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Posted at 9:19 PM ET, 01/12/2011

Arizona memorial: It's not about politics

By Jennifer Rubin

The memorial service in Arizona was in many ways representative of our noisy, increasingly religious and decent country. I didn't care for the raucous-like atmosphere. The Native American chief went on too long and sounded like he had swallowed "Political Correctness for Dummies." But that is minor, and ultimately irrelevant.

What mattered? In time of crisis, public figures return to scripture. Janet Napolitano read from the Old Testament, Eric Holder from the New Testament. It was entirely appropriate, and a reminder that in the age of pop psychology and New Age lingo, nothing fills the heart and the soul like scripture.

As for the president, I was immediately struck by how old and gray he looks. He did not smirk and play to the crowd as Bill Clinton surely would have done. His sober demeanor lessened the cringe-sensation when the assembled hooted and cheered.

As for the president's speech, it was one of his better moments because it avoided politics. Now, he did stray into campaign shouting mode when he said "I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak. And I can tell you this -- she knows we're here and she knows we love her and she knows that we will be rooting for her throughout what will be a difficult journey." And similarly when he celebrated the citizen heroes of the day, he likewise did the staccato shout bit. Still, it was in celebration of others, not him.

As for the substance of the speech, this was the most meaningful passage:

You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations -- to try to impose some order on the chaos, and make sense out of that which seems senseless. Already we've seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health systems. Much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized -- at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do - it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, "when I looked for light, then came darkness." Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind. So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

It was pretty close to a rebuke to his liberal supporters. He was telling them, and everyone, that the entire process of casting blame for a lunatic's crime is foolhardy and simply wrong. He deserves credit for that. This sounded like much of what I and others have been writing since Saturday: "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, 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."

I will have more later. But one can't help recognize the contrast between the adult voices (the cabinet officials, the college president and the president) and a babble of immature wolves, baying at the moon and spinning untruths to propel their own agendas.Obama reminded the country that "what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together." Couldn't have said it better myself.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 12, 2011; 9:19 PM ET
 
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Comments

The President tonight demonstrated how absolutely ridiculous the left and how irresponsible the media have been over the last few days. It will be interesting to see if they take a cue from him or continue on trying to demonize their opponents on the right. Especially Sarah Palin, who Chris Mathews cautioned not to exonnerate yet of the shootings, because all the facts have not come in yet. Amazing.

Posted by: stevendufresne | January 12, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

The President tonight demonstrated how absolutely ridiculous the left and how irresponsible the media have been over the last few days. It will be interesting to see if they take a cue from him or continue on trying to demonize their opponents on the right. Especially Sarah Palin, who Chris Mathews cautioned not to exonnerate yet of the shootings, because all the facts have not come in yet. Amazing.

Posted by: stevendufresne | January 12, 2011 10:01 PM | Report abuse

" Now, he did stray into campaign shouting mode when he said "I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak. And I can tell you this -- she knows we're here and she knows we love her and she knows that we will be rooting for her throughout what will be a difficult journey."

Huh? What are you talking about - where in there is anything remotely resembling campaign talk ?

Posted by: Gaithersburg1 | January 12, 2011 10:11 PM | Report abuse

"54465446" does not seem at all humble

Posted by: mikem23 | January 12, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

what "liberal supporters" were rebuked? You mean the Jon Chaits, Ezra Kleins, Kevin Drums who all said Palin was not responsible for this shooting, but bears immense responsibility for the vitriol in our political discourse of late? Those liberal supporters?

Nice straw man.

If you are not responsible for the effects of calling liberals socialist, marxist, facist, anti-colonialist Kenyans, then we liberals are not responsible for the stray few who blamed the shooting on Palin. Moreover, if you think the passage you just quoted is a rebuke of liberals, I'm afraid you (respectfully) can't read. This passage is aimed as squarely at you as it is at any liberal. Own your vitriol.

Posted by: jogoldbe | January 12, 2011 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't think all of you as columnists can have it both ways. You say you don't like certain aspects of the memorial service, but that is itself reflective of you treating it as less a solemn service and more like it was the opening of a Broadway play: look how the leading man did, I didn't care for the supporting cast, the costumes (t-shorts) were inappropriate. It make all of you come across like arts critics and that seems very unseemly.

