Having worked in the Nixon White House, Pat Buchanan knows the difference between a president who is up to his elbows in corruption and abuse of power and one who is merely ineffectual and unengaged, which is why he isn’t jumping on the “Impeach Obama” bandwagon. But do not think that, in calling President Obama “the Spectator President,” Pat Buchanan is letting him off the hook.1 After reviewing the various “scandals” that don’t seem to involve, much less incriminate, the President, and having acknowledged that “No, this is not Watergate or Iran-Contra. Nor is it like the sex scandal that got Bill Clinton impeached,” Mr. Buchanan still finds that Barack Obama is guilty not just of “presidential indolence, indifference and incompetence in discharging the duties of chief executive,” but of something even worse: the President helped create a “climate of contempt” that made such things possible, especially the IRS persecution of the Tea Party. According to Buchanan (who knows a thing or two about creating a "climate of contempt" himself),
But whatever Obama knew, he and his allies in Congress bear moral responsibility for denying these Tea Party folks for years their right to participate fully in the politics of their country. For years, Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and other Democrats have slandered and slurred Tea Party people as enemies of progress—smears echoed by their mainstream press allies. Should we then be surprised that IRS bureaucrats, hearing this, thought they were doing what was right for America by slow-walking applications for tax exemptions from these same Tea Party folks? Who demonized the Tea Party people? Who created the climate of contempt? Whoever did gave moral sanction to those IRS agents. And the Spectator President is right in the vanguard.
What Pat Buchanan is saying is that rhetoric has consequences and that it’s possible to draw a link between words uttered by some people and actions taken by others. There is surely some truth to that observation, though I’d love to see Buchanan cite a single instance of when the President actually “demonized” anyone, and I’d also love a debate about whether it was the Tea Party itself which created a “climate of contempt” against this president and his administration. In any case, extreme and irresponsible rhetoric on anyone’s part ought to be condemned, which is why I eagerly await Mr. Buchanan's condemnation of this choice tidbit:
"Extremist radio host Pete Santilli is defending and reiterating his inflammatory attacks on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stating on his program that he wants 'to shoot her in the vagina and let her suffer right before my eyes.' In a May 17 rant captured by Right Wing Watch, Santilli called for the Bush family and President Obama to be shot and for Clinton to be 'shot in the vagina.' " 2
Yep—President Obama is sure responsible for escalating our political rhetoric. See what he's made Pete Santilli go and say? If Hillary Clinton gets shot in the vagina, she'll have no one to blame but the Spectator President himself.
1 "The Spectator President" at The American Conservative (5/21/13)
2 from Media Matters (5/20/13)