While I am not normally in the habit of giving political advice to Barack Obama, the political strategy wonk in me can’t resist.
Instead of continuing to enjoy the high life in Martha’s Vineyard and pretending that he hadn’t paid any attention to a gathering of 300,000 to 1 million people in Washington DC, Obama should have joined Glenn Beck at the Lincoln Memorial.
Because the Restoring Honor rally was billed as non-partisan (which I can attest to since I listened to most of it on satellite radio) with the goal of raising money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation ($5 million has been raised so far), it would have been reasonable for Obama to have politely and publicly asked ahead of time to attend, stating that, as Commander-in-Chief, he is keenly interested in helping out a charity that supports the widows and orphans of Special Forces soldiers. Beck would have then been morally obligated to invite him. If Beck had refused him, he would have looked like a hypocrite and a fool.
Then, if the President had confidently strode into the lion’s den and given a non-partisan speech stressing the importance of honour while praising the military that he leads, he would have dramatically demonstrated courage and fair-mindedness – two particularly attractive qualities in a leader. He would have hit a political home run right out of the field.
But by staying away, Obama implicitly sided with the arrogant and increasingly vicious media whose hysterical and condescending reaction to the Restoring Honor rally is a reflection of their own dawning realization that they are on the wrong side of the American people and therefore history. (Here is a particularly egregious example.) A smart politician would be looking for opportunities to distance himself from the losers who have declared war on ordinary Americans. But I guess, he isn’t that smart a politician.