Posted by: jcindy | January 12, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Rubin, in her commentary on the Memorial, can't resist the urge to nitpick: the invocation was too long for her; the President strayed into campaign mode, in her opinion, because he spoke of his visit to the hospital. Why are you looking for unworthy motives?

Carping, back-handed compliments should be avoided by a responsible journalist, Ms Rubin.

I watched the memorial from start to finish, found it moving, stirring. I am relatively sophisticated, have a doctoral degree, but found the humanity assembled in the University auditorium beautiful and uplifting. From the soloist to the orchestra to the choir and the individual speakers here was America at its best.

The President spoke from his heart, but I admit I was afraid he might make some inadvertent reference that lesser minds would seize upon (as you did) to misinterpret, mischaracterize his message.

Does it boost your ego to diminish the President as you try to do in your article? How sad!

Posted by: castleb | January 12, 2011 10:31 PM | Report abuse

castleb @ 10:30 PM. Heh. What humility, what self-effacement! Quit looking in the mirror and get over yourself.

"...If you are not responsible for the effects of calling liberals socialist, marxist, facist, anti-colonialist Kenyans..." Does that mean that you're not? Prove it.

All this talk about making nicey in order to "...help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud...." is baloney. That ain't going to happen folks.

Republicans tried in many ways to get this President and the vile 111th Congressional majorities to do the right things. They were spurned and several legislative monstrosities were passed that are going to have to be rooted out in the 112th or 113th Congresses. Not counting of course, the variety of administrative nightmares being foisted this very minute by Mr. Obama's minions. Almost all these things are destructive of this nation. But they won't be overturned by nice words. Buckle up; it's going to be a rough ride.

Posted by: jafco | January 12, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

" the president strayed into campaign mode" .... Huh? You are trying way too hard Ms Rubin. The president was wonderfully inspiring, humble, eloquent, intelligent .... and totally appropriate.

"I was struck by how old and gray he looked" ....

I wonder how old you are because you certainly write like you might still be in high school.

Posted by: goldpitt | January 12, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse

If something is minor and ultimately irrelevant, why mention it in the first paragraph? That's nice that you didn't care for the raucous atmosphere, but why does that matter to anyone else? Why on earth did you think he was rebuking his liberal supporters? Couldn't he have merely been reminding us to look for the good in each other?

And so, reading his words again, let me apologize to you for taking some of your statements as cynical and petty. No doubt you intended something else entirely.

Posted by: BlueDog1 | January 12, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse

mikem:

Guilty as charged!

Posted by: 54465446 | January 12, 2011 11:17 PM | Report abuse

That "thump thump" you heard was Krugman, Kos, Dupnik and the NYT editorial board being tossed under the bus. I can't wait to see how they answer the question, "Was the President wrong when he said 'that it is not lack of civility caused this tragedy'"?

Posted by: Bobo4 | January 12, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

jafco (10:55 PM) Your comment on my comment puzzles me. How have I offended you that you feel it necessary to insult someone you know absolutely nothing about. My point was that I was deeply moved by the memorial and the goodness of the people being honored/mourned and those who honored/mourned them. For me, this was the face of the true America I love. I hope this clarifies my post for you.

Posted by: castleb | January 12, 2011 11:41 PM | Report abuse

So I wrote the second comment to this post tonight, in which I was my usual irritating self, but otherwise used no objectionable language, and was on topic.

I guess I struck a nerve, because I see I have been censored out. I know it was there originally, because mikem23 replied to it, as you see above, and then later I back to him.

Jennifer it's your column. If you can't take criticism, then censor me or ban me entirely, or just ask me not to post anymore. I'll understand.

But at least employ an assistant from the old Soviet Union so that you do so professionally, and don't forget to erase the replies to too!

Posted by: 54465446 | January 12, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

AS ALWAYS, the right never sees themselves as needing to listen.

Perhaps the excerpt Rubin pulled from the president's speech referred to laws regarding gun control, such as the assault weapons ban (examine all the facts, challenge assumptions). It is worth noting that the weapon used WAS BANNED from 1994 to 2004, when the law expired and was not renewed under the Republican Congress in 2004.

