Obama: But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another.

I am not a fan of this President. But I must say I was touched by one thing the young President said last night at the Tucson Tragedy Memorial Service. Between the shouts and whistles it was hardly a memorial to be sure … but this portion of the speech I thought was well written, well delivered and most appropriate … dare I say “Presidential”?

So much for Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, conservative Republicans, caused this tragedy. Obama spent a good portion of the speech making it clear “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.”

And if that didn’t send the message clearly enough, a short time later the President added:

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 [– 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.

None of this is new to anyone who reads this blog. But before anyone think I found the speech flawless, read on. I did not. Perhaps that’s the cynical side of me … perhaps not. The “pep rally” atmosphere was beyond strange. Rather than a memorial, it looked more like an Obama campaign stop. Cheers and shouts and whistles seemed to me to be more than inappropriate but rather bizarre, almost ghoulish. I am not sure what role the White House played in this but it was perilously close to a “Wellstone” moment.

Which brings me to the portion of the speech that I found most disturbing … could it be called Obama’s “Do it for Paul” moment? Or am I being too critical. The president highlighted the story of 9 year old Christina Green, a young girl who was making her first appearance at a Congressional town hall. I talked about it here, and retelling her story was touching and appropriate. But what he added at the end seemed contrived. Was it what he said, or was it the crowd reaction?

As for the memorial, I sat there wondering what has happened to decorum in our society. Obama, and frankly, everyone who spoke, were continually interrupted by applause, shouts, screams, and whistles. It was, I thought, the most bizarre memorial I have ever witnessed.

My heart still aches for the victims. I do not believe this was the best way to honor them.

24 replies
  1. Marilyn
    Marilyn says:

    A "Memorial" very strange, although I think the pres. did a good job.  All in All it was a campaign rally.

  2. SeeingRed
    SeeingRed says:

    I don't think that any event can be sincere when it's so obviously planned.  The outflowing of emotion is one thing, the lining up to deliver prepared remarks, contrived by people far removed from the actual event, seems cheap, pointless, moot and wrong.

  3. GdavidH
    GdavidH says:

    Disgusting!

     Let the 2012 re-election campaign begin….At a memorial for a horrible loss.

    Regardless of who planned this, this president could have steered the ceremony in a somber direction but did not.

     Last night both WhiteHouse.gov and Organizing for America featured the "Together we Thrive" logo, the same one on the souvenier T-shirts. Today I can only find the logo on the "right" blogs. Why is that?

     

  4. NMSDad
    NMSDad says:

    I wouldn't call ANY of the speech "Presidential."  It's real easy to say we shouldn't blame discourse for the shootings after several days of having your minions state that they WERE responsible.

    Plain and simple, it was a way to attempt to curry favor with AZians while, at the same time suing the State. Where was such an event after the Ft. Hood shootings? Did those who were killed there serve the country any less than those gunned down in Tuscon? He recently praised Michael Vick (PHIL Eagles) after Dems got hammered in PA, the $100 million university hospital that BRIGHT BLUE State CT was slated to get went to Ohio—another state where the Dems got hammered in November (not to mention Boehner's home state.)

    I won't even go into the God-like declaration of Gifford's eyes opening.

    No, the only thing Presidential about the AZ event was that it was the latest in the constant stream of election rallies. As my bumper stickers plainly state….OBAMA SUCKS.

  5. Wayne SW
    Wayne SW says:

    The pep rally last night was only missing a marching band, dancing girls, a bit of confetti and a few "vote for me's"  This latest crisis did not go to waste.  Nothing has changed or will change…..the Tee-Shirts were a bit over the top….

  6. GdavidH
    GdavidH says:

    Hmmmm, Take a look at this headline and wonder why the link does not work any longer.

    http://sonoranchronicle.com/2011/01/09/giffords-s

    Scrubbed. Don' want to contradict "The One".

    Wayne, are you sure there was no marching band? Did not the rally start with horns?

    From MM's blog

    "Update 8:03pm Eastern Obama enters stadium to wild applause. Opening music: Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man."

    AAAAAAHHHHHHHH      I'll go take a breath now

  7. Just another voice
    Just another voice says:

    Why is anyone really surprised with our "young" President.  He acts like "Mr. Hollywood."  Always  has – always will.  He doesn't have anyone who will clue him in on proper protocol (including Mrs. O). Remember, King with No Clothes?

    So just expect more of this.  What would have stopped the President in his tracks, is if the family stood up and walked out.  Cue the teleprompter.

  8. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    I went to a memorial service for six dead, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt – Massacrepalooza 2011.

