Thursday, July 23, 2009

I - Obama's inconsistency

Obama: Police who arrested professor 'acted stupidly'

President Obama has repeatedly argued that he isn't about the politics of race, but this little incident with a friend of his seems to say differently. He is repeating all of the standard, old-school civil rights lines, only this time from the Bully Pulpit. But I really don't care about that. He is black, his friend is black and there are real issues between races (not just in this country and not just between black and white - but that's another story, for another time). What really gets me is that the President is willing to jump right in and make an accusation here without allowing all the facts to come out first. Strange that he didn't feel that way when there was a ship captain being held by pirates. That time he carefully waited until he could either take credit for what happened or safely deny responsibility. A less cynical reading would be that he refrained from making comment until the situation was more clear. In either case it is becoming obvious that Obama doesn't want to lead on the hard issues but has no problem stirring up the people if he thinks it will make points for him.

The unfortunate side effect of what the President is doing is that he is deepening the racial divide and increasing hostility. If he were really interested in dealing with the situation in a presidential manner he would have simply said he was aware of the situation and was waiting to see how it worked out before commenting. There is no urgency to the situation, Mr. Gates is back home and all charges have been dropped. Whether or not there was a racial component to the original arrest may never be known, but, thanks to President Obama, the aftermath is going to be all about race.

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