But sadly, the Republican right never really listens.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | January 13, 2011 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I keep seeing one of the key passages quoted this way (including here):

"...it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, 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."

Interestingly, that's from his prepared remarks. His delivered remarks were even more emphatic, because he paused and added the clear statement, "It did not":

"...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."

Posted by: fairfaxvoter1 | January 13, 2011 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the left got spanked tonight!

Posted by: jefferson4 | January 13, 2011 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Many like me, on the left, rushed to judgment about this tragedy and its causes, precisely because it is something we have feared for a long time. I will heed President Obama's call for civility. I hope I am not alone.

Posted by: paul37 | January 13, 2011 1:29 AM | Report abuse

The President's words were: "For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired..."

Sorry Jennifer, that wasn't a rebuke of his liberal supporters. It was a rebuke of all who are filling in the gaps in what we know about the killer's motives and influences with whatever suits our politics. Liberals don't have a lock on creative license. Paul Krugman doesn't know with certainty from the facts available today whether the ascerbic campaign against Giffords played a role in what happened; conversely Sarah Palin does not know with certainty that it did not.

The point of the President's statement was that we all need to stop finger pointing. If you agree with that sentiment, you might want to give it a try.

Posted by: exco | January 13, 2011 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer Rubin is delusional if she understood the President's speech to be a rebuke to the left. It was above all a call for civility in our political discourse, something that has been sorely lacking among the Palin-Angle-Limbaugh-Beck crowd. He made that point elegantly, soaring above the partisan bickering, and in so doing made Palin's crude defense of hate-mongering political speech look petty by contrast. A masterful speech that perfectly captured what the nation is looking for at this moment. And Rubin, as usual, is tone-deaf.

Posted by: bradk1 | January 13, 2011 1:40 AM | Report abuse

God Bless You, Barack Obama. You turned a tragedy into a celebration of the lives of the lost, and of the lives of those who live and will continue to give (Giffords, Kelly, Hernandez, Rhee, etc.). God Bless You and your family.

Posted by: julied2 | January 13, 2011 3:06 AM | Report abuse

God Bless You, Barack Obama. You turned a tragedy into a celebration of the lives of the lost, and of the lives of those who live and will continue to give (Giffords, Kelly, Hernandez, Rhee, etc.). God Bless You and your family.

Posted by: julied2 | January 13, 2011 3:09 AM | Report abuse

"God Bless You, Barack Obama. You turned a tragedy into a celebration ..."

No, it remains a tragedy.

Castleb: Your self-description as a sophisticate with a doctorate followed by the word "but" may have been the problem;)

Posted by: mboss | January 13, 2011 3:31 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer, did you have to score points? Really?

I once heard a comedian describe people in a traffic Jam. He said most of them are thinking about how bad traffic is, keeping a credit card thick distance between their bumper and the next so no-one can cut in. But at that moment, they could be thinking about the beach or their loved ones or the movie they just saw or anything. They can't remove themselves from the aggravation, but they don't have to let it consume them.

You could have written about the positiveness of the speech, ways that we can start a more civil dialogue. Next time, why don't you?

Posted by: getjiggly2 | January 13, 2011 4:53 AM | Report abuse


I use "123 Get Samples" to find free samples of major brands online. Please note they update their samples every day but I just pick what ever available at that time and use them.

Posted by: jovaugh | January 13, 2011 5:05 AM | Report abuse

If the opening blessing was minor and irrelevant, why lead with it by trashing it? And why lead with a cheap shot to begin with. Who are you anyway? Why not stick with the important issue of healing, give the President credit for what was obviously and extremely well received presentation and go with the theme of treating others with respect and restraint? That is where citizens need to go and that is where journalists need to go also.

Posted by: SaintJoseph | January 13, 2011 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Rubin says that the memorial service wasn't about politics. Then she immediately complains the Indian guy went on to long and cribbed his speech from Political Correctness for Dummies while the President's remarks were both unifying -- a rebuke to his liberal base to stop the finger-pointing at conservatives for creating a climate of fear.