  9. David R
    David R says:

    Good for you Jim for giving our president credit where credit was due.  My hunch is that much of the nasty political climate has to do with a deep seated anxiety about our individual and collective futures. The sincere among moderates, liberals and conservates, as throughout our history, express competing philosophies on how to address this uncertainty: holding tight to tradition and moving in the direction that the future seems to be pulling us. My view is that this yin and yang is part of a normal struggle to move forward. And we will move forward because that is what America has always done. No doubt we will meet the challenges of competition from the emerging powers. No doubt it will take innovation on many fronts, while we hold strong to the basic ideals of freedom, fairness, equality and justice. Because I see both yin and yang as essential components of our preparations for the future, my views on issues such as health care reform differ from the typical visitor to this site. For me healthcare reform is consistent with our basic ideals, while at the same time, as the future demands, necessary for the wellbeing of our economic future, and the lessening of our fears.

  10. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    The speech was more about him than the victims.  It was all about taking advantage of the tragedy to boost his abysmal approval ratings.  Typical.

     

    Loved the "Reverend" Wright speech cadences, by the way…

  11. Wayne SW
    Wayne SW says:

    to GdavidH.  The music was from an Orchestra setting are where they were seated.  If they marched around, then I missed it.  Perhaps they went outside after their initial moment in the limelight and were then given the assignment of handing out Tee-Shirts and Obama 2012 bumper stickers.  I am still tying to find an image of that bumper sticker.

  12. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Nice try Jim!! You also could have chosen the high ground, but took the "low ground" option at the end of your comments.

  13. Lucinda
    Lucinda says:

    Forgive my cynicism, but in my opinion this was nothing but an opportunity for the young President to grandstand. Yes, some of his remarks were touching, and maybe he was even sincere. But honestly, I'm not sure I see a reason for Mr. Obama to even be there. A mere five months ago Connecticut experienced the tragedy of eight people killed by a lone gunman, while they were going about their workday. Did he attend that memorial service? (Not that I expected him to, nor would I have wanted him to.) I'm sorry, but the whole event was a bit over the top. I daresay most of those in attendance were there to see the President, and not to remember the victims.

  14. rickyrock
    rickyrock says:

    President Obama was outstanding ………..He did an incredible job of keeping his remarks respectful and even tempered …………Contrast that speech to Sarah Palin's bitter defense  and she is laughable ..he is  light years ahead of this woman.As I said before ,Palin is done ,,,,her star is fading and Obama is coming back strong.His ratings have steadily risen over the last two weeks,,,Thanks to Sarah, Obama will be re-elected.

  15. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    Again, this administration does not let a crisis go to waste.  I still remember the first reports I saw the morning after this "memorial" service and actually had to ask my kids, "Do you hear clapping and CHEERING?"  I thought I was having a mid-life hearing loss moment.  There was nothing presidential about it and the cadence of the speech was bizarre.  He_places_too_many_pauses_between_his_words.

  16. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    Rickyrock, It is good to hear from you again. BUT, I so want to believe President Obama, but did you listen to his words? Where did your nasty comment about Sarah Palin come from? This is not about President Obama or Sarah Palin, it is about a Congresswoman being shot and the killing of a 9-year old wonderful little girl and a Judge and other wonderful people. My heart is still too sore, please listen to President Obama's words again, If you believe in him so strongly, listen. You missed his message.

  17. Murphy
    Murphy says:

    Sorry I could not keep listening after all groupie screams and cheers right after he stated she opened her eyes right after he visited. I think some of the crowd thought he placed his palm on her forehead and shouted be saved!

  18. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    I'm sure, I should also say. The post is about President Obama's speech and whether it is credible or not. My point was IF you believe his speech than act on it. Those who don't believe his words are waiting to see if HE will live up to his words.

  19. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    Barry's got the executive branch all tied up, so he's playing it down the middle while he lets the left media and democrats do the nasty name calling…  Swatting at all of the liberal snipers is like swatting at fleas.  But I'm now thinking the call for civility and the need to liken the shooting to 9/11 is an attempt to tie republican hands or smear them as uncivil unless they play the democrat game for the next two years.  He's not the messiah- he's a Judas Goat leading the sheeple!

  20. David R
    David R says:

    I like to hear unbiased and relevant comments about the President. We forget that a lot of people love him. We forget that his remarks, good or bad, have little to do with how this country works. It's still about the realtionship between corporate interests and the government. Pick a president or a party. No matter which party is in power, the corporations always win with the people who write the checks (Congress). I invite bloggers to do some investigating into how this works. Maybe if we can get a handle on it, we can diminish the role of corporate propaganda, which keeps party followers at each others throats. And just mabe we can diminish corporate influence to the point where a more responsive government is possible. 

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