Friday, July 24, 2009

Obama Squanders Political Opportunity of a Lifetime

It could have been a "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," moment.

It could have been an "Ask not what your country can do for you . . . ," moment.

But it wasn't.

In front of a television audience of 26 million, on Wednesday, July 22, 2009, Barack Obama blew it.

The press lobbed him softball question, as they often do, asking him to comment on the controversial arrest of a black Harvard Professor by a white Cambridge Massachusetts Police Officer.

Obama could have come out smelling like a rose, by answering as follows:

"Members of the press, with all respect, I wonder, would you have posed this question to my predecessor?"

Obama could have gone on to say:

"I cannot respond to national events as the black President, but rather as the President, who happens to be black. We must view each other as individuals, not color prepended individuals, or we will never move past destructive and divisive issues of race in our nation."

But no. For all his talk of taking the high road, when Obama's opportunity came, he blew it, indirectly attacking the police officer who made the arrest, saying, "the Cambridge police acted stupidly."

Yeah, the President blew it, but more importantly, his cover was blown. We got his candid opinion about a potentially inflamatory situation, and he threw gasoline on it.

So much for "change". So much for "new politics". So much for "bipartisanship".

What Americans saw on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 was a President who let a simple question from a reporter wrap him up in his racial identity as "America's first black president" instead of America's first President who "happens to be black".

Too bad.

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