I'm not going to call Rubin a hypocrite because I think she is being sincere. There is a certain kinds of right wing minds that views their own ideology or belief as the One True Faith and so anything that advances or affirms that right wing worldview isn't politics. It's just nature taking its course. The only thing that is "politics" is anything that challenges that worldview.

The reason I think that so many right wing conservatives are blind to the fact that the hateful rhetoric they hear from liberals is merely the liberal response to right wing hatefulness is that most conservatives seek out and co-habitate only with their own kind. They live in like-minded communities -- either geographically or in "Fox Nation" and other conservative places on the radio and cable dial -- where every one they know thinks exactly as they do. And so when everyone they know attacks liberals and the president as "American-hating traitors" or whatever, that's not hatefulness or even politics. It's common sense and conventional wisdom.

And so when they hear a discordent point of view they naturally react with shock and alarm, thinking it must be an emotional and ill-tempered rant because, deep within their communities of conformity, they can't possibly understand the source of so much bile being directed at them.

And making sure they only have to associate with their own kind and never confront the perplexity of a differing point of view is why right wing conservatives react so violently to talk of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, for example, calling it censorship and an attack on free speech instead of what it really is, which is an effort to create a real Marketplace of Ideas by requiring that all ideas get a fair hearing and no untruth or falsehood gets a free ride to mislead the public without someone stepping to offer a rebuttal.

Rubin's column here is a perfect expression of that mentality. The right wing view of the world isn't a creature of "politics," she seems to be saying. It's just the way things are. And anyone who disagrees is just being hateful.

Posted by: TedFrier | January 13, 2011 6:11 AM | Report abuse

If you think Obama's rebuke was aimed solely at the left, you are like someone whose take away from "he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone" is "Jesus said I could go first".

Posted by: jimwalters1 | January 13, 2011 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Sorry you wingnut, he was speaking to both right and left. Period. Try expanding your horizons beyond the party of Palin-Newt-Limbaugh-Beck.

Posted by: mz2010 | January 13, 2011 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Sorry you wingnut, he was speaking to both right and left. Period. Try expanding your horizons beyond the party of Palin-Newt-Limbaugh-Beck.

Posted by: mz2010 | January 13, 2011 6:32 AM | Report abuse

The amount of truth, heart and soul behind President Obama's speech was extraordinary and awesome. That's all we need to know.

Posted by: pdurand | January 13, 2011 6:36 AM | Report abuse

It was almost a relief. I intensely oppose at least 96% of what Obama is trying to do because I recognize how devastating, unjust and often utterly lawless it is and there is no question that the man has a generally most grating personality unappealing disposition.

For these reasons, however it is almost more edifying and inspiring to be able to enthusiastically agree with just about every word he said last night and the spirit and tone he said it with. For once he genuinely rose to the occasion.

Posted by: cavalier4 | January 13, 2011 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Great Post, Jennifer.

WaPo headline this AM.....The Empty Suit-in-Chief visits bedside and she opens her eyes.
Pathetic worship of His Highness.
They will have him walking on water next.

This is all about the run up to Barry's re-election campaign.

Posted by: MartinChuzzlewit | January 13, 2011 7:03 AM | Report abuse

The focus on the murders could have easily pointed to the high unemployment in arizona. The attack on arizona and its right to control its border from attack by military style drug lords.The continuing boycott of the state causing people to lose their jobs.
But instead someone choose to make it political and personel.Now that the horses have left the barn Obama is attempting to shut the door.But after the speech his party is about continuing the political hit peices on cbs/katy the spokeswoman for the whitehouse.Congress woman wassermanshultz has found a way to bring her child and immigration into the mix.
Shamefull when a polition stoops to using her own child to sell ignorant policies that don't work.
I guess I could say my 3 year old asked me why did Boxer shut off the farm water supply to the farmers in california causing food costs to rise in africa killing small children?How do you respond to that?sophmoric pap

Posted by: jmounday | January 13, 2011 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Look, liberals are far too proud and far too arrogant to admit fault. If you want to see something that smells like acknowledgement, look for the subtle shift from "palin's rhetoric is responsible" to "palin's rhetoric merely contributed to a vitriolic atmosphere, which is bad regardless of the murders." Then they'll tell you they've said that the whole time, then they'll accuse you of being too stupid to understand "nuance". But by changing the topic, then yelling more to cover it up, they are implicitly admitting to error. We should be happy. Thank you Obama.

