I read a line about the Jared Loughner killing spree that to paraphrase went something like this; 'the blood on the ground was not even dry before the left was out pointing the finger of blame for the tragedy in Tucson at the likes of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party and the rest of the conservative movement.'
Never mind that the facts don't bear this out because as Rahm Emanuel once famously said "you never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
There is no doubt precedent for a president to step up and address the nation in times of tragedy and of mourning. Examples include President Reagan after the explosion of the Challenger Shuttle, President Clinton after the Oklahoma City bombing and President Bush after the attacks on 9/11.
In listening to these Presidents speak of the tragedies, they attempted to explain to the American people and the world the scope of the event, the search for the reasons behind them and who the perpetrators in the cases of Oklahoma City and the 9/11 attacks were or might be.
These presidents sought to reassure us, address our grief and at the same time explain what the next steps in the process would be. How those who murdered innocents would be brought to justice and how the government would do everything in its power to insure that events like those would never happen again.
The Tucson murders
The events that took place in Tucson are somewhat different than those discussed above. The perpetrator is known although the exact reasons for his actions are not yet completely clear. His mental state and capacity is fairly obvious from his rambling thoughts that have turned up. His anti-government sentiments were also apparent. He was reported to be a drug abuser, known to local law enforcement and a follower of the ideas of Nietzsche, Hitler and Marx.
While horrendous, the scope of the Tucson shooting is somewhat limited relative to the national tragedies that these prior presidents spoke on. Although President Obama is using the event as an opportunity to address the American people, his comments should be limited to the waste of these senseless deaths, words of sympathy to the family's of the victims, and not meander to those topics more political in nature.
His staff has been working on this speech for two days, yet the content, thoughts and feelings expressed should not have to come out of a ghost writers pen. They should be thoughtful, filled with feeling and from the heart of the man presenting them. It should address six senseless deaths and the wounding of many other innocent people including a nine-year old child. There should be relief expressed about the fact that Rep. Giffords will live and may not suffer permanent brain damage.
I know that I am a cynic, but the trip down to Tucson to deliver this eulogy in prime time smacks of pure political opportunism by a President seeking to build his approval ratings back up. I hope that I am wrong.
From The Political Commentator, written by Michael Haltman
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VN:F [1.9.6_1107]A cynic's look at the Obama eulogy in Arizona,