Our View: Revenge, obliquely served
Posted: November 6, 2012
It seems like eons ago, but it’s been less than two years since President Obama, in the wake of the attack that nearly claimed the life of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, sounded a clarion for the return of “civility” to politics.
If you recall, fire-eaters on the political left were quick to assume — and summarily label — Ms. Giffords’ assailant, Jared Loughner, a tool of the “far right.” In truth, as it turned out, Mr. Loughner was cajoled to act by personal demons rather than any political rhetoric or ideology. No partisan ties or affiliations had he.
Nonetheless, the call did resonate and Mr. Obama was largely hailed for making it. Still, it did not take long for the message to ring hollow. The reelection campaign the president has chosen to run has been rife with incivility. And that’s putting it mildly, considering the accusations leveled at his opponent Mitt Romney — everything from “liar” to “tax cheat” to accomplice in the death of a laid-off steelworker’s wife from cancer.
The latest, and decidedly curious, display of incivility came Friday during a campaign stop in Springfield, Ohio. When voters booed the mention of Mr. Romney’s name, the president advised “Don’t boo, vote . . . Voting is the best revenge.”
Our question: “Revenge” for what? What has Mr. Romney done that would prompt voters to seek “revenge”? In all, a rather odd choice of terminology — unless, of course, it was some sort of veiled reference to Mr. Romney’s wealth or his career at Bain Capital.
But to attach such oblique motivation to a remark delivered from the stump is, at best, a stretch. Which brings us back to our original query: “Revenge” for what?
In any event, Mr. Romney used the comment to spin political hay. Campaigning in New Hampshire, he said, “Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country. It is time we lead America to a better place.”
That it is — and to a more “civil” place.