Posted by: batigol85 | January 13, 2011 8:02 AM | Report abuse

"As for the president, I was immediately struck by how old and gray he looks. He did not smirk and play to the crowd as Bill Clinton surely would have done."

He also didn't say "Bully!," as Teddy Roosevelt surely would have done. What on earth does this have to do with a speech given in 2011 by someone not named Bill Clinton?

Posted by: commspkmn | January 13, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the "bad things happen" comment. That's what's so annoying about all the polemics, those people can't see a basic truth about the world, we are frail and sometimes things, bad things happen for no good reason.

Not that we don't know the reason, there just isn't one. It's human nature to resist this, that we must control it somehow, X should have been done, it's Y's fault. Lawsuits are often sad because it's not so much the money, it's the attempt to assign blame to bring things back into some sort of order, that somehow we can bring back the past.

So let us be sad, let us not heal, at least in the deterministic way that "healing process" thinks that we can be put back together.

Bad things happen, so everyone shut up and be quiet for a moment, this is the state of man.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | January 13, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"He did not smirk and play to the crowd as Bill Clinton surely would have done."

WTF is wrong with you people on the right? I'm serious. There must be some pathological problem that we just haven't figured out, yet.
You're as ill as that "blood libel" cretin up in Alaska.
God! Please SAVE America.

Posted by: TOMHERE | January 13, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Never put it past an Conservative Christian to fail to recognize other cultures and religions. Frankly, in my opinion, the Native American prayer was MUCH more authentic and applicable to this event. The Bible passages, besides being a complete and utter joke, had ZERO relevance to the events that occurred in Tucson. I pretty much tuned out the reading of the passages, as did many people in the audience if the decibel-level of clapping is any indication.

However, what struck me most, was the juxtaposition of the "adults", the President and his staff, to the lowly, cringe-inducing whining of the Sarah Palin's and Rush Limbaugh's of this world. And it made me wish, hope, pray, the Republicans are so stupid as to nominate this pathetic excuse for a leader as the GOP candidate for President in 2012. Please Republicans, do it for the Gipper. Of course, much like abortion, Republicans will shy away most likely from action, since the "idea" is always better than the reality. Rubin, you're a joke.

Posted by: sachancp | January 13, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Please do not call Ms. Rubin a journalist. She'a blogger/columnist. Real journalists gather news. Columnist/bloggers then comment on the news gathered by real journalists. Please note the distinction.

Posted by: renegade2 | January 13, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I figured the people of Arizona had the right to as the President to speak at whatever kind of memorial they wanted to plan. My objection to the night was that the media treated it as if it were politics as usual. Anderson Cooper ran portions of the speech and then immediately had talking heads on giving their reactions.

Why not just let things like this stand on their own? We don't need any comments from any pundits.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | January 13, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

As they always say "it's in the eye of the beholder". Your comment "strayed in campaign mode" says all anyone needs to know about your thinking. A congress person who the nation is talking about is mentioned and that's campaign mode - spare us.

Since I don't live in AZ nor have any family and/or friends who were touched by the murders/shooting I cannot tell people who are personally or profoundly touched by words how they should react.

Posted by: rlj611 | January 13, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Re: 'The Native American chief went on too long and sounded like he had swallowed "Political Correctness for Dummies."'

1) Not a chief or a medicine man but a professor at the University, who had asked permission from the elders to perform the opening blessing.

2) If Jennifer Rubinhad any knowledge or dealing with native traditionalists she'd realize what he said was mercifully brief - the tradition is to slow things down to promote reflection. This was the abridged for TV version.

3) Not new age, old old age, predating Columbus, but what confuses Jennifer Rubin is that some of the terms are adapted by new-agers. But yes, this is real and non-Christian, and what she wrote was flip and somewhat disrespectful.

