The president is scheduled to travel to the state tomorrow. He will have to say something, but what?
Allahpundit at Hotair.com predicts a condescending disaster.
Politico is pushing the idea of an“Oklahoma City moment” replete with quotes from Paul Begala about The One moving us to a “higher ground.” There are three ways a presidential speech on this can go, I figure. One is Obama doing his gauzy “let’s disagree without being disagreeable” thing, which will give Chris Matthews a full-body tingle but leave pretty much everyone else feeling “eh, fine.” Two is giving the left what it wants by going full-bore demagogue on Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, et al., which would make an already toxic political moment insanely radioactive. If he’s remotely serious about promoting a healthier dialogue, he’ll avoid that at all costs. Three is Obama gently scolding the left for being quick to point fingers about the shooting before they had the facts (which, of course, The One was also guilty of vis-a-vis Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. Crowley). That would earn him some momentary, ephemeral goodwill from the right but would enrage liberals, who would see it not only as an instance of him blaming the wrong side but of trying to ingratiate himself with centrists ahead of 2012.
But there are lots of other options, including this:
Go all in on mental health. Liberals will want the president to address gun control. Unsmart. Stokes your opposition, leads to a political contest you cannot win, and even if you do win, what really do you accomplish? A ban on extended magazines? Next time the killer will bring two guns.
But more resources for mental health services? Democrats say yay. Enhancement of power to commit the dangerously mentally ill? Will appeal to the center and right. Bonus point: such a discussion inherently favors the president by stimulating a discussion about what government can and should do, rather than the preferred Republican topic of what government can’t and shouldn’t.