he's right. Maybe we should all join together and march down the streets together, enraptured by the milk of human kindness, singing "Kumbaya" and "It's the Real Thing".


Obama has spent his entire career exploiting the grievances of the left and pitting one group against another, and he did it again in today's little sermonette. He'll do it again when his advisors come up with a plausible scapegoat for the oil spill problem, another one for emergency environmental regulation and the spending that goes with it, another for his failure to deal with border control and illegal immigration, and another to justify a major increase in taxes. Unemployment is Bush's fault. So is Iraq and Afghanistan. It's always somebody else's fault.

It's what put him into the president's office, and gave Democrats both houses of Congress. It had little to do with real policy differences, but by marginalizing and ridiculing their opponents, outlawyering election judges (culminating in the election of the esteemed Senator from the great state of Minnesota, Al Franken, and the extralegal appointment of that sainted orator from Illinois, Roland Burris), and the toxic and corrupt influence of ACORN and the labor unions. No honest person can seriously claim that he was elected because of his exemplary experience as a national leader of anything.

Since their rise to power, Democrats have insulted and excluded Republicans from every major debate and shouted down every attempt to participate in every legislative effort. Incredibly to me, Obama has NEVER admitted even partial responsibility for any of the major problems our country faces, and has done everything in his power to ignore the will of the people that put him into office. We're assured that eventually we'll see how fricking brilliant it all is. If only we could just go along.

Instead, his agenda has been based on one hyperventilated "crisis" after another, always with a scapegoat to blame, and always with a concocted urgency designed to stifle honest debate and compromise, and always with an eye to the next election.

And the problem is, his agenda appears to deliberately ignore the real problems we face: the economy, 30 million people unemployed, $12 trillion in new deficits, our declining currency and the near destruction of our economy, not to mention his laughable attempts at international diplomacy.

I clearly remember a comment he made leading up to the election: "You just tell me what you want to do. I'll sell it to the American people." I worried about it at the time, and events have proven me right. He's not interested in being president. He's interested in being the perfect political salesman for his domestic agenda, regardless of the will of the electorate. It's all just a matter of EXPLAINING it to the voters.

Sarah Palin, Scott Brown, the Tea Parties are all blowback, and the issue will be resolved in November. Read Paggy Newman's editorial in Friday's Wall Street Journal.

Obama's clearly on the sick list and is about to become a lame duck after only two years in office. The only real question to me is how much more damage he can cause before then. That should cause you some worry.

" 'criticized people at bot... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

" 'criticized people at both ends of the political spectrum'

This is a central Democratic tactic. Keep telling everyone and sundry just how awful the Republicans are, hammer home just how evil they've been, and when you start catching the backlash from your own commentary, tell everyone that it's the fault of both sides."

That seems to be the meme of the week for certain trolls in the comments here lately. The lefties/Dems are the worst offenders by far, but both sides are admonished to 'tone it down'.

Meh, he's an accomplished f... (Below threshold)

Meh, he's an accomplished failure.

Too bad he's gonna be around till Jan 22nd 2013 when the voting public puts a boot up his ass and tells him goodbye.

Obama tries to disarm his c... (Below threshold)

Obama tries to disarm his critics by bemoaning and decrying everything that he himself is. If you want to really know him, what he believes, what his tactics are, you just have to transfer speeches like this, and apply it back to him.

He is the one who is not civil, who threatens democracy, who is intolerant, who has poisoned the political climate, who has foisted socialism on the US, who has villified his critics, who has tried to circumvent the democratic process.

RE: "It undermines democrat... (Below threshold)

RE: "It undermines democratic deliberation."

So does hiding bills and critical amendments until the last minute so that public can't read them.
So does sending union thugs to protect Democrats from having to answer questions about the legislation.
So does voting on bills Senators and Congressmen haven't read.
So does a Speaker of the House actually saying that they have to pass legislation to see what's in it.
So does lying to the CBO about the financing.
So does hiding the HHS report about the adverse affects of Obamacare until after it is passed.

In general, the Democrats' agenda is grossly unpopular with the American people, and so the only way to get it passed is to undermine democratic deliberation.

Barack Obama is responsible... (Below threshold)

Barack Obama is responsible for the poisonous political climate. He came to office with a tremendous amount of good will and he squandered it with his despot style of governance. He poisoned the well and now he will blame others for it.

Obama is blabbering about t... (Below threshold)

Obama is blabbering about tolorence while his own followers are the most intollrent bunch of thugs around

Has anyone seen such arroga... (Below threshold)

Has anyone seen such arrogance from any public official before? Words fail me.

This from the "get in th... (Below threshold)

This from the "get in their faces," guy, the "if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," guy, the "my administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks," guy.


I was there at the speech, ... (Below threshold)
Deb in MI:

I was there at the speech, which was pretty decent. All I could think of was, "I sure wish he would govern as he speaks." He came off sounding middle of the road, but has governed as a leftist.

The one time I really tried... (Below threshold)

The one time I really tried to listen to a speech of his was January 20, 2009. My observation at the time?

That feller sure can make them empty platitudes soar, can't he?
There was never the poss... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

There was never the possibility of compromise on these legislative behemoths yet the President deigns to lecture us on etiquette while he defecates on our policy positions.


A couple of days ago I added a comment that contained links that showed that there were significant compromises made on both the Stimulus (35% of which consisted of tax cuts) and the Health Care Bill.

After posting the comment a message displyed indicating someone would have to review my comment because it contained too many links.

I feel like I'm being censored for providing too much evidence that your statement was wrong.

Have you reviewed my comment and if so why did you not approve it?






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