Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Politics Of Suffering

My wife has been reading Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope." She has continued to pass along tidbits that she finds interesting, such as our president's attitude toward conservative pundits who might seek to bring him low. She told me that he tries not to give them too much credence, preferring to let the sound of their exhalations be that of the passing wind. Feel free to interject your "passing wind" snicker here.
But that doesn't keep me from flinching when I hear idiots with access to the airwaves launching into tirades that are more more about character assassination than criticism of policy. This past week, Rush Limbaugh insisted that the Obama White House would use the catastrophe in Haiti to "burnish" the president's standing and credibility "with the black community, in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community, in this country." Maybe it was the OxyContin talking, since most of the right side of the country was left a little taken aback by his sound and fury. After years of taking my shots at the previous administration, I am here to point out the continuing evolution of a nation and its leaders. On Meet The Press, former president and humanitarian George W. Bush had this to say about the certain media outlet's reaction to the Obama administration's response to the earthquake in Haiti: "I don't know if -- what they're talking about. I've been briefed by the President about the response. And as I said in my opening comment, I appreciate the president's quick response to this disaster."
This comes from a guy who had his own experience with the politicization of catastrophe. It was a disaster all by itself, and Rush defended it. Even George W. took his raps for that one. If you are a politician, you will be judged by your ability to deal with the events that occur during your time in office. It is the measure of competency, the ability to lead. Democrat or Republican, after Katrina, the response to disaster here or abroad changed. It had to. And we are all better for it, in spite of what Mister Limbaugh might suggest.

1 comment:

whats.up.bret.harte said...

I think Rush is right. Obama's "burnishing" seems to have had the additional effect of actually growing the approving light-skinned black community, to include many *very* light-skinned members of the black community, such as former president Bush.