Civility Obama administration needs to act presidential

Published 12:04 am Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Obama administration has shown a disturbing propensity for statements unbecoming of the chief executive and his staff.

But on Monday, the president himself set a new low in a radio interview with Spanish-language network Univision.

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2,” Obama said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

This isn’t the kind of divisive, inflammatory rhetoric that the nation needs with the midterm elections on Tuesday.

The heavy-handed rhetoric is especially galling considering that Obama ran as a candidate in 2008 promising to be a post-partisan chief executive who could reach across the aisle to do business in Washington.

It isn’t the first time the administration has shown a shocking lack of civility. From spokesman Robert Gibbs’ attacks on Fox News to Obama’s statement that Cambridge, Mass., cops “acted stupidly” after the arrest of Harvard professor Henry David Gates, to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s comments about “putting a boot to the throat of BP,” the administration has shown a pattern of statements that fall outside the bounds of proper presidential discourse.

While there is nothing wrong with trying to stoke the fires of an important voting bloc and mobilize them to vote for Democratic candidates, it is wrong to use such language, which could be construed as inciting possible violence. The administration needs to realize such bellicose oratory is beneath the station of the president of the United States and work for a more conciliatory tone.

As the old saying goes, you attract more flies with honey than vinegar.