Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel: What Obama shouldn’t say tonight

Tucker Carlson Co-Founder, The Daily Caller
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White House aides have indicated that President Obama will remain non-political in his speech tonight, while at the same time reminding the country of the need for tolerance. Both of these things can’t be true. Five days after Tucson, a speech about tolerance is by definition a political speech.

There is no evidence that Jared Loughner acted out of intolerance or partisanship, much less in response to the opinions of cable news hosts. No one has shown he listened to a minute of Rush Limbaugh. According to those who knew him, Jared Loughner began a descent into madness years ago. His crime was not a political act.

Obama’s political fortunes have been in dramatic decline recently, so it’s understandable why he and his advisers might view the killings in Tucson as a lifeline. They should resist the temptation. The president should memorialize the victims of this tragedy. He should highlight the heroism we saw during the event. And then he should stop.

It’s hard to believe he will. Instead, the president is likely to call for a change in our political discourse. He’ll ask Americans to treat their political opponents with respect, to tone down the rhetoric, to stop demonizing one another. Few would argue with that sentiment. But it’s the context that counts.

The suggestion – and it will surely be implied rather than stated – is that the killings in Tucson are the result of overheated political debate, a talk radio segment gone bad. And as a factual matter that’s not true. It’s a lie, designed to help Barack Obama and hurt his political enemies. It is in fact a sophisticated example of what the president himself will seem to be decrying: the politics of personal destruction.

Let’s hope the president pulls back tonight, and honors the memory of those who died by refusing to seek political advantage. We’ll know a lot more about what sort of man Barack Obama is by the time his speech is over.