Posted by: kiosk | January 13, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe it. This writer has the gall to praise the President for not making a political speech - except for, you know, raising his voice every now and then - and yet immediately turns around and blasts liberals. I was under the impression double standards didn't fly anymore.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | January 13, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

One piece of Scripture that Rubin apparently isn't familiar with is "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

Posted by: st50taw | January 13, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

What bothered me, and I think President Obama was at first taken aback by it, was the pep rally atmosphere surrounding the event. The whooping, cheering, and yelling were inappropriate for what was supposed to be a somber memorial service. Apparently the organizers developed a theme (Together We Thrive) and had it printed onto handbills that were distributed to attendees and t-shirts that were worn by some in the audience. It all reminded me a little bit of the Paul Wellstone memorial service, which was an overtly political circus. While definitely not as over-the-top as the Wellstone event (where the partisan mob jeered Republican leaders who had come to pay their respects), the way some people have treated this whole affair as a political opportunity has been most disturbing.

Fortunately, the President did not play into their hands. While he skillfully rolled with the reactions of the crowd (there were more interruptions due to cheering than a State of the Union address), he did not go down the dark political road. There was no screaming and demagoguery on his part, yet he artfully addressed some of the more distressing story arcs that arose from the tragedy. Most importantly, and to the whole point of the event, he made it a positive highlighting of the victims and attempted to lift the spirits of the country as a whole. Some people take Mr. Obama’s demeanor as cold, but I look at it as calmingly dispassionate – something I think the country needed after the events of the past week.

Unfortunately, too many ideologues will look at the memorial service in order to decipher its political implications and use it to further to drive political debate. While I suspect the toxic talk will subside for the moment, it will merely simmer under the surface until the next chance for it to boil over. You see, the Paul Krugmans, Keith Olbermanns, and Daily Kos’ of the world are merely benefactors of an underlying audience that looks for tragedies like this in order to enunciate their cause. Their vitriol does not occur in a vacuum, but there is a ready market that waits for, and I think wants, these types of events so they can use them to their advantage. There seemed to be a great expectation, a yearning, that this tragedy could be directly connected to their adversaries. Hopefully, President Obama tamped down that bloodlust for the moment, but I suspect that the most fervent of the true believers will tolerate his interference only a little bit.

Posted by: braunt | January 13, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Leave Bill Clinton out of this. Obama also didn't simper and smirk and use other facial tics of the Palin sort, so why bring up what Obama did compared to your "surely" beliefs about hypothetical Clinton speeches?

Go back to blogging at Commentary full time, Jennifer, where your pettiness and limited world view are welcomed. The Post has only increased its own irrelevance giving you space to spout off.

Posted by: rdklingus | January 13, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer, your posts on the memorial service, both before and after have been pathetically hypocritical.

Doubtful you would accept such smug comments about religious beliefs, if they were repeated about your own.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 13, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I believe the all hands on deck, wall to wall, 24/7 hysterically defensive posture of the Republican party since this tragedy speaks volumes. They know what they do to rile up voters and get them to the polls. They will fight like hell not to lose that tactic. It's worked for them for years.

Posted by: danw1 | January 13, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The first step to living up to the President's and Christina's expectations is by disgarding the silly liberal/conservative paradigm that drives almost all political discourse now. Not only isn't it a true reflection of our polity it is a mental crutch and a trap. It's used as a crutch by people in place of thinking and replaces thought with stereotypes. It is a trap created by self serving people to limit our thoughts and replace them with an emotional addiction to perpetual anger and hostility.

What was once a simple intellectual contrivance to compartmentalize complex issues into easier to understand ideas has now become a prison ensnaring all our political discourse.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 13, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Couldn't have said it better myself" is a funny thing for a political blogger to say about the president's speech.

Posted by: Mineral | January 13, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Grecian Formula or Brill Creme for the POTUS?

Posted by: aardunza | January 13, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Journalist, columnist, blogger are fine. Reporter or "newsperson" (yech) are not.

Kay. ;)

Posted by: aardunza | January 13, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

As usual those who are on the right will only say something negative about the President. No wonder there are sane people in this country who scratch their heads regarding people on the right. You seem to want to hate because you have nothing else in your life, how terribly, terribly sad.

Now only did he do a wonderful job consoling but he proved that he can still lead. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the other side can do that. The other side just wants the spotlight to constantly shine on her. And that is sad.

Posted by: missgrundy | January 